Choosing The Perfect Pan Tilt Zoom Camera For Live Streaming

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Live streaming is becoming increasingly popular as a way to broadcast events. The popularity of live streaming has also led to advancements in PTZ camera technology, so now the quality of video content produced is better than ever before. When it comes time to choose a pan-tilt-zoom camera for your live stream, there are many important factors that you need to consider. This blog post will discuss some factors and explain how they can impact your decision-making when choosing the perfect pan-tilt-zoom camera for your needs!

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ptz camera

What is a PTZ camera and what are the benefits of using one for live streaming?

PTZ cameras are also known as pan-tilt-zoom cameras. They allow you to remotely control the camera’s position by zooming in or out on your subject and rotating left or right. This benefits live streaming events because you can control where people will look through these features.

Other types of cameras cannot substitute PTZ cameras’ benefits for live-streaming events. Benefits include pan, tilt, and zoom remotely in real-time. This eliminates the need for a camera operator and allows you to focus on other important things related to producing your live stream.

PTZ Cameras have a small footprint and can be set up in a short amount of time. This is beneficial because you will not have to spend too much time setting them up before your event, and it won’t disrupt the people attending it.

PTZ cameras also offer high-quality video streams that give viewers an enhanced experience when watching live content. It would be best if you only considered PTZ cameras to provide your viewers with the best possible content.

Types of PTZ cameras

USB PTZ Cameras

USB PTZ cameras are typically used for live streaming at home and office. They plug directly into a computer to stream video through an app such as Skype, OBS, or other popular apps that will allow you to control where the PTZ camera is positioned remotely from your device.

IP PTZ Cameras

IP PTZ cameras are also used for live streaming, but they work in a slightly different way when compared with USB models. These cameras connect to your network and are assigned an IP address. The video is captured through your LAN. Remote control of these cameras is also controlled via software or hardware through your LAN. They offer the same pan tilt zoom function that allows you to position them wherever you want during your live stream.

HDMI PTZ Cameras

HDMI PTZ Cameras send an HDMI signal through an HDMI cable to your video switcher, capture card, or other devices that convert the signal to USB. HDMI signal can travel up to 50 feet over an HDMI cable. If you need to send the signal further, you will need to use a signal booster in the setup.

SDI PTZ Cameras

SDI PTZ cameras are typically used for professional studio settings or professional installations in commercial settings. They send an SDI signal to your switcher, capture card, or other devices that convert the signal to USB. SDI signal can travel up to 300 feet without using a signal booster.

NDI PTZ Cameras

NDI PTZ cameras are the latest technology for professional studio settings or commercial installations. It sends a digital signal over Cat5 or Cat6 cable to a LAN. You will need software that is capable of using NDI technology.

4k PTZ Cameras

4k PTZ cameras can record or live stream in 4k video resolution. They offer the highest video resolution available on the market. The advantage of using a camera that records or streams live in such high quality is to provide viewers with an enhanced viewing experience, ensuring they return for future events and continue following your company through its online presence.

Auto Tracking Cameras

Auto Tracking Cameras are PTZ cameras that track a subject or object automatically. The camera will follow, zoom in on and tilt toward the object or person you have programmed it to follow. i.e., the speaker or presenter of the event.

Types of zoom used on PTZ cameras

Optical Zoom

Optical Zoom is when the lens of a camera physically changes its focal length to zoom in on an object. The quality will depend entirely on how well the optics are made, which can add significant costs to your purchase.

Digital Zoom

Digital Zoom uses software within the camera that increases or decreases images based on their resolution, pixel dimensions, and aspect ratio. You can see a loss of quality when using digital zoom. Still, it allows you to enlarge your image without having to purchase an expensive lens with high optical zooming capability.

How to choose the right type of zoom for your needs 

When deciding which type of zoom is right for you, several factors will determine the answer.

First, ask yourself what resolution you need to magnify your image or if it’s more important not to lose quality when zooming in and out during live-streaming events.

Next, you should ask yourself how close will the PTZ camera needs to get to capture your subject matter. A digital zoom would be sufficient for your needs if it’s several feet away. However, in all honesty, I never recommend using digital zoom for professional video broadcasts.

If your speaker or presenter is going to be further away (over 20 feet), then you should use a PTZ camera with optical zoom. 20 – 45 feet, use at least a 20x zoom, 45+ use a 30x optical zoom.

Reviews of five best-selling PTZ cameras

Here are a few suggestions from the best-selling PTZ cameras

Top Selling PTZ Camera For Live Streaming

PTZOptics 30x SDI PTZ Camera

ptzoptics 2.07mp full hd 3g sdi gen2 live streaming 30x ptz camera
PTZOptics 30x Optical Zoom Broadcast & Conference Camera

Features:

  • Capture images from a long distance.
  • Broadcast in HD quality.
  • You’ll have the edge over the competition.
  • Have more control of your PTZ camera and get better footage.
  • The camera is easy to set up and use.
  • It’s a powerful tool that will make your life easier.
  • Capture the moments you love in stunning detail.
  • Use it for work or play, day or night!

Pros:

  • Stunning detail
  • Easy to set up and use
  • A powerful tool that will make your life easier.

Cons:

  • Expensive for non-professional streamers

Top Selling 4k PTZ Camera For Live Streaming

Lumens VC-A61PN 4K NDI HX PTZ Camera

lumens vc a61pn 4k ndi hx ptz camera

Features:

  • Capture stunning, high-quality video with 30x optical zoom.
  • Get crystal clear images in low light conditions.
  • Share your best moments with friends and family without worrying about the quality.
  • 4K Ultra HD video image quality
  • 30x optical zoom enhances details in the image
  • NDI®|HX delivers high-quality video with ultra-low latency
  • 5 Year Warranty

Pros:

  • Stunning, high-quality video with 30x optical zoom
  • Share your best moments without worrying about the quality.
  • Professional-grade PTZ camera

Cons:

  • Its price point might be more than a small business can afford.

Top Selling Auto Tracking Camera For Live Streaming

Lumens VC-TR1 Auto-Tracking Camera

Features:

  • It is easy to use.
  • You can get the perfect shot every time.
  • The footage will be automatically recorded and saved for you.
  • Make your video production process easier than ever before
  • Auto tracking and smart switching
  • Full HD 1080p 60fps with 20x optical zoom
  • HDMI, 3G-SDI, IP, and USB video outputs
  • Supports PoE+ (Power over Ethernet)
  • Supports RTSP/RTMP/RTMPS and H.265/H.264 video compression

Pros:

  • It’s easy to use.
  • A flexible camera that can go where you need it most.
  • The footage will be automatically recorded and saved for you.
  • Reasonably priced for an auto-tracking camera.

Cons:

  • It has a steeper learning curve to program than a regular PTZ camera.

Top Selling PTZ Camera With HDMI Output

AVer PTZ330 PTZ Camera

aver ptz330
AVer PTZ330 Camera

Features:

  • 30X Optical Zoom
  • Full HD 1080p60 with HDMI/IP/3G-SDI/USB Output
  • IP Streaming
  • You’ll get a perfect shot of the whole church.
  • It’s portable
  • You’ll never miss a detail.
  • It’s easy to set up and use.
  • Share your story with the world.
  • Bring your church to life on TV screens worldwide and can be mounted on a ceiling.
  • Your viewers will be able to see every detail of your church hall in HD quality.

Pros:

  • 30X optical zoom
  • You’ll get a perfect shot of the whole church.
  • It’s portable and easy to set up.

Cons:

  • The warranty is less than Lumens or PTZOptics

Cheap PTZ Camera For Live Streaming

Logitech PTZ Pro 2 Camera

logitech ptz pro 2 camera
Logitech PTZ Pro 2 Camera

Features

  • You’ll never miss a shot again.
  • Capture stunning images in any light.
  • Enjoy crystal clear video quality.
  • Make the most of every moment with your church family and friends.
  • Never let anything slip by you ever again
  • You’ll get a clearer, more detailed view of the service.
  • Get close to what you’re shooting without sacrificing quality.
  • Catch every detail in high definition
  • 10x high-speed optical zoom
  • High performance in low light with a Wide Dynamic Range
  • White Balance control
  • 1920x1080p FullHD camera resolution up to 60fps
  • USB output

Pros:

  • 10x optical zoom
  • Get close to what you’re shooting without sacrificing quality.
  • It’s portable and easy to set up.

Cons:

  • It is a budget live-streaming PTZ camera, which is not the same quality as others. I believe that you get what you pay for.
  • No IR remote control

Tips on how to use a live-streaming PTZ camera for events or conferences 

Signal Type

When setting up your live streaming system, you must decide whether you need USB, HDMI, SDI, or NDI for your system. The signal type will determine your cables and equipment to complete your broadcast.

SDI Signal Type

An SDI signal is one of the most commonly used signals for live streaming events, conferences, or concerts because it carries a digital video/audio signal over a coaxial cable up to 300ft without using a signal booster or other device.

HDMI Signal Type

The HDMI signal type is the most commonly used live streaming signal because it can transmit both video and audio, making it easy to connect devices together without having to run multiple cables throughout your event space. However, you’ll need a signal booster to transmit over long distances (50ft+)

USB Signal Type

If you want to use a USB signal type, make sure that your live streaming camera and video encoder will allow for the transfer of USB (video and audio) along with USB control. USB is limited to 15 feet of cable without a signal booster.

NDI Signal Type

If you’re looking for a more robust and long-distance signal type, I recommend using NDI. It is the future of video over IP because it’s uncompressed and can be transmitted up to 1000ft without any loss in quality or latency issues. It also allows multiple signals (video & audio) to travel through a single Ethernet cable.

NDI is the most future-proof signal type because it’s an open standard that can be used by anyone and with any device or platform. You won’t need to worry about compatibility issues in the future when you choose NDI for your live-streaming needs.

Video Resolution

The video resolution of your pan tilt zoom camera for live streaming is important. Remember, the higher the resolution of your camera (1080p vs. 720p) determines whether you’ll be able to capture all of those little details that impact how professional your broadcast will look for viewers online.

However, there are two schools of thought when it comes to choosing video resolutions for live-streaming events or conferences: one says to choose the highest resolution possible so that viewers get a clear and crisp picture, while others say to choose a lower video resolution because it will stream faster for online audiences. You also need to consider the resolution of the platform you will be live streaming.

I recommend choosing a camera with 1080p capabilities because you never know how fast your internet connection can handle an upload of higher resolutions. If a large audience views your broadcast, you’ll need to ensure that your internet connection can handle the data load.

Remote Control Of the Cameras

You will need to decide whether your will control your cameras with hardware or software. There are many PTZ camera controllers available, and you can even use a joystick controller to pan & tilt your camera.

Software Control: If you’re looking for the cheapest option for remotely controlling your cameras, I recommend using software on a computer or mobile device instead of hardware controllers because they are way more affordable than their physical counterparts (i.e., joysticks).

Streaming Software

There are many great streaming software applications out there. I recommend vMix, but many people love OBS or Wirecast.

vMix:

vMix is a software application for Mac via Boot Camp and Windows users. It works with most USB cameras, SDI, NDI, HDMI PTZ cameras, other webcams, video encoders, and video switchers.

OBS:

OBS is a free, open-source application that allows you to record your computer’s or mobile device’s screen and stream it live over the web in real time. You can use it with multiple types of PTZ cameras for live streaming and other video encoders, capture cards, and switchers.

Wirecast:

Wirecast is a more expensive alternative to OBS and vMix because it allows you to add multiple layers of media on top of your live stream while using different transition effects between them—all in real time. It also has a plug-in called SocketIO, which allows you to send messages from the program straight into your website through JavaScript code for things like live polls, chat rooms, quizzes, etc.

You will need to decide whether you want software or hardware camera control of your PTZ camera system for live streaming because it can greatly affect your choices in terms of which streaming software you want.

Final thoughts and tips on how to get started with live streaming today!

ptz camera

The first tip I would give you is to start small. Get your live streaming up and running, and then look to see what things you want to do to improve. You can always add to your system but can’t always subtract.

Secondly, I would look at some of the church’s live streams on YouTube and Facebook. A few great examples can help you get your feet wet and start thinking about what’s possible with live streaming.

You’re going to need wires! Make sure you have enough HDMI cables, power cables, audio cables, etc., for all of the devices in your setup when choosing how many cameras you want. It’s always better to have more than you need, just in case.

Lastly, before your live stream starts, test everything out and ensure it works properly—especially your internet connection! When I started streaming, we had technical difficulties with our wireless router and the church’s firewall not allowing our broadcast to go through. All of a sudden, my live stream was not working, and I had to get on the phone with IT or someone that knew what they were doing for them to fix it.

Once you’ve tested everything out and feel confident about your live streaming, start broadcasting! Not everyone will be watching your live stream, but the people who do will be thankful for it, and you can use that as an opportunity to increase your reach with your audience.

It’s never been easier to get started with live streaming today. Just choose the right pan tilt zoom camera for your needs, download some free or paid software like vMix, OBS, or Wirecast (or all three), and you’re ready to go!

I recommend trying out each of these applications, if possible, to see which one you like the most.

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