Facebook & RED’s new Manifold 360 camera contains 16 8K Helium sensors
You know we’re at peak levels of crazy when somebody shoves 16 8K RED Helium sensors into a single camera. But that’s exactly what Facebook and RED have done with the new Manifold 360 camera.
Designed for “immersive cinematography”, the Manifold allows RAW video capture from all 16 cameras at 8K resolution and 60 frames per second each simultaneously. Oh yeah, it’s way out there.
According to Facebook, the way it works… Well, let Facebook explain it themselves.
Manifold captures multiple camera angles simultaneously from within a given volume, enabling infinite perspectives to be generated from any direction within a field of view.
Using RED’s best-in-class camera sensor design and image processing pipeline, filmmakers get superior image quality when shooting their projects, from live and avant-garde performances to big-budget spectacles. Facebook’s industry-leading depth estimation technology captures 3D information from any scene—like characters, props, and everyday backgrounds—resulting in high-quality video bursting with enhanced volumetric detail and movement.
Basically, it captures an entire scene in ultra high resolution and then, using something akin to photogrammetry, rebuilds the scene in 3D, remapping all of the original footage on top. This allows for panning and zooming at any angle, but also some degree of camera movement after the fact.
Picture standing inside of a Hollywood blockbuster instead of simply watching. It’s a common scenario in science fiction—and for good reason—it sounds fantastical. Manifold will make this dreamlike concept a genuine reality, both for content creators and for their audiences. It took years of prototyping and tight collaboration, but results so far point to a revolutionary camera built for a single purpose: to deliver next-generation stories.
So, when you’re sitting there, watching the content on your VR headset, you can not only look around but also move around a little within the scene, too.
- 16 RED(R) Helium 8K(R) Sensors arranged to allow full 360 6DoF capture
- Record raw from 16 cameras running 8k @60 fps simultaneously
- Custom Schneider 8mm, F4.0, 180 degree fish eye lenses
- Single SMPTE 304M cable for power, control and data
- Camera Control Unit and storage device may be up to 100 meters from Camera Head
- 5, 12g SDI outputs for monitoring or third party stitch processing
- Multiple third party storage device choices providing 1 hour or more record time
- Front of lens ND filters available
- Quick release handles for maneuvering and setup
- Web app based control interface for flexibility of user interface device choice
- SDK provided for post processing
There’s no word on price for this, but looking at the specs above, it’ll be out of the reach of most budgets, even amongst many high-end professionals. It’s certainly not the kind of thing you’re just going to throw on a selfie stick to create tiny world clips for Instagram.
Facebook says, though, that they plan to “continue on the road to commercial availability”.
It sure will be interesting to see the kind of content this thing can create, though, and to experience being “immersed” in it.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.