How to Connect Multiple PTZ Cameras to a Controller

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This article was syndicated on our sister website Church Technology Superstore.

How Do You Connect Your PTZ Cameras To A Camera Controller?

One of the best parts of using PTZ cameras for your house of worship is your ability to control multiple cameras with just one device called a controller. This device looks similar to a computer keyboard and comes in many different types. They may look complex but in fact, most are very easy to operate once you get used to a few rules. They are also available in the following setups:

  • Conferencing cameras usually use USB ports and serial or IR control that connects directly to your computer.
  • Professional PTZ cameras can be operated via a combination of serial control, HDMI output, and Ethernet options to live-stream and execute other functions.
  • Some professional PTZ cameras use NDI support and provide you with a combination of excellent resolution and the ability to connect with an NDI network.

Houses of worship receive a lot of perks by using PTZ cameras, and when you wish to add several of them to your organization and plan to use a controller to manage all of them, it’s good to get familiar with some of the basic ways that you’re able to set everything up. Following is some information that is certain to be beneficial to you when setting up your cameras to your controller.

Serial Controller

When you choose serial control, you can plug a cable into one of the serial ports on your camera. Often, this is your RS232 or RS485 port. What this does is provide communication to either a switcher or controller, and that switcher or controller contains either dials or buttons that control each of the camera’s functions. The connections also use communication protocols that are very specific, including options such as VISCA, IP, Pelco-P, and Pelco-D. In practical terms, this means that your controller and each of your cameras must all support the same communication protocols. Otherwise, they will never connect to one another to communicate.

Most controllers have joysticks that allow you to operate all of your cameras by using just one hand, making the task a lot simpler for you. Most people find that utilizing the daisy-chain configuration is the easiest and most-efficient way to connect the cameras. PTZ cameras usually have three separate cable connectors: a data connector to run the joystick itself, a power connector, and a video connector, and a lot of times, all three of them are housed in one cable. While your data can be daisy-chained, your power and video cannot. Still, this is enough to get your cameras connected and your controller operating efficiently.

Daisy-chaining essentially involves running a cable from your DVR to your first camera, another cable that runs from your first camera to the second one, another that runs from the second camera to the third one, and so on. They are separate cables that are all controlled by the same DVR. Each camera brand will have you set up the cameras using this method or something similar to it, but you can check the instruction manual so that you can get the details you need to get everything set up correctly.

IP Controller

For IP controllers, there are actually various methods for getting them connected to one another. Although the following descriptions are actually very “generic” in nature, they will at least give you some idea of what you’ll need to do to set up your IP controller and different cameras.

  • Use a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch with one uplink port to your router. With this method, you connect the PoE switch to the router by using the uplink port. Then, the NVR is also connected to the router. Afterward, cameras can communicate through the PoE switch and the router. Also, because everything will be on the same network, the DVR or NVR recorder can communicate with the cameras through your router. Start by connecting the NVR’s LAN port to a LAN (numbered) port on the router, then connect the PoE’s uplink port to a different LAN (numbered) port on the router. Finally, connect one of the PoE cameras to one of the PoE switch ports. The router then allows the NVR and switch to work together.
  • Use a PoE switch that has two uplink ports when you need to add additional cameras. This method involves linking the LAN port to one of the uplink ports on the PoE switch. You can also connect it directly to your router if you prefer. Next, connect the other uplink port on the PoE switch to your router, and your cameras will all connect to the PoE switch.

There are a few other ways to connect multiple cameras as well, and since brands vary when it comes to these steps, you might want to consult your user manual for the instructions that apply to your particular camera and controller. This way, you’ll know that you’re executing each step successfully.

NDI Controller

Once again, the following steps are very generalized, so you should consult with your user manual for the brand of camera you own to make sure the controller is set up properly. Nevertheless, here are your basic instructions for setting up multiple cameras to an NDI controller:

Step 1: Download and install the NDI/HXTM driver. This step also installs the NewTek NDI Studio Monitor, and you can complete this step by clicking here and visiting their website.

Step 2: Download the camera firmware and the update. First, you have to make sure that the Windows PC and the camera are both connected to the same local network. Then, you can download the camera firmware by clicking here and following the basic instructions. After that, go ahead and update the camera firmware by clicking here to get started and by finding the upgrade software you need.

Step 3: Open everything up and get started. Open the NDI Studio Monitor and choose a corresponding camera in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Then, click on Register in the bottom right-hand corner. Enter the NDI/NX license key, then click on “Enable NDK/NX.”

To add additional cameras, simply repeat these steps until all of them are connected. That’s it! You are all set to go and enjoy your controller and cameras!

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