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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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UVC Camera Control and why it is the future?

UVC Camera Control and why it is the future?

 

Over the years, most conference cameras utilized SDI ports to connect to a receiver and output video. There have been numerous communication ports embedded into devices such as RS-232 and RS-485 serial ports but the most popular has been RJ-45 Ethernet port which is used for IP Streaming. Latest cameras feature Ethernet, SDI, HDMI and Serial ports (RS-232 & RS-485).

Similar to all the innovations, they become obsolete after a certain period of time. We saw SDI taken over by HDMI ports but only RJ-45 is irreplaceable because it has a lot of other purposes. The world is moving towards wireless technology so it won’t be long before RJ-45 is also replaced by Gigabit level wireless technology such as wireless AC 5 GHz network.

Some conference cameras also come with USB 2.0 port but it was unable to transmit video due to low transfer speeds thus manufacturers only used it to update firmwares. Now with USB 3.0 everything has changed and conference cameras can now output Full HD video with the help of 20 times more transfer speed than USB 2.0.

In order to control several features of the camera such as pan, tilt, zoom and rotate; users used RS-232 or RS-485 serial ports and connect it with the controller. This configuration resulted in tangling of wires and confusion amongst the operators. Manufacturers made the process easy by including an IR remote control to operate the camera but it wasn’t enough.

Now there are thee video outputs available in a single conference cam – RJ-45 (IP Streaming), HDMI and USB 3.0. RS-232 or RS-485 ports are included for camera control equipment which requires an external device adding to the cost. With USB 3.0, manufacturers are now able to create a UVC device also known as USB Video Class device. A lot of people have used webcams and these were the first UVC devices which were capable of transmitting compressed video streams in MPEG-2 TS, H.264, MPEG-4 SL, SMPTE VC1 and MJPEG formats.

When using HDMI and IP Streaming output modes, users made use of third-party softwares to control camera movements but UVC eliminates this issue. Now with one simple connection, users can stream video as well as control camera movements with ease.

UVC conference cameras are a must for web-based video conferencing especially for organizations. Managers do not possess the technically knowledge to operate extra camera control units and they want a convenient solution. Below is a comparison between USB 3.0 and RS-232/485 specifications:

 

USB 3.0

RS-232

RS-485

Mode of Operation

Differential

Single-Ended

Differential

 Maximum Cable Length

Not Specified

50 feet

4000 feet

Maximum Data Rate

5 Gbit/s

160 Kbits/s

10 Mbit/s

Number of drivers and receivers

1 Driver

Not Specified

1 Driver

1 Receiver

32 Drivers

32 Receivers

 

As you can see in the table above, USB 3.0 has a lot more speed compared to RS-485 giving it the ability to transmit video. You can also extend the USB 3.0 cable as much as you like and get a custom cable made which can stretch far beyond 50 feet. In terms of maximum receivers, it is not specified either because there are plenty of USB 3.0 hubs available which can allow you to stream video on more than two displays simultaneously.

Below is the list of UVC cameras by some manufacturers:

UVC Conference Cameras

·        PTZOptics 12X-USB

·        PTZOptics 20X

·        HuddleCamHD 20X-G2

·        HuddleCamHD 12X

·        HuddleCamHD 3X Wide-G2

·        HuddleCamHD 3X-G2

·        Logitech ConferenceCam CC3000e

 

All major manufacturers are now developing UVC cameras for convenient use during conference calls. Organizations are increasing video conference meetings and require the best hardware available today. These UVC devices are future proof and will dictate the future for a long period of time.

Operators can say goodbye to external camera control equipment and welcome the latest USB 3.0 powered conference cameras. Most of the camera models mentioned above come equipped with a remote to control camera movements. This makes it extremely convenient for anyone to operate the camera without any extra knowledge.

UVC devices now enable the optimal experience every video conference call demanded. UVC cameras are plug and play devices so the setup takes less than 10 minutes. All of these devices are certified to use with popular video conferencing tools such as Unified Conferencing Systems, Cisco, Skype for Business, GoToMeeting, Zoom and so on. Users do not have to spend extra time configuring their cameras with each software they use.

We use USB devices more than once every day and they have been part of our tech life for as long as we can remember. USB flash drives replaced CDs and DVDs and now UVC cameras are ready to replace RS-232, RS-485 and IP Streaming cameras. Users still get the option of these communication ports in the latest cameras if they want to enjoy advanced controls of the external camera control device but they are only useful during live broadcasting of large events not conference calls.

 

 

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