Difference between revisions of "Prime Color"

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If you are using the eStrobes, this setting enabled on the master Prime Color camera which the eStrobes connect to. When this setting is enabled, the Prime Color camera will start outputting the signals from its RCA sync output port, allowing the eStrobes to receive this signal and illuminate the LEDs.
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If you are using the [[#eStrobes|eStrobes]] to light up the capture volume, the LED setting must be enabled on the Prime Color cameras which the eStrobes connect to. When this setting is enabled, the Prime Color camera will start outputting the signals from its RCA sync output port, allowing the eStrobes to receive this signal and illuminate the LEDs.
 
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Latest revision as of 18:18, 29 August 2019

Main PagePrime Color

Page Scope

This page provides instructions on how to set up, configure, and use the Prime Color video camera.

Overview[edit]


Prime Color[edit]

The Prime Color is a full-color video camera that is capable of recording synchronized high-speed and videos. It can also be hooked up to a mocap system and used as a reference camera. The camera enables recording of high frame rate videos (up to 500 FPS at 480p) with resolutions up to 1080p (at 250 FPS) by performing onboard compression (H.264) of captured frames. It connects to the camera network and receives power by a standard PoE connection.
PrimeColor Overview PrimeC.png

eStrobe[edit]

When capturing high-speed videos, the time-length of camera exposures are very short, and thus, providing sufficient lighting becomes critical for obtaining clear images. The eStrobe is designed to optimally brighten the image taken by Prime Color camera by precisely synchronizing the illuminations of the eStrobe LEDs to each camera exposure. This allows the LEDs to illuminate at a right timing, producing the most efficient and powerful lighting for the high-speed video capture. Also, the eStrobe emits white light only, and it will not interfere with the tracking within the IR spectrum.

Info2.png

The eStrobe is intended for indoor use only. For capturing outdoors, the sunlight will provide sufficient lighting for the high-speed capture.

  • PrimeColor Overview eStrobe.png
  • PrimeColor Overview eStrobe2.png

Hardware Setup[edit]


Camera Lens[edit]

Different types of lenses can be equipped on a Prime Color camera as long as the lens mount is compatible, however, for Prime Color cameras, we suggest using C-mount lenses to fully utilize the imager. Prime Color cameras with C-mount can be equipped with either the 12mm F#1.8 lenses or the 6.8mm F#1.6 lenses. The 12mm lens is zoomed in more and is more suitable for capturing at long ranges. On the other hand, the 6.8mm lens has a larger field of view and is more suitable for capturing a wide area. Both lenses have adjustable f-stop and focus settings, which can be optimized for different capture environments and applications.

  • F-Stop: Set the f-stop to a low value to make the aperture size bigger. This will allow in more light onto the imager, improving the image quality. However, this may also decrease the camera's depth of field, requiring the lens to be focused specifically on the target capture area.
  • Focus: For best image quality, make sure the lenses are focused on the target tracking area.

Info2.png

6.5mm F#1.6 lens: When capturing 1080p images with 6.5mm F#1.6 lens, you may see vignetting in each corner of the captured frames due to imager size limitations. For larger FOV, please use the 6.8mm F#1.6 lens to avoid this vignetting issue.

Load Balancing[edit]

Data Bandwidth[edit]

Before going into details of setting up a system with Prime Color cameras, it is important to go over the data bandwidth availability within the camera network. At its maximum bit-rate setting for capturing the best quality image, one Prime Color camera can transmit data at a rate of up to ~100 Megabytes-per-second (MBps), or ~800 Megabits-per-second (Mbps). For a comparison, a tracking camera in Object Mode outputs data at a rate less than 1MBps, which is several magnitudes smaller than the output from a Prime Color camera. A standard network switch (1 Gb switch) and network card only support network traffic of up to 1000 Mbps (or 1 Gbps). When Prime Color camera(s) are used, they can take up a large portion, or all, of the available bandwidth, and for this reason, extra attention to bandwidth use will be needed when first setting up the system.
When there is not enough available bandwidth, captured 2D frames may drop out due to the data bottleneck. Thus, it is important to take the bandwidth consumption into account and make sure an appropriate set of network switches (PoE and Uplink), Ethernet cables, and a network card is used. If a 1-Gb network/uplink switch is used, then only one Prime Color camera can be used at its maximum bit-rate setting. If two or more Prime Color cameras need to be used, then either a 10-Gb network setup will be required OR the bit-rate setting will need to be turned down. A lower bit-rate will further compress the image with a tradeoff on the image quality, which may or may not be acceptable depending on the capture application.

Info2.png

Detecting Dropped 2D Frames

Every 2D frame drops are logged under the Status Log panel, and it can also be identified in the Devices pane. It will be indicated with a warning sign next to the corresponding camera. You may see a few frame drops when booting up the system or when switching between Live and Edit modes; however, this should only occur just momentarily. If the system continues to drop 2D frames, that indicates there is a problem with receiving the camera data. If this is happening with Prime Color cameras, try lowering down the bit-rate, and if the system stops dropping frames, that means there wasn’t enough bandwidth availability. To use the cameras in a higher bit-rate setting, you will need to properly balance out the load within the available network bandwidth.

Note: Due to the current architecture of our bug reporting in Motive, a single color camera will not display dropped frame messages. If you need these messages you will need to either connect another camera or an eSync into the system.

Data Storage Drive[edit]

Storage Capacity[edit]

  • Since each color camera can upload a large amount of data over the network, the size of the recorded Take (TAK) can get pretty large even with a short recording. For example, if a 10-second take was recorded with a total data throughput of 1-GBps, the resulting TAK file will be 10-GB, and it can quickly fill up the storage device. Please make sure there is enough capacity available on the disk drive.
  • If you are exporting out the recorded data onto video files after they are captured, re-encoding the videos will help with reducing the files magnitudes smaller. See: Re-encoding

Write Speed[edit]

  • Since Prime Color cameras can output a large amount of data to the RAM memory quickly, it is also important that the write-out speed to the storage is also fast enough. If the write-out speed to secondary drive isn't fast enough, the occupied memory in RAM storage may gradually increase to its maximum. For recording with just a one or two Prime Color cameras, standard SSD drive will do its job. However, when using multiple Prime Color cameras, it is recommended to use a fast storage drive (e.g. M.2 SSD) that can quickly write out the recorded capture that from the RAM.

Cabling[edit]

Power[edit]

Each Prime Color camera must be uplinked and powered through a standard PoE connection that can provide at least 15.4 watts to each port simultaneously.

One or Two Color Cameras[edit]

Prime Color cameras connect to the camera system just like other Prime series camera models. Simply plug the camera onto a PoE switch that has enough available bandwidth and it will be powered and synchronized along with other tracking cameras. When you have two color cameras, they will need to be distributed evenly onto different PoE switches so that the data load is balanced out.
PrimeColor TwoCameraSetup.png

Multiple Color Cameras[edit]

When using multiple Prime Color cameras, we recommend connecting the color cameras directly into the 10-gigabit uplink switch, because such setup is best for preventing bandwidth bottleneck. A PoE injector will be required if the uplink switch does not provide PoE. This allows the data to travel directly onto the uplink switch and to the host computer through the 10-gigabit network interface. This will also separate the color cameras from the tracking cameras.
PrimeColor MultipleCameraSetup.png

eStrobes[edit]

eStrobe Setup[edit]

The eStrobe synchronizes with Prime Color cameras through RCA cable connection. It receives exposure signals from the cameras and synchronizes its illuminations correspondingly. Depending on the frame rate of the camera system, the eStrobe will vary its illumination frequency, and it will also vary the percent duty cycle depending on the exposure length. Multiple eStrobes can be daisy-chained in series by relaying the sync signal from the output port to the input port of another as shown in the diagram.

  • PrimeColor eStrobeSetup.png
  • PrimeColor eStrobeSetup2.png

Info2.png

Illumination:

The eStrobe emits only white light and does not interfere with tracking within the IR spectrum. In other words, its powerful illumination will not introduce noise to the IR tracking data.

Info2.png

Power Requirement:

The amount of power drawn by each eStrobe will vary depending on the system frame rate as well as the length of camera exposures, because the eStrobe is designed to vary its illumination rate and percent duty cycle depending on those settings.
At maximum, one eStrobe can draw up to 240 Watts of power. A typical 110V wall outlet outputs 110V @ 15A; which totals up to 1650W of power. Also, there may be other factors such as restrictions from the surge protector or extension cords that are used. Therefore, in general, we recommend connecting no more than five eStrobes onto a single power source.

Warning2.png

Warning:

  • Please be aware of the hot surface. The eStrobe will get very hot as it runs.
  • Avoid looking directly at the eStrobe, it could damage your eyes.
  • Make sure the power strips or extension cords are able to handle the power. Using light-duty components could damage the cords or even the device if they cannot sufficiently handle the amount of the power drawn by the eStrobes.
  • The eStrobe is not typically needed for outdoor use. Sunlight should provide enough lighting for the capture.


Capturing without eStrobes[edit]

When capturing without eStrobes, the camera entirely relies on the ambient lighting to capture the image, and the brightness of the captured frames may vary depending on which type of light source is used. In general, when capturing without an eStrobe, we recommend setting the camera at a lower framerate (30~120 FPS) and increasing the camera exposure to allow for longer exposure time so that the imager can take in more light.

Indoor[edit]

Incandescent light flickering. The video was captured at (121 FPS).
When capturing indoors without the eStrobe, you will be relying on the room lighting for brightening up the volume. Here, it is important to note that every type of artificial light source illuminates, or flickers, at a certain frequency (e.g. fluorescent light bulbs typically flicker at 120Hz). This is usually fast enough so that the flickering is not noticeable to human eyes, however, with high-speed cameras, the flickering may become apparent.
When Prime Color captures at a frame rate higher than the ambient illumination frequency, you will start noticing brightness changes between consecutive frames. This happens because, with mismatching frequencies, the cameras are exposing at different points of the illumination phase. For example, if you capture at 240FPS with 120Hz light bulbs lighting up the volume, brightness of captured images may be different in even and odd numbered frames throughout the capture. Please take this into consideration and provide appropriate lighting as needed.

Info2.png

Info: Frequencies of typical light bulbs

  • Fluorescent: Fluorescent light bulbs typically illuminate at 120 Hz with 60 Hz AC input.
  • Incandescent: Incandescent light bulbs typically illuminate at 120 Hz with 60 Hz AC input.
  • LED light bulbs: Variable depending on the manufacturer.
  • eStrobe: LEDs on the eStrobe will be synchronized to the exposure signal from the cameras and illuminate at the same frequency.

Outdoor[edit]

When capturing outdoors using Prime Color cameras, sunlight will typically provide enough ambient lighting. Unlike light bulbs, sunlight is emitted continuously, so there is no need to worry about the illumination frequency. Furthermore, the sun is bright enough and you should be able to capture high-quality images by adjusting only the f-stop (aperture size) and the exposure values.

Setup Check-Point[edit]

Now that you have set up a camera system with Prime Color, all of the connected cameras should be listed under the Devices pane. At this point, you would want to launch Motive and check the following items to make sure your system is operating properly.

  • 2D Frame Delivery: There should be no dropped 2D frames. You can monitor this under the Status Log or from the Devices pane. If frame drops are reported continuously, you can lower down the bit-rate setting or revisit the network configuration and make sure the data loads are balanced out. For more information, Data Bandwidth section of this page.
  • CPU Usage: Open the windows task manager and check the CPU processing load. If only one of the CPU core is fully occupied, the CPU is not fast enough to process data from the color camera. In this case, you will want to use a faster CPU or lower down the bit-rate setting.
  • RAM Usage: Open the windows task manager and check the memory usage. If the RAM usage slowly creeps up to the maximum memory while recording a take, it means the disk driver is not fast enough to write out the color video from RAM. You will have to reduce the bit-rate setting or use a faster disk drive (e.g. M.2 SSD).
  • Hard Drive Space: Make sure there is enough memory capacity available on the computer. Take files (TAK) with color camera data can be quite large, and it could quickly fill up the memory, especially, when recording lightly-compress video from multiple color cameras.

Camera Settings[edit]


When you launch Motive, connected Prime Color cameras will be shown in Motive, and you will be able to configure the settings as you would do for other tracking cameras. Open up the Devices pane and the Properties pane, and select a Prime Color camera(s). On the Properties pane, key properties that are specific to the selected color cameras will be listed. Optimizing these settings are important in order to obtain best quality images without overflooding the network bandwidth. The key settings for the color cameras are image resolution, gamma correction, as well as compression mode and bit-rate settings, which will be covered in the following sections.

ColorCam CameraProperties 21.png

Camera Resolution[edit]

Default: 1920, 1080

This property sets the resolution of the images that are captured by selected cameras. Since the amount of data increases with higher resolution, depending on which resolution is selected, the maximum allowable frame rate will vary. Below is the maximum allowed frame rates for each respective resolution setting.

Resolution Max Frame rate
960 x 540 (540p) 500 FPS
1280 x 720 (720p) 360 FPS
1920 x 1080 (1080p) 250 FPS

Compression Mode[edit]

Default: Constant Bit Rate.

This property determines how much the captured images will be compressed. The Constant Bit-Rate mode is used by default and recommended because it is easier to control the data transfer rate and efficiently utilize the available network bandwidth.

Constan Bit-Rate[edit]

In the Constant Bit-Rate mode, Prime Color cameras vary the degree of image compression to match the data transmission rate given under the Bit Rate settings. At a higher bit-rate setting, the captured image will be compressed less. At a lower bit-rate setting, the captured image will be compressed more to meet the given data transfer rate, but compression artifacts may be introduced if it is set too low.

Variable Bit-Rate[edit]

Variable Bit-Rate setting is also available for keeping the amount of the compression constant and allowing the data transfer rate to vary. This mode can be beneficial when capturing images with objects that have detailed textures because it keeps the amount of compression same on all frames. However, this may introduce dropped frames whenever the camera tries to compress highly detailed images because it will increase the data transfer rate; which may overflow the network bandwidth as a result. For this reason, we recommend using the Constant Bit-Rate setting in most applications.

Bit-rate[edit]

Default: 50

Available only while using Constant Bit-rate Mode

Bit-rate setting determines the transmission rate outputted from the selected color camera. The value given under this setting is measured in percentage (100%) of the maximum data transmission speed, and each color camera can output up to ~100 MBps. In other words, the configured value will indirectly represent the transmission rate in Megabytes per second (MBps). At bit-rate setting of 100, the camera will capture the best quality image, however, it could overload the network if there is not enough bandwidth to handle the transmitted data.

Since the bit-rate controls the amount of data outputted from each color camera, this is one of the most important settings when properly configuring the system. If your system is experiencing 2D frame drops, it means one of the system requirements is not met; either network bandwidth, CPU processing, or RAM/disk memory. In such cases, you could decrease the bit-rate setting and reduce the amount of data output from the color cameras.

Image Quality[edit]

The image quality will increase at a higher bit-rate setting because it records a larger amount of data, but this will result in large file sizes and possible frame drops due to data bandwidth bottleneck. Often, the desired result is different depending on the capture application and what it is used for. The below graph illustrates how the image quality varies depending on the camera framerate and bit-rate settings.

ColorCamera NoStrobe.png


Info2.png

Tip: Monitoring data output from each camera

Data output from the entire camera system can be monitored through the Status Panel. Output from individual cameras can be monitored from the 2D Camera Preview pane when the Camera Info is enabled under the visual aids (Viewport16.png) option.

PrimeColor DataOutput.png

Gamma[edit]

Default : 24

Gamma correction is a non-linear amplification of the output image. The gamma setting will adjust the brightness of dark pixels, midtone pixels, and bright pixels differently, affecting both brightness and contrast of the image. Depending on the capture environment, especially with a dark background, you may need to adjust the gamma setting to get best quality images.

  • PrimeColor Gamma1.png
  • PrimeColor Gamma2.png

LED[edit]

Default: On

If you are using the eStrobes to light up the capture volume, the LED setting must be enabled on the Prime Color cameras which the eStrobes connect to. When this setting is enabled, the Prime Color camera will start outputting the signals from its RCA sync output port, allowing the eStrobes to receive this signal and illuminate the LEDs.

Calibration[edit]


In order to calibrate the color camera into the 3D capture volume, the Prime Color camera must be equipped with an IR filter switcher. Prime Color cameras without IR filter switcher cannot be calibrated, and can only be used as a reference camera to monitor the reference views in the 2D Camera View pane or in the Reference View pane.

Warning2.png

When loaded into Motive, Prime Color cameras without IR filter switcher will be hidden in the 3D viewport. Only Prime Color camera with the filter switcher will be shown in the 3D space.

Prime Color FS Calibration[edit]

Reference video zoomed into a rigid body.

The Prime Color FS is equipped with a filter switcher that allows the cameras to detect in IR spectrum. The Prime Color FS can be calibrated into the 3D capture volume using an active calibration wand with the IR LEDs. Once calibrated, the color camera will be placed within the 3D viewport along with other tracking cameras, and 3D assets (markers, rigid bodies, skeletons, cameras) can be overlayed as shown in the image.

To calibrate the camera, switch the Prime Color FS to the Object mode in the Camera Preview pane. This will switch the Color camera to detect in the IR spectrum, and then use the active wand to follow the standard Calibration process. Once the calibration is finished, you can switch the camera back to the Color Video Mode.

Info2.png

Active Wand:

Currently, we only take custom orders for the active wands, but in the future, this will be available for sale. For additional questions about active wands, please contact us.

Data Recording / Export[edit]


Once you have set up the system and configured the cameras correctly, Motive is now ready to capture Takes. Recorded TAK files will contain color video along with the tracking data, and you can play them back in Motive. Also, the color reference video can be exported out from the TAK.

Data Recording[edit]

Once the camera is set up, you can start recording from Motive. Captured frames will be stored within the TAK file and you can access them again in Edit mode. Please note that capture files with Prime Color video images will be much larger in file size.

ColorCam DataSample.png

Video Export[edit]

Once the color videos have been saved onto TAK files, the captured reference videos can be exported into AVI files using either H.264 or MJPEG compression format. The H.264 format will allow faster export of the recorded videos and is recommended. Video for the current TAK can be exported by clicking File tab -> Export Video option in Motive, or you can also export directly from the Data pane by right-clicking on the Take(s) and clicking Export Video from the context menu. The following export dialogue window will open and you will be able to configure the export settings before outputting the files:

PrimeColor DataExport 21.png

Dropped Frames[edit]

When this is set to Drop Frames, Motive will remove any dropped frames in the color video upon export. Please note that any dropped frames will be completely removed in this case, and thus, the exact frames in the exported file may not match the frames in the corresponding Motive recording. If needed, you can set this export option to Black Frame to insert black, or blank, frames in place of the dropped frames in the exported video.

Exporting from Multiple TAKs[edit]

If there are multiple TAK files containing reference video recordings, you can export the videos all at once in the Data pane or through the Motive Batch Processor. When exporting directly from the Data pane, simply CTRL-select multiple TAK files together, right-click to bring up the context menu, and click Export Video. When using the batch processor (NMotive), the VideoExporter class can be used to export videos from loaded TAK files.

Re-encoding Exported Video[edit]

The size of the exported video file can be re-encoded and compressed down further by additional subsampling. This can be achieved using a third-party video processing software, and doing so can hugely reduce the size of the exported file; almost in orders of two magnitudes. This is supported by most of the high-end video editing software, but Handbrake (https://handbrake.fr/) is a freely available open-source software that is also capable of doing this. Since the exported video file can be large in size, we suggest using one of the third-party software to re-encode the exported video file.

FAQ / Troubleshooting[edit]


› Q : Can custom camera lenses be used?

A: The Prime Color camera uses the standard C mount for the lens, and lenses from other vendors can be mounted onto the color camera; however, there will be no guarantee for the lens and image quality. For this reason, we suggest using lenses that we provide.

› Q : Slow memory write out

A: If the disk drive on the host PC is not fast enough to write the data, the RAM usage will gradually creep up to its maximum memory when recording a capture. In which case, the recorded TAK file may be corrupted or incomplete. If you are seeing this issue, you will have to lower down the bit-rate to reduce the amount of data or use a faster disk drive.

PrimeColor RAMCreep.png

› Q : There are frame drops even when there is enough bandwidth availability

A: Dropped 2D frames with Prime Color in the system can be introduced due to the following issue:

  • Network Bandwidth: Insufficient network bandwidth will cause frame drops. You will have to make sure the network setup, including the network switches, Ethernet cables, and the network adapter on the host PC, is capable of transmitting and receiving data fast enough. See: #Data Bandwidth
  • Audio playing in background (MMCSS): When playing audio using applications (e.g. Chrome, VLC) that registers to Multimedia Class Scheduler Service (MMCSS), it will interfere with how the CPU resource is used in Motive. This service will prioritize time-sensitive multimedia applications to utilize the CPU resources as much as possible, which may cause increased latency which may lead to dropped frames. We recommend exiting out from such applications if there are any latency and frame drop issues.