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A complete review of selecting the appropriate USB web conferencing camera for rooms where you plan to use cloud based software like GoToMeeting, WebEX and Zoom.US

Part 7- Summary

Part 7- Summary

 Summary: Any new camera purchased for a meeting room should provide native 1080p-30 resolution. 720p looks fine on the desktop but in meeting rooms, it simply doesn’t meet expectations. Select a camera with true optical zoom and with an optical zoom range that best meets your specific application. Take room measurements and check them against the graphics above to be sure. Digital zoom is not a useful feature for most applications. Presets are great for all cameras but after about Qty 6 you will likely see no additional benefit for most applications. USB 3.0 is the new standard for USB HD cameras. You must maintain USB 3.0 compliance throughout the connection including any extensions from camera port to and including PC port. Serial control is only necessary for certain applications. When you do need it, a miniDin8 connector or DB9 connector and VISCA protocol compliance is all you typically need to confirm for the camera and controller.

 

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USB Camera Shootout

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Part 6 - Serial Control (e.g. RS232, RS485, VISCA):

Part 6 - Serial Control (e.g. RS232, RS485, VISCA):

 Serial Control (e.g. RS232, RS485, VISCA): Serial control allows remote PTZ, preset calling/setting and other control from 3rd party devices (e.g. joystick, Crestron) or software (e.g. RocoSoft) over a wired connection to the camera. Most meeting room users will be perfectly content with their infrared hand-held remote control, especially when all PTZ command are executed via preset calls.

However, some operators will require a better control interface for their application (e.g. Produced events with camera operator(s); Rooms with centralized touch-panel control systems, like Crestron/AMX/Extron, where all hand-held remotes have been removed from the room, etc…). Cameras with serial control capability will often conform to the industry standard mini-Din8 connector and Sony VISCA protocol. This makes using this feature fairly straightforward, as long as you have the right control cabling and set both the camera and controller to a matching baud rate, etc…

Serial Control for USB Cameras

Part 7- Summary

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Part 5- USB2.0 vs USB3.0

Part 5- USB2.0 vs USB3.0

USB 2.0 provides a bandwidth of 480 Mbps. USB 3.0 (aka “SuperSpeed”) provides 4.8 Gbps - or 10 times the bandwidth of USB 2.0. There are other differences between the two but this is the one that’s important to camera performance. This factor of magnitude level of improvement in bandwidth is beneficial for carrying 1080p-30 video from the camera to your PC. 1080p-30 at 24 bit color depth requires approximately 1.5 Gbps, which as you can see does not fit within the USB2.0 bandwidth and therefore video must be compressed by the camera itself before being sent over the USB connection. USB 3.0 allows the camera to send uncompressed video over the USB connection to the PC where the PC’s better equipped hardware and software can be brought to bear for better final compression performance over the web connection during a call. USB 3.0 does bring with it some restrictions. As with HDMI, this higher bandwidth requires different cabling than its predecessors.

USB 3.0 will only work with USB 3.0 ports on devices and with USB 3.0 cabling and extenders. Some USB 3.0 cameras are USB 2.0 “compatible”, which means that they have the capability to recognize a USB 2.0 port or cabling and downgrade to a low resolution video stream (e.g. 640x480, 1024x768, 720p-30- 16bit). In this case, you would probably be better off with a USB 2.0 camera. Happily, most modern laptops and PCs have been shipping with at least one USB 3.0 port for some time now. 

USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0 Cameras

Part 6 - Serial Control (e.g. RS232, RS485, VISCA):

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Part 4 - Camera Presets

Part 4 - Camera Presets

Presets allow a user to automatically return to a set position (pan and tilt) and set zoom level, without manually driving the camera. This is desirable as it is faster, smoother, more reliable and easier than steering a camera during a meeting. Are presets important for everyone? That depends upon how many different shots you will use during meetings. In a huddle room with 3 seats, where everyone is always large and in frame, you would likely leave the camera in one location and presets are not necessary or important. In a large room where you might often only use a portion of the table or when the table is full, you might desire chairman head shot, left side seats, right side seats and wide “all” shots, presets would be critical. Some cameras have no presets, some have 64 presets. If you will only ever use a handful of them, 6 presets is as good as 64 and either is better than none.

 

Part 5- USB2.0 vs USB3.0

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Part 3 - Selecting the Right Zoom for Your Room

Part 3 - Selecting the Right Zoom for Your Room

Looking at your space and your application, you will hopefully be able to focus on one end of this range and easily select a camera. However, your application may have needs that span the entire zoom range (e.g. a long Boardroom table that is also close to the camera). In this case, you will have to compromise on one end or the other but still try to find a camera that offers the best compromise (e.g. a 5-70 degree HFOV range would provide good headshots and capture all but the closest seats to the camera equally well). Take a look at this example presentation from HuddleCamHD reviewing the fields of views at corresponding differences depending on the optical zoom of the camera.

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