Camera technology has rapidly stepped up its sophistication in recent years, especially in the field of PTZ cameras, so it can be daunting to figure out which equipment you need to build a PTZ environment for your event space, remote production, meeting room, or house of worship. PTZOptics excels in simplifying your search, providing a variety of cameras and controller options that are easy to set up and use, fitting into just about any production environment.
PTZ cameras are remotely controlled cameras that can robotically pan, tilt, and zoom, and they fit into environments that may only have one operator or need to cover large areas without needing individual camera operators. There are a few areas to consider when building your PTZ camera setup.
Different Cameras for Different Environments
First, there’s choosing the right camera for your environment. The right setup for your production will depend on whether you want to set them up on an IP network; output video via SDI, HDMI, and/or USB ports for recording, switching, or monitoring; for use as a webcam with a computer for video conferencing; or if you need to drop them into an NDI or Dante network. Another consideration is how the cameras need to be connected―whether you want to utilize Ethernet cabling for video and control, PoE / direct mains power, or if you need serial cabling for a controller.
Starting with the simplest to set up and use, a webcam such as the Webcam 80 V2 can mount on your monitor or sit on your desktop and plug into your computer using a standard USB connection to join a remote meeting, give a presentation, or produce creator videos. While it offers no mechanical movement, its plug-and-play style camera features a built-in wide-angle lens and can be used to capture audio and sharp HD imagery up to 1080p, while easily integrating with popular conferencing apps. The Webcam 80 can ePTZ with PTZOptics' free Webcam Config Tool.
When you’re stationary at a desk or need a solid, high-definition, studio or monitoring camera with a zoom lens and different output options, The PTZOptics Studio Pro, ePTZ, and ZCam box-style cameras are great for studio production, content creation, monitoring, and surveillance, but don’t have motorized pan/tilt operation.
The Studio Pro provides USB-C 3.0, HDMI, and IP and NDI|HX live streaming video output, PoE, and it supports up to 1080p60 resolution. Its lens features a 12x optical and 16x digital zoom.
The more streamlined ZCam box-style cameras come in 4, 12, and 20x optical zoom models, which provide 3G-SDI and SRT streaming outputs, also with support for 1080p60 video. Other ZCam models also support NDI|HX streams along with PoE.
The ePTZ cameras are the simplest models, which feature support for 1080p30 video, SDI, and SRT IP outputs, and they have a fixed lens and 8x digital zoom.
Pro-Level PTZ Cameras
For professional settings that require remote camera movement and/or 4K resolution, the true PTZ cameras with remotely controlled pan, tilt, and optical zoom are available for larger environments that need versatile remote operation, ideally controlled by a single operator.
The Move 4K captures up to 4K60-resolution video and features numerous professional features including PoE+, a tally light, HDMI/SDI/USB output, auto-tracking, and it comes in 12, 20, and 30x optical zoom models. The Move 4K also supports NDI|HX streams, which allows for high-resolution, low-latency video streams to route easily on any existing NDI network.
If your network supports Dante, the Link 4K sports the same features as the Move 4K but replaces NDI|HX support to work with the latest Dante AV-H IP network technology, providing professional advanced audio features for your production. Both cameras feature a 12, 20, or 30x optical zoom lens and support remote IP, IR, or serial control.
Similar to the Move 4K, PTZOptics also provides NDI PTZ cameras that feature the same output, streaming, PoE, and NDI|HX options, but if you don’t require 4K capture, these 12, 20, and 30x optical zoom NDI PTZ models support up to 1080p60 resolution.
If you’re utilizing standard broadcast equipment such as video switchers and patch bays, you may require a PTZ camera that supports SDI. The PTZOptics line of SDI PTZ cameras provide 3G-SDI output up to 1080p60, and they also support HDMI and IP streaming output. Like the other pro PTZ cameras, they come in 12, 20, and 30x zoom models and provide IP, IR, and serial control options.
PTZOptics USB PTZ cameras are slimmed down PTZ cameras that come in 12 and 20x optical zoom models, and they are designed to output video via USB-B 3.0. They also provide HDMI and IP streaming outputs, and support up to 1080p60 video as well as IP, IR, and serial control.
Camera Control Options
Connected camera networks all have different requirements, and the above PTZ cameras can be controlled in a variety of ways. If you are using a simple webcam, there isn’t much physical control required, but if you’re using a USB PTZ camera, the PTZ USB models provide UVC controls using computer software that feature standard UVC controls.
However, when you need more robust control options and you only have a single operator on site to manage your cameras, this is where PTZ cameras are the most powerful. PTZOptics offers two controllers using a mix of both IP and serial communication.
The Camera Management Platform (CMP) makes it easy to find and control any camera on your network. Viewing up to four simultaneous live streams, you can adjust image, exposure, and color settings, to achieve consistent picture quality across all your cameras. The CMP allows you to map camera controls to a variety of computer peripherals, including gamepads. Or, if you prefer, turn on automated tracking and allow your camera to move itself. The CMP provides tools to simplify the tasks involved in managing networked cameras.
If you’re setting up your camera system in serial or on a standard IP network and you only need simple hardware controls, the IP/Serial Joystick is an easy solution. This controller features numerous buttons and a joystick that give you powerful control over as many as 255 cameras using VISCA-over-IP and 7 cameras using serial protocols. It allows you to customize movement speed, save preset positions, and handle multiple imaging controls such as iris, focus, and exposure.
The SuperJoy is an advanced serial/IP hybrid controller that supports presets and PTZ camera control, but it adds NDI|HX and Sony control support, as well as PoE, so you can keep your setup simple. The controller supports the grouping of cameras, and it allows you to control up to 4 groups of 7 cameras each, making it easier to control a large number of cameras.
Since the controllers and cameras support industry-standard IP and serial protocols, they also can control mixed environments that include PTZOptics cameras, as well as other-brand PTZ cameras. PTZOptics has also certified the HuddlecamHD HC-JOY serial controller, which can be used to control all PTZOptics PTZ cameras.
While the majority of the PTZ cameras require standard cabling, such as RJ45 for Ethernet or serial, USB cables for the webcams, and SDI and HDMI cables for video output, there are other accessories that may assist with your PTZ integration.
You may run into a situation in which you’re installing cameras and can’t quite get cabling to a desired location. To solve that problem, PTZOptics created WirelessCable, a wireless video transmission system and access point that can wirelessly transmit Ethernet video from your cameras up to 1,300' away. The units can even be daisy-chained to extend the distance up to a mile away. When purchased as a kit, the transmitter and receiver units are already pre-paired, so setup is a breeze.
For more information about PTZOptics PTZ cameras, controllers, and accessories, including additional features, specs, and highlights, be sure to check out the detailed product pages. Or drop us a line below, and we’ll do our best to answer all your comments and questions.