What is your favorite camera/lens combination for shooting with Depthkit Capture Pro?

We have our equipment recommendations, but we really want to know what other creators are using for external cameras with the Kinect. Please share here!

My favorite affordable, mobile shooting kit for Depthkit is:

  • Sony Alpha A7R II (or III)
  • Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS // or Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8 for lower light
  • SanDisk SDXC 512GB Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-1 U3
  • Not addressing audio here, but you’ll need a mic!

The reason that I like the A7R II or the newer A7R III is that you can elect to switch between full/partial frame shooting at 4K resolution. This allows you to film in 4K with a relatively wide angle lens without sacrificing the field of view. Most cameras will shoot with a portion of the sensor at 4K which effectively zooms the lens in, making it difficult to get a wide field of view at high resolution.

Love this topic, as it is ever present and will never get old. Cameras move so fast, so I feel like I’m asking this same question for every job and constantly reassessing the situation.

@Alexander, it’s great to see your recommendation as your knowledge of cameras is greatly appreciated and valued to me! That full frame at 4K is something I haven’t thought about yet. I’m still used to just searching for full frame 1080 cameras even though I’ve been doing the last 3 projects in 4K!

As for me, I’ve been using the Panasonic GH5 for all my Depthkit work. The main reason I’m using this, is because of its color space. I had a very deep conversation about this on the slack channel and was wondering what the best portable 4K SLR was for green screen shoots. We all got into a big discussion and landed on the Panasonic GH5 having the best color space for green screen keying. It has the option to shoot 4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra. This was explained to me of having the best possible color space (at the time) for green screen keying. I’ve used it for 3 projects now, and to be honest, I have no idea if this color space is overkill or even that necessary in the end? What color space does the A7R II have? @Alexander you have more knowledge then me on cameras so it would be great to hear your thoughts on this!

I am still figuring out the forums, so bear with me.

@Andrew, the 4:2:2 10-bit color space is about as good as you can get for prosumer level cameras when it comes to pulling a clean key. The only better options are 4:4:4:4 or RAW, and the cheapest option with those specs is something like the Blackmagic Ursa Mini.

I believe the Sony mirrorless cameras (A7x/A9) all output 4:2:0 8-bit color.

Thanks so much for this @Cory, I believe you were one of the reasons I switched to the GH5 in the first place!

To @Jillian, Chris Staring, @Alexander, and all other users, I’m going to recap everything we’ve learned in this forum and in the slack channel that is being laid to rest. Big thanks to everyone above for adding to this discussion. There is so much important information to keep track of for different kinds of shoots, so I’m going to post it here for my own sanity and to help others moving forward. Feel free to reply with any edits and I will update and or amend.

@Alexander’s favorite affordable, mobile set-up for 4K 8-bit color full frame DSLRs:

  • Sony Alpha A7R II (or III)
  • Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS // or Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8 for lower light
  • SanDisk SDXC 512GB Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-1 U3
  • Not addressing audio here, but you’ll need a mic!*

My comments: PROS include having a full/partial frame sensor. This will allow you to use lenses without needing to calculate a crop factor. Also, this will allow more light due to using the large sensor. CONS include only having 4:2:0 8-bit color, which may lead to a lower quality green screen key. However, this is based purely on camera specs and not actual evidence/comparisons. Happy to hear any thoughts on this.

@Andrew’s favorite set-up for affordable, mobile set-up for 4K 10-bit color footage for micro four thirds DSLRs.

  • Panasonic GH5 (must use the latest firmware update that allows for 4:2:2 10-bit ALL-intra recording)
  • Olympus M. Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro (I believe, this is/was the same lens Depthkit uses in their studio with their Black Magic studio cameras)
  • Delkin Devices SDXC UHS-II V90 128 GB (The 10-bit recording mode requires you to have a badass SD card that can handle the footage. I’ve tried many cards, and they fail after a certain amount of recording. After doing research, I read that they must have a UHS-II or V90 rating on them. The mentioned card works great for me)

My comments: PROS: I can rest well knowing I have 10-bit footage for my keying. CONS: This 10-bit footage may be overkill. I am not a keying expert, but technically speaking, 10-bit footage should provide a better key then 8-bit. Another con is that you are dealing with a micro four thirds sensor which will not give you as much light as a full frame sensor. You must make sure you light your subject well so you aren’t maxing out your settings on the camera.

@Cory’s amazing guide and formulas to determine a proper lens to use:

Some cameras have bigger “full frame” sensors than others, and some cameras crop the sensor based on which resolution you are shooting. My rule of thumb is ideal focal length = horizontal dimension of your camera sensor x .48 (this calculation is for zero sensor crops.

Example: A7Sii sensor is 35.6mm x .48 = ~17mm

It also depends on the effective aspect ratio you want to capture. For a squarer frame, you’ll want the vertical FOV to match between color & depth cameras, which means using the wider focal length on the color camera.

However, if you want something more widescreen (shooting portrait, and you know your subject is going to keep their arms at their side) then you can use a slightly longer lens to match the horizontal FOV of the depth & color cameras.

Other camera/lens set-ups used in the past by me:

  • Canon 5D MK III
  • Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

Hello everyone! I am Andrea from Italy and I am a newbie. We own a Sony Cybershot RX100M3 and a Sony Alpha 5000. They are both mirorless. Do you think they are ok to start approaching Dephtkit software? We have a project for a multimedia kids campus and would like to capture kids and project themi inside a cartoon scene. Of course with high-end cameras. But we want to start testing with our owned camera in our HQ.

1 Like

Hey Andrea and welcome! To share a bit of background, this post is referring to our legacy tools (in retirement) and right now we are reworking external camera calibration into the latest version of Depthkit. Long story short, Depthkit Record and Pro are using sensor only capture while our new external camera calibration system is on the way. So stay tuned and we will let you know when the use of an external camera with Depthkit is ready!

Hey Jillian!

Has the support for using an external camera been added to Depthkit? I have an upcoming production that I was planning to use this with. If not is the legacy version still available?

Hey Chris! Our re-designed camera calibration is going to be ready real soon. We just have a bit of internal testing to do. Do you want to email me your project details at support@depthkit.tv? We can chat about your timeline and next steps to get you set up.

Yes will email now, thank you!

1 Like

Hello @jillianmorrow, @CoryAllen and all.
Is the new camera calibration available now? At Zu we wanted to test the Cinema workflow to get a feel for it but I’m not sure if it’s relevant with the Studio license?
If it it, we have a Sony A73 with a 28-70 zoom lens and the option to use a Canon 5D Mk4 with a few lenses (will check your info about the best lens options based on the sensor FOV in relation to lens FOV).

Since it’s a test, we won’t be rigging the Camera direct to the Azure but probably have it just above the sensor.

Thanks for any advice you can share!

Hi, @VeroniqueLevert. Depthkit Studio includes all Depthkit Cinema features, so you should be able to get straight into testing.

Both the A7 III and the 5D IV are full-frame cameras, so to match the Azure Kinect’s field of view, we recommend using a lens with a 16-17mm focal length. Please note that both cameras also record at 29.97fps, not 30.0fps like the Azure Kinect, so the footage may need to be re-timed in post.

Though it’s possible to combine Depthkit Studio and Depthkit Cinema workflows into what we call Studio + Cinema (experimental), the workflow is complex, and the quality improvements only apply to specific outputs like Studio Mesh Sequence Export. Do you have a goal in mind for this workflow?

1 Like

Thanks for the prompt response @CoryAllen!
This is good to know, as I was under the impression both those cameras were real 30fps.
We don’t have a precise goal in mind for this week, but I will get back to you with an update tomorrow once we make a plan for the following week.
Thanks again!