Pre-filming checklist

Ready to Roll? Navigate to the Record tab in the Capture application. If connected properly, you will be able to see a preview of your depth camera on the left. Your takes will show on the right side in the format 'TAKE_MO_DD_HH_MI_SS', with the numbers corresponding to the time of capture (there will be none before you've saved your first take). If it's still there from the last tutorial, remove the IR projector cover from your depth camera.


When planning your shoot, be aware that your camera operator will not be able to move further from the computer than the depth camera's USB cable will allow. This distance can be extended with an active USB extender if needed. If you are shooting with an Asus Xtion and a laptop you can go mobile!


Each take requires a visual signal to sync the two data streams together. Have someone (or yourself) ready to stand in front of the RGBD Toolkit rig and clap at the beginning of the each take. It may feel silly at the time, but it is important - it allows you to fine tune the temporal alignment between the video and depth streams later on.


We follow this convention when on set:

  1. RGB DP announces 'Rolling color...' and starts recording on the video camera.
  2. Data DP announces 'Rolling depth...' - and hits spacebar in the Record tab of the Capture application – alternatively hit the 'Toggle Record' button. The depth camera preview window should display a red border with a flashing Record button to show that recording is taking place.
  3. Clap in front of both cameras to enable synchronizing later on.
  4. Make magic
  5. Hit space bar again to stop recording.

Warning: if you see the 'Toggle Record' button starting to fill with a red bar, it means that some images are failing to save. This usually occurs when the hard drive is nearly full. If this happens, stop recording as soon as possible and wait for the red bar to go down, ensuring that all the footage is written to the drive. If you're recording to an external drive, make sure it's FireWire, USB 3.0, or Thunderbolt.

When you stop recording you should see your TAKE appear in the right side of the Record tab. As soon as you finish recording, the application will begin compressing the raw depth data in the background. The progress of this process is shown as a gray bar overlaid on the TAKE description on the top right. It will move all the way to the right when finished. In the meantime, open your working directory. You should see that a TAKE folder has been created with the same timestamp as in the application. Navigate inside this folder and download your DSLR footage into the 'color' folder.

It's possible to preview the recorded depth data inside of the capture application. In the playback tab, select a Take and hit space bar to play the timeline. Use the same controls from the calibration step to navigate the point cloud as it plays back your capture.

Media Bin Preparation

After a shoot, you'll need to copy the video files into the working directory. For each file you recorded, find the corresponding TAKE folder. Having the camera's clock set correctly is helpful so you can match the time stamps. Within the take directory, put the video file into the color/ folder.

The folder structure for the media bin looks like this:

The toolkit allows for the option of having a smaller preview, sometimes referred to as 'offline', version of the video to make visualization fast while keeping export quality top notch. To create an offline video we recommend MPEG Streamclip or Quicktime Pro 7 to create a 640x360 (assuming you shot in 16:9 aspect ratio) MJPEG @50% speed and remember to include sound. Add to the end of the filename and put in the Color folder. This is the clip that Visualize will load for preview, it will be swapped out automatically when rendering.

Once your files are in place inside their color folders, you're ready to Visualize.