Monitoring Activities from Multiple Video Streams: Establishing a Common Coordinate Frame

Unknown author (1999-04-01)

Passive monitoring of large sites typically requires coordination between multiple cameras, which in turn requires methods for automatically relating events between distributed cameras. This paper tackles the problem of self-calibration of multiple cameras which are very far apart, using feature correspondences to determine the camera geometry. The key problem is finding such correspondences. Since the camera geometry and photometric characteristics vary considerably between images, one cannot use brightness and/or proximity constraints. Instead we apply planar geometric constraints to moving objects in the scene in order to align the scene"s ground plane across multiple views. We do not assume synchronized cameras, and we show that enforcing geometric constraints enables us to align the tracking data in time. Once we have recovered the homography which aligns the planar structure in the scene, we can compute from the homography matrix the 3D position of the plane and the relative camera positions. This in turn enables us to recover a homography matrix which maps the images to an overhead view. We demonstrate this technique in two settings: a controlled lab setting where we test the effects of errors in internal camera calibration, and an uncontrolled, outdoor setting in which the full procedure is applied to external camera calibration and ground plane recovery. In spite of noise in the internal camera parameters and image data, the system successfully recovers both planar structure and relative camera positions in both settings.