Specifications

The hardware set-up of VioTrack F is very easy. Basically only the sensor camera and the lens are connected to the Tracking PC. The Tracking PC uses a dedicated Linux operating system, especially designed for the real-time needs of our image processing software. The final UDP camera tracking data are sent to the Graphics Engine through a regular network.

There are two versions of VioTrack F available:

F1     For cameras with a very limited moving range we designed VioTrack F 1, where the coded floor is limited to a size of 2x2 meters. E.g. you can use this version as a replacement of a sensorized pan-tilt with height sensor. But as a retrofit kit, VioTrack F1 works without any dedicated hardware, just with any device.

F2     For an unlimited tracking range and any studio size VioTrack F2 provides unlimited camera movements. E.g. you can use this version for any pedestal, dolly, jib, crane or steadicam: it works for any support system, any camera, any studio, any environment.

The design, size, color and shape of your coded floor will be individually designed for your environment and needs. Therefore we can prepare a solution for any demand.

working principle

Video based. A unique code printed on the floor is detected and analyzed by a dedicated sensor attached to the broadcast camera.
 

degrees of freedom

Free movement of all camera axes (6
 

limitations

Sensor camera must be able to recognize the markers. Thus, movement is limited to the area covered by the coded floor and a limited space in its proximity.

Extensive roll and tilt angles may lead to a loss of visibility of the coded floor
 

Overall Delay

3 frames
 

Sensor Camera

size:  50 x 50 x 90 mm
weight: 500 g
power: 12V, 1 A

output: Video Signal or Ethernet Network

 

Tracking PC

Engine with TrackMen Linux distribution and video input card; different models like Workstation, Small Form Factor (SFF) or 19” rack mount available

 

 

Video Input

video card supports 8/10-bit uncompressed SD/HD video streams according to SMPTE-259/292/296
 

Reference Signal

Not needed – system synchronizes on video input signal
 

Lens Data

Receives serial data from TV lens: Canon (RS 485) or Fujinon (RS 232) Virtual protocol types are supported.

If serial lens data interface is not available, external encoders can be mounted to the lens
 

Data Output

Network connection:
10/100/1000 Mbit Ethernet (IEEE 802.3)
UDP/IP-protocol (RFCs 793, 791 und 768)

The Xync camera tracking interface is employed as the interface protocol.

 

 

  • absolute marker on coded floor for reliable and absolute 3D pose estimation
     
  • full camera tracking parameters, including lens data
     
  • easy installation

Technology

The optical camera tracking system VioTrack F combines the reliability of encoder based systems with the flexibility of visual tracking systems. Here VioTrack F employs a tiny sensor camera which is rigidly attached to the broadcast camera. This camera determines the position and orientation of the broadcast camera "in air", without the need of dedicated hardware mounted on the individual support system, like you are used to with encoder based systems. Therefore the camera can freely move around all 6 degrees of freedom, any position or rotation is precisely measured, even if the camera body would fly through air.

But usually optical systems require a proper view of the studio environment, which is not always given in daily business. Therefore jerks, noise or other problems can be recognized at the virtual objects while moving the camera or when zooming in. Here VioTrack F copied the reliability of encoder based systems by using a dedicated pattern; similar to the optical filter wheel of an encoder. The dedicated markers on the coded floor guarantee VioTrack F to always find reliable data to measure the absolute camera position and orientation. At the same time VioTrack F determines the absolute pose of the camera within the studio coordinate system for every video field.

In order to achieve this precise and reliable data the system uses the following components and technology:

coded floor

  • The coded floor contains absolute markers, where each marker consists of an individual pattern which exists only once within the whole coded floor. Seeing just one marker, the VioTrack F algorithm can automatically determine the absolute camera pose for every immediately; there is no need for a homing procedure or a reset.
  • The code of the coded floor will be generated individually. The number of patterns, their design and size will be calculated individually depending on the client's needs. Therefore we can always provide a working solution for all studio sizes and support systems, whether you are using a tiny office or large studio, a steadycam or crane.
  • The coded floor can be delivered in different materials, colors and sizes. It's your choice to use a floor with chroma key color or for heavy duty pedestals.
  • If using VioTrack F in a very dark environment, there is also an infrared illumination available, which is invisible for the human eye and the broadcast cameras.
  • Usually the coded floor covers only the area where the cameras are moving, not the area where the talent stays. Therefore the coded floor is not visible for the broadcast cameras. It can also be covered by a virtual garbage mask or chroma keyed when using a blue/green box.

 

Algorithm

  • the sensor camera just needs to be near the coded floor, just a few markers need to be seen, not the whole floor
  • even during changing lighting conditions or shadows on the coded floor, the adaptive algorithms will reliably detect the pattern
  • occlusions of single patterns by cables, monitors, other cameras or alike are also no problem
  • if the coded floor is completely out of the view of the sensor camera (e.g. 180 degrees roll), VioTrack F immediately works again when the pattern comes back in view - no waiting time, no initialization is required

 

Lens Data

  • The additional employment of the lens data allows free zoom and focus usage, independent of the camera movement.
  • Thanks to your unique ZoomLensCalibration, VioTrack F achieves highest matching precision for any zoom and focus position
  • VioTrack F can use the build in interface of digital broadcast lenses or it's own external encoders for the zoom and focus ring of any lens, including prime or affordable SLR lenses

 

Installation

  • After you installed the sensor camera to the broadcast camera and you did the cabling you just need to roll out the coded floor to make VioTrack F ready to work. There is no need for any measurements by hand, no need for any homing procedures, no reset is required.
  • The sensor camera can be mounted at any position at the broadcast camera or support system. The offset to the broadcast camera is automatically calculated by the image processing in seconds.
  • Therefore the sensor camera can easily be mounted at any position and direction at the broadcast camera. E.g. it can look to the back if the camera man stands in front of the coded floor.

 

  • Virtual Studios
     
  • Augmented Reality
     
  • Indoor and Outdoor productions
     
  • flexible, temporarily setups

Applications

Especially through VioTrack F's working principle it reliably works for many different applications and setups.  Here we just name a few examples:

Virtual Studios
Especially in a Green/Blue Box environment where all walls are just green, traditional optical systems have not enough trustful video features to work. Here the usage of the coded floor guarantees VioTrack F to still work reliably.

Augmented Reality
Even for any Augmented scenario VioTrack F calculates the camera parameters independent of the environment. Therefore it works even within traditional studios without a green screen or in general in any real environment.

Indoor and outdoor productions
Whether you work inside your studio environment or outside, you just need to roll out the VioTrack F coded floor and you can start working. The different options for the coded floor and it's lighting gives you an unlimited freedom of usage for any production.

flexible, temporarily setups
Besides permanent installations in a well prepared studio environment VioTrack offers more. Due to the flexible setup and working principle VioTrack enables you to quickly change the shooting location. You can easily shoot your next virtual weather forecast at your towns most popular place, the virtual video wall at the sports arena or your 3D graphics for the next elections inside the town hall.

viotrack_coded_floor_-_introduction

 

  • combines advantages of encoder based and visual tracking systems
     
  • free movement for any support system, even hand-held shots
     
  • low-cost, high reliability

Key features

Encoder based systems like pan-tilt heads profit from there reliability, but suffer from their need to be calibrated and their limitation in the freedom of movement. Exactly this flexibility is typically the advantage of optical system, to enable the camera to freely move. But in many situations this  boughts dearly by jerks or shifts of the tracking data and with it the virtual graphics.

Now VioTrack F combines the reliability of encoder based systems with the flexibility of visual tracking systems. Here VioTrack F employs a tiny sensor camera which is rigidly attached to the broadcast camera. It detects a coded floor with absolute markers on it. Where ever the camera is near this coded floor the absolute position and orientation of the broadcast camera is reliably  measured.

Highest reliability through coded floor
The dedicated markers on the coded floor guarantee VioTrack F to always find reliable data to measure the absolute camera position and orientation. Because the coded floor consists of absolute markers, the absolute camera pose is determined automatically for every video field; there is no need for a homing procedure or a reset.

free camera movement, even for hand-held shots
Based on the information of the absolute markers on the coded floor VioTrack F calculates precisely the position and orientation of the camera "in air". Therefore it enables the camera to freely move within 3D space, even for a hand-held camera. The additional employment of the lens data allows free zoom and focus usage, independent of the camera movement.

works on any support system, also for your existing one
VioTrack F measures the position and orientation of the body of the broadcast camera directly. Therefore it works independent of the employed support system. Now you can easily choose between a tripod, pedestal, dolly or jib or even hand-held or steady cam.

With VioTrack F there is no need for you to purchase a dedicated support system, you can of course just retrofit your existing one. Be prepared for your future production needs while VioTrack F allows you to easily switch to any new or rented support system or situation your client will ask for.

easy setup, promptly ready for operation
After you installed the retrofit kit and did the cabling you just need to roll out the coded floor to make VioTrack F ready to shoot. There is no need for any measurements by hand, no need for any homing procedures, no reset is required. There is only one measurement needed during the initial setup which is automatically calculated by the usage of image processing in seconds. To install a camera tracking system was never so easy!

choose most affordable VioTrack version depending on your needs
For cameras with a very limited moving range we designed VioTrack F 1, where the coded floor is limited to a size of 2x2 meters. For an unlimited range and any studio size VioTrack F2 provides unlimited camera movements.  

Low initial costs, usage of existing equipment, flexible employment of any support system, fast and easy setup, indoor and outdoor usage: this is the most affordable solution to step into Virtual applications.

open real-time interface to any Virtual Graphics system
Compatible to any Virtual Graphics software thanks to the open interface. The complete data of the virtual camera are sent to a network to an unlimited number of graphics machines. You are immediately connected to the leading professional real-time graphics packages, as well as to open source game engines or post-production tools.

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