Rise of the Robots : Why you should consider PTZ cameras
Variably known as remote, robot or PTZ cameras, these compact and lightweight cameras can be mounted easily and controlled by a single operator who can handle multiple cameras simultaneously without being physically co-located with each unit.
This makes PTZ cameras ideal for events, areas and buildings that aren’t designed and will not naturally accommodate a camera and crew. Robotic cameras are perfect for old buildings like guild halls and churches, as well as operating theatres, concert halls, conference rooms and home studios.
Without a human camera operator standing next to the camera all of the time, PTZ cameras can be placed in unusual locations, mounted on walls, hung from rigging, even hidden in staging or set pieces.
Small and unobtrusive
With a compact size, built in zoom and black casing that doesn’t have the protrusions, buttons, interfaces and screens of a manual camera, remote PTZ cameras can be placed on in almost any location without attracting attention to themselves
Our Panasonic PTZ cameras all provide the latest 4K images, delivering 3840 x 2160 resolution images at 29.97p/25p for crisp, clear image quality and the ability to crop in post to HD
Easy to mount
With their light weight, small size and fixed base, PTZ cameras don’t require a traditional tripod and tripod head to allow them to pan and move between shots. Because of this, they can be mounted on almost anything. Drop poles, magic-arms and wall brackets can facilitate mounting on the back of TV screens, under LED screens, on truss, on walls and ceilings – if it provides a solid point of attachment, you can probably mount a camera on it.
More cameras per operator
A single remote camera operator can control multiple cameras from a single camera controller like the Panasonic RP-120 which supports up to 100 remote cameras connected over IP. This enables more efficient use of crew at live events and provides huge potential for multiple cameras when space and budget for crew is at a premium.
More adaptable than a locked off camera
A ‘locked off’ camera is a manual camera set up for a single shot and ‘locked’ in position with fixed zoom, composition, focus and exposure. Locked off cameras are often used to provide additional camera angles and video shots where space is a problem or additional cameras are required but factors such as cost restrict the number of operators.
Robotic PTZ cameras greatly surpass locked-off cameras in their benefits. Fixing a locked off camera means that it cannot be controlled or changed to accommodate variables on stage, a restriction and headache that isn’t necessary when it could be replaced by a remotely operated camera. PTZ cameras provide easy versatility in case a locked off shot becomes no longer valid, something that can easily happen in live productions with many variables to contend with.
Preset camera positions
Because robotic cameras enable remote digital control of their pan, tilt and zoom positions, specific camera shots can be saved in the memory of the camera controller.
This aids camera operators, who do not need to memorise specific shots – they can store shots as presets.
Cameras can quickly be transitioned from one preset shot to another at the press of a button.
Makes it easier for one member of crew to operate multiple cameras in a live environment
A camera controller like the RP120 from Panasonic can save up to 100 presets per camera, and each preset holds the pan, tilt, zoom position, focus, iris and white balance information for the camera.
Auto Tracing Memory
Similar to preset cameras positions, Auto Tracing Memory makes it possible to pre-record camera movements and recall panning, tracking or development shots at the touch of a button.
By recording camera movements during rehearsals and setup, a PTZ operator can have smooth and dynamic shots ready to go on cue.
PTZ cameras are economical both in terms of the number of crew required to operate them, and in the space saved by the camera and operators.
Multiple cameras can be controlled from one crew position. With the Panasonic RP120, available to hire from Ofilms, it is possible to operate up to 100 cameras from one controller.
We recommend connecting all of our PTZ cameras with ethernet and/or fibre depending on distance, enabling the camera controller to be situated hundreds of metres from any cameras.
This means that, not only are you not limited in where cameras can be placed, but you can maximise the use of space in any venue by putting the crew well out of sight, in a another room, OB truck or even an adjacent building or structure.
Powered over cat5 cable, robotic cameras can operate for extended periods of time up to 100m from the nearest power socket and don’t need to be dependent on limited battery life.
Above all, remote PTZ cameras provide options and in no greater respect than for mounting.
By detaching the camera operator from the camera, locations that are simply not available with a manually operated camera become possible with a robotic camera.
We are able to provide mounting solutions for any situation, including:
- Drop pole suspended from rigging
- Raised pole attached to truss
- Ground support
- Concealed in a unit or behind drape
- Placed on stage, among performers
Here are a few examples of when remotely controlled PTZ cameras come into their own:
Used with an orchestra, mounted on a pole on stage to provide immersive and engaging shots of the conductor, musicians and instruments. Fixed on the stage where it would be impossible to have a camera crew walking and when having crew walking between performers would be distracting to both the audience and performers alike.
Conferences & Awards Ceremonies
Used at conferences to provide cost effective and flexible multi-camera solutions. Where traditionally locked off cameras would be used, robot cameras can provide the same functionality and benefits, while also providing the adaptability and responsiveness to deal with unexpected situations.
House of worship
Sensitive and discreet filming for broadcast and live streaming of services, including weddings and funerals, is made possible by remotely operated cameras. Integrate remote cameras into your existing setup or implement a temporary video solution. Provide family members around the globe with a live feed, remote cameras can be placed in pews or mounted either temporarily or permanently.
With additional restrictions in place limiting the amount of crew and operators that can safely work on site, and where camera crew are restricted by social distancing, remotely controlled cameras can provide an ideal solution. Camera operator can work under social distancing guidelines using GreenGo show comms to stay in touch with a the production manager, camera director (if there are manual cameras or multiple operators), audio engineer and other production staff.
Place cameras right in with the action and provide the best experience possible for broadcast viewers. Broadcast matches from behind closed doors and also protect and monetize your broadcast with our pay-per-view solutions.
Hire remote cameras from Ofilms
Remote cameras available to hire with daily and weekly rates from Ofilms