It is assumed that your Evoke system hardware components (including Viper cameras, Beacon(s), and Pulsar active marker clusters) have been placed in your volume and connected to a power supply, and that Evoke is installed and licensed.
To set up your Evoke system, complete the following procedures:
For information on additional optional preparations, see Optional setup.
- Ensure the Beacon(s) that you want to use are connected to a powered PoE+ switch and that this switch is connected to the host PC that runs Evoke.
- To benefit from the latest enhancements and bug fixes for your Vicon system, make sure your firmware is up-to-date (see Update camera firmware).
Evoke checks for supported Vicon devices before allowing connection. Supported devices include:
- Viper, ViperX, Vero, Vantage, and Valkyrie motion capture cameras
- Vue video cameras (to provide full-color reference video, synchronized with the rest of the Vicon system)
- Beacon and Pulsar
- Vicon Lock
Ensure Beacon is free of interference
Beacon channels are in the 2.4 GHz ISM band and numbered 11 to 26. To ensure smooth running of your system, make sure that there is no interference from other 2.4 GHz radio/Wi-Fi sources and that nothing blocks the signal between the Beacon and the volume.
To prevent interference and signal-blocking, follow these guidelines:
- Place the Beacon as close to the middle of the volume as possible.
- Place the Beacon high up, to minimize masking of the RF signal by participants.
- Do not re-use a channel number within a site or a co-located group of sites.
- Do not place multiple Beacons closer together than four meters.
- If channel n and channel n+1 are used in a site, do not use channels n-1 or n+2 in that site or adjacent sites.
- If channel n and channel n+2 are used in a site, do not use channels n-2 or n+4 in that site or adjacent sites.
If your system includes multiple switches, make sure the Beacon is connected to the switch that is directly connected to the PC.
Prepare the Pulsars
Turn on the Pulsars (press the power button once).
Check that the Pulsar firmware is up-to-date and that all the Pulsars are fully charged.
Check Pulsar firmware
Check the firmware for your Vicon hardware when you first set up your Evoke system and periodically afterwards.
When updating, to avoid connectivity issues, check that all hardware is updated simultaneously to compatible firmware versions. For information on which versions to use, see the release notes.
To update your Pulsar firmware:
- Connect the Pulsars to the PC via USB, either by using the supplied recharging dock or directly, using USB cable(s).
- From the Windows Start menu, click Vicon, then Vicon Pulsar Reprogramming Tool.
- In the Pulsar Reprogramming Tool window, click Target Firmware and select the firmware file to update to.
- Before you update, ensure you have closed any other Vicon applications that you may have opened.
- To update to the selected firmware version, click OK.
When the firmware has been updated, reboot the Pulsars, either by unplugging them or by turning off the recharging dock.
If at any time, the Pulsars' settings become corrupted (for example, if the Pulsars become unresponsive and don't connect to the system), in the Options section, select Reset to factory default settings to reset them.
For information on updating firmware for cameras and Beacons, see Update camera firmware.
Ensure Pulsars are fully charged
If a Pulsar's status light appears pink or red, the battery is less than 20% charged.
To recharge Pulsars:
- Place them in the supplied recharging dock and connect to your power supply; or
- Recharge them using a standard micro-USB to USB cable
The average battery run-time for a Pulsar used at 100% brightness is around nine hours of continuous use. To extend the battery life between charges, you can deactivate the Pulsars when they're not required for tracking.
Note the following times to recharge Pulsar batteries:
- Recharge time to 80%: 1 hr (max)
- Recharge time to 100%: 3 hr (max)
Keep marker LEDs enabled while charging
Evoke can configure Pulsars to keep their IR marker LEDs on while charging. This may be useful if you're using a backpack PC as a power source. The default behavior is to turn off marker LEDs while charging.
You can control this behavior both for Pulsar devices (in the System panel) and for smart objects (in the Tracking panel). When a Pulsar is linked to a smart object, it inherits the smart object value for Markers On While Charging.
When you install Evoke, a Vicon Evoke desktop shortcut appears on your desktop (and an entry is added to the Windows Start menu).
(Depending on the options selected during installation, you may also see icons for Vicon Retarget, which lets you create retarget setup files (*.vsr), used by Evoke for retargeting; the Vicon Firmware Manager; and Vicon Video Viewer.)
- Double-click the Vicon Evoke icon to start Evoke, and ensure the System panel is visible.
From this panel, you monitor and control devices connected to the software.
When you have finished setting up your system, you can save your current settings by clicking System Settings , to the right of the top menu bar, and then selecting Manage and clicking the Save button. The next time you need to reload your settings, you can select the saved configuration by clicking the relevant option on the System Settings menu. See also Auto save in the Vicon Evoke Reference Guide.
Windows power options monitoring
When you first start Evoke, you may see a warning icon on the right side of the menu bar, like this:
This icon indicates that the current power plan is set to favor power savings over performance. The power-saving features of Windows can significantly reduce Evoke's performance and increase output latency, depending on the power plan that is chosen and the processor support for power-saving features.
For more information and access to the Power Options in the Windows Control Panel, click the icon.
For best performance in VR, choose the High performance plan (or a plan created from the High Performance plan).
Ensure optimal latency
To ensure optimal latency for all scenarios, be sure to use Low Jitter Mode:
- Display the Processing panel (View menu > Processing).
- In the Object Tracking section, ensure Low Jitter Mode is selected.
Using cameras with a resolution above 5 megapixels may result in sub-optimal latency performance. When using a virtual reality headset, this is not recommended.
Turn on the Beacon and enable pairing
Note that if the Pulsars are already paired to the correct Beacon, you can skip these pairing steps.
To enable pairing:
- Ensure that the Beacon is connected to a powered PoE switch and that this switch is connected to the host PC running Evoke.
Turn on the Beacon.
In Evoke, on the System panel, a Beacon is displayed in the Connectivity section.
Check that the Beacon connection status is green.
- To perform a radio scan to check which Beacon channels are clear from interference from other radio devices and Wi-Fi, right-click the Beacon and select Radio Channels.
The Radio Channels dialog box shows the signal strength of the currently available channels.
The numbers on the left of the chart represent the signal strength in decibels.
The channel numbers along the bottom of the chart are buttons that enable you to select the channel.
The yellow warning triangles alert you that the channel above is in use (for more information, hover the mouse pointer over the icon).
The light blue bars indicate the average power for each channel and the gray bars indicate the maximum power.
In the bars for each channel, the white line represents the last sample taken.
Note that all Pulsars connected to the Beacon are temporarily disconnected while scanning is in progress as the Beacon can't scan channels and broadcast sync at the same time.
- Select a channel in one of the following ways:
- In the Radio Channels dialog box, click a channel number at the bottom of the chart to select the relevant channel; or
In the System panel, ensure the Beacon is still selected and in the Radio section below, click in the Radio Channel field and select an appropriate channel.
If you choose a channel that is already in use, the Beacon does not turn on sync broadcasts and a warning is displayed.
- With the Beacon still selected, right-click on it and then click Radio Pairing.
- In the Radio Pairing dialog box, click the Start Pairing button for the selected Beacon.
Pairing mode is enabled, which means that the Beacon is available for pairing and any unpaired Pulsar that is turned on (see Pair Pulsars with a Beacon) will try to connect to it.
To specify which pairing requests are accepted, in the Radio Host section at the top of the dialog box, select or clear Allow List Enabled for the required Beacon:
- If the allow list is not enabled, all pairing requests are accepted.
- If the allow list is enabled, only Pulsars on the allow list are accepted.
Other Pulsars are refused, but are displayed in the Radio Pairing dialog box so you can choose to accept the request.
To add one or more selected Pulsars to the selected radio host allow list, right-click the Pulsar(s) and then click Add to <host name> allow list. The Pulsars on the allow list are now accepted.
In the case of pairing requests, pairing must also be started to enable the Pulsar to connect.
Pairing/connection requests persist until you exit Evoke. If a Pulsar fails to connect, check its physical status. Evoke only knows about the last communicated status of the Pulsar, which may now be out-of-date.
For more information about the symbols displayed in the Radio Pairing dialog box and how to move Pulsars to and from radio hosts and their allow lists, see About the Radio Pairing dialog box.
- In the System panel, check that no warnings are displayed next to the Beacon.
When you start pairing or change an allow list configuration, the Beacon's sync broadcast changes. Any Pulsars that are in scan mode may try to pair or connect when they detect the change, but this can take a several seconds (longer if there are a lot of Pulsars or a lot of interference).
About the Radio Pairing dialog box
At the top of the Radio Pairing dialog box, the Radio Host list shows the number of clusters connected to and paired with the radio host, and enables you to choose whether the allow list for the selected Beacon is enabled.
Below the Radio Host section, the Assigned Clusters section lists Pulsars that are paired to the selected Beacon or are on its allow list.
- A green 'Play' symbol indicates a Pulsar that is paired and connected to the selected host's allow list.
- A blue 'i' indicates a Pulsar that is paired to the system, but unable to connect because it's not on the host's allow list.
- A red 'x' indicates a Pulsar that is unpaired. It cannot connect unless the Beacon is put into pairing mode (and the Pulsar is on the allow list, or the allow list is disabled).
- A yellow 'Pause' symbol indicates a Pulsar that is connected but disabled.
- A gray 'Play' symbol indicates a Pulsar that is connected but not linked to a smart object.
- A magenta 'i' indicates a pairing request.
- A question mark indicates a Pulsar is missing (ie, it hasn't connected during this session).
- A partially selected check box in the Paired column indicates a Pulsar that is paired to a Beacon that is different from the one that is currently selected.
To perform the following operations on Pulsars in the Assigned Clusters list, right-click on one or more selected Pulsars and select the required option:
- Add to or Remove Add or remove the selected Pulsar(s) from the selected radio host allow list.
- Clean the allow list Remove any Pulsars from the selected radio host allow list that are paired to another radio host. This option is useful after load-balancing (see Load balancing between hosts).
- Unpair Unpair the selected Pulsar(s) from the selected radio host (see Unpair Pulsars from a Beacon).
- Transfer Pair the selected Pulsar(s) to another connected, enabled radio host (see Transfer Pulsars between Beacons).
At the bottom of the Radio Pairing dialog box, the Unassigned Clusters section lists connection or pairing requests, and unpaired Pulsars. This list persists for the lifetime of the application session. To add Pulsars in this list to to the selected radio host's allow list, right-click on the Pulsar(s) and then click Add to Host <hostname> allow list.
Load balancing between hosts
The number of clusters connected to each Beacon must be balanced. If too many clusters are connected to one host then connection stability is reduced, and the time required to send commands to all clusters increases.
To avoid loss of connection stability and an unacceptable delay in sending commands to all clusters, we recommend that no more than 80 Pulsars are connected to a single Beacon.
To automatically balance the number of Pulsars between Beacons, click the Load Balance Hosts button at the bottom of the dialog box. This transfers the connected clusters so that an equal number is connected to each host.
After load balancing, you may find a number of clusters on one host's allow list are paired to a different host. To remove these clusters from the allow list, right-click on the cluster(s) and then click Clean Host <host name> allow list.
Pair Pulsars with a Beacon
After you have turned on a Beacon and made sure it is available for pairing, you can pair Pulsars to it.
- On a Pulsar, press the power button to turn it on.
The Pulsar automatically searches radio channels to find the Beacon it is paired with, or if unpaired, a Beacon that has pairing enabled (see Turn on Beacon and enable pairing).
In Evoke, in the System panel, in the Clusters section, a Pulsar is displayed.
Ensure that the Pulsar connection status is cyan (connected but not assigned a marker pattern).
If the Pulsar's battery level is low, a status icon indicates this.
If any other icon is displayed, see Pulsar status icons in Evoke to troubleshoot possible issues
- When all the Pulsars have been paired, turn off pairing mode. To do this, either click the Stop Pairing button or close the Radio Pairing dialog box.
After the Pulsars are paired to a Beacon, if more than one Beacon is also connected to Evoke, you can transfer paired Pulsars from one Beacon to another from within Evoke (see Transfer Pulsars between Beacons).
For the next step in preparing an Evoke system, see Enable Evoke to track Pulsars and props.
For more information about unpairing and transferring Pulsars between Beacons, see:
Unpair Pulsars from a Beacon
You can unpair Pulsars from a Beacon either by pressing the power button on the Pulsar or (for Pulsars that are connected to Evoke), from within Evoke.
Unpair using the power button
- Power off the relevant Pulsar with a long press on the power button.
- Press the power button again to turn on the Pulsar, then double-press within 2 seconds after booting up.
The Pulsar is now unpaired from the Beacon.
Unpair from within Evoke
To unpair Pulsars that are connected to Evoke:
- In Evoke, go to the System panel, ensure the Beacon is selected, right-click on it and then click Radio Pairing.
- In the Radio Pairing dialog box, go to the Assigned Clusters list, right-click on one or more selected Pulsars and and then select Unpair.
The selected Pulsars are unpaired from the selected Beacon.
Transfer Pulsars between Beacons
You can transfer a Pulsar between Beacons from within Evoke if:
- Both Beacons are connected to Evoke.
- The Pulsar is connected to Evoke and paired to a Beacon.
To transfer a Pulsar between Beacons:
- In Evoke, go to the System panel, ensure the Beacon to which the Pulsar is currently paired is selected, right-click on it and then click Radio Pairing.
- In the Radio Pairing dialog box, go to the Assigned Clusters list, right-click on the Pulsar you want to transfer, select Transfer and then select the required Beacon from the list.
Use the Pulsar Reprogramming Tool for transfer
If you're working with a large number of Pulsars, instead of unpairing and transferring as described in the previous section, it may be quicker to use the Pulsar Reprogramming Tool to transfer Pulsars to another Beacon. To do this you must provide the Radio Host ID of the required Beacon.
To find the Radio Host ID of a Beacon:
- In Evoke, go to the System panel and in the Connectivity Devices section, select the relevant Beacon.
- Ensure the advanced properties are displayed and in the Radio section, note the Radio Host ID.
You can now use the Pulsar Reprogramming Tool to pair the Pulsars to another Beacon.
To transfer Pulsars via the Pulsar Reprogramming Tool:
- Connect the Pulsars that you want to transfer to the PC via USB, either by using the supplied recharging dock or directly, using USB cable(s).
- From the Windows Start menu, click Vicon, then Vicon Pulsar Reprogramming Tool.
- In the Pulsar Reprogramming Tool window:
- Select Pair to a Beacon with Radio Host ID.
- In the adjacent field, enter the ID that you noted earlier.
When they are ready to be unplugged, their status lights blink.
In the System panel, in the Clusters part of the System tree, Pulsars that are paired with a connected Beacon are displayed. Adjacent icons indicate the status of the Pulsars: The following table describes each of the Pulsar status icons that are displayed on the System panel in Evoke. Cyan Yellow Gray Green Red Yellow battery Red battery Lightning bolt Update Gray Note that the overall system charge is determined by the device with the lowest charge (unless recharging – see the following note), which is shown at the top of the Clusters section in the System panel. The number of devices on charge is also displayed here. In the following image, the red battery icon to the right of the Pulsar name indicates that the battery of the relevant Pulsar is low. The Lowest Battery Charge indicator shows that the Pulsar with the lowest charge is almost at 0%, ie, almost fully discharged (a Pulsar whose battery is fully discharged can no longer communicate with Evoke and disconnects, and the Lowest Battery Charge indicator then displays the Pulsar with the next lowest battery). In the following image, the yellow lightning icons to the right of the Pulsar names indicate that the batteries of the relevant Pulsars are charging (and the yellow battery icon indicates that the charge is still low). The Lowest Battery Charge indicator shows that the Pulsar with the lowest charge is now at 19%.
Pulsar status icons in Evoke
Icon Meaning Connected but not assigned a marker pattern Connected but disabled Automatically disabled as not linked to a smart object Enabled and assigned a valid marker pattern Disconnected Battery has low charge (less than 20%) Battery has very low charge (less than 10%) Plugged in for recharging Evoke has queued or sent new settings to the Pulsar but has not yet received a response Loaded from a previous Evoke session but not yet connected to this instance of Evoke
The information displayed by the Lowest Battery Charge indicator depends on the number of devices that are currently charging:
In the System panel, in the Clusters part of the System tree, Pulsars that are paired with a connected Beacon are displayed. Adjacent icons indicate the status of the Pulsars:
The following table describes each of the Pulsar status icons that are displayed on the System panel in Evoke.
Note that the overall system charge is determined by the device with the lowest charge (unless recharging – see the following note), which is shown at the top of the Clusters section in the System panel.
The number of devices on charge is also displayed here.
In the following image, the red battery icon to the right of the Pulsar name indicates that the battery of the relevant Pulsar is low. The Lowest Battery Charge indicator shows that the Pulsar with the lowest charge is almost at 0%, ie, almost fully discharged (a Pulsar whose battery is fully discharged can no longer communicate with Evoke and disconnects, and the Lowest Battery Charge indicator then displays the Pulsar with the next lowest battery).
In the following image, the yellow lightning icons to the right of the Pulsar names indicate that the batteries of the relevant Pulsars are charging (and the yellow battery icon indicates that the charge is still low). The Lowest Battery Charge indicator shows that the Pulsar with the lowest charge is now at 19%.
Enable Evoke to track Pulsars and props
Both smart objects and basic objects define a pattern of markers that Evoke can locate from camera centroid detections.
Create smart objects
A smart object is the representation in Evoke of a type of object that has programmable active markers (eg, a Pulsar). Pulsars are smart in that they communicate with the Evoke PC via a Beacon. This enables a Pulsar to set its marker pattern, sync to the Viper cameras and report its battery level back to the PC.
To enable tracking of Pulsars, you must create a smart object in Evoke for each Pulsar that you want to track.
For more information, see Work with smart objects or watch the Vicon video:
Create basic objects
A basic object lacks the two-way communication of a smart object (eg, a passive marker plate or a Nova active strand). A Nova is a basic object as its active markers can be either on or off and it has to be controlled manually.
To enable tracking of props, you must create basic objects in Evoke for each prop that you want to track.
For more information, see Work with basic objects or watch the Vicon video:
Manage your tracking configuration
When you have finished setting up your smart objects and basic objects, you can save the whole tracking configuration (including all basic and smart objects) in MCP format for future use.
To do this, at the top of the Tracking panel, click the Save tracking configuration button:
The default location for tracking configuration files is:
When you want to re-use your tracking configuration, click the Load tracking configuration button to re-load the file.
Position cameras and Pulsars
With your Evoke system installed and licensed, and after you have created smart objects, you can position the cameras and markers.
- Position your cameras around the volume, ensuring that two or more cameras can see every point in the volume in which you intend to track motion.
- Place Pulsars around the floor to outline your volume.
Check volume coverage
After you have positioned cameras and Pulsars in the volume, ensure that the cameras can see the whole of the volume.
- Ensure your cameras are physically connected to the system.
- Ensure your Evoke system hardware is switched on, and that Evoke is running.
In the System panel (by default located on the left of the Evoke window), click the Vicon Cameras section heading (or click a camera and press Ctrl+A) to select all the cameras or, for a large number of cameras, right-click and click the relevant Select option.
- In the Workspace ensure that the Cameras view is selected.
- Using the default lens settings on each camera, ensure that:
- You can see Pulsar images from each connected camera.
- Two or more cameras can see every point in the volume in which you intend to track motion.
If you have difficulty orienting yourself in the Cameras view, you can check the aim and field of view of a camera in real time by switching the camera into Video Preview Mode. This mode displays a video image from the optical sensor of Vicon cameras that offer this option (Valkyrie cameras support Video Preview Mode at higher frame rates than other supported cameras: see Video Preview Mode frame rates). All other camera views and parameters are inactive.
Video Preview mode is for system setup purposes only. You cannot use Video Preview mode when you are calibrating, auto masking, capturing, or reviewing data.
Note that, for effective use of Video Preview Mode, strobeless cameras (Vipers) need independent illumination at a wavelength of 850nm.
To use Video Preview mode:
- In the Workspace, select the Cameras view.
In the System panel, in the Vicon Cameras list, right-click a camera and select Video Preview Mode > Video Preview Mode.
The camera view changes to Video Preview mode and the camera begins shipping video data.
Video Preview Active is displayed in the menu bar:
While all cameras are in Video Preview mode, previews can only be viewed in one camera at a time. If you selected multiple cameras, only the last camera in the selection displays a preview.
- To turn off Video Preview mode:
In the menu bar, select the X next to Video Preview Active.
- In the System panel, right-click any camera in the list and select Video Preview Mode > Exit Preview Mode.
If the preview image is dark:
- In the System panel, display the Advanced properties Enable Strobes is selected. and make sure that
- Use external lights to illuminate your volume.
- Open the aperture.
When you have finished checking the camera aim and field of view, be sure to set the aperture back to its original value.
Video Preview Mode frame rates
All supported cameras can use Video Preview mode but their performance is dependent on frame rate:
- Valkyrie cameras support Video Preview mode from 30–900Hz. At frame rates above a Valkyrie camera's full frame rate (see Compare Range towards the bottom of the Vicon Valkyrie web page ), Video Preview mode uses windowing to display the same field of view as optical mode.
- Vantage Vero and Viper cameras support Video Preview mode from 30–60Hz. At frame rates above this, an image may be displayed but this has not been tested. Vantage, Vero and Viper cameras do not use windowing in Video Preview mode.
Deactivate unused objects
It's important to ensure that any objects that aren't currently in use are deactivated.
Evoke is constantly trying to find all enabled objects. Objects that are enabled but not visible in the volume (such as Pulsars that are charging, powered off or out of the volume) may cause spurious object tracks, or impede the tracking of the objects that are visible in the volume.
Deactivate an object:
- In the Tracking panel (or for smart objects, the System panel), select the object.
- Do either of the following:
- In the properties below, clear the Enabled check box.
In the Tracking tree, clear the relevant check box.
The linked device is deactivated so the marker LEDs turn off, which reduces power consumption.
- In the properties below, clear the Enabled check box.
Update camera firmware
Vicon hardware is programmed with firmware to control its operation. Periodically, Vicon supplies firmware updates to correct or improve device functionality. You apply these firmware updates to your Vicon cameras and Beacon(s) via the Vicon Ethernet network using the Vicon Firmware Manager, as described below.
You are automatically notified when any component of your Vicon system is running out-of-date firmware, and given the opportunity to update to the latest version.
To ensure optimum performance and access to all the latest functionality, Vicon recommends that you upgrade to the latest firmware whenever it becomes available.
To monitor and/or upgrade system firmware:
- When you start Evoke or connect any Vicon devices into your system, Evoke checks to see whether the firmware for your cameras and Beacon(s) is up-to-date.
If your devices aren’t using the latest firmware, Evoke displays a caution icon in the toolbar to let you know that a more up-to-date version of the firmware is available.
- Click the icon to display more information.
Evoke displays a prompt that enables you to open the Vicon Firmware Manager (reprogramming tool).
- Click Yes to open the Vicon Firmware Manager and close Evoke. Note that you can also open the Vicon Firmware Manager from the Start menu (select Vicon > Vicon Firmware Manager).
Evoke closes and the Vicon Firmware Manager is displayed, showing all the connected devices and their current firmware version.
For guidance on how to use Vicon Firmware Manager, see the Vicon Firmware Manager Quick Start Guide.
- When finished updating, close Vicon Firmware Manager.
If you opened Vicon Firmware Manager from Evoke directly, Evoke will restart when the Vicon Firmware Manager is closed.