Lighting & Materials

Lighting Conditions


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.

Recommneded Light Types

Unsuitable Light Types

Fluorescent tube lights




LED Light Panels


Indirect sunlight

Direct sunlight


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' lookdesigning your lighting for that context. For example, if I intend to place my subject so that they're illuminated from the left by a window in VR, then on set it's best if I put a large softbox to the left of my subject to mimic that light.

Material/Garment Constraints


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.

Most depth sensors 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 the mirror.

It occasionally will also 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 the Kinect 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.

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