A pan–tilt–zoom camera (PTZ camera) is a
camera that is capable of remote directional and zoom control. In television
production, PTZ controls are used with professional video cameras in television
studios, sporting events, and other spaces. They are commonly referred to as
robos, an abbreviation of robotic camera. These systems can be remotely
controlled by automation systems. The PTZ controls are generally sold
separately without the cameras, but can also be sold as a set.
PTZ is an abbreviation for pan, tilt and
zoom and reflects the movement options of the camera. Other types of cameras
are ePTZ or virtual pan-tilt-zoom (VPTZ) where a high-resolution camera
digitally zooms and pans into portions of the image, with no physical camera
movement. Ultra-low bandwidth surveillance streaming technologies use VPTZ to
stream user-defined areas in higher quality without increasing overall
bandwidth usage. Surveillance cameras of this type are often connected to a
digital video recorder which records the full field of view in full quality.
PTZ Cameras are commonly used in applications such as surveillance, video
conferencing, live production, lecture capture and distance learning.
An innovation to the PTZ camera is a
built-in firmware program that monitors the change of pixels generated by the
video clip in the camera. When the pixels change due to movement within the
cameras field of view, the camera can actually focus on the pixel variation and
move the camera in an attempt to center the pixel fluctuation on the video
chip. This process results in the camera following movement.
The program allows the camera to estimate
the size of the object which is moving and distance of the movement from the
camera. With this estimate, the camera can adjust the cameras optical lens in
and out in an attempt to stabilize the size of pixel fluctuation as a
percentage of total viewing area. Once the movement exits the cameras field of
view, the camera automatically returns to a pre-programmed or
"parked" position until it senses pixel variation and the process
starts over again.
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