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You can include up to two SDI video cameras in your Vicon Shogun system.

When you have calibrated the SDI video cameras, you can overlay the motion capture data and check the solve against the video. You can also export the calibrated cameras with the image sequence directly into Autodesk® Maya® software as an FBX file.

The following steps describe how to set up SDI video with a single Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K camera and an Evertz 5601MSC timecode generator, but the same principles apply to other supported hardware.

Table of Contents

 For details about this procedure, watch the Vicon video, Shogun Live SDI Video, available on YouTube.

The Vicon video, Shogun Live SDI Video, is also available on Vimeo.

As the videos were recorded using an earlier version of Shogun, you may notice minor differences in the user interface.

Check the hardware

Connect the system components

To ensure that the camera shutters are aligned, the SDI camera must be genlocked to the Vicon system. This ensures that the SDI camera reliably see strobes from the Active Wand.

Timecode is used to identify the time at which data from the SDI camera and the Vicon system was captured. This ensures that the data from the two sources can be aligned. The calibrator can then determine any small remaining discrepancy and apply an offset to the video input to correct for it.

Consequently, both the SDI camera and the Vicon system must have a valid genlock signal and a valid timecode. Two cables are required to transmit reference sync and timecode to the camera, whereas the a single cable can carry both reference sync and timecode to the Vicon Lock unit.

In the following instructions and except where differences are noted, references to Vicon Lock units apply to Vicon Lock, Vicon Lock+ and Vicon Lock Studio.

To connect the system components:

  1. On the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K:
    1. Connect SDI Out to the input on the DeckLink card on the PC that will run Shogun Live.
    2. Connect SDI In to TG1-2 on the Evertz 5601MSC.
    3. Connect REF IN / TC IN to LTC OUT 1 on the Evertz 5601MSC.
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  2. Connect from the Evertz 5601MSC to the Vicon Lock unit, depending on your Lock model:
    • Vicon Lock or Vicon Lock+: Connect SYNC 1 on the Evertz 5601MSC to REF LOOP on the Lock or Lock+. Put a 75Ω terminator on the other REF LOOP connector. (Note that Lock or Lock+ can capture only PAL (25Hz) or NTSC (29.97Hz): for true 30Hz, you must use a Lock Studio.)

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    • Vicon Lock Studio : Connect  TG1-1 on the Evertz 5601MSC to  SDI In  on the Lock Studio.

Set up a Blackmagic DeckLink card

  1. Install the capture card in your computer.
  2. Download and run the Blackmagic Desktop Video Installer, which includes the drivers. Vicon recommends version 10.9.11 or later.
  3. Open Shogun Live and ensure that in the System panel, the card is listed under Video Inputs.

    If the device isn't listed, the capture card could be incorrectly installed, the correct driver could be missing, or another instance of Shogun Live could be running and using it.
  4. Ensure that the card is selected and in the Information section of the Properties, note that Video Standard is set to Unspecified.
    This indicates that the cable is not connected or there's no signal on it.

  5. Identify which BNC connector is the video input. Some cards have multiple inputs that are not labeled, so you may need to refer to the Blackmagic documentation.
  6. Connect this input to the SDI output from the camera.
    In the Properties, the icon changes in the Video Inputs section.
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    In the Information section, the Video Standard is now displayed.

    If the video standard is not shown, the standard may not supported by the capture card, or there may be a problem with the camera or the cabling.

Set up an Evertz 5601MSC timecode generator

The Evertz 5601MSC must be set up to provide reference and timecode to both the SDI camera and the Vicon system. The URSA Mini 4K always requires two cables to provide both timecode and sync. The Vicon system requires one cable that can carry both reference sync and timecode.  Consequently, at least three connections on the timecode generator are used.

VistaLINK PRO software is used to control the timecode generator.

To set up the timecode generator:

  1. Set the frame rate for the timecode signal (LTC) for the URSA camera. This must be set to the base rate associated with the desired video standard on the camera.  For example, for 59.94 Hz video standards, the timecode frame rate is 29.97 Hz.

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  2. Set up the SDI reference signal for the camera. This must be the same as the video standard that is selected on the camera.

  3. Set up the timecode reference to the Vicon Lock unit. The connection to use depends on your Vicon Lock model:
    • Vicon Lock or Lock+: Use one of the SYNC outputs from the timecode generator.  Lock or Lock+ supports only analog black-burst sync with VITC. This means that only base rates of 25Hz (PAL) or 29.97Hz (NTSC) are available (for true 30Hz, use a Lock Studio). Choose either PAL or NTSC-M, to match the base rate of the SDI video standard.

    • Vicon Lock Studio: Use one of the SDI TG-x outputs on the timecode generator.  Lock Studio supports HD-SDI with embedded timecode. Ensure that the settings match those you specified in step 2 for the camera.

Drop frame setting
Shogun Live supports 29.97Hz timecode in drop-frame or non drop-frame mode. However, the drop-frame setting must be consistent between all three outputs on the timecode generator.

Set up a Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K camera

The camera requires two inputs:

  • SDI In Used for reference input
  • REF-IN/TC-IN Used for LTC timecode input

To set up the camera:

  1. Ensure that the software on the camera is version 4.9 or later. This reduces video latency.
  2. From the onscreen display, choose the correct video standard.
  3. Set Reference Source to Program.

    REF is now displayed on the camera monitor.

  4. Check that timecode is working correctly. The timecode should be in sync with the timecode generator and EXT should be displayed above TC on the camera monitor.

Choose shutter duration, video standard and system frame rate

The SDI video standard frame rate and Vicon system frame rate must both be multiples of the same SMPTE base rate. The SMTPE base rates are 23.98Hz, 24Hz, 25Hz, 29.97Hz, 30Hz. 

As shown in the following table, it is usually best to have the Vicon system rate higher than the video standard frame rate, so that the Vicon cameras can accurately track fast movement, but so the video cameras do not produce data at a rate that is higher than the PC can capture.

Base rate (Hz)SDI video standardVicon system frame rate (Hz)
241080p/24 (1x)96 (4x)
251080p/25 (1x)50 (2x)
251080p/50 (2x)100 (4x)
29.971080p/29.97 (1x)59.94 (2x)
29.971080p/59.94 (2x)119.88 (4x)
Vicon Active Wands do not work at system frame rates below 50Hz.

When the system is set up in this way, the Vicon system strobes several times during each video frame.  The active wand calibration device also strobes in sync with the optical system, so when the wand is moving, the video camera may see it in more than one place during each video frame.  For this reason the shutter duration must be set within a particular range:

  • If the shutter duration is set too low, the camera may not see the wand at all because the shutter is not open while it is strobing.
  • If the shutter duration is set too high, the camera will see the wand in several places because the wand strobed more than once during the period the shutter was open.

The first situation is easy to spot by looking at the video screen on the camera.  As long as the video is synced to the same source as the Vicon system, the strobes are clearly visible.  If they are not, increase the shutter duration to cause them to appear.

The second situation is harder to spot. You can detect it by pausing live video of a wand wave in Shogun Live and carefully stepping through the video frames to look for multiple wands.  Alternatively, set the shutter duration to a safe maximum value, as shown here:

Scroll Table Layout
widths14%, 14%, 14%, 14%, 14%, 14%, 16%

Base rate (Hz)SDI video std  Video frame period (ms)Vicon system rate (Hz)Vicon frame period (ms)Vicon frames per video frameSafe max. shutter duration
251080p/25 (1x)4050 (2x)2021 / 60 = 16.7 ms
251080p/25 (1x)40100 (4x)1041 / 120 = 8.3 ms
251080p/50 (2x)20100 (4x)1021 / 120 = 8.3 ms
29.971080p/29.97 (1x)33.459.94 (2x)16.721 / 60 = 16.7 ms
29.971080p/29.97 (1x)33.4119.88 (4x)8.341 / 120 = 8.3 ms
29.971080p/59.94 (2x)16.7119.88 (4x)8.321 / 120 = 8.3 ms

It might seem a good idea to reduce the shutter duration during calibration and then increase it afterwards for capture. However, this is not good practice because the shutter timing on the Blackmagic URSA 4K Mini is not center-aligned. In other words, the middle of the shutter-open time shifts as the duration is changed. If your video is always too dark, it may be better to reduce the Vicon system frame rate for calibration and increase it afterwards for capture, or choose a higher frame rate video standard.

Complete the setup in Shogun Live

Set up the video input device

  1. On the System tab, ensure the required frame rate is selected (Choose shutter duration video standard, & system frame rate).

  2. In the System Properties for the video input device, in the General section, ensure the Enabled and Calibrate options are selected.

  3. Under Timecode Setup, ensure that Use Timecode for Sync is selected.

  4. Ensure that the video standard is compatible with the Vicon system standard, and that there are no warnings such as this one:

  5. Ensure that the correct timecode is present on the video. You should be able to see it counting up.

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Set up the connectivity device

  1. Go to the System Properties for the Vicon Lock unit, and in the Genlock and Timecode section, ensure that Genlock Enabled is selected.
  2. Ensure that Genlock Status shows that the Vicon Lock unit is genlocked.
  3. Ensure that a valid timecode source is set for the Lock unit.
    • Lock or Lock+ Set the timecode source to VITC.
    • Lock Studio Set the timecode source to SDI.

  4. On the Capture tab on the right, in the Data Capture panel, ensure that the system is genlocked and has timecode. This is indicated by two green circles.

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  5. If you are running at 29.97Hz timecode, ensure that drop-frame modes are compatible between the Vicon Lock and the video input device. 
    For example, if the Lock shows this:

    The video input should show this:

Calibrate the system

Before attempting to calibrate, ensure you have been through all the steps in the previous section.

Note that tracked circles are not visible until you select Activate Video Calibration, as described below.

  1. In the Camera Calibration panel, display the advanced options and click Activate Video Calibration.

    If you can't see any tracked circles on the wand, this may be due to the system and camera not being frame-aligned. To correct this, in the Genlock & Timecode Settings section, drag the slider for the Advanced setting, Genlock Offset, until the circles appear.
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  2. Ensure that video camera is positioned so that items in its field of view, including the wand, can also be seen by the Vicon cameras.
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  3. As normal, mask out any artifacts that could be mistaken for circles by selecting Start Masking. To ensure that the image is not so bright that the whole view is masked, but not so dark that the camera is prevented from seeing the wand, do one of the following:
    • On the camera, reduce the aperture, ensuring that the wand is still visible; or
    • In Shogun Live, go to the System Properties for the Decklink card and in the Optical Mode section, adjust the Threshold setting.

      A setting of 0.6 is a good starting point for most studios, but for a very bright space, you may need a slightly higher value.
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  4. Click Start Wave and ensure that the wand is waved so that it is seen by the SDI video camera as well as the Vicon cameras.
    Note that video cameras normally see less wand information than optical cameras: half the amount seen by the optical cameras is usually enough for a good calibration.
  5. During calibration, any time offset between the video camera and the system is calculated and automatically applied. If necessary, you can change the offset in the Timecode Setup section of the DeckLink properties.
  6. With video calibration turned off, you can now set the origin as normal.

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