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Step 1: Volumetric capture Stage and Camera Setup

Volumetric Capture Stage Preparation In this article, all steps for volumetric capture will be introduced to you. For your own comfort, before you start make sure you have all the items from the list in hand. In this tutorial, we will explain how to connect 2 cameras to a single…

Volumetric Capture Stage Preparation

In this article, all steps for volumetric capture will be introduced to you. For your own comfort, before you start make sure you have all the items from the list in hand. In this tutorial, we will explain how to connect 2 cameras to a single PC. Later on, we will describe how to connect 4 cameras to 2 PCs, running on a network.

As for any volumetric capture, the most important thing is to have at least two cameras. The standard setup is two cameras placed in 90 degrees angle to one another and facing a square meter capture stage:

Volumetric Capture Stage setup diagram

Diagram of EF EVE VolCapp Stage Setup for two Kinect Azure.

First of all, we recommend using a masking tape for the capture stage set up on the ground. 1m x 1m square is enough to start.

  • Mark the center of the stage with a + sign, as well as the middle points of all boarders. This will help you to position the cameras easier.
Volumetric Capture stage preparation. Marking the square and center
Volumetric capture stage marking on the ground
  • Secondly, you should mark the place on the ground, where you will put your cameras. It has to be 2 meters from the center (+) in the same line with your middle point mark of the border.
Volumetric capture stage. Marking the camera positions on the ground
Volumetric capture stage camera positions

Preparing the Capture Setup Equipment

Firstly, make sure you have everything from your equipment list and your purchase list. We will begin with mounting the cameras on the stands.

  • Unfold your tripod stand and attach the clamp ball-head mount on the top of the stand.
Mounting the Kinect Azure or other depth camera on a stand

Clamp Ball-Head Mount attached to the stand
  • Remove the plastic cover from your Kinect Azure camera because it covers your synchronization cable input and output:
Removing the plastic cover from the Kinect Azure

Kinect Azure plastic cover removed
  • Attach the camera to the Clamp Ball-Head mount:
Attaching the Kinect Azure to the stand for volumetric capture
Kinect Azure attached to the stand for volumetric capture

Camera is on a stand at 1.3 meters height and facing the center of the Capture Stage.

  • Use a cable tie to attach the USB cable to the camera stand to keep the camera in a stable position.
Kinect Azure cable should not pull the plug down. Use the Cable tie to avoid it
Kinect Azure preparation for volumetric capture

Leave a part of the cable loose. Make sure the plug goes straight into the camera and the cable doesn’t pull the plug to any side.

  • Use another cable tie to attach the power cable extension to the same camera stand. It’s needed because the Kinect Azure original power cable is quite short.
Attach the power cable extension to the Kinect Azure stand
Power cable extension for Kinect Azure stand

Markers

Another important thing for Volumetric Capture Setup is to prepare your markers which you will need later for depth camera calibration.

  • Print out your markers here (you’ll need to login to your EF EVE account to access it. Manually, go to: Account Settings > Downloads).
  • Print your markers on a thick matte paper as recommended here.
Volumetric capture calibration marker example
Volumetric capture calibration marker example

We also sometimes put the markers on a plate but it’s not mandatory.

Stand markers

  • Print two more copies of marker number 1 and two more copies of marker number 2.
  • Put both copies of marker #1 inside the marker frame, both facing different sides. Repeat with marker number two.

Example: Both sides must have marker #1. Markers must mirror each other. The black contour of the markers must be put side by side. If you took a needle and stick through one of the corners, it should come out at the same corner on the other side

  • Put both frames on the tripod stands
  • Repeat the steps with a second marker stand.
Volumetric capture marker on a tripod stand
Volumetric capture calibration marker stand

Make sure to always keep the markers out of your cameras’ sight if you are not using them.Those markers that are not in use should be covered or turned away from the cameras. Cameras can see quite far and even if the marker is outside the capture stage it can be tracked and ruin the calibration.

Connecting cameras

When your cameras are already on the stands and in places, it’s time to connect the cables. First of all, you need to select your master camera

We recommend to think about your cameras clockwise. First from the left is master camera, and the slave cameras go to the right of the master.

Volumetric capture stage depth camera positions for 2 cameras
Camera positions around the volumetric Capture Stage

Data Transmission Cable

  • Plug in the data transmission cable (e.g. USB C to USB 3) to your master camera
Kinect Azure USB C plug

USB C Cable into the depth camera
  • Connect it to the USB card on your computer.
Motherboard USB Card is for depth camera USB 3 cables. Make sure to use separate controllers for separate cameras.
Depth camera USB 3 cables go to the Motherboard USB Card.

Power cable

  • Then plug in the power cable to the camera and a power cable extension outlet that you’ve mounted to the stand before.
Kinect Azure power cable plug
Power cable into the depth camera

Synchronization cable

  • You also have a synchronization cable. This one should go to the sync out port on the master camera, and sync in port of the slave camera.
Kinect Azure synchronization cable from master camera to slave camera for volumetric capture
From the left: master camera (1) and slave camera (2)

For your own comfort, we suggest putting a small red label on each camera’s sync out port.

The second camera will be your slave camera. You need to do the same steps as you did with the master camera. Except for this one, make sure that the data transmission cable goes into the different controller of the motherboard USB port. 

Kinect Azure slave camera USB 3 cable into PC
Slave USB 3 cable into PC

When you plug the Slave Camera‘s USB cable into your PC, make sure you use different controllers for each camera. You will find 4 USB slots. Usually the first 2 slots use the first controller, the next two slots use the second controller. However, we recommend to check how it is on your PC.

Additional cameras (Network feature)

If you have more than two cameras, you will need two computers. One PC is for two cameras maximum. Every camera that you connect additionally will be a slave camera, as the master camera is already set on the first PC.  Your first PC (where the master camera is connected, will be your Server, and the second PC will be your Client)

Kinect Azure cameras are connected with a sync cable as a chain for volumetric capture
Volumetric video capture stage with 4 Kinect Azure cameras. Slave 2 and Slave 3 are connected to the Client PC.

You should connect your next camera with a synchronization cable clockwise to the slave camera that you already have.

  • Plug in the data transmission cable to the new PC
  • Plug in the power cable
  • Plug in the synchronization cable.

For every new camera you connect, the synchronization cable goes from the sync out port of the last slave camera to the sync in port of the new slave camera.

For every new camera you connect, the set up goes in the same order as described above.

Read next on how to set up your EF EVE VolCapp

Updated on February 26, 2020

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Comments

  1. Hi! Two issues.

    Should I keep on doing the proceedings with the calibration markers 3-6?

    It is physically possible to sequence cameras creating a master-slave-slave hierarchy through input-output conections. Shouldn’t it be a feature on the near future? Is it a data amount issue?

    Thanks

  2. Hi, Lucas, sorry for a late reply 🙈

    Regarding calibration markers: The marker number doesn’t matter – what matters is how many times you will collect those markers. We updated our software and you can collect your markers up to 20 times now. But the markers should always be the same.

    As for master-slave hierarchy: We have this feature and you can sync the cameras. That’s why synchronization cable is needed. You can manage the sync delay in the VolCapp Dashboard. Kinect Azure sync section in this article: https://ef-eve.com/help/knowledge-base/volcapp-features-dashboard/#volumetric-capture-quality

    Let me know if you have some more questions – I’ll be happy to help! 😉

    1. Hi, Nahuel, thanks for your question!
      Yes, you can. But we always recommend Azure Kinect, because not all functions are supported with Kinect V2
      You can send us a message if you want more specifics support@ef-eve.com
      Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂

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