Preparing for a Depthkit shoot

Time-of-Flight depth sensors like the Femto Bolt and Azure Kinect use the infrared spectrum to map depth. You'll need to factor in certain considerations when you plan your production.

In this page

Lighting constraints →
Material/garment reflectivity →
Wardrobe checklist →
Audio →

Lighting constraints

The technology that makes the Kinect work relies on the near-infrared spectrum for illumination. If you use lights containing a lot of infrared content, it can disrupt the Kinect, degrading your depth capture.


Recommended Light Types

  • LED
  • Fluorescent (e.g. Kino Flo)

Please note: this is not an exhaustive list.


Unsuitable Light Types

  • Tungsten
  • Halogen
  • Sunlight


How to choose your lights

A rule of thumb is that any lights that are hot to the touch (including our sun) generally introduce some near-infrared pollution, making them not ideal for scanning. When in doubt, we always recommend that you test your lights before shooting!

When considering how to light your scene for Depthkit we recommend taking into account the of the experience you are shooting for. Similar to an 'in-camera' look designing your lighting for that context. For example, if you intend to place your subject in VR so that their left side is illuminated by window, then it's best to match that virtual light source with a practical light source, like a large softbox, to the left of the subject to mimic that light.

Material/garment reflectivity


Avoid the use of transparent or reflective materials

This means glasses, mirrors, windows, shiny leather, waxed jeans, etc. These materials will degrade your depth data.

Many depth sensors like the Orbbec Femto Bolt and Microsoft Azure Kinect rely on a small infrared emitter to visually detect depth of surfaces. This technology can fail if the material properties don't reflect the light back into the camera's lens. For example, it will not be able to detect transparent surfaces like glasses, windows or water. It will also represent reflective surfaces in strange ways – for example if I film something in a mirror, the object will appear to be inside or behind the mirror.

The depth sensor will also occasionally struggle with certain fabrics or materials. Black leather and some kinds of waxed or otherwise treated jeans will just not appear in the data stream. On critical shoots, always test your materials in front of the sensor before shooting.

When choosing patterns or colors in clothing, adhere to all the same constraints that govern a typical film shoot – small repeating patterns can cause moire effects, and if garments are too bright or too dark they will indeed appear bright or dark respectively when filmed with Depthkit.

Wardrobe Checklist

  • Bring at least two options for wardrobe, and two pairs of shoes to test in front of the sensors before the capturing. If a particular garment is not visible to the sensors, it will cause that part of their body not to appear in the hologram.
  • Soft fabrics (wool, cotton) often work with the depth sensors - Reflective fabrics/materials like nylon, vinyl, and leather often DO NOT, but the only way to definitively know is to test the garment with a depth sensor. For shoes, sneakers and suede often are better choices than shiny/reflective alternatives. Graphics printed on garments might also produce holes in the hologram.
  • Avoid large reflective jewelry/accessories: Depth sensors have trouble detecting large metal jewelry and watches, and may generate holes in the reconstructed hologram where the jewelry is supposed to be.
  • Avoid glasses. Depth sensors have trouble detecting the shape of thin objects like glasses frames, and may cause the glasses to appear as if they are painted on the face like goggles. Contact lenses are preferred.
  • Scatter recommends having dry shampoo on-hand. Different hair textures, tones, and styles react differently to depth sensors. We recommend having a hair & makeup technician or someone to reduce flyaways, provide matte hair products (dry shampoo, matte hairspray), and help style hair into something more sensor-friendly if needed.
  • Avoid solid black and solid white garments. Though it may not present a technical issue for the sensors, details in the texture can get lost in over/underexposed clothing, reducing the 3D effect.
  • Avoid tight patterns (e.g. check or pinstripes), which may moire on camera.


See our audio workflow documentation