Integrating PTZ camera controls inside software, hardware, smartphones, and even your own custom computer programs is a game-changing idea. The idea behind robotic PTZ cameras is that a single camera operator can control one or more cameras remotely. By integrating the remote control capabilities for PTZ cameras into another piece of software or hardware, furthers what is possible from a one-man production standpoint, but also from an automation standpoint. From video producers to DJ’s and even volunteer camera operators, PTZ camera operation is starting to change what is possible in many ways. In this blog post, we will review some of favorite PTZ camera integrations by category including mobile phones / internet-connected devices, computer programming languages, video production software, video production hardware, camera control protocols and purpose-built control devices.

PTZ Camera Control Integrations

PTZ Camera Control Integrations

Mobile Devices Android/iOS & Kindle

What mobile devices can I use to control my PTZ Camera?
PTZ Mobile Device Integration
Android Devices (learn more)
Kindle Devices (learn more)
iOS Devices (learn more)

Control PTZOptics cameras with mobile devices have really made camera operation easy. By connecting your smartphone to the same WiFi network as your PTZ camera is connected to, you can easily take PTZ camera controls by using a static IP address for your camera. The PanTiltZoom app is now available on iOS, Android and Kindle stores. This app has been updated many times and it allows users to easily control up to 8 networks connected PTZOptics cameras using any iPhone, Android or Kindle touch screen device. Using a mobile phone or touch screen device like an iPad is perhaps the easiest way to control PTZ cameras because you have complete wireless freedown. Some of our customers for example in churches will control their PTZOptics cameras from the church pew. Others will take PTZ camera control with them anywhere they have access to a strong WiFi connection.

Software Camera Control Integrations

What software can I use to control my PTZ Camera?
PTZ Software Integration
Ableton Live (MIDI App) Apple/Mac Computers (learn more)
Bitfocus Companion (learn more) EasyLive (RTMP)
Facebook (RTMPS) Google Chrome (most modern web browsers)
Livestream Studio (learn more) Logic (MIDI App)
MimoLive (learn more) OBS (learn more)
ONVIF Device Manager (must turn ONVIF ON) Open Source (see open source code)
OpenCV (RTSP and USB) Pro Tools (MIDI App)
Rocosoft (USB and IP) Touch Designer (learn more)
Twitch (see extension) VLC (RTSP and Capture Cards)
vMix (learn more) Windows Computers (learn more)
Wirecast (learn more) YouTube (RTMP)

Integrated PTZ camera controls are now available in a host of video production software providers including Open Broadcaster Software, Wirecast, vMix, MimoLive, Livestream Studio and NewTek NDI Studio Monitor. By integrating PTZ camera controls directly into your favorite video production software, you can run your own live production without having to leave the interface to operate PTZ camera operations. This is ideal for one-man video productions but also for any video production team that wants to automate camera operations. In a video production software such as vMix or Wirecast, you can automate PTZ camera movements with a single transition button click between two sources. In vMix you can create PTZ camera presets that are new inputs available in the software. With a single click in vMix, you can transition to any of these inputs which automatically triggers the camera to move to a given PTZ camera preset at a specific movement speed that you can set up inside the input settings. In Wirecast, you can have any source in the software trigger a PTZ camera preset. This automates the video production workflow and allows video production experts more flexibility when deploying PTZ camera systems.

Hardware Production Systems with PTZ camera controls

What hardware can I use to control my PTZ Camera?
PTZ Hardware Integration
AJA (SDI or HDMI) Black Magic (see video)
Echo360 (SDI Capture Boxes) Epiphan (learn more)
LiveU (SDI or HDMI) Magewell (learn more)
NewTek Tricaster (learn more) Roland (learn more)
SlingStudio (learn more) Wirecast Gear (learn more)

More and more hardware systems are working with integrations for PTZOptics cameras. Currently, the NewTek Tricaster and the Wirecast Gear are the only integrations on our list that fully support PTZ camera controls in their hardware video production solutions. AJA, Blackmagic, Echo360, Epiphan, LiveU, Roland, and Sling Studio all accept PTZOptics cameras video feeds, but do not yet feature full PTZ camera integrations. We are working with these companies and one company that has recently released a new PTZ camera integration is Magewell. Magewell now has a full line of NDI camera converters. Magewell’s new NDI Pro Convert products actually feature a 8-pin mini-din camera control connection that can be used to operate PTZOptics cameras. This is ideal because the solution works to control PTZOptics cameras using any NDI integrated solutions. More hardware PTZ camera control solutions will be coming out on the marketing soon.

Dedicated PTZ camera controller integrations

While software and hardware PTZ camera integrations are nice to have, dedicated PTZ camera joysticks and controllers are still ideal for many situations. Video productions can be complicated and multiple members of a team are often needed for larger events. When a video production team has more than 2 or 3 PTZ cameras, having a dedicated PTZ camera operators armed with a joystick controller becomes more common. PTZ controllers come in all different types and they are designed for various scenarios. For example, companies like Crestron and Extron create touch screen controllers that are designed for everyday conference room experiences. PTZOptics has designed pre-written codes available for Crestron and Extron programmers to build custom touch screens for conference room and corporate AV environments. For video production systems that are set up on-site or in a dedicated studio we support multiple PTZ camera joystick controllers such as the HuddleCamHD joystick which features serial controls and the PTZOptics IP joystick which features ethernet controls. Multiple other dedicated controllers allow camera operators to mix additional controls into their worksurface that can bridge the gap between PTZ camera controls and controls for other software and hardware devices. The Xkeys units are a great USB connected controller that can allow software systems like vMix and Wirecast to perform video switching, along with PTZ camera controls. The Elgato StreamDecks are devices that can be used to send all sorts of IP and USB connected device commands from Blackmagic switching to PTZ camera control commands. In fact, there is a project called the Bitfocus Companion app that can be used with the Elgato StreamDeck to control hundreds of IP and USB connected pro audiovisual devices.

What controllers can I use to control my PTZ Camera?
PTZ Controller Integration
Crestron (see control codes)
Extron (see control codes)
HuddleCamHD Serial Joystick (learn more)
PTZOptics IP Joystick (learn more)
Skaarhoj (over IP)
StreamDeck (learn more)
XBox Controller (learn more)
Xkeys (w/ vMix or Wirecast)

Standard PTZ Control Protocols

What control protocols can I use to control my PTZ cameras?
PTZ Control Protocols
DMX (via Arnet / TouchDesigner) HTTP-CGI (learn more)
MIDI (learn more) ONVIF
PELCO-D (learn more) PELCO-P (learn more)
PTZOptics VISCA (learn more) PTZOptics VISCA over IP (learn more)
UVC (Vsee, Zoom ect)

PTZOptics also supports a long list of standard PTZ camera control protocols. Standard protocols are ideal for working with controllers and systems that have been built over the years to specific specifications standardized by the industry. One of the most popular PTZ camera protocols is SONY VISCA. PTZOptics cameras support SONY VISCA protocols for IP and serial camera control methods although you will notice that PTZOptics cameras have its own version. Additional camera commands have been built on top of the SONY VISCA command set to improve user functionality. All of the PTZOptics camera commands are made available on the downloads page. Another interesting control protocol is called ONVIF. ONVIF camera control protocols come from the security camera industry and they offer some interesting PTZ camera control options. The ONVIF device manager application can be used with PTZOptics cameras to receive low latency IP video and camera control simultaneously. Another newer camera control protocol that can be used with PTZ cameras is called UVC. UVC camera controls are popular with cloud based video conferencing software applications such as VSee and Zoom Video Conferencing.

Computer Programming Languages

What computer programing languages can I use to control my PTZ cameras?
PTZ Computer Programming Languages
HTML/CSS (learn More)
Javascript (see an example on GitHub)
Python (see an example on GitHub)
Visual Basic (see an example on GitHub)
Learn more about computer programming languages used for robotic PTZ camera controls here.

PTZOptics cameras offer open-source camera control codes that can be used by beginners and expert developers who want to create custom applications that include live camera video and control functionality. The original open-source control software here has been used and forked by many developers to create new software solutions. One such example is a piece of code created by the proper nerd for his church. All the way back in 2015, the Proper Nerd created and published an open source version of the PTZOptics HTML and CSS control codes using HTTP commands to control PTZOptics camera functionality. This application features a slick new CSS (style) that provides users with a clean PTZ camera control interface. In 2019, the PTZOptics engineering team launched a PTZOptics Robotics online course and manual. This course includes a GitHub repository of new open-source codes that include examples for PTZ cameras control created with Javascript, Node.js, Visual Basic, and more. Using Github computer programmers can fork these codes to create new, organized projects for their custom applications that include camera controls.

Conclusion

There are so many great PTZOptics camera integrations that it’s hard to choose just one. One of my personal favorites is the implementation of Touch Designer by famous DJ Deadmau5. Deadmau5 designed a fully functionality PTZ camera control integration with Touch Designer that moves with his famous Cube V3 DJ platform (more on that here). From out of the box ready to go software and hardware integrations to custom computer programming, there are hundreds of ways to control robotic PTZ cameras. Network camera control is definitely the wave of the future and if you want to learn more about what you can do, I would highly suggest taking one of our online UDEMY courses below.

  1. PTZOptics Camera Training Course
  2. Computer Programming and Robotics Course