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 Post subject: Next iPi Studio Update?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:31 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2346
Location: Los Angeles
Hi,

It has been a few months since the last update and I was just curious when iPi Soft might release the next one. I understand that you guys have been very busy moving the calibration process over to the GPU, which is something I'm eagerly looking forward to. I'm also hoping to see 'supervised tracking' someday.

Thanks in advance for any information, and keep up the great work! :)

Greenlaw

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:41 pm 
iPi Soft

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:13 pm
Posts: 804
Hi,

We are actively working on next update but it is not ready yet. The main problem is we already did all easy fixes and updates earlier, and the fixes and improvements we have to do now are complex and time consuming. We are doing lots of development and testing but progress is slow.

Some of improvements in development are:

We are working to implement faster processing on latest video cards, including CUDA accellerations (a huge update that lays foundation for numerous future improvements).

We discovered a way to record 4-camera 800x600@30fps video using Logitec cams, event on slow PCs (e.g. notebooks). So a new version of iPi Recorder is in the works.

We experiment with Sony PlayStation3 Eye camera. It is an excellent USB 2.0 camera that delivers true 60 frames per second (!) at 640x480 and has nice machine-vision-grade wide-angle optics. It could be ideal for markerless MoCap. Last but not least, it costs just $39. The only problem is software as camera does not have official Windows drivers. We hope to adopt some of the drivers created by community (Alex's Windows driver or open-source Linux drivers).

We also implemented numerous reliability fixes and small improvements and will release them soon.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:45 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2346
Location: Los Angeles
Michael,

This is very exciting news! Thank you very much for the update, and my best wishes on getting the next release ready for the public.

Needless to say, I'm very eager to start testing the new software as soon as possible, so please keep me in mind. I have several different system configurations available to me for testing, and I can send you the specs for the computers I have at my disposal.

Greenlaw

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:37 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:56 pm
Posts: 8
Hello,

I just wanted to let you know that I am anxiously awaiting an improved version of the iPi Recorder. At the moment I am unable to proceed because my computer simply can't capture from 4 logitech 9000 pro webcams at 30fps even at the smallest resolution. I've got a modern PC which is of a good specification, but it seems to have problems dealing with multiple USB data streams.

At this point to continue my only options seem to be:

1. Wait for a new version of iPi Recorder and hope it will fix the issue

or

2. Purchase yet another computer dedicated to this task.

To be honest, I'd rather not purchase a new computer before at least having tried a new/improved version of iPi recorder, so I'm hoping it will become available soon.

Just out of interest, can anyone suggest a specific machine or specification that would be able to record/process USB video streams @ 30fps without problem? If I have to get a new machine (and I hope not) I need to purchase one that I can be sure will do the job, rather than to just hope that it will work :-)

Any help or advice regarding these matters would be most appreciated.

I'm very excited about iPi Studio and hope to get up and running soon.

PM


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:34 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 2346
Location: Los Angeles
How are you connecting the cameras to the computer? If you are using a hub, that could bottle-neck the data and cause dropped frames.

I'm using an old duo-core laptop to capture from four Logitech cameras, and it's handling 320 x 240 at 30fps with no problem. The laptop has six USB port, two on the side and four in the back. I suspect the rear and side ports use different USB interfaces, so I always connect two of the cameras to the back and two to the side to make sure the load is being split.

If you''re not using a hub with your workstation, I'm wondering if your USB ports are sharing one interface. You might try adding an additional USB card and splitting the cameras to each interface.

Hope this helps.

Greenlaw

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:47 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:56 pm
Posts: 8
Hi Greenlaw,

No, I'm connecting the cameras directly to the USB bus, no hub is being used.

My workstation is of a reasonable specification.. a dual quad core, Intel Xenon E5420's running at 2.5Ghz on Vista Business 64.

I can manage to get 2 cameras running at 30 fps provided that I uses the smallest res available and crank the camera exposure nearly to zero.

Tomorrow, I'll take the case apart and see exactly where the USB bus connectors are reaching the motherboard, you could be right everything might be getting smashed on to a single input.

Back to the drawing board :-)

Cheers,

PM


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:24 pm 
iPi Soft

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:13 pm
Posts: 804
With current version of iPi Recorder, you should be able to capture using 4 cameras at 320x640@30fps on a 2GHz dual-core PC.

Next version (with support for higher resolutions on slow PCs) will be released in about 2 weeks from now.

You can check what USB controllers your cameras are connected to using Device Manager:

http://www.ipisoft.com/images/help/USB_controllers1.png

All modern PCs (both Intel and AMD) have 2 high-speed (USB 2.0) controllers located on chipset. They have so-called "automatic port routing logic", which means (in theory) your computer automatically senses all your USB 2.0 devices connected to various USB ports on your PC, and sends signal from them to USB 2.0 controllers. In practice, not all default USB ports on your PC are created equal. USB ports usually come in pairs, and both ports always get connected to the same controller. So if you have 2 USB ports on the front panel, they both will always get connected to one controller. That's why it helps to have at least some cameras connected to USB ports on back panel of PC.

At 320x240, you should be OK no matter how you connect cameras to USB ports, because low-resolution video takes just a small portion of USB 2.0 bandwidth.

At 640x480, it helps to have 2 additional USB controllers via USB 2.0 extension cards (each USB 2.0 extension card usually have single USB 2.0 controller with 2-4 ports).


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:36 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:56 pm
Posts: 8
Hello Michael,

Thank you very much for the detailed reply. I will investigate more thoroughly, hopefully I can learn what is causing this issue. You post has been very helpful.

Kind Regards,

PM


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:17 pm 
iPi Soft

Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 9:13 pm
Posts: 804
PeteMoss wrote:
I can manage to get 2 cameras running at 30 fps provided that I uses the smallest res available and crank the camera exposure nearly to zero.


Please note that correct exposure setting is critical for 30 fps framerate. Naturally, exposure should be shorter then 1/30second for 30 fps. This is an important concept and is completely unrelated to the speed of your CPU.

If picture looks dim with short exposure, you should think about increasing amount of light (install additional lamps etc.) Faster CPU will not help here.

Please make sure that you have latest Logitech drivers (use Logitech Autoupdate to get latest drivers). Older Logitech drivers had a problem with incorrect exposure scale, it could be confusing.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:30 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 4:56 pm
Posts: 8
Michael Nikonov wrote:
PeteMoss wrote:
I can manage to get 2 cameras running at 30 fps provided that I uses the smallest res available and crank the camera exposure nearly to zero.


Please note that correct exposure setting is critical for 30 fps framerate. Naturally, exposure should be shorter then 1/30second for 30 fps. This is an important concept and is completely unrelated to the speed of your CPU.

If picture looks dim with short exposure, you should think about increasing amount of light (install additional lamps etc.) Faster CPU will not help here.

Please make sure that you have latest Logitech drivers (use Logitech Autoupdate to get latest drivers). Older Logitech drivers had a problem with incorrect exposure scale, it could be confusing.



Hello Michael,

Yes, I understand. I've looked into this matter a bit further and think the reason that I am unable to achieve a satisfactory frame rate (even with my dual quad core machine) is due to other USB devices sucking up bandwith. I had a closer look at the device manager and I had not realized how many other USB devices are connected... such as a keyboard, mouse, numerous dongles, wacom tablet, hub, etc. I suspect this is the problem. I am going to get a PS2 keyboard, and mouse and then disconnect all other USB devices and then retest, hopefully performance will improve then.

PS, I did take the computer apart and I've got 2 USB bus, one with 4 inputs on the rear panel and one with 2 inputs on the front. So I've got 2 cameras connected to the rear panel and 2 cameras to the front.

I will continue to test.

Thanks again for your advice.

Cheers,

PM


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