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The eStrobe is intended for indoor use only. For capturing outdoors, the sunlight will provide sufficient lighting for the high-speed capture.
Required PC specifications may vary depending on the size of the camera system. Generally, you will be required to use the recommended specs with a system with more than 24 cameras.
For using Prime Color cameras, it requires the computer to be equipped with a dedicated graphics card that has a performance of GTX 1050, or better, with the latest driver that supports OpenGL version 4.0 or higher.
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
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.
When running two or more Prime Color cameras, the computer must have a 10-gigabit network adapter in order to successfully receive all of the data outputted from the camera system. Please see Load Balancing section for more information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Info: Frequencies of typical light bulbs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 () option.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
› 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.
› 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: