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Cameras

Facebook and RED partner on professional VR camera

Facebook's pushing its new Oculus Go headset for consumers, but it's working with pro camera maker Red to help the creators.

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This Facebook Surround 360 camera was a prototype (of sorts) for the upcoming Red camera.

James Martin/CNET

On the heels of shipping its standalone Oculus Go headset, Facebook is turning its attention to what you can actually do in VR. Apparently, that includes a brand-new professional Red camera designed to capture real-world 360-degree video that you can explore.

According to The Verge and Variety, Facebook has partnered with the Hollywood-favorite camera company to create a bespoke 6DoF (or six-degrees-of-freedom) camera and workflow that'll help creators easily produce VR-ready content. 

There's no word yet on what it'll look like or how much it'll cost, but Facebook's Brian Cabral, who led the company's previous Surround 360 camera initative, hinted that the companies' prototypes have already appeared on set.

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The Red Hydrogen.

MHBHD/YouTube capture by Juan Garzón/CNET

If you're not familiar with Red, it's a company that makes modular cameras and high-resolution sensors for filmmakers, with a compact design and excellent quality that's made it a darling of Hollywood and the big streaming studios like Netflix. It's also the company that developed the odd but interesting phone-sized "holographic" Red Hydrogen cameraphone, which hasn't shipped -- it was expected earlier this year, but Red has stopped accepting preorders

The Hydrogen seems like it could be an interesting fit for Facebook's VR efforts as well; at about $2,000 it's not priced for consumers, but that's pretty cheap for for everyone from small businesses to filmmakers in tight spaces who want to create immersive content, not just for the Oculuses but for marketing products and services via Facebook. The phone has stereo cameras that can capture "holographic" footage for a format called 4-View.

And while Red doesn't currently have a VR rig, others like NextVR have used its cameras to create their own 360-degree capture rigs. NextVR also happens to be one of the first companies to develop for the new Oculus Venues. Red cameras' modularity lends itself to roll-your-own solutions; with sensors of varying resolutions and prices up to 8K, the technology a lot more flexible than, say, Google's Halo. (Configure one for yourself!)