This article is syndicated from our sister website Church Technology Superstore.
Operating A PTZ Camera
Pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras are very popular for houses of worship because most are affordable and do everything a church or synagogue needs for them to do. With PTZ cameras, you can set them up to point in certain directions and automatically track subjects, which is why a lot of individuals and businesses also use them as surveillance or security cameras. However you use them, PTZ cameras are easy to learn, but you do need to become familiar with a few of their functions and some terminology to make the most of them.
Understanding Pan, Tilt, and Zoom
PTZ cameras’ main function is to – you guessed it – pan, tilt, or zoom in on subjects to provide you with clear images for both live-streaming and recording events. A house of worship can use these cameras to record sermons, live-stream various productions, and film board meetings, classes, and so much more. One of the biggest advantages of using these cameras is that you can control and manage one or more of them from a remote location, as long as you have a camera controller that accommodates the number of cameras you have. PTZ cameras are IP cameras with different types of zoom lenses, all of which work to make sure you capture the images important to your recording.
What Does Pan Mean?
When a PTZ camera pans, it means the lens is moving horizontally; that is, back and forth or side to side. Because of this, PTZ cameras are often used by photographers to capture city landscapes or a panoramic view of the city skyline. Houses of worship like this feature because they can capture the preacher and others while they’re on the stage during an event such as a sermon or retreat. The pan feature is great when several people are on the stage and they are moving constantly. As a general rule, the panning function of a PTZ camera is great for two things:
- Tracking people’s movements.
- Capturing the entire “scene” or group of people.
A smooth pan is much easier with the right PTZ camera, and you’ll quickly learn just how valuable this function is.
What Does Tilt Mean?
As opposed to side-to-side movement, tilting shows up-and-down, or vertical movement. In general, the camera will have both a starting point and a stopping point when tilting. This is necessary to give the shot a more professional look. In a house of worship setting, tilting often results in establishing a shot first then bringing the audience into the scene. PTZ cameras are high-quality cameras and, therefore, their tilting movements are nice and smooth. If you’re operating the camera yourself and wish to utilize a tilting motion, it may take a while to master this technique. Nevertheless, it is an important skill to master because it does well when you’re trying to cover a wide area from a downward tilted angle. It also does a great job of capturing views from up above the main stage. In reality, there are numerous advantages of this type of shot, which is why PTZ cameras have this ability.
What Does Zoom Mean?
Zooming in means getting closeups of the subjects you wish to capture. A PTZ camera can be set up to automatically zoom in when it needs to, and there are two types of zoom lenses. An optical zoom is what most people think of when they hear the term “zoom” lens. An optical zoom lens physically adjusts the lens. This, in turn, changes the focal length so that the lens can zoom in and out while still maintaining visual clarity. The amount that the lens can zoom in or out, that is, change the focal length, is expressed in a number with an “x” behind it. For instance, an 18x optical zoom means you’ll get an 18:1 ratio, or an image that will appear to be 18 times larger than it is at the lowest setting.
Digital zoom lenses are also used, although many people don’t like them. The reason is because with a digital lens, your image is blown up using software, which often results in pixilated images, especially when the camera zooms too far. The pixilated image is not always smooth and even, which is why a lot of people don’t care if they get a digital zoom lens with their PTZ camera.
Understanding Pan/Tilt/Zoom Speed Controls
PTZ speed simply refers to the speed at which the pan, tilt, and zoom functions operate. You can set these speeds so that the camera does just what you want it to do from then on, and it’s a lot easier than you think. You can change these speeds to get pan/tilt/zoom functions that are much more efficient, and to get started, you simply use your computer. Log into the web user interface (UI) using a web browser, then look for the live view screen. Once you’re there, just locate the PTZ options that are available for your particular device. Once there, click on the drop-down menu so you can change the speed. PTZ speeds are usually numbered 1 through 8, with 1 being the slowest and 8 being the fastest. When you’re done with this step, the camera automatically starts operating at that speed afterward until you change it in the future. You can also set this number for all three functions: pan, tilt, and zoom.
Understanding Preset Positions
Presets are predefined image selections that allow you to have more control over your PTZ camera. Preset buttons allow you to set your image features and keep them there until you decide to change them at a later date. They save you a lot of time because once you find the numbers that work for you, you can just leave the settings there and you won’t have to adjust them again. To adjust and set up the presets, here is how most PTZ cameras allow you to do so:
- Go to Live View on your PTZ interface.
- Select the preset you want to change or set, then left-click on Set.
- Click on Call so the camera can go to the corresponding preset.
- Click on Delete if you want to delete the preset.
Once you get used to these features of a PTZ camera, it becomes a lot easier to use it from that point forward.