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Best Practices for Ladybug5

KB Number: 10882
Last Revision Date: 6/29/2016

Best Practices for Ladybug5

Technical Application Note TAN2015008

Revised June 29, 2016

Subject

Technical Application Note (TAN2015008): Best Practices for Ladybug5

10518

Applicable Products

  • Ladybug5
  • Ladybug SDK 1.14 or later

Application Note Description

The purpose of this application note is to describe a series of settings and hardware configurations to optimize Ladybug5 image quality.

Preparing for Use

Before you use your Point Grey camera, we recommend that you are aware of the following resources available from the Point Grey Downloads page:

  • Getting Started Manual for the camera—provides information on installing components and software needed to run the camera.
  • Technical Reference for the camera—provides information on the camera’s specifications, features and operations, as well as imaging and acquisition controls.
  • Firmware updates—ensure you are using the most up-to-date firmware for the camera to take advantage of improvements and fixes.
  • Software development kit (SDK) updates—ensure you are using the most up-to-date SDK for the camera to take advantage of improvements and fixes.

 

 

SDK bug fixes and performance improvements happen often. Visit the Point Grey downloads site regularly to update your SDK and take advantage of the latest improvements to achieve the best performance from your Ladybug5.

System Requirements for Capture

System Configuration

Because of Ladybug5’s high demand on bandwidth during the capture phase, it is important to match the camera’s requirements with the capacity of your system. This table lists the recommended minimum system requirements. See the Ladybug5 Technical Reference manual for operating modes and expected data rates.

 

Component Capture Processing
CPU Intel Core i3 or equivalent processor Intel Core i7 or equivalent processor
OS

Windows 7 64-bit
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64-bit

Windows 7 64-bit
RAM 4 GB 8 GB
Storage RAID array or SSD capable of sequential data write speed of up to 240 MB/s.
Depends on actual streaming bandwidth of the camera.
 
Video Card Intel HD4000 Graphics or newer NVIDIA GTX 560 or newer
Host Adaptor USB3 host adaptor  

Cables

Included with Ladybug5

1 meter USB 3 cable (ACC-01-2303)
3 meter USB3 cable with locking screws (ACC-01-2300)
5 meter USB3 cable with locking screws (ACC-01-2301)
 
Power

Included with Ladybug5
6 meter 12-pin GPIO power cable and wiring harness
The Ladybug5 requires 12 – 24 volts of power which must be provided by an external power supply connected to the GPIO cable.
 
Driver PGRxHCI 2.7.3.18 or later for dedicated host adaptors
PGRUSBCam 2.7.3.18 or later for onboard USB3 port
 
Software Ladybug SDK 1.14 or later

Ladybug SDK 1.14 or later
Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 (needed to compile and run example code using Ladybug SDK).

Firmware Use the latest firmware available from the Point Grey downloads page. Use the latest firmware available from the Point Grey downloads page.


Ladybug5 comes with the following accessories:

  • 1 meter USB3 cable
  • 3 meter USB3 locking cable
  • 5 meter USB3 locking cable
  • USB3 hub, VIA VL812 with screw locks
  • 6 meter 12-pin GPIO power cable and wiring harness
  • Renesas µPD720202 USB3 PCIe Card
  • 24 V 2.5 A (60 W) power supply
  • 4-legged desktop mount
  • tripod adapter with 3/8-16 mounting hole

Although a shorter cable (5 meters or less) is recommended, a hub and active cables may be used to extend the cable length beyond 5 meters and to improve connectivity. Point Grey recommends using a hub when using a laptop or when using cables longer than 3 meters.

The Ladybug5 has worked successfully with the following systems:

  • Dell Precision M3800 (2014 model)—tested by Point Grey
  • Intel NUC D34010WYK
  • Gigabyte Brix GB BXi7-4500
  • MacBook Pro (running Bootcamp)

Software Requirements

The Ladybug SDK is required to capture and process images from the Ladybug5.

  1. Download and install the Ladybug SDK from the Point Grey Downloads page.
  2. In the Driver Selection window, select I will be using the Ladybug5 camera.
  3. Select the driver:
    1. PGRUSBCam. Select this option if using an onboard USB3 port or if your host adaptor is used to support other USB3 devices.
    2. USBPro. Select this option only when you have a dedicated host adaptor for Ladybug5 because non-Point Grey USB3 devices are not recognized by this driver. If this driver is selected, click Configure USBPro driver to identify the dedicated host adaptor.


 


 

After installation, to manage and update drivers, use the DriverControlGUI utility in the SDK.

  1. To open the DriverControlGUI:
    Start Menu → All Programs → Point Grey Ladybug SDK → Utilities → DriverControlGUI.
  2. Select the interface from the tabs in the top left.
  3. Select your interface card to see the current setup.
  4. From the Driver Selection drop-down, select the new driver and click the Install Driver button.

Tools for Optimizing Ladybug5 Capture Settings

There are a number of options to optimize the results when capturing images. Some settings must be established before capture and are not available at the processing stage.

There are two windows which provide access to the camera controls:

  • Ladybug Recorder provides direct access to the main settings used during capture. Point Grey recommends using this tool during capture.
  • LadybugCapPro Camera Control dialog has a more comprehensive selection of options but a more complicated interface.

Using Ladybug Recorder

To open the Ladybug Recorder:

Start Menu → All Programs → Point Grey Ladybug SDK → Ladybug Recorder.

The Ladybug Recorder provides access to these options:

  • Record: Stop/Start and Pause
  • GPS On/Off. Click to open GPS window.
  • Pixel format (includes 8-bit, 12-bit, uncompressed JPEG)
  • Shutter Range Mode (includes Motion, Indoor, Low Noise)
  • Exposure ROI (Region of Interest)
  • IEx (Independent Exposure)
  • One Shot Auto White Balance (WB)
  • Settings (includes Compression Quality, Frame Rate, and Gamma)

Using LadybugCapPro

To open LadybugCapPro:

Start Menu → All Programs → Point Grey Ladybug SDK→ LadybugCapPro→
Start Camera.

LadybugCapPro main toolbar provides access to the following options discussed in Optimizing Post Processing:

  • Color Processing
  • Image Quality
  • Dynamic Stitching

For information on all of the features of LadybugCapPro, see Ladybug5 Technical Reference.

Recommended Optimization Capture Settings

Use Ladybug Recorder to set the following options prior to starting image capture.

Pixel Format

There are two options that relate to pixel depth and post processing controls:

  • 12-bit JPEG setting is a new feature available only with Ladybug5. It provides the highest quality of images and offers a range of post processing options not available with the 8 bit setting. The 12-bit JPEG setting is the recommended setting.
  • The 8-bit JPEG setting may be suitable when file size is a concern or certain software compatibility issues apply. If you select 8-bit setting, some post processing options are not available.
8-bit Pixel formats On-Camera Processing
  • Gain
  • Black Level
  • Pixel Correction
  • White Balance
  • Gamma
Post Processing on PC
  • Stitching
  • Fall off Correction
  • Sharpening
  • Tone Mapping

12-bit Pixel Formats 
On-Camera Processing
  • Pixel Correction
Post Processing on PC  
  • Stitching
  • Fall off Correction
  • Sharpening
  • Tone Mapping
  • Bayer Decoding
  • Gain
  • Black Level
  • White Balance
  • Gamma
  • EV Compensation

 

Shutter Range Mode

There are three preset shutter range modes. Choose the shutter range according to the conditions of use, as defined below:

  • Motion—This is the default setting. The maximum shutter time is set as short as possible to prevent motion blur. It is best used outdoors while driving at highway speed or the resulting images may be too dark.
  • Indoor—The maximum shutter time is slightly longer than the motion mode. Use for indoor applications and when the camera motion approximates walking speed.
  • Low Noise—The maximum shutter time is not restricted. Use when the camera is stationary or operating in conditions of low light.

Gamma

When using 12-bit mode, gamma correction is done at the post processing stage.

When using 8-bit mode, the gamma option must be turned on before you start the capture process. It cannot be changed once this process has begun.

  1. In Ladybug Recorder, click Settings to access gamma.
  2. Set gamma to a value between 1.8 and 2.2.

Automatic White Balance (AWB)

AWB is a system of color correction used for different lighting conditions. It is adjusted by modifying the relative gain of R, G, and B to keep white areas looking white under changing lighting conditions. If you write your own collect software, make the API call for AWB every 20 frames.

When using 12-bit mode, AWB is adjusted during post processing.

When using 8-bit mode, the AWB can only be set during the capture stage. In Ladybug Recorder, click the AWB button occasionally while capturing to adjust for changes in lighting conditions.

GPS

Turn on GPS and set the data update interval time before capture. Set the interval for double the output rate of the GPS. For example, if GPS sends out data every 1 second, set the interval to 500 ms.

To turn on the GPS option for one use, use Ladybug Recorder:

  1. In Ladybug Recorder, click GPS.
  2. Set the ON/OFF drop-down to ON.
  3. Set the Update Interval in ms.



To turn on the GPS option every time LadybugCapPro is started:

  1. In LadybugCapPro, from the Settings menu, select Option.
  2. In the Options dialog, select Start GPS when starting LadybugCapPro.
  3. Set the Update Interval in ms.

Optimizing Post Processing

There are a number of options to set during post processing to improve image results. Access the following controls using LadybugCapPro main toolbar.

Color Processing

To improve the color processing results:

  1. From the LadybugCapPro main toolbar, click the color processing button.
  2. Select High Quality Linear. If using an NVIDEA graphics card, select High Quality Linear GPU.

This selection must be made every time LadybugCapPro is started.


Image Quality

The Image Processing window shows the default settings, which are the recommended settings for best image quality. Tone Mapping is not turned on as a default setting, but should be turned on to improve quality. To access these controls, from the Settings menu, select Image Processing.

 

Dynamic Stitching

The captured images are “stitched” together using an algorithm that examines the image overlap along each seam and determines various ranges values along it. There are three settings to control stitching, including two options for dynamic stitching. Click the button   for the drop-down menu of settings as follows:

  • Manual—sets the sphere size to a fixed range.
  • Dynamic (one-shot)—makes adjustments based on information from a single image and uses these results on all following frames.
  • Auto Dynamic stitch—runs the pattern-matching algorithm on every frame. The processing speed is slower, but fewer image artifacts appear when the scenery changes. The default setting for the minimum and maximum distance is 2 meters – 100 meters.

To improve the speed for this option:

  1. From the Settings menu, select Options.
  2. Adjust the values in in the Options dialog.

To improve the processing time of the pattern-matching algorithm, narrow the range, for example, to 4 meters – 20 meters.

Camera Care

Follow these guidelines to help protect Ladybug5 from damage:

  • Avoid:
    • excessive shaking, dropping, or mishandling of the camera;
    • extended exposure to bright sunlight, rain, or dust;
    • electrostatic charge; and
    • touching the lenses when handling the camera.
  • To clean the lenses, use a standard camera lens cleaning kit or a dry cotton cloth. Avoid heavy pressure.
  • If the Ladybug5 is mounted to a vehicle and stored outside, cover the camera when not in use to prevent the accumulation of dust and pooling of precipitation on the lenses.
 

Do not open the camera housing. This voids the warranty.

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