The power of the PTZ Point & Shoot - Part II

  • With Adrian Pennington

The power of the PTZ Point & Shoot - Part II

The power of the PTZ Point & Shoot - Part II. By Adrian Pennington...

In recent years, the landscape of various industries has been undergoing a dynamic transformation, largely attributed to the meteoric rise of Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ) cameras. These technological marvels have not only exceeded expectations but have also redefined operational paradigms across numerous sectors. Among the most fervently discussed trends is the strategic investment of media organizations in PTZ cameras, a movement that is rapidly reshaping the media landscape. InBroadcast canvasses the opinion of innovators in this space.   Eugene Bocharov - CEO and president, BZBGEAR

In the past, broadcast media technology evoked images of elaborate HD camera systems orchestrated by sizable teams. However, a profound shift is underway as professionals are recognizing the benefits of integrating professional-grade PTZ cameras into their workflows. Distinguished by their ability to seamlessly blend stunning 4K imagery, AI-driven auto-tracking functionalities, user-friendly software controls, and robust management systems, contemporary PTZ cameras transcend conventional expectations. These multifaceted PTZ systems not only deliver impeccable quality and unparalleled automation, but also offer a compelling cost-effective advantage. By streamlining hardware requirements, media entities can optimize productivity while minimizing resource allocation.

The journey to embrace this transformative technology raises a pertinent question: who is at the forefront of this evolution and how impactful is the transition? In a notable instance from December 2022, rhythmhoüz, inc., a prominent music network and management group, faced the challenge of capturing performers with remarkable precision, preserving clarity, colour vibrancy, and aspect ratios across various zoom levels. The demand for consistent image settings across multiple cameras was paramount. The quest for an all-encompassing solution led them to the doorstep of BZBGEAR. To complement their PTZ camera setup, the acquisition of a PTZ joystick controller further underscored the versatility of PTZ cameras, as their compatibility with external control equipment and remote management software facilitated effortless control.

The incorporation of PTZ cameras into the repertoire of media organisations is emblematic of a global trend - the pursuit of automation and operational efficiency. PTZ cameras are unequivocally positioned as a pivotal piece of the puzzle, a technological cornerstone that promises to reshape the very foundations of modern media. Dan Miall - BirdDog Co-Founder & CEO 

As with other industries, broadcasting is going through continuous change and pressure to deliver more with less. Being able to capture broadcast-quality images anywhere, at any time and deliver them to audiences over a variety of platforms needs a new approach. A more integrated, systems-thinking way of configuring and broadcasting 'wow'.

BirdDog has always been at the forefront of this. From the start, we aimed to deliver solutions for clients who are educating, connecting, entertaining, and inspiring their audiences. As we talk to customers and partners, we continue to be on the right track, delivering hardware and software that beautifully integrates to deliver awesome visuals.

BirdDog’s BIRD UI delivers the simplest and most approachable interface of any camera on the market, so you always look your best. The NDI PTZ Control app displays real-time video from any of these sources regardless of if it is Full Bandwidth NDI, NDI | HX2, or NDI | HX3 - allowing wireless confidence monitoring on Apple device's high-quality screens. If your source is a PTZ camera, the on-screen controls give interactive joystick movement and focus adjustments, a massive convenience during the setup of an event, as well as when adjusting camera positions during live productions.

Tim Godby - Product Marketing Manager, Bolin Technology
Content producers worldwide have been searching for ways to satisfy the insatiable needs of audiences eager to engage in everything from high drama to reality shows but with no difference in audio and video quality. 

To produce and deliver this content, professional broadcasters in any indoor or outdoor space need the highest quality image possible and, very often, the ability to simultaneously send baseband and streaming video. And much of this content must be filmed from multiple angles with minimum intrusion, staff, and budget to audiences around the world accustomed to pristine image quality on large screens, computers, or mobile devices. 

Dedicated film and video cameras are still at the top of the list for many, but they don’t always fit the budget or fulfill all the requirements. Here is where PTZ cameras round out or even wholly meet the producers’ needs. Moreover, the image quality, motor control, and output options with PTZ cameras continue to improve, and at very competitive prices. 

All Bolin PTZ cameras feature multiple and simultaneous video outputs, including IP streams, each with independent frame rates. Most of our cameras have full Sony image blocks, and some deliver 4K60 video. The flexibility, quality, capability, and price of PTZ cameras provide creative freedom to content creators in any situation and further elevate the role of PTZ cameras as primary capture devices.

Charlotte Latham - International Sales and Operations Manager, CueScript
While PTZs allow for more cameras in more locations, the on-air talent still require a prompter, so we have designed solutions that do not restrict the operation of the PTZ. CueScript’s patent-pending mounting solutions enable the use of a PTZ camera with a prompter and are compatible with the industry’s leading PTZ manufacturers, including BirdDog, Bolin, Canon, JVC, Panasonic and Sony.

Using CueScript, the PTZ camera mounts upside down in the top of a specially designed prompter hood. Mounting the system this way significantly reduces the operational limitations of a PTZ within a prompter; the PTZ has greater movement in the shots it can achieve.  Additionally, users no longer need to use high payload taking, expensive tripods, as the CueScript PTZ mount makes using a lighting stand possible.

CueScript also recently developed a new solution centered around the Sony FR7 PTZ, which will be making its European debut at IBC.

The FR7 is unique from other PTZ cameras in that it features a full-frame cinema sensor and interchangeable lenses. CueScript’s existing PTZ prompting solutions would not have worked for this camera since its form factor is so unique. CueScript designed a custom prompting solution that ensures the camera is in the ideal position for capture, giving customers access to the interchangeable lens and also providing a reliable, high-quality teleprompter.

In addition to the larger broadcast studios, CueScript is finding that PTZs are becoming the go-to for regional studios as well as small/streaming studios within various broadcasters’ facilities. Colleges and universities are considering PTZs more for their studio setups too. PTZs are also appearing at home studios and in corporate boardrooms. Executives are holding video conferencing or live streaming sessions and feeding the prompter with either scripts, or the slide key bullet points. Zoom/Teams calls also benefit from PTZs with prompters so their eyeline is right down the lens while looking at the image of the person they are speaking with, allowing for correct eyeline and more natural interaction.   

Sven Magnus Jakobsen - Head of Sales, electric.friends
We have followed the studio trends closely for years and see that with the new and much improved PTZ cameras, that studio setups are changing. Broadcasters are building studios with multiple cameras, supplementing the larger and advanced studio cameras with lower cost PTZ cameras, for capturing multiple angles and for more flexibility in their studio operations.

We developed the AC2.PTZ camera control product to answer this need in the market. It is an AI-driven camera PTZ control solution that is vendor agnostic. Customers can mix and match between PTZ camera vendors for a flexible studio design and operation. With our AC2.PTZ control software, broadcasters use AI technology to automate camera shots, amongst other features.

We see an increased need for robotics also for lower cost PTZ-cameras in the studios. For this we are launching a new product at IBC; a robotic solution for PTZ cameras, opening up for a whole new level of possibilities for using robotics and our renowned tower and tracks solutions, with any PTZ camera.

We are in the final stages of implementing the new electric.friends robotics solution for PTZ cameras at two major broadcasters. The electric friends AC2.PTZ control software will operate 20+ cameras in a multistudio setup with a range of PTZ camera vendors, controlled from the same user interface.

Chris O’Brien - President, Telescript International 
Over decades, PTZ camera tech has evolved significantly since its 1960s inception. Today, we see enhanced image quality, seamless movement, and compact design. Yet, a standout is remote access and control. IP technology, such as NDI, empowers PTZ cams with effortless connections and streamlined operations.

PTZ cameras are undergoing continuous enhancements in their capabilities, incorporating increasingly intelligent features. While PTZ cameras have already established a solid reputation for offering autofocus and auto iris functionalities, the evolution continues as manufacturers integrate advanced “smart technologies” like auto-tracking into their designs.

It is only logical that media organizations would be interested in adopting this solution, and it is equally logical that Telescript would develop the most versatile PTZ prompters in the market. "We have introduced the immensely popular Robo-210 prompter system, the first folding PTZ system on the market," explains Chris O’Brien, President of Telescript International. "We maintain ongoing collaborations with industry partners, resulting in the addition of our 17” PTZ prompter system for the Telemetrics RoboEye 2 system. Furthermore, we have recently introduced the PTZmini prompter, designed to seamlessly integrate with small PTZ cameras."

Just recently CNBC in Singapore upgraded their facility working with Ideal Systems Group to create a new NDI enable-Media Studio utilizing BirdDog’s PTZ cameras and Telescript’s Robo-210-NDI teleprompters.

“We have also just had a large order for PTZ teleprompters from one of our largest government customers,” mentioned Chris. “The benefits of PTZ and IP technologies means that the future looks bright for both PTZ cameras and IP technology, it’s a perfect match.” 

Jenny Liu - Head of Sales and Marketing, Telycam
Media organisations are investing in PTZ cameras for their superior versatility, cost-effectiveness, and remote-control capabilities. The integration of AI auto-tracking with PTZ camera technology creates smooth and accurate camera movements that resemble human control. Telycam Vision+ NDI|HX cameras support advanced AI algorithms for auto-tracking, offering features like Target Position, Target Scaling, Target Switch, Tracking Limitation, Blackboard Area, Target Lost Time, and control options via WebGUI, IR remote controller, and V-Joy+ controller keyboard. Moreover, Telycam Vision+ NDI|HX cameras support FREED protocol, allowing real-time transmission of tracking data to third-party VR software platforms. This seamless integration enhances production efficiency and reduces personnel requirements.

Standard Chartered used Telycam Vision+4KN auto-tracking PTZ cameras during their dinner and speech event in Malaysia.

These cameras automatically tracked the speakers, ensuring they remained in focus and centred throughout the event. The auto-tracking feature eliminated the need for manual camera operation and enhanced production quality.

The high-resolution 4K video capture capability delivered crisp footage. By optimizing resource allocation and reducing labour costs, the cameras provided an immersive and engaging experience for the audience. Michael Cuomo - Vice President, Telemetrics

As broadcasters continue to integrate robotic cameras into their studios, the need to accommodate necessary upgrades to the equipment and facilitating tight interoperability between systems can be a challenge if the different systems can’t talk to and control each other. 

Therefore, the key to integrating a reliable robotic camera control system with multiple PTZ cameras and other robotically controlled equipment is ensuring that they interface seamlessly with the other technology in a production studio. This control has to be extended to include products from other manufacturers. That’s why all of Telemetrics Camera Control Panels include the ability to connect and precisely control various PTZ cameras from different manufacturers. It’s been a common feature of all our control systems since Telemetrics’ inception.

This universal connectivity can be found on the new RCCP-M2 panel and the field proven RCCP-2A panel, both of which offer special software and features to control multiple cameras, track systems and elevating columns.

The RCCP-M2 offers a wealth of functionality and useful robotic camera control features in a small, light and highly portable form factor (about the size of a laptop). Likewise, the RCCP-2A brings together all types of robotic camera systems to allow a single operator to control every camera, elevating column or Pan/Tilt head associated with the system. Some of the PTZ cameras could be remotely located, but the operator has all of the camera parameters at their fingertips.

Giving the operator full control over every element of the robotic camera control system to allow them to perform consistent, user-selected moves with no technical errors is what it’s all about.

Masanori Ishikawa - Libec
As demand for PTZ cameras is dramatically increasing in the field of broadcast and production, the need for support equipment suitable for PTZ cameras continues to soar. The patent pending LX-ePed was specially developed in order to respond to such demands. This world’s first electric pedestal for PTZ cameras can be remotely operated with a wired controller. With the maximum payload of 10kg/22.0lb, the LX-ePed is able to support most PTZ cameras. There are two types to choose from: the simple Floor Spreader type, and the convenient Dolly type. 

The remote-controlled LX-ePed adds the elevating element to the camera's pan, tilt and zoom features. This will provide more ‘Angles of View’, and make setup adjustments easier in studios.

The LX-ePed's Controller does not use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, therefore users can focus on their shoots without worrying about radio wave interference. In addition, the Controller is PoE powered, so there is no need to connect it to a power source or charge it as well. The speed of the Upper Column is adjustable by tilting the rocker of the Controller. The slow mode enables fine-tune settings.

By using the optional VM-12V, the LX-ePed can be powered by any V-mount battery. This allows the pedestal system to be operated at any location. Paul Richards - Chief Streaming Officer, PTZOptics

PTZ cameras have gained traction in media organisations as the video quality has reached broadcast quality while also providing flexible remote control capabilities. With the new AI-enabled PTZOptics Move cameras, we are seeing customers use PTZ joystick controllers in totally new and interesting ways. For example, customers using our PTZOptics SuperJoy controllers are toggling auto-tracking on and off while switching between manually controlling cameras. 

Overall, the ability to automate certain PTZ cameras and manually control others have allow camera operators a lot of freedom to produce content in new ways.

VidSummit, a premier event for YouTubers, used our PTZ cameras to manage their multi-stream event. By connecting our cameras to their network, they were able to centrally oversee multiple rooms, dramatically simplifying their operation. This demonstrated the power of PTZ cameras in creating efficient, high-quality live streams, all managed from a single location.