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UVC control stands for Universal Video Codec control. Basically control of your cameras Pan Tilt and Zoom over just one USB cable. Were tracking this technology and what it will mean for online video conferencing here. 

Exploring UVC Camera Controls

Exploring UVC Camera Controls

A USB Video Class or UVC device for short is any advice which is capable of streaming a video, whether it be a webcam, digital camcorder, a video converter for analog or a simple still-image camera. So as long as the device supports video streaming, it may be called a UVC device.

Video controls

Using the correct pieces of software, one is able to access the video controls of such devices, allowing you to not only change the recording specifications (resolution, quality, etc) but also the physical condition and features of the camera itself. These include the ability to zoom, pan, tilt, roll, focus, a change in exposure or even enabling scanning mode.

So long as the camera supports one of these features, a suitable piece of software should be capable of providing an easily used and understood user interface to access these controls.

Then there's the digital side of the picture, settings which can't be controlled physically. These include brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, hue, gamma and digital zoom but definitely don't stop there. Similar to the physical control options, support for any of these is optional since the primary function of the device itself is streaming video whereas these features fall into the category of secondary, optional features and their only benefit is adding to the functionality of the camera itself.

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Controlling multiple Cameras using UVC Control

Controlling multiple Cameras using UVC Control

UVC Camera Control works simulataneuosly with video streaming over a single USB cable to provide camera control for Pan Tilt and Zoom.

Martha Donohue, Crestron & Extron Certified Programmer from HSI, Inc

In this video Paul Richards, takes us through UVC camera on VSee and SecureVideo.com. VSee is a highly regarding video conferencing software in the telemedicine space. The have partnered with HuddleCamHD to provide a UVC camera control integration that allows far end camera control for users such as doctors and nurses. In this application, far end camera control of multiple cameras has benefits for efficiency and usability in the medical industry. Since HuddleCamHD provides some of the highest quality Pan Tilt Zoom USB cameras they were a natural partner for VSee when selecting a camera manufacture to work with capabilities of UVC Camera Control.

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Using AMCAP for UVC Camera Control

Using AMCAP for UVC Camera Control

UVC-Control-Video-Capture

AMCAP is one of the most useful tools for simply viewing and working with USB webcams. AMCAP is completely free and has many new features you might find useful. Personally my favorite feature is the built in UVC control for Pan Tilt and Zoom. This software has become the cornerstone for our testing, and we wanted to share a little bit about how we use AMCAP. This is a free Windows application and to the best of our knowledge there is no Mac or Linux versions.

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UVC Control Research Sources

UVC Control Research Sources

UVC Camera Control Research Areas

Hello UVC Control Followers!

            In this post we are outlining the main sources for research on the UVC Control protocols from: Mac, Windows, Linux Playstation, and Solaris. Most important for most users are the drivers for Windows and Macintosh operating systems. The majority of users looking for pan tilt and zoom camera controls through UVC (just on USB cable connection to the computer) will be using video conferencing software installed on either a Mac or PC. It’s nice to see other operating systems following suit with support for UVC and we will outline them in this area.

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A new evolution of UVC Control: Camera Presets!

A new evolution of UVC Control: Camera Presets!

 

UVC Control InterfaceThe Interface:

In a nutshell, the PTZOptics UVC Controller is a remote control for your camera that you can access from any computer or device on your internal network. Under the hood you will find access to advanced features such as: a camera manager, web server and preset visualizer which we will talk about in the “advanced features” section below. The top portion of the GUI interface includes a “Home” button along with 8 direction keys, which you can use to control your camera with a mouse, keyboard or USB joystick.  Below the control section you have access to zoom and focus controls along with a camera selection bar. Yes, this software can control up to 8 cameras with one computer! Next, we have control of the presets which include the ability to name presets.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to name presets. Once your presets are named you have a easy to use solution that is easy for others to pick up where you left off. Below the presets is where we have the “PresetVisuallizer” which open the PresetVisualizer and includes the ability to have live video preview and take a room snapshot to use for setting up visual presets. Below the PresetVisualizer we have “Web Control” which allows you to turn on/off your webhosting which allows other computers and smart phones to take camera control. Finally we have SkyPTZ which is a service that allows you to provide far end camera control outside your network. 

The PresetVisualizer:

UVC Camera PTZ Control Visual App

            The best way to grasp how people are using this technology is to look at a few examples of the PresetVisualizer in action. In essence the PresetVisualizer can be used with any photo (ideally the room you are using your camera in) to overlay your preset positions visually. For use in a conference room or distance learning/classroom setting the ability to add headshots with name tags is also available. Once you have your room photo in place and your presets lined up you only have to align your camera presets with the actual corresponding locations and your done.

            Let’s look at the above classroom example. Actual student photos can be used and placed as preset or we can simply mark out the important areas for a distance learning video call. Since we are using a USB camera with UVC control we can assume that we are using a cloud based video conferencing software like Adobe Connect. The PresetVisualizer is our visual layout of the cameras views we will want to use during our video call. One preset is on a SmartBoard, another is on the teachers podium and another is on the classroom full of students. If we have multiple cameras in use we can use select between them in the main panel and use the visualizer to easily select between presets.

            Let’s take the conference room example where we have 8 people sitting around a table on both sides of a video call. The PresetVisualizer can be used to allow users from both sides of the video call to easily select who they want to see on the main screen. This set up works well for telepresence and video conferencing applications.

Advanced Features: 

PresetVisualizer from PTZOptics using UVC Control

            The PTZOptics UVC Control software offers many advanced features that are hidden from view to simplify the interface.  One of the advanced features is WebPTZ Remote Control. This feature allows for Far-end IP control of the PTZOptics cameras from the web browser of any mobile device or computer over any LAN, Wi-Fi, and WAN IP Network. If you would like to provide access to a far-end outside your network we have two options. The first option is free and it allows you to open up your firewall to a outside IP address which will serve up the WebRemote to a far side. The second option is called SkyPTZ which is a service that sets up everything for you without any configuration. Simply give the far end computer (outside your network) the camera name and SkyPTZ will take care of everything else.

Top features:

  • ·      Video Preview
  • ·      Call Camera Presets (This is the world’s first UVC camera that can call presets)
  • ·      Provide Remote PTZ Web Server (Host a IP Address on your network and server a optimized “Web Remote” to users)
  • ·      Provide Far End Camera Control outside your network (Additional Service called SkyPTZ)
  • ·      Name Presets (Handy for complex scenarios and ease of use)
  • ·      Preset-Visualizer (Patented technology for laying out visual previews of camera presets)
  • ·      Pan Tilt Zoom (I know it’s been done before, but worth noting)
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