Introduction

Mirasys VCA (Video Content Analytics) comprises a set of real-time video analytics solutions that utilizes advanced image processing algorithms to turn video into actionable intelligence. At the core of the product is an advanced object recognition and tracking engine that continually tracks moving and stationary targets. The tracking engine features built-in robustness to environmental nuisance conditions such as changing illumination, moving foliage, rippling water, etc.

Mirasys VCA is a generic name for a suite of video analytics add-on product options that include functionality such as :

Motion object tracking: Motion-data based object highlighting and tracking, auto- zoom functionality. The motion-data is produced by server-based , hermeneutic motion detection.

Tripwire counting: In addition to motion object tra cking functionality, line counting for over-head installed cameras, and Spotter client-based counter visualization.

Object behaviour/attributes detection: In addition to the aforementioned functionality, to continually track and classify moving and stationary targets and features a full suite of rule-based filters including such as: enter, exit, appear, disappear, stopped objects, directionality constraints, object counting, loitering, object type and object speed. Multiple filters are supported on any combination of multiple overlapping detection zones. In addition to an advanced people tracking engine optimized for tracking people in cluttered indoor scenes such as retail scenarios. Includes specific high-accuracy counting functions optimized for use in busy scenes.

Related analytics options: Available as separate applications, products or through project-based integrations:

Camera-based (built-in, edge) analytics support for selected camera manufacturers and their functionality through manufacturer-specific integration connectors.

Audio analytics technologies, which refers to software for extraction of information and meaning from audio signals, such as detecting sounds of breaking glass, etc.

Facial recognition technologies, which refers to software for automatically identifying or verifying the identity, age, gender, etc., of a person from video footage.

Getting Started Process

In order to get started, the following steps should be executed for each server:

  1. Decide upon the VCA functionality that meets your requirements. Please see, e.g., the “Mirasys Analytics and Reporting White Paper” for guidance or consult your Mirasys representative.
  2. Acquire and install a Mirasys VMS system and the related software license key with the required number of VCA channels and other features enabled. (See the “Mirasys VMS Installation Guide ” and the “Mirasys VMS Administration Guide” for details.)
  3. Add and configure the video cameras you intend to use for VCA. If VCA functionality requires only Mirasys VCA motion object tracking features, for each video channel optionally enable the hermeneutic motion detection (if continuous recording mode is not sufficient for your needs) using the System Manager application, and jump to step 9. (See the “Mirasys VMS Administrator Guide” for details regarding enabling hermeneutic motion detection.)
  4. Activate the Mirasys VCA using the VCA Configuration Tool. (See section “Activating Mirasys VCA”.)
  5. Obtain the VCA activation license codes for the feature set required and activate Mirasys VCA with these licenses. (See section 3. )
  6. Calibrate each camera. (See section Camera Calibration and VCA Core manual from VCA Technology.)
  7. Configure the detection rules for each camera . (See section 6. Using VCA to Trigger Alarms, for more advanced use refer to VCA Core manual.
  8. Exit the VCA Configuration Tool (the DVRServer service – the recoding service component of Mirasys VMS - will restart. See the end of section “Configuring Detection Rules”.)
  9. Verify VCA functionality visualization using the Spotter for Windows application. (See section Mirasys VCA Visualization ”.)
  10. Create VCA alarms using the System Manager application. (See section “Using VCA to Trigger Alarms”.)

Obtaining MIRASYS VCA activation license

VCA ACTIVATION

Most features of the Mirasys VCA must be activated before they can be used. Activating Mirasys VCA consists of the following steps: 

• Obtaining VCA license activation codes.
• Applying the VCA license activation codes to the system. (See section “ Activating Mirasys VCA”.) 

OBTAINING THE ACTIVATION CODE 

Before Mirasys VCA can be enabled, it must be activated. Typically, a VCA license activation code is supplied by Mirasys directly, or by your Mirasys representative, upon receipt of a valid hardware globally unique identifier (HWGUID) code generated on the server on which Mirasys VCA is to be activated. The VCA license activation process is outlined below: 

1. On the server where VCA license activation is required, export the HWGUID.txt file from VCA Configuration Tool using “Hardware GUID export”.


2. Send the created HWGUID.txt file via email to the address of orders or ask your sales contact. Mirasys will then provide the VCA activation code for the required evaluation or production licenses.

The VCA activation code is created based on factors such as: 

• Server main board
• Hard drive
• Processor
• Network MAC address
• Graphics adapter
• Operating system version

If there is an operating system change, then an existing activation is not valid any longer. For hardware changes, if three factors still match, then the existing activation code can be used, but a new HWGUID would be different, if regenerated.

The actual VCA license files are stored by default in the C:\Program Files (x86)\DVMS\DVR\ folder using the naming convention “License_n.lic”, where ‘n’ is a number differentiating between different licenses (e.g., evaluation licenses vs. production licenses, or different types of licenses).

Activating Mirasys VCA

In order to use the VCA beyond the motion object tracking functionality, the VCA license codes need to be activated in the VCA Configuration Tool. 

1) Open the VCA Configuration Tool, select the license tab and add your licenses.
2) To add a license select the “Give license code” or the “Browse license from file” option.
3) When license is accepted it appears in the license list.

It is possible to add up to 8 licenses per server. All licenses can be of different type and they can have different amounts of channels.


Take License in use

To take a VCA license in use, select the cameras tab in the VCA Configuration Tool. One or several licenses can be selected for one camera.

1) Select the VCA checkbox. Now the licenses that were activated in the License tab are visible. 

2) You must select which license you want to use for each camera. It is also possible to use more than one license for the selected camera. This way different features can be selected for one camera. 

3) Depending on the VCA license, several cameras can be configured (with different license combinations). Available cameras are marked with green highlight. If there are no VCA engines left, the camera is highlighted in yellow.

4) After licenses are selected select “Configure” to configure cameras and set events.


Camera Calibration

Camera calibration is required for the Mirasys VCA core to provide the three-dimensional aspects of the scene for classifying detected objects into different object classes, such as people or vehicles. Once the camera has been calibrated, the engine can infer real-world object properties such as speed, height and area and classify the objects accordingly.

NOTE: Use of PTZ cameras or cameras with automatic zoom lenses are discouraged from being used for server based VCA, as the camera calibration, rules and counters will be invalidated by camera/lens movement, resulting in false alarms and incorrect calculations.

Camera Calibration Topics

  • Calibration Page Elements
  • Calibrating a Camera
  • Advanced Calibration Parameters
  • Vertical Field of View (FoV)
  • Measurement Units

Calibration Page Elements

The following describes the purpose of each element of the calibration page. To get started calibrating straight away, see the Calibrating a Camera topic below.

3D Graphics Overlay

During the calibration process, the features in the video image need to be matched with a 3D graphics overlay. The 3D graphics overlay consists of a green grid that represents the ground plane. Placed on the ground plane are 3D mimics that represent the dimensions of a person with the current calibration parameters. The calibration mimics are used for verifying the size of a person in the scene.

Mouse controls

The calibration parameters can be adjusted as follows:

  • Click and drag the ground plane to change the tilt angle.
  • Use the mouse wheel to adjust the camera height.
  • Hover mouse over VFOV value and click up or down buttons to change the vertical field of view.

Other Graphical Tools

There are several other graphical tools that can be used to make the calibration process simpler and more accurate.

Horizon

The horizon can be displayed by clicking the horizon checkbox . If the horizon is visible in the video, it is possible to use this to help set the tilt angle. Drag the grid until the horizon in the video matches the graphical horizon.

Additional Mimics

Additional mimics can be added to verify the calibration configuration. Right-click the camera view and click , if you want to remove a mimic right-click the mimic and click .

Grid Opacity

Default values for the ground plane opacity for grid lines is set to 0,80 and fill is set to 0.40 this makes the video clearer. The transparent grid lines and fill can be changed separately , lower opacity value makes them less visible.

Calibrating a Camera

Calibrating a camera is necessary in order to estimate object parameters such as height, area, speed and classification. If you know the height, tilt angle and vertical field of view corresponding to your installation, you can simply type the parameters in the appropriate boxe s.

If you do not know, or are unable to find out the camera parameters, this topic provides a step-by-step guide to calibrating a camera.

Step 1: Find some people in the scene

Find some people, or some people-sized objects in the scene. Try to find a person near the camera, and a person further away from the camera. It is useful to pause the video by right clicking the camera view and selecting , so that the mimics can be accurately placed. Place the mimics on top of or near the people. Enter in the known height or estimated height.

Step 2: Adjust tilt angle and camera height

Adjust the camera tilt angle and vertical field of view until both mimics are approximately the same size as a real person at that position in the scene. If an estimated height is entered , then adjust this along with the other two parameters.

Click and drag the ground plane to change the tilt angle, use the mouse wheel to adjust the camera height and drag the slider to change the vertical field of view.

The calibration parameters will be reflected in the edit boxes in the Camera Setup section of the web page. Then Apply the changes.

Once the changes have been applied, the Calibration Status reflects whether the operation was successful, and if so, in which mode the camera is calibrated.

Step 3: Verify the setup

Once you are happy that the scene is correctly calibrated, verify the settings by dragging the mimics around and comparing them to other people or people-sized objects in the scene.

The more locations in the scene where the calibration is verified, the more accurate the calibration will be.

The 3 calibration parameters can be fine-tuned in the same way as detailed in Step 2.

Refer to the Camera Page Elements Topic for information regarding additional calibration tools that can help improve the accuracy of the calibration.

Once the settings have been successfully applied, objects in the scene are annotated with height, area, speed and classification. To change the measurement units between Metric and Imperial, please refer to the Measurement Units Topic.

Advanced Calibration Parameters

The advanced calibration parameters allow the ground plane to be panned and rolled without affecting the camera calibration parameters. This can be useful to visualize the calibration setup if the scene has pan or roll with respect to the camera.

Note that the pan and roll advanced parameters only affect the orientation of the 3D ground plane so that it can be more conveniently aligned with the video scene, and does not actually affect the calibration parameters.

To use the advanced parameters click on the advanced parameters button. Drag the pan and roll slider controls to change the pan and roll of the ground plane.

Vertical Field of View

The vertical field of view is required when calibrating a camera. If you know the vertical field of view of the camera it can be entered directly. If however, you don't know the vertical field of view, it can be determined from the following table, given the vertical image dimension and its focal length:

Focal length (mm) 

Image format 

Vertical image 
dimension (mm) 

1 

1.2 

1.4 

1.6 

1.8 

1/4” 

2.4 

100.39 

90.00 

81.20 

73.74 

67.38 

1/3” 

3.6 

121.89 

112.62 

104.25 

96.73 

90.00 

1/1.8” 

5.32 

138.79 

131.44 

124.48 

117.95 

111.83 

Focal length (mm) 

Image format 

Vertical image 
dimension (mm) 

2 

2.2 

2.4 

2.6 

2.8 

1/4” 

2.4 

61.93 

57.22 

53.13 

49.55 

46.40 

1/3” 

3.6 

83.97 

78.58 

73.74 

69.39 

65.47 

1/1.8” 

5.32 

106.12 

100.81 

95.88 

91.31 

87.06 

Focal length (mm) 

Image format 

Vertical image 
dimension (mm) 

3 

4 

6 

10 

15 

1/4” 

2.4 

43.60 

33.40 

22.62 

13.69 

9.15 

1/3” 

3.6 

61.93 

48.46 

33.40 

20.41 

13.69 

1/1.8” 

5.32 

83.12 

67.25 

47.82 

29.79 

20.11 

Focal length (mm) 

Image format 

Vertical image 
dimension (mm) 

20 

30 

40 

50 

1/4” 

2.4 

6.87 

4.58 

3.44 

2.75 

1/3” 

3.6 

10.29 

6.87 

5.15 

4.12 

1/1.8” 

5.32 

15.15 

10.13 

7.61 

6.09 

If you are unable to determine the vertical field of view for your camera from the above tables, leave the field of view at its default setting, 40°.

Mirasys VCA Visualization

VCA Visualization in Spotter

1. Open Mirasys Spotter and open a camera where you configured VCA.

2. Open camera tools and select “Highlight”. The “Highlight moving targets” is on by default, if camera has VCA configured. You can leave it on or deselect it. You can select which other options you want to see for the VCA camera. The available options are: Highlight moving targets, Show tracks, Show textual info (if ANPR+ is configured), Show zones, Show lines, Show counters and Reset counters

3. You can set these settings on and off anytime you want in Spotter. Zones/lines will only appear when the related rule was triggered.

Customize VCA Visualization in Spotter Settings

1. To customize the Bounding box colours, etc., open Spotter Settings and select the Plugins tab.

2. Select VCA Visualization plugin. You can now select Visualization colour and Zone colour. It is also possible to set Line thickness and time for line length. These settings are also possible to set to be automatic, which means that line thickness is adjusted to window size.

Using VCA to Trigger Alarms

1. Open Mirasys System Manager Alarm Settings

2. Create new alarm and select “Metadata” as Trigger type.

3. Select a camera that has VCA events configured and select correct zone ID (the zones you set in VCA Configuration tool. Note that the Zone ID is the # shown in the tooltip of the zone.). Below zone dropdown, the possible events are listed. The ones you have configured are marked in the list with brackets that say “(Configured)”. Select one of the configured events. It is up to you whether you want to define an ending input as well.

4. Move to the actions tab and select and action for you alarm.

5. Save Settings and open Spotter to view Alarm list.