This article goes through the different camera settings. Some of these settings have slightly different names depending on the camera type / manufacturer.
Camera settings is divided in different tabs.
The Advanced Camera Settings window exposes all of the settings you might find handy, lets take a look at each individual setting.
Default settings example from FLIR Blackfly S camera:
The settings you see above are the default camera settings, note that most of the settings are set to auto, we can change these settings to get better control over the video image quality for sports analysis.
Checking the Frame rate control enable box will allow you to manually set the frame rate, if this box is unchecked the frame rate is essentially set to auto (note: the maximum frame rate of this camera is 226 FPS.
If you're getting a lower frame rate than what you expect it could be due to the exposure / shutter speed on the camera, e.g. if the exposure is too high, high shutter speeds are not possible. See the troubleshooting section.
Changing shutter speed:
Unless outside or with large amount of light it's better to use a manual shutter speed.
Exposure time / shutter speed above 2ms can result in blurry movement for sports analysis.
To reduce frame blur we recommend a shutter speed less than 2ms (2000μs), with adequate lighting the shutter speed can be less than 1ms (1000μs).
How bright the video image will be is a combination of the shutter speed, gain settings, lens aperture and how much light is available.
Changing camera gain:
Having gain set to auto is preferable in changing light conditions, but if you have an indoors environment setting gain to manual is the better way to go.
The higher the dB value, the brighter the image, however there will also be more noise as a result which may make the overall video quality seem poor. Sometimes it is worth having a slightly higher gain at the expense of noise in order to bring the shutter speed down to get sharp frame by frame video of an object (e.g. club at impact, baseball bat etc.).
Note: Actual gain (dB) values can vary between models & manufacturers.
Changing gamma and black levels:
Black level can be considered a form of brightness adjustment, where the black level corresponds to the minimum value that any pixel on the camera sensor will return.
By increasing the black level value we can make the image brighter.
Our recommendation is to leave this at the default values.
For more details on improving your video image please see this support article which has comparison photos: https://support.swingcatalyst.com/hc/en-us/articles/360009187999-Improving-camera-image-quality
Changing the cameras white balance:
Normally we recommend to leave this setting to auto (continuous) but in order to achieve the maximum frame rate this also needs to be turned off.
White balance will affect the color temperature of the video image, and if the white balance is very wrong the image will not look very good, often leaving the image appearing too red or green.
By enabling auto white balance we sacrifice some frame rate leaving us at 200 FPS instead of the camera maximum 226 FPS.
Device link throughput:
We recommend leaving this at the default setting, but lowering it can reduce dropped frames at the cost of a lower FPS.
Note: Not all cameras have this setting.
For cameras that have this functionality it is preferable to use Region of Interest / Area of Interest over Crop.
Region of Interest (ROI) is a way to reduce the image size and also the bandwidth required for each image. By reducing the image size we can increase the frame rate as the overall pixel readout requirement is smaller. ROI can have a positive effect on the frame rate and can lower the cameras bandwidth usage.
To change the region of interest we can drag the height slider to the left to reduce the height of the image.
Since we've changed the height of the image, we can also now change the Y offset which can be helpful as an alternative to physically moving the camera due to the reduced image size.
If we go back to the Camera tab and look under frame rate, we now see the maximum frame rate can be set to 288 (this is because we applied a region of interest by reducing the height of the camera sensor).
These settings are available for all camera types but the results may vary depending on the resolution and camera settings. To read more about how to improve your camera image quality please see our this article.
Depending on the camera type (USB3 or GigE) different troubleshooting steps may be necessary.
It's important to first try to identify what kind of problem you're having.
USB 3.0 can be tricky to work with. For example some USB cables work better than others and certain USB 3.0 controllers can cause problems. Please see our recommended USB components article for details: https://support.swingcatalyst.com/hc/en-us/articles/204239738-Recommended-USB-3-0-Components
Reducing the device link throughput on each device may help avoid dropped frames. If lowered enough the throughput will affect the frame rate.
Especially with multiple camera setups reducing the throughput can help stabilize a system at the expense of a few frames per second. For cameras that don't have this setting, reducing the FPS and using Region Of Interest may help reduce the bandwidth consumption.
Bandwidth usage example:
USB 3.0 is advertised to be capable of 5Gb/s, which is 625 MB/s.
One USB 3.0 camera with a resolution of: 1920 x 1200 resolution at 150 FPS will use roughly 345MB/s (megabytes per second) per camera. Therefor it's important to have good quality USB 3.0 cables that are meant for machine vision cameras along with a dedicated USB 3.0 controller card per our recommendations for multiple camera setups, isolating the cameras from the rest of the USB devices connected to the system.
Region Of Interest (ROI)
Using a region of interest (or area of interest) will reduce the overall image size and boost the FPS, but also it can help lower the bandwidth usage which in turns could reduce dropped frames (see above on how to utilize ROI).
Connectivity problems (camera disconnects)
USB 3 can be prone to connectivity problems. Most often these issues stem from a bad USB 3.0 extender, too long of a cable (overall) or simply a cable that has been damaged by simply bending it too sharply.
Encoding time / GPU settings
Depending on your hardware it might not be the best to have the sharpening and denoise filters on, turning these off will reduce some CPU & GPU usage. You can find the camera filters in the Advanced Camera Settings Filters tab. More info on filters here: https://support.swingcatalyst.com/hc/en-us/articles/360009187999