RED Joins with Facebook for Virtual Reality Camera

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

While Facebook has been fine tuning its Oculus Headset into a more affordable virtual reality option, the one thing missing from the equation has been content creation. While the company closed its VR studio back in 2017, it’s now looking to create a virtual reality camera, and is joining forces with RED to do it. Could this the next module for the Hydrogen holographic mobile phone?

“We’ve been on a quest to build immersive capture technology for years,” said Facebook director of engineering Brian Cabral in an interview with Variety.

Outside of sheer speculation, that’s all we have at the moment. There’s no details other than what Facebook announced this week at the annual f8 Developer Conference.  The prototype was showcased back in 2016, and a second generation highlighted at the conference last year. At that time, Facebook told developers that it was looking to partner with several hardware manufacturers to produce them. Now it looks like they’ve found a major provider that not only can produce the VR cameras, but take it to a level unseen until now.

“Depth reconstruction is only as good as the image data that you can capture,” said Cabral this week. “The pixel quality matters a lot (and RED) is a partner that has on-set experience.

The new virtual reality camera is based on a prototype that Facebook developed in house, but now that it wants to move into manufacturing it, the company is pairing up with RED to further develop the camera and it could possibly fit into the modular accessory contacts on the back of RED’s Hydrogen Smartphone.

Mockup of Hydrogen One Holographic display.
Image Credit – Android Authority

The Hydrogen’s 4V (4 view) holographic display creates a revolutionary display that provides a glasses free 3D/Virtual Reality experience, according to those who have seen it. RED has been mum on the details, but we’ve seen previous generations that the display is based on, and it looks pretty remarkable.

Moreover, No Film School is speculating that the new Facebook VR camera could employ the 4View image sensors that Hydrogen uses in its mobile camera. So imagine an array of those sensors working in concert to create a 360° image that also has a 3D component to it. The result would be a professional level virtual reality cinema camera that RED could then pair down to a more consumer grade design that Facebook could sell.

But if that is really the case, a design that can work with the 4v Hydrogen is intriguing, but it essentially works contrary to the Oculus Go headset concept. Who needs a headset when you have the headset free experience? Unless, of  course, you’re wanting total immersion.

Consequently, Facebook has been looking to expand its virtual reality space, getting members to not only watch content in it, but practically live in it, like they do on the Social Media platform itself. I’m not saying that we’re seeing the beginnings of a world fictionalized by the Spielberg film Ready Player One, but it’s certainly another step down that road.

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About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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