Point & Shoot and a whole lot more

  • With Adrian Pennington

Point & Shoot and a whole lot more

The use of PTZ cameras and systems in the broadcast, TV, and film industries are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility, ease of use, and ability to support remote productions. What’s more the technology is evolving to contain auto-tracking and auto-focus features. A combination of needing fewer camera operators, increased demand for events to be hybrid or have a virtual element, and the huge flexibility and creativity provided by a PTZ mean they are becoming a go-to for producers.  

Eamon Drew, Co-Founder, BirdDog
Auto Tracking and AR/VR workflows are the latest trends in PTZ cameras. BirdDog caters for this will all cameras including at no cost, Auto Tracking and FreeD output with all PTZ cameras.  

BirdDog is on a mission to add significant value to professional live event production and we’re delivering on this with our new NDI PTZ cameras. These promise to exceed the needs of event producers, regardless of how sophisticated - or technically challenging - their events may be.  

BirdDog’s latest range of PTZs include the BirdDog P110 and P120, as well as the P240.  Together these cameras set a new standard in format support, connection flexibility, and picture quality, while delivering excellent low light performance. Here’s a rundown of everything these new cameras have to offer.

The BirdDog P110 and P120 both house a Sony Exmor R back-illuminated sensor and deliver a number of new features and benefits including four output options - NDI, SDI, HDMI for live production work, and UVC USB for connecting to Zoom and Teams. Both support for FreeD output for AR/VR workflows with free Auto-Tracking available. Key differences between the two models are their respective optical zoom capability; the P110 features a 10x optical zoom capability, while the P120 features a 20x optical zoom.

The BirdDog P240 introduces an updated Sony Exmor R broadcast sensor to deliver increased light sensitivity and superior image quality, and offers output options NDI, SDI, and HDMI. This also features Balanced XLR audio for pro audio connections, while IP output options feature multiple flavours of NDI including Full NDI and NDI|HX2 plus h.264.

The P240 also provides system statistics such as the number of active connections, current bandwidth usage, and network traffic, and presented in an intuitive way to give users valuable insights at a quick glance. It’s one of a number of capabilities that add significant value to a professional live event production, from live sporting and concert events, to large enterprise corporate event production

Tim Godby, Product Marketing Manager, Bolin Technology 
A constant theme in our industry is the desire for 4K60 video, low latency, and low bandwidth, deliverable over long distances. In addition, live venues and broadcast facilities have increasing demands for filming, recording, and streaming their content, but often lack the people and budgets to meet all those needs. This is especially true in smaller broadcast markets, performing arts venues, and houses of worship. 

Bolin has taken on these challenges by creating two new lines of Indoor PTZ cameras, and a new Outdoor EX-Ultra, all-weather broadcast PTZ camera. Our Blue-Line Indoor PTZ cameras directly address the need for a high-quality image, with multiple baseband and streaming options built-in, all at budget-conscious prices. 

The new Red line of cameras equipped with Sony image block and Bolin's FPGA imaging technology are a perfect mix of Broadcast-quality imaging paired with the mobile, remotely controllable versatility of PTZ cameras. A remotely controlled PTZ camera can deliver the video and audio quality broadcasters need, maximising the human and budget resources.

The Red line and the EX-Ultra also feature a technology we call FAST HEVC. Based on the open standard HEVC platform, utilizing the Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, this delivers a 12G-SDI signal over IP with high quality and low latency and low bandwidth to maximize the use of limited 1G network bandwidth for IP video applications.   

The needs of our industry continue to inspire us. Bolin is proud of our new cameras, and we are eager to see how our creative customers use them.

Chris O'Brien, President, Telescript International 
Telescript’s newest offering, the PTZMini is debuting at NAB 2023.  As smaller PTZ cameras like the BirdDog 200 are becoming more widely used, the market needed a smaller prompting solution.

Telescript already offers the very popular Robo-210PTZ system (which includes a 21.5" or 24” widescreen prompter and a 24” wide hood), as well as the FPS-170-T a 17” teleprompter system made to work exclusively with Telemetrics RoboEye-2 4K Pan/Tilt System. 

Now with the addition of the recently released PTZMini, Telescript has a teleprompter solution for all PTZ cameras, both large and small.

Telescript’s PTZMini is an extremely versatile prompting system that allows the user to easily fold the prompter hood and glass (without any tools) completely clearing the PTZ camera when the prompter isn’t needed. The system comes complete with a 15" IP NDI-enabled high bright prompter monitor and comes fully assembled out of the box, which means the system can be set up in just a few minutes. 

The complete PTZMini system weighs just 6.3kg (14lbs), and as with other Telescript offerings, the PTZ mini works with standard tripods, tripods without standard heads using Telescript’s Quick Adaptor system or with C-Stands (with a Matthews adaptor).  

Besides NDI, the IP prompter display also supports SDI, HDMI & VGA. When using cameras such as the BirdDog P200 along with the PTZMini the user can take advantage of the NDI IP capabilities both systems have to offer.

Accessories for the PTZMini include Telescript’s ClockOne and TallyOne. By following the Metadata in NDI and utilizing the tally port of the IP display, the ClockOne, and the TallyOne can change colors visually alerting the talent if a particular camera is on or off-air.

In order to turn your existing Teleprompting software into an NDI device, simply download (for free) NDI Tools 5.5 and run Screen Capture or Screen Capture HX.  All of Telescripts IP NDI enable displays work with both full bandwidth NDI and NDI HX.

TeleScript teleprompters can be paired with the Telemetrics RoboEye 4K Pan/Tilt camera system, allowing users to pan in sync with the camera head and also track talent (via Telemetrics AI-assisted reFrame Talent and Object Tracking software) automatically.

See the PTZmini in action for yourself at NAB 2023 at booth C5307.

Michael Accardi, President, CueScript
One thing that is clear, the quality of new PTZ cameras is getting them into applications that no one has been prepared for. PTZs with full size imagers and removable lenses are just the latest advancement. The quality, performance, and creative control open doors for a myriad of new applications. 

In addition to the image quality, the all-in-one packaging of the PTZ cameras makes them ideal for all kinds of location work, from the satellite News bureau to the home studios of anchors and reporters. We have simply scratched the surface of where PTZs will be used. As we anticipate the coming election mayhem, we can only speculate where we will find these units deployed.

With PTZ cameras taking over what were very traditional applications, we need to develop creative solutions to match the mobility, agility, quality, and connectivity of the cameras. CueScript are introducing a Hybrid PTZ prompter that marries the advantages of our PTZ mounts with accommodations for a removable lens. The design maximizes the pan and wide-angle range, while still maintaining our low-profile style, allowing usage in tighter areas.

To complement the mobility of the PTZs, we have increased our IP solutions to include a cloud-based service. CueScript’s Cloud allows CueiT and CueTALK enabled devices to talk to each other anywhere there is a public Internet connection. Cloud is user-friendly and easily setup between local and remote applications.

Johan Lieffers, Managing Director, Datavideo
Taiwanese company Datavideo debuted its latest PTZ cameras last September including two brand new automatic tracking PTZ cameras that have great potential in the entry level market. These cameras will find their way to local television, conferences and other stage events.

Based on Datavideo’s PTC-140, highly acclaimed PTZ camera, the PTC-145 is a small PTZ camera with great optical qualities. SDI and HDMI connections ensure easy setup in almost any installation. An NDI model will follow later in the year. With just a press on the IR remote the user can activate the tracking capabilities. PTC-145 features ‘person tracking’, so it tracks the outlines of a person standing in front of the camera. Gentle motions make sure that the tracking looks natural and not jerky.

PTC-285 is the tracking version of the popular UltraHD PTC-280 by Datavideo. This tracking camera is easily installed in any studio over HDMI, or 3G SDI in case the camera is used in HD. NDI and HDBaseT models will be released as well. 12x optical zoom ensures the user of flexible framing. PTC-285 can be used with multiple people on stage, as the built-in tracking processor can distinguish and isolate the right person to follow.

Datavideo’s tracking PTZ cameras are perfect when matched with the Showcast 100 production station. This three-camera-four-input workstation can control up to three cameras and has an extra fourth HDMI input for titles, or for a tracking camera like the PTC-285. This way you create the perfect three camera setup that can be controlled from the touch screen, and a fourth tracking camera that will follow any subject while pacing back and forward over the stage.

Ivy Lee, Marketing Manager, Telecam Technology
There are many trends in PTZ but the specific one we’d like to talk about is auto-tracking. People need Auto-Tracking PTZ cameras not only to track smoothly and accurately, but also to be able to switch the target, lock the target, adjust the zoom size or preset the target position. These functions can customise the tracking route and performance so that users can better present the target in the live streaming event or content creation and offer a more engaging experience for the audience.

Our own auto-tracking feature was recently upgraded and improved. We released the beta version of the free auto-tracking firmware in February and that got amazing feedback. Telycam perfected the feature by adding functions such as switching the target, adjusting the zoom size, and presetting the target position. These functions can now be realised easily on the Telycam WebUI, matched IR remote controller, and will also be added to our TLC-50TC(NDI) joystick controller keyboard soon.

The new auto-tracking firmware is added to Telycam’s NDIHX3 series and 4K60 series PTZ cameras and is free of charge.

Tod Musgrave, Director of Cameras, Marshall Electronics
Low latency and lossless video compression continue to be big talking points for broadcasters over the past several years. Broadcast production facilities are looking to produce high-impact content with less staff on-site and sometimes with limited IP bandwidth. As a result, we see the implementation of NDI, and most recently its new NDI|HX3 codec, becoming more prevalent. NDI|HX3 delivers similar low latency as Full-NDI at less than 100ms end-to-end and has video quality performance closer to premium Full-NDI quality. NDI|HX3 is a big step forward for NDI|HX while reducing the bandwidth requirements of Full-NDI and delivering similar speeds and video quality. Marshall also has implemented SRT, Zixi, and soon to add Dante AV-H compatibility.

As one of the first adopters of NDI|HX back in 2018, Marshall is implementing NDI|HX3 and NDI5.5 compatibility and is also launching its first Full-NDI model, with the introduction of the CV730-BHN with Full-NDI and CV730-ND3 with NDI|HX3 technology at NAB 2023.

The CV730-BHN incorporates the premium Full NDI FPGA with the benefits of NDI|HX3 and standard IP (HEVC/SRT) streams, while also offering two simultaneous SDI (BNC) outputs 12GSDI + 3GSDI with genlock sync, as well as HDMI and USB3.0 options when the application demands. The CV730-ND3 PTZ camera utilizes the new NDI|HX3 codecs and standard IP (HEVC/SRT), while also offering 12GSDI, HDMI and USB3.0 outputs. Both cameras feature a premium Sony 4K sensor with 9.2 million pixels and back-lit square pixel technology designed behind a long 30x optical zoom range (6.5~ 202mm) and smart AI focus technology keeping faces focus optimised.

Joel Cruz, Director of Marketing, BZBGEAR
It’s awesome to see broadcasting as a whole expand and become more accessible - particularly with live streaming, video conferencing, and distance learning. PTZ cameras have been a big reason for this as they’re smaller and more affordable than other broadcasting cameras while still producing the same high-quality content as their larger relatives. The applications are endless from corporations, healthcare, and houses of worship to education and content creators. It’s exciting to see what broadcasting and live streaming has progressed to.

Another major benefit of PTZ cameras is their ease of use. And with better auto-tracking technology becoming available, it’s really changing the game. No need for camera operators or additional hardware to help broadcast content. 1080p and 4K resolutions are the norm but with 8K on the way, 8K will soon become the standard and PTZ cameras will be right there advancing with it.

BZBGEAR offers a wide range of PTZ and ePTZ cameras for virtually any type of application. Our award-winning flagship PTZ camera is the auto-tracking BG-ADAMO-4K supporting 4K@60, HDMI, 12G-SDI, USB, and LAN with NDI|HX3 and Dante AV-H models available. All with a starting price of $2699. We have a 1080p version of this camera as well - the award-winning BG-ADAMO-JR.

For our 2023 plans, we’re working on implementing auto tracking into all of our existing and future cameras. We’re also offering an all-new 8K video distribution and active cable product line. This includes matrix switchers, HDMI 2.1 signal splitters, amplifiers, extenders, and specialty cables. Our entire 8K lineup supports 8K@60Hz as well as 4K@120Hz, helping ensure everyone - specifically gamers - experience the highest level of detail and fluidity.

Elisabetta Cartoni, Chief Executive Officer, Cartoni
PTZ are evolving in definition, size, lens interchangeability, they are becoming an interesting alternative to professional cameras in all fields. While PTZ are increasingly fast and a practical solution for multicamera productions the key cameras will never be completely replaced by them, just as the vision and sensitivity of the camera operator cannot be duplicated by a remote capture. However, PTZ can lend a great richness and variety to the production by multiplying points of view at an affordable price. Major camera manufacturers have  detected this trend and are offering PTZ cameras with better performance every day.

Cartoni has prepared a number of dedicated supports called ‘PTZ solutions’ to address the needs of this these new shooting set ups.

At NAB 2023, we will present the Lifto 25 support, a remote controlled motorised, two stage column, set on a tripod structure and compatible with the Cartoni dolly. It performs a vertical stroke of 70cm moving the PTZ on an additional vertical axis. The control is operated by wire or via radio. The payload is 25kg allowing to mount a prompter on the PTZ and transform a very basic set up in a professional newsroom. Now, Pan, Tilt, Zoom and Height are at fingertip control inside the control room. The camera can be placed at 70cm minimum height up to 250cm maximum height.

Michael Cuomo, Vice President, Telemetrics
Robotic camera control has been continually improving and has helped get studios through the pandemic and into the adoption of a whole new way of working (with fewer people required).
The past five years have seen new capabilities like talent and object tracking as well as complex, pre-programmed shots that can be stored for later recall on our RCCP-2A control panel. The panel itself now includes lots more features for planning and executing smooth, on-air camera moves with our RoboEye12G 4K Pan/Tilt system.

Another trend we’ve found is that customers want the ability to upgrade their systems without having to reinvest in an entirely new system. Many of the PTZ systems are the market offer fixed lenses and camera heads. Telemetrics Pan/Tilt Heads, like the PT-CP-S5, enable the user to change out the camera and lens completely as the need arises.

Andre Meterian, Director of Professional Video Systems, Panasonic Connect Europe
Panasonic is releasing a new outdoor PTZ camera capable of recording 4K/60FPS. Available later this year the AW-UR100 is intended for outdoor environments such as sports stadia.

For shooting from various angles at large-scale events, the UR100 offers both a 74.1° horizontal wide-angle lens for panoramic pull-backs and 4K/60P compatibility for 24x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. It also features three types of image stabilisation systems.

It will interface with baseband transmission, such as 3G-SDI, 12G-SDI and fibre, and supports IP including NDI and SRT. FreeD is supported for AR/VR systems.

Andre Meterian, said: “The AW-UR100 is for precision shooting and broadcasting in outdoor environments. It’s designed to support the accelerating shift to IP-based remote video production while ensuring video quality and production efficiency in the field.”

In terms of ruggedness to weather, the camera is hermetically sealed to keep out wind-blown dust and sand, and a defroster warms the lens to prevent the formation of frost, ice or condensation in extreme temperatures down to -15°C (-4°f). There is also a convenient wiper to keep the lens clear in wet conditions.

Tess Protesto, Content Marketing Manager, PTZOptics 
The PTZOptics team cites interest in a number of different themes this year. The first being automation. Users want to maximise the use of a single camera operator, while minimising the number of operators in total. This is not limited to remote PTZ functionality of the cameras, but access to entire camera interface of multiple cameras. Also, users no longer want a single connectivity option per camera, they want options. These are not limited to SDI, HDMI, or USB, but IP. They want expanding synchronisation that NDI offers, as well as integration with current systems in place such as audio solutions. 

The demand for automation has led us to the implementation of auto-tracking into our brand new line of PTZ cameras. The Move 4K, Link 4K, and Move SE will all allow users to track their subjects. This frees the camera operator to do more with their production. Along with auto-tracking, the new PTZOptics CMP (camera management platform) gives producers the ability to access the entire interface of the camera. They will be able to manage presets, lighting, colour matching, PTZ settings, auto-tracking, and more from a single application.

We’ve also developed the Link 4K, our first Dante AV-H PTZ camera, to allow customers the ability to integrate our cameras with their existing Dante audio solutions. Finally, we’ve added not just 4K to our cameras, but 4k60fps, for optimal resolution and frame-rate.