Hardware requirements

Depthkit Studio software needs only one PC, and combines data from up to 10 Azure Kinect depth sensors. It is a modular solution, designed to work with your own gear.
This document is intended for anyone who wants to build their own gear.

Alternatively, Scatter sells complete hardware solutions, including pre-tested depth sensors, a PC, specialized cabling and calibration charts. You can avoid guesswork, purchasing hassles and delays and just get straight to creating.

Learn more about Depthkit Studio Hardware solution →

Contact [email protected] to purchase and for more details.

In this page

Capture computer →
Depth sensors →
Cables →
Calibration markers →
Lighting →
Chromakey background →
Equipment setup →


Capture computer

Depthkit Studio requires a PC verified to support your preferred number of sensors. Capturing with multiple Azure Kinects requires specific hardware depending on your sensor configuration of choice.

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Be sure your capture computer matches our computer specifications.

If you purchase any hardware outside of this recommendation we cannot ensure success with performance.

Looking to purchase? Scatter can connect you with trusted vendor, Boxx, to purchase an off-the-shelf computer, verified to perform with Depthkit Studio and your specified sensor configuration. Contact us for an introduction to the vendor.

PC Configurations

The following hardware is the minimum specification required based on the number of sensors you intend to capture with.

Number of Sensors

GPU

CPU

RAM

USB Expansion

Maximum Color Resolution

Up to 3 Sensors

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070

Intel i9-9900K @ 3.6-5.0 GHz

64 GB

Optional for better performance

1440p per sensor

Up to 5 Sensors

NVIDIA RTX A4000

Intel Core i9-11900K CPU @ 3.50GHz

64GB Quad Channel (4x 16GB)

(1-2) 4 Port USB3.0 PCIe Cards with 4 Dedicated 5Gbps Channels required*

1440p per sensor

Up to 10 Sensors

NVIDIA RTX A4000

Intel Core-i9 10980XE @ 3.00GHz

96GB Six Channel (6x 16GB)

(2-3) 4 Port USB3.0 PCIe Cards with 4 Dedicated 5Gbps Channels required*

1080p per sensor

CPU

To record a high number of sensors, you will need a high-performance CPU. The number of logical cores in the CPU directly affects performance. We recommend:

  • 8+ cores for 3-sensor recording
  • 10+ cores for 5-sensor recording
  • 18+ cores for 10-sensor recording

Intel vs. AMD. The CPU platform also dictates the chipsets used on the motherboard. Motherboards made for Intel CPU's usually include at least one or two Intel USB controllers, but motherboards for AMD may include USB controllers unsupported by the Azure Kinect.

GPU

To capture with four sensors or more, Depthkit Studio requires a professional GPUs from NVIDIA with unrestricted hardware video encoding capabilities in the driver. The most recent line of NVIDIA RTX AX000 series cards are recommended.

If you have a specific graphics card that you'd like to evaluate whether it will work with Depthkit Studio, you can refer to your cards specification in NVIDIA's Encoding table. What's important is that the number of concurrent sessions is unrestricted.

See the table below for a recent segment of relevant cards:

Board

Family

Chip

NVENC Generation

Desktop /Mobile

Chips #

NVENC /Chip #

NVENC # (total)

Max # of concurrent sessions

Quadro P2000 / P2200

Pascal

GP106

6th Gen

D

1

1

1

Unrestricted

Quadro RTX 5000 / RTX 4000

Turing

TU104

7th Gen

D/M

1

1

1

Unrestricted

Quadro RTX 6000 / RTX 8000

Turing

TU102

7th Gen

D/M

1

1

1

Unrestricted

NVIDIA RTX A4000

Ampere

GA104

7th Gen

D

1

1

1

Unrestricted

NVIDIA RTX A5000

Ampere

GA102

7th Gen

D

1

1

1

Unrestricted

NVIDIA RTX A6000

Ampere

GA102

7th Gen

D

1

1

1

Unrestricted

GeForce RTX 3070

Ampere

GA104

7th Gen

D

1

1

1

3

GeForce RTX 3080

Ampere

GA102

7th Gen

D

1

1

1

3

GeForce RTX 3090

Ampere

GA102

7th Gen

D

1

1

1

3

To achieve a maximum color resolution of 1440p for ten sensors, we recommend the Quadro P5000, Quadro GP100, or Quadro GV100. These GPUs are currently out of production, however they remain as reliable options due to their additional hardware video encoders.

USB ports

For desktop computers, we highly recommend installing Startech PEXUSB3S44V USB PCIe Expansion cards, which are tested and validated to work with up to 4 Azure Kinects each. The Renesas Host Controllers found on the Startech PCIe cards come with older drivers which are incompatible with the Azure Kinect. If the Renesas driver is installed, open the Host Controller in Device Manager and uninstall the device. Windows will automatically install a recent Microsoft driver, which is compatible.

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Are you using untested USB ports?

Check the of the USB controller to ensure you are using compatible controllers to ensure they are compatible with the Azure Kinect.

  • Intel, Texas Instruments (TI), and Renesas USB chipsets are compatible.
  • ASMedia chipsets are not compatible.

Learn more in Microsoft's documentation for USB host controller compatibility.

Also ensure that your sensors are plugged into a port where each sensor has its own USB controller. Sharing USB controllers between sensors can cause bottlenecks in the data streams, and and result in dropped frames.

Recording Storage

Depthkit requires storage with fast write speeds to keep up with multiple streams being written to disk at once. Standard NVMe or SATA SSD's generally work well, but record a few minutes of footage at your desired resolution to ensure your drive can keep up.

Depthkit records at a data rate of roughly 500MB per minute per sensor (Depth Mode: NFOV Raw; Color Mode: 1080p), and slightly higher for higher color resolutions. Multiply this by the number of sensors you are recording to calculate your total disk usage.

Test your computer

  1. Connect your preferred number of sensors to your computer. Launch Depthkit.
  2. Select your desired color resolution for capture.
  3. Capture a 1-2 minute test recording in the Multicam tab. See our Recording guide.
  4. Observe the diagnostics panel, available when you hit record. Confirm that you are not reporting dropped frames. Observe that the frame backlog is not filling rapidly. See details on Performance Diagnostics.

Depth sensors

Depthkit Studio supports up to 10 Azure Kinects. Not sure how many sensors are right for you? No worries! Read on for details on sensor configuration possibilities.

Note that every Azure Kinect comes with the following related equipment:

  • Bundled USB A-to-C Cable
  • Bundled DC Coaxial-to-USB A Cable
  • Bundled USB-AC Power Adapter

📘

The global supply chain for certain electronic goods is facing shortages.

The Azure Kinect is affected, and the supply will be limited for the next couple of months.
If preparing for production, order these devices early. Contact us for support in sourcing the Azure Kinect in your area, or order Azure Kinects from us directly with out Depthkit Studio Hardware solution.

Cables: Data, Power, Sync

Azure Kinect USB data cable with verified extension cable

The supplied Azure Kinect data cable will likely need to be extended in order to span your sensor configuration.

When sourcing data extenders, it is essential to use a cable that meets the sensor requirements. The Azure Kinect requires a cable that can maintain the data transmission with the help of a semiconductor chip to increase cable performance. Cables without this chip are considered passive, and should not be used if the cable is longer than a 1.5 meters, as this may result in a drop in performance or power.

The following cables have been tested and can be recommended by our team:

❗️

Make sure you specify the correct cable.

Cable Matters Model 200010 cable is verified to work, however the similar Cable Matters Model 200040 does not.

Power extensions for each sensor

Power for the sensor can be extended two ways:

  • For distances up to 16'/5m, you can add a USB 2.0 extender between the power supply and the provided power cable.
  • For distances above 16'/5m, standard AC power extension cables can be used.

We recommend using the Microsoft power supply, but any USB AC adapter can be used if it provides enough current.
Read more about Azure Kinect power and USB requirements in the Microsoft Azure Kinect documentation.

Synchronization

3.5mm audio cables are required for the synchronization of your Azure Kinect. These cables connect each sensor, creating a daisy-chain in your sensor configuration. You will need one sync cable for each subordinate sensor (total number of sensors minus 1).

Ensure you will be purchasing audio sync cables that will span the length of your capture volume. In same cases you might need optional extension cables, for a total length of up to 10m.

To synchronize the sensors:

  1. Expose the sync ports on the back of your Azure Kinects by removing the two screws in the rear of the device (a Torx wrench is included with the Kinect), and slipping off the white plastic casing.
  2. Select one sensor to be your primary or master sensor. This sensor will have nothing plugged into its Sync In port. Connect a cable from its Sync Out port to the Sync In port of the next sensor. Repeat this for every sensor in the chain, until you reach the last sensor, which will have nothing plugged into its Sync Out port.
  3. Once the hardware is setup, synchronization will occur automatically within Depthkit. This can be confirmed by starting to stream the sensors, then looking at the sensor configuration options to see that they all either say Multicam Master (one sensor) or Multicam Subordinate (the remaining sensors) - If any say Standalone, check your sync cable routing.

Calibration markers

Depthkit provides a wide selection of ArUco markers to calibrate your sensors, however, you only need a few unique markers for your calibration object.

Download ArUco markers →

You can customize your calibration object based on your sensor configuration and capture needs.

  • Increase the number of markers used
  • Increase the size of each marker
  • Place different markers on different sides of a three-dimensional object.

Printing requirements

A properly-printed chart (**A**) and an improperly-printed chart (**B**) as seen in the Azure Kinect's SDK Kinect Viewer. A proper chart (**A**) appears in high-contrast in the infrared camera.A properly-printed chart (**A**) and an improperly-printed chart (**B**) as seen in the Azure Kinect's SDK Kinect Viewer. A proper chart (**A**) appears in high-contrast in the infrared camera.

A properly-printed chart (A) and an improperly-printed chart (B) as seen in the Azure Kinect's SDK Kinect Viewer. A proper chart (A) appears in high-contrast in the infrared camera.

As of Depthkit v0.5.7-8, our calibration pipeline has been upgraded to a more robust and reliable infrared detection. This results in an improved calibration process, but it mean that your calibration markers must follow the printing specification below in order for them to be successfully detected by infrared.

Some printer, ink, and paper combinations are not readable by the depth sensor's infrared light. If, for example, an inkjet printer is used with standard printer paper, it will likely not be readable by IR, and you will be not be able to calibrate successfully.

You can check if your chart is detectable by viewing it through the Azure Kinect SDK's Kinect Viewer utility.

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IR-Safe Printing methods include:

  • Laser Printers (recommended)
  • Photocopy Machines
  • UV printing on foam-core - Note that this option may add some shine to your calibration marker. While it should still be detected, stick to matte materials if you have them available.

If you do not have access to these machines, you can use select inkjet printers if the paper is a lightly coated matte paper or cardstock. If you have a marker that cannot be detected by IR, a quick fix could be to photocopy the marker and use that copy as your detectable option.

A great place to start is with a 11"x17" matte board. Affix a grid of unique markers with sufficient white space (include the margins) clearly separating each marker. Ensure the markers are flat and wrinkle-free.

Calibration objects must remain entirely stationary during each calibration sample, so attach the board to a stand or tripod.

Lighting

For best results, avoid lights with infrared content that will interfere with the Azure Kinect's accurate depth detection of the space. As a rule of thumb, this means avoiding lights that are hot to the touch. It is safe to use lights such as, LED light panels, HMIs, and fluorescent tube lights.

We recommend

Please note: this is not an exhaustive list.

To avoid

  • Tungsten
  • Incandescent
  • Halogen
  • Direct sunlight

Chromakey background

For best results, it is recommended to shoot with a chroma key background for highest quality results. Chroma key background should be used for all sensor perspectives as well as the floor of the capture space.

Equipment setup

  1. Ensure all Azure Kinects are updated with the latest firmware. See the Azure Kinect firmware documentation to verify your firmware version and update your devices. You can update multiple sensors at once when when plugged into the same computer.
  2. Set up your sensors so that they are securely mounted on your preferred tripods or stands. Sensor configurations will vary based on your unique creative and technical needs. To determine the best sensor configuration or sensor count for you, see [sensor configurations](sensor configurations).
  3. Ensure all Azure Kinects have adequate power, are connected to your capture computer via proper USB cables, and connected to each other with sync cables as described above.
  4. Check each sensor's factory calibrationas some Azure Kinects have severe misalignments from the factory. Follow this guide below to verify your equipment: Azure Kinect alignment verification →