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How to Calibrate the Birdeye 360GD Birdview Camera

calibrating-the-camera.jpg

If you read the other post on this, you'll know I've bought one of those all-round birdseye view cameras for my new car. It lets you see the road as if viewed from a bird flying just above the car.

It works by stitching the view from 4 panoramic cameras into one view. But it needs calibrating. This is how to calibrate it yourself (thanks to Hubbie for help).

Preparation

The unit has a remote control and an IR sensor. On mine they put the sensor low down next to the peddles. Turn the car's power on, and press enter on the remote control to wake the unit. The touch display doesn't drive the camera, the remote does. Tapping on the screen of your car's DVD player will do nothing, always use the remote to operate the camera box.

Turn the cameras on

The display should come on showing the camera. Before we start calibrating, we need to switch the cameras on all the time so they don't turn off. Using the up down keys select System Settings. Select Delay Settings, press enter and select Never. The select Save to save the setting. Now the camera will never turn off, it will remain on as long as the car is on.

Calibrate the Cameras

This is a two person job, one to hold the box, one to operate the remote, view the display and guide the other person.

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The box comes with a checker grid, printed into the lid. This is to calibrate the cameras. Select Camera Calibrate, then Auto Calibrate. One by one we calibrate the four cameras, starting with the front camera. Hold the box lid checker grid in front of the front camera, get someone to view the display. The box should be square on to the camera lens, with the shorter side up-down, and the longer side along the car. There is a dot in the center, try to align the dot with the cross on the display. Press Button 0, if the calibration is usable it will show some numbers and a green OK.

calibrating-the-camera3.jpg

If it's red, with no numbers, try holding the box closer or further away, press 0 and try again. Once it's correct, press enter to move to the next camera and calibrate that in the same way. When all 4 cameras are show, and all are green, press the Save button, and select Yes to save the calibration.

Lay Down Tapes

Tape a black rectangle marking the outline of the car on the ground, this is as close as you dare get to another car or wall. 10cms of buffer space extra around the car is common. I did not allow extra space for the wing mirrors, because I don't mind my wing mirrors overlapping the curb. But if you're worried about the wing mirrors hitting posts, you can allow extra for the wing mirrors when marking out the car.

Mark where the wing mirror camera is on the ground too, we need this to align the side mats. When placing the mats we will align the mat to this point on the tape.

Enter the Basic Settings

Select BirdView Calibrate, the default password is 111. That takes you to a menu with the basic parameters in it.

birdview-calibrate-menu.jpg

The cars length on this display is the distance from the front tape to the back tape on the ground measured in cms. The width, similarly is the distance between the tapes you marked on the ground.
Remember we marked where the wing mirror camera is? This is where the side calibration mat will be placed. The Cloth Offset is the distance from the front tape line to this mark.

I liked the Far view range, which shows things a little more distant, and chose MPV as the car type. This changes the picture of the car in the middle of the screen. MPV is a white minivan picture.

Lens type was disabled and set to 1, you cannot change it.

Select Manual Calibrate

You can buy special mats of the correct size with the checker pattern printed on them. Find them here on Aliexpress: Car Camera Correction Cloth For 360 Degree Seamless Panoramic Camera Car. But they're really for dealers, $30 is a lot to pay for a one off use.

If you have the mats, you can lay them down and select 'Automatic Calibrate' and let the system detect the mats.

We will do it manually, one by one. Prepare a mat, I used a beach mat, and marked the mat with black and yellow tape. You need to mark 4 corners and the reference corners. Shown here in blue:

prepare-the-mat.jpg

The inner marks are 1.4m by 1m apart, and the reference corners are an extra 10cms to the bottom left and bottom right. We use these to line up the mat against the car, the reference corners are always kept facing the car as we move this mat around the car, we turn the mat around so the reference corners are always closest to the car.

Starting with the front camera, lay the mat with the long near edge near the car along the tape lines you marked, center it on the car. Select Manual Calibrate, you can see the mat in the camera and a cross made of red lines.

Adjust the position of the red cross lines so it points to the top left cross you marked on the mat. When you get close, press 0 to switch between fine and course movement mode. When you've hit the target press enter.

Now the red cross moves. We select the top right corner, as before line it up to the top right cross and press enter.

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Next the bottom left corner and the bottom right corners. After the first 4 points, it will switch to the rear camera, so we need to move the mat to the back of the car at this point. Line the mat up along the tape you marked down, centered on the car, with the two reference corners nearest the car.

normal-lay-down-mats.jpg

As before line the red crosses up to the crosses on the mat and do the next four control points. For the side cameras, I found it was best to place the reference corner under the wing mirror with the mat laying from the wing mirror back towards the end of the car. Then set those four points. And repeat that on the other side.

Once all 16 points have been set, press Save, and select 'Yes' to save the settings.

Now Some Fine Tuning

Next the fine tuning menu on BirdView Calibrate. I laid some garden hose pipe along the front of the car and you can see the problem. In the front camera the pipe isn't straight, it doesn't line up with the view in the right camera.

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Press 5 to switch between front, back, left and right cameras. Press 7 to select between the 4 control points. For this I'm moving up the top right control point, since the front camera seems a little squashed at the right edge. You can switch between cameras and control points and try again and again to adjust them till it looks correct. Use the arrows keys to nudge the control points around a little and see how they affect the display.

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After a bit of trial and error, you can see the hose pipe now looks like it's a single line and the tiles look even and square. I think the front camera is correct now. The BirdView looks good, so I'm satisfied it's aligned correctly.

You can repeat this to check all the cameras, laying the hose pipe in fancy patterns along side and front back views, and then adjusting the views so the hose pipe looks like a real pipe on the floor, and your driveway tiles look square and even and like proper tiles.

Press 'Save' to save the settings once you're done, or you'll lose the settings.

Adjust the Display Settings

I thought the rear camera was pointing too far down, but this is easy to fix. Select Display Settings and adjust the angle of the rear camera. Since it's a wide angle dome lens, you can simply adjust the view angle in the settings, you don't need to have the camera adjusted, just adjust the settings! This is true of all 4 cameras, it's very easy to get the view you want, these views will appear in the right half of the display.

Finally In Control Settings, switch the delay to 15 seconds. This is how long the cameras will stay on, after you use the indicator, or reverse. The camera needs to stay on, so you can park using the camera. I found 15 seconds was about right, but you can choose other settings if you prefer.

Select Save and you're done. You'll never go back to a single camera every again!

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