Scatter’s Depthkit, a portable professional quality volumetric video capture system, is used by many Fortune 50 Enterprises and leading entertainment media companies. Depthkit can create compelling, lifelike digital humans for interactive 3D applications and experiences It is used for creating characters in consumer-facing experiences such as interactive entertainment, immersive music, and e-commerce. Enterprise applications of Depthkit include virtual simulation and training, and corporate communications.
Lifelike digital humans are an essential ingredient to many interactive experiences and authenticity in the character’s appearance is an important aspect of their value. However, creating compelling digital human avatars for interactive 3D experiences is traditionally very expensive and time consuming. Conventional 3D human character creation requires many artists, animators and motion capture setups to produce. This involves big teams with diverse skills and hundreds of hours of labor.
As a result of these production constraints, many creators and businesses were not able to take advantage of the interactive and immersive nature of interactive 3D.
Depthkit’s portable volumetric video solution provides an alternative to traditional 3D digital puppets through full motion video capture of true-to-life performances using an array of cameras surrounding the subject. This production process is much faster and requires less technical skill as it is akin to traditional video production.
Depth cameras power Depthkit’s magical ability to produce high quality volumetric video in a low cost, portable form factor. Beyond capturing color video, depth cameras sense the shape of the world. A separate depth video is generated from active lasers and sensors embedded in the camera’s hardware. This combination of both depth and color streams allow Depthkit to reconstruct captures in high fidelity 3D, at full motion frame rates, with just 10 or fewer cameras. Without the power of active laser depth sensing, achieving equivalent capture quality would require as many as 30 to 100 standard color video cameras!
The Femto Bolt gets the details right.
The Femto Bolt’s many smart design details add up to big quality improvement when compared to the Azure Kinect DK.
We conducted a side by side comparison with 10 Azure Kinects mounted next to 10 Femto Bolts. With Depthkit Studio we are able to see the improvements in the new hardware shine through in the captures.
The new Femto Bolt (right) compared to the previous generation Azure Kinect (left)
We are seeing almost double the color resolution quality in our captures with the Femto Bolt with no change to cost or complexity to our users. The integration into the product was fairly straightforward. The key benefits that we observed were that the onboard factory calibrations between depth and color were far more accurate than that of the Azure Kinect- by a factor of 4x according to Orbbec’s documentation. Efficiencies in the SDK allowed us to unlock capturing 10 color streams at 1440p@30hz, which is almost double the previous limitation with Azure Kinect of 1080p@30hz.
Microsoft Azure Kinect DK (left) compared to the much more compact Orbbec Femto Bolt (right)
SMALLER FORM FACTOR FOR PORTABILITY AND EASIER MOUNTING.
Maintaining Depthkit’s portability and flexibility is one of our top priorities. The Femto Bolt helps in this department at half the size of the Azure Kinect DK!
SUPERIOR COLOR IMAGE QUALITY WITH HIGHER DYNAMIC RANGE AND REDUCED LENS FLARES.
Beyond matching depth sensing quality, the Femto Bolt shows clear improvement in color image when compared to the Azure Kinect DK. It includes an optional High Dynamic Range mode for richer color in challenging lighting situations.
Side by side comparison of an Azure Kinect (left) and Femto Bolt (right) where the purple lens flares are completely gone.
The high quality lenses completely reduce flares and glare. While it may seem like a small detail, lens flares are a pernicious issue for multi-camera capture as they result in glaring texture artifacts and inconsistencies in the final capture. Compounding this issue, the 360º surround inside-out lighting configurations needed for full body volumetric video create a worst-case condition for lens flares. We’re excited that those days are now behind us!
ACCURATE ONBOARD DEPTH-TO-COLOR ALIGNMENT RESULTS IN CRISP TEXTURING FREE FROM SPILL AND GHOSTING.
Side by side comparison of a 10-camera Depthkit capture with Azure Kinect (left) and Femto Bolt (right) to see the sharper calibrations.
Azure Kinect DK devices suffered from factory calibration issues leading to image artifacts and painstaking need to conduct manual alignment verification. We were thrilled to discover that the Femto Bolt’s calibration is 4x as accurate and also more reliable across devices! Increased reliability on calibrations means multi-camera calibrations in Depthkit Studio are much sharper, with less texture spill and texture ghosting. There’s no longer a need to sift through devices to find one with less error.
SECURE, CLEAN CABLE RUNS WITH STAR CONFIGURED SYNC AND LOCKED USB.
Locking USB and Ethernet sync in a star configuration are two more advantages of the Femto Bolt hardware
Orbbec has opted for screw-locked USB3.0 cables which prevent accidental disconnections from loose cables.
RELIABLE CLOCKS REDUCE TIME SYNC DRIFT BY 10X AND ELIMINATE SENSOR INTERFERENCE.
The synchronization hubs and use of Ethernet cables improved with a star-format cable configuration emanating from a dedicated sync hub.
Last year we introduced a professional hardware system to Depthkit Studio to synchronize clocks between external audio, cinema cameras and the Azure Kinect DK. This system was driven by significant temporal drift observed between the Azure Kinect clocks when running independently – about 10 frames for a 10 minute recording. The Femto Bolt has demonstrated only 1 frame of drift over the same capture duration, allowing us to remove the need to bridge the clocks in hardware.
Another welcome aspect of the Femto Bolt’s precision clock timing is that the device has eliminated a sensor interference issue that would occur intermittently with 10 cameras on the Azure Kinect.
Our Depthkit Studio is now exclusively available with the Femto Bolt. Learn more.
--Special thanks to Korina Emmerich (Project Runway, EMME Studio) and Split Ends Media, Co-Producers, Barrie Adleberg and Stina Hamlin for their collaboration on this project. All images used in this case study are used with permission.