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Filming with DepthKit requires a few more things than just filming with a regular 2D video camera. Once you've gathered all the parts though, you're good to go! DepthKit also doesn't use any hard-to-find equipment, so you can likely find everything you need for a shoot by simply visiting any big electronics retailer.
To use DepthKit you'll need a camera, a Kinect, a hardware mount and a suitable computer. We've got a list on Amazon of recommend parts for you if you're looking for an easy buy & build solution.
You'll need to have a computer on set when using DepthKit, as it's required for running the software. In short, you need a PC machine for Capture and either an OSX or PC for Visualize.
DepthKit Capture/Capture Pro
You'll need to install Quicktime and the Kinect V2 SDK.
After installing the Kinect V2 SDK, you need to run the Kinect Configuration Verifier Tool to ensure everything is setup to work on your machine. When you run the tool you should see all green checkmarks to indicate your machine is ready to record.
- Windows 8.1+
- SSD to record to
- 64-bit (x64) processor
- Physical dual-core 3.1 GHz (2 logical cores per physical) or faster processor
- Dedicated USB 3.0 Controller
- 4 GB of RAM
- Graphics card that supports DirectX 11
For the capture stage, you'll need a computer with a solid state hard drive running Windows 8 / 8.1+ that meets the minimum requirements for running the Kinect.
You can use either a dedicated Windows PC that meets these requirements, or run Bootcamp on an OSX machine with Windows 8/8.1+ installed.
Parallels, VMWare Fusion, and any other virtualization software will NOT WORK for Depthkit on OSX. This is because no VM solution currently supports USB 3.0, which is a requirement for the Kinect.
Make sure you have enough space in your partition or enough space on the drive that you are writing to though, as DepthKit "footage" can quickly eat up space. We recommend at least 320GB on an SSD drive. DepthKit footage writes at a high bitrate, so we recommend testing your connection to your storage medium to make sure it's fast (hence the SSD). We recommend AJA's tool for testing, which you can download for free here.
Though the footage takes up more space when it's recording (it is compressed down after recording a raw file), you can expect DepthKit to have a data/time ratio of 762MB/min.
For the visualization stage you can use either Windows or OS X with a non-integrated GPU. Does not support Intel HD graphics cards (typical of new Macbook Air/Pro) or graphics cards made before 2013. Visualize also requires Quicktime, which can be downloaded from here.
A Kinect for Xbox One with a Kinect Adapter for Windows. We used to recommend the Kinect for Windows V2, but since these have been discontinued we only recommend the Kinect for Xbox One with the Kinect Adapter for Windows.
An external camera is only required for DepthKit Capture Pro
- Ideally a full-frame sensor or something close to it
- Live preview/HDMI out for previewing
A high resolution camera – the higher resolution the better – but 1080p is sufficient. We have used everything from a GoPro to an Arri Alexa. The biggest thing to keep in mind here is that your mounting needs will highly depend on the shape of your camera. We also consider some version of live-preview a necessity here, as you'll need to visually align the cameras during the calibration stage.
For most use-cases, we recommend a full frame DSLR like the Canon 5D MKII/III with a wide angle prime lens
We recommend a wide angle prime lens for filming with the DepthKit so that the field of view of the camera is close to that of the Kinect (very wide!). We recommend as wide as a 12mm lens on a typical full-frame camera if possible but it will still function with more common lenses. The closer you can match the Kinect's FOV, the better.
If shooting with a full-frame DSLR, we reccommend the Canon or Samyang 14mm prime lens.
If you're using an external camera for DepthKit Capture Pro, a hardware mount or other method to securely bind the Kinect to the camera is highly recommended. We sell a simple mount kit that can be used to attach and adjust your sensor relative to your camera to make this process easier, but can also roll your own method through the use of grip equipment.
A Checkerboard is only required if you are using DepthKit Capture Pro
Print out an A3 calibration checkerboard PDF in black and white on matte paper, as it will need to be used in the calibration step. You can also choose to instead print an A4 calibration board, but as its squares are smaller, we recommend the A3. Glue or otherwise mount it to something flat and rigid like wood or foamcore. This can be done easily at most print shops – if you do it at home look out for bubbling or warping. It helps to attach a bracket or some way to put it to a stand or the wall.
Be careful when you print out your checkerboard that you print it on a non glossy surface with non-glossy ink. Laser printers work the best for this, and photo printers (inkjet) do not. If your ink is too glossy, there is a chance you won't be able to properly calibrate your camera.