Volca: Building a volumetric camera

Volca is a current project centred on investigating new kinds of camera for new kinds of imaging. Using volumetric imaging from a Kinect 3d sensor driven by openKinect wrapped in C++ openframeworks.

Currently the system creates a live 3d mesh with fore and back clipping, allowing for isolation of elements based on depth, allows painting the mesh from the inbuilt RGB camera, records and plays back painted meshes and allow 3d viewing of the mesh. the OpenCV computer vision library is incorporated giving simple blob and object detection and image processing routines applied to RGB and Depth data.

In progress is:

  • battery power modification of the Kinect to allow portability, particularly for street photography.
  • Inclusion of an additional DSLR (Canon 5d mkII) above the kinect, to allow high resolution RGB frames to be painted onto the mesh.
  • Addition of functionality to record both long exposure and timelapse imaging
  • Improved CV functions for face detection and flow detection
  • Incorporation of image recognition functions to ‘learn’ to label objects
  • EXIF meta data with GPS tagging, timestamping, capture settings etc
  • A/R style data overlay scraped from web sources
  • wifi and radio spectrum signal data sensing


partially built out of the ofxKinect libraries from openFrameworks (http://openframeworks.cc/documentation/ofxKinect/ofxKinect/) and using the Kinect Mesh recorder demo from Pelayo Mendez
(forked source code is here https://github.com/danbz/ofxKinectMeshRecorder)
The work on DepthKit, an RGBD (RGB and Depth) video project using Kinect and linked DSLR has been useful reading, the approach is geared more toward 3d video/motion capture for immersive video experiences the work is complex and now being commercialised. However I have a fork of the original open source material here https://github.com/danbz/ofxRGBDepth.

Early Volumetric Camera recording tests with unpainted point cloud in mp4.

3d printed parts for volumetric camera mount.
3d printed parts for volumetric camera mount.


The designs are available here opensource at Thingiverse.
I ordered the printing though 3dhub.com and it was printed in black PETG by Simon at Demon3d in Bristol.

The parts are assembled with stainless steel nuts and bolts and have a Manfrotto style camera quickrelease mount on top for ease of use.

Underneath the unit has a standard mount to connect to tripods, gimbals and other photographic equipment.

The mount until will be extended to house the hacked Kinect battery pack, and new portable mini pc (possibly raspberry pi).

3d printed parts for volumetric camera mount with Canon EOS-M mirrorless camera for RGB image collection
3d printed parts for volumetric camera mount with Canon EOS-M mirrorless camera for RGB image collection

3d printed parts for volumetric camera mount with Canon EOS-M mirrorless camera for RGB image collection

tests with multi rendering playback styles, freeze frame and frame scrubbing enabled.

newest tests with openCV routines for erosion, dilation and gaussian blur applied to either the RGB image feed or the the depth data changing the live mesh. also featuring new recording settings for single shot recording and playback with EXIF metadata recording and loading.

test of openframeworks Kinext RGBD Volca volume camera software with simple OpenCv routines from Daniel Buzzo on Vimeo.

see the current source code here on github https://github.com/danbz/volume-camera