Vicon Nexus 2.13 and later supports using FLIR Blackfly S video cameras to provide synchronized, calibrated video captures.
The following information applies to configuring FLIR Blackfly S video cameras in Nexus.
For additional information, see also Calibrate FLIR Blackfly S video cameras.
For information on hardware setup, see the FLIR Video Cameras Setup Guide.
Configure FLIR video cameras in Nexus
To access the settings for a FLIR video camera in Nexus:
- In the System Resources tree, select the relevant node and in the Properties pane, view the current settings.
If the FLIR video camera isn't displayed in the System Resources tree, or if it's displayed with a yellow warning triangle, or if you haven't already set the system frame rate, see Set up the software for a FLIR Blackfly S video system in the FLIR Video Cameras Setup Guide.
You can then configure the FLIR video camera settings as described in the following topics.
Choose the pixel format
The camera performs better when it is providing data in its native pixel format. This is a Bayer format, such as BayerRG8.
No bandwidth is saved by selecting Luminance8. B8G8R8 and B8G8R8u8 use three and four times as much bandwidth, so are not generally recommended.
If you choose another format, the camera may be restricted to lower frame rates, for the following reasons:
- Time is taken for onboard processing from one pixel format to another (eg, converting 8-bit Bayer to 8-bit grayscale).
- The new format results in larger images and therefore uses more bandwidth to transmit (eg, converting 8-bit Bayer to 24-bit RGB results in an image 3 times larger).
Occasionally, a different pixel format may be appropriate, for example, in these cases:
- Camera's onboard conversion may be better in some circumstances than the software conversion.
- Camera is running at a low frame rate and there is plenty of spare bandwidth.
However, these cases are unusual and we recommend selecting the native BayerRG8 format if you're in any doubt.
Choose the frame rate
We recommend choosing the frame rate after you set the pixel format. The frame rates available in the drop down menu are determined by these factors:
- The frame rate of the Vicon system (see Set the system frame rate in the FLIR Video Cameras Setup Guide). The video rate must exactly divide into the system rate.
- The limits of the camera/sensor. These are fixed and cannot be changed.
- The current pixel format of the camera.
- The Area of Interest (window) set on the camera.
Usually it is desirable for the system rate to be the same as or higher than the video frame rate. For example, if the system frame rate is 120 Hz, the permitted video frame rates will include 30 Hz, 60 Hz and 120 Hz.
If the system frame rate is changed, the camera will stop streaming and a new frame rate must be selected from the drop-down list.
Set appropriate video image parameters
Ensure you set the video image parameters appropriately.
- Shutter duration The shutter duration time is given in microseconds. The exposure is limited to the length of the frame period. If it is set too high, the camera might not be ready for the next frame before the trigger is received and the software inserts black frames to maintain synchronization. This is usually undesirable behavior, so to avoid this, decrease the exposure slightly until the warning disappears.
- Camera Gain If the image is too dark, adjust the gain to compensate. Avoid using too much gain when a longer exposure time or better lighting is needed instead. Excessively high gain results in a noisy image.
- Black Level This property controls how dark the darkest areas of the image appear. Adjust this as desired.
- Saturation The gamma property affects the actual data sent from the camera, not just the display. It is only enabled when the camera converts from its native pixel format to 24-bit or 32-bit RGB. It is disabled when using the camera's native Bayer format. By default the camera uses the Bayer format, so this option is disabled by default.
- Auto White Balance This property uses an algorithm on the camera to improve the appearance of color in the image. If you require more predictable color, you can disable it and set the green/red and green/blue balance manually.
- Green/Red Balance When auto white balance is disabled, allows the green/red balance to be adjusted.
- Green/Blue Balance When auto white balance is disabled, allows the green/blue balance to be adjusted.
- Camera Gamma The gamma property affects the gamma level of the actual data sent from the camera, not just the display.
Set area of interest and binning
There are two supported ways of reducing the image size: setting an area of interest (AOI) or enabling binning.
- Area of Interest Width Desired width of the AOI in pixels.
- Area of Interest Height Desired height of the AOI in pixels.
- AOI Left/Right Horizontal position of the area of interest: 0 means to the far left, 0.5 means centered, and 1 means to the far right.
- AOI Top/Bottom Vertical position of the area of interest: 0 means at the very top, 0.5 means centered, and 1 means at the very bottom.
- AOI Applied This is the AOI as applied by the camera. It might not be exactly the one requested because of limitations of the camera and pixel format.
- Pixel Binning The binning options are None (no binning) or 2x2 (a square of 4 pixels are reduced to 1 pixel). Binning reduces the bandwidth and consequently the capture file sizes by a factor of 4, by effectively halving both the horizontal and vertical resolution.