When we consider uses for the PTZ camera, we often think of lecture halls and houses of worship where you might want to “set it and forget it.” There is also their ability to bridge the gap between remote and in-person participants in collaborative workplace settings. But the reliability and intuitive setup of PTZ cameras also offer advantages in more creative spaces, such as hybrid live events. A reliable name in professional cameras, Panasonic has a growing arsenal of PTZ cameras that boast professional video quality. But which live events could benefit from using a PTZ camera? And how would it work? Read on to find out.
The demand for a return of in-person events is growing. People miss the thrill of seeing their favorite band on stage, going to worship events, or even attending film Q&As with an up-and-coming director. In a similar vein, there is a desire to continue utilizing the streaming, hybrid-event technology that became so widespread during the pandemic, extending an event’s reach beyond those who can physically attend. All those hours spent teaching ourselves how to use Zoom to communicate with one another must pay off somehow, right?
A Panasonic Case Study: Different Models for Different Needs
Many live events—concerts, keynote conference presentations, etc.—can benefit from a single, wide camera that displays the entire space. Installing a PTZ makes event setup much easier and reduces the number of camera operators needed to make a livestream a success. Even if you’re utilizing a multi-camera streaming setup, compatibility won’t be an issue. Let’s look at the AW-HE20 as an example. This PTZ features a 1/2.8" MOS sensor capable of capturing up to 1080p video in streaming and recording modes. With HDMI, 3G-SDI, and USB-B 2.0 outputs, as well as an RJ45 LAN connector with PoE+ support for single-cable runs, its connectivity options cover all your bases. You can even connect the camera directly to your switcher’s interface.
Once the AW-HE20 is connected to the Internet, you can use an IP browser to control it remotely from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. A technical director can take the time during soundcheck to frame the 3.9 to 46.8mm lens with 12x optical zoom and give themselves a stable safety shot to cut back to when their camera operator is adjusting focus. There’s even a 170° panning range and 120° tilting range to maintain a level shot, no matter in which position the camera is mounted.
But these days, everyone is dabbling in 4K resolution. In that case, you can mirror your preëxisting resolution quality with the AW-UE20, which features the same interface, connectivity, and controls as the AW-HE20, but also outputs 4K video via HDMI and IP for extra-crisp resolution. Both cameras are compatible with Panasonic FEC-40 wall mount brackets to install them permanently, up and out of the way in your concert hall or event space.
Another UHD 4K option with expanded features is the AW-UE50KPJ, which also offers pro-level-camera characteristics. With the larger 1/2.5" MOS sensor, 24x optical zoom, 28x digital zoom, and wide 74.1° field of view, you can easily zoom in on minute details without losing image quality. It also has HDMI, SDI, and IP ports for easy integration with your preëxisting cameras. Like most PTZs, the AW-UE50KPJ boasts a familiar, compact size that allows you to install it practically anywhere. With a single computer, you can control and manage its parameters and settings. This model even has the option to add an NDI|HX license or auto-tracking software to follow your speaker around the room.
Scaling Down Space While Scaling Up Impact
You don’t need to have an amphitheater’s worth of space to use a PTZ in your event coverage—consider a solo stream over a large conference hall, or a smaller studio space over a stage, for example. Whether it’s gaming or conducting a remote Q&A, the AW-HE20, AW-UE20, and AW-UE50KPJ can easily facilitate your vision. Their USB outputs utilize UVC communication to let you use the cameras like webcams to stream on Twitch or YouTube. Install the PTZ in a small conference space to have your remote presenter in one room, while your bestselling author is halfway across the world, controlling both from a single interface so your audience experiences a seamless conversation.
Speaking of one-man shows, using multiple PTZ cameras in a live event means one person can control all the action remotely. Your keynote speaker can freely engage with the in-person audience without the distraction of lenses in their face, while one director adjusts the framing on the cameras and toggles between them for remote participants to see the action. PTZ cameras also offer the option of recording your event for playback at a later date, allowing you to re-broadcast exclusive concerts or seminars to reach more people.
We talk about having remote participants in a meeting, but what about a remote operator? PTZ cameras boast LAN connectivity with various IP protocols to facilitate control over a local or global network, depending on the scope your team requires. This makes the PTZ not only a tool for the office or corporation, but a tool for the production company and live event staff, as well. Clearly, the arenas in which you can incorporate a PTZ are vast, but their compact size means we can scale down the physical space they inhabit while still delivering visuals to a large audience.
Pushing the Envelope
Once you’ve gotten a sense of what PTZs are capable of, you might be wondering what’s next. The AW-UE160 demonstrates where you could go. It features UHD 4K capabilities and a 1" MOS sensor. With it, you could expand your idea of live-event coverage to the soccer pitch or football field. Both high-speed and slow-motion capture modes, as well as Phase Detection Autofocus technology, make zeroing in on moving objects and reviewing or replaying content a breeze. Meanwhile, optical low-pass filters embedded in the camera mitigate the negative effects LED lighting can have on your images. This improves performance during music sets with dynamic lighting design—and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
There is so much potential when it comes to what PTZ cameras can do. From HD and 4K to autofocus and tracking, brands like Panasonic continue to upgrade their PTZ releases as the live event space continues to grow. Whether you’re livestreaming from your small business or headed to a large concert hall for a conference event, Panasonic PTZs offer cameras at different levels to suit your needs best without neglecting video quality, and maintaining intuitive setup.
Do you see yourself integrating PTZs into your event coverage loadout? Do any of these Panasonic models speak to you? Let us know in the Comments section, below, at which live events you envision using them.