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Little-Acorn Dec 10, 2012 3:23 PM

Using PTZ camera in a school theater to show performers on big-screen etc?
Hi, all. I am a newbie here, and I'm not sure if I'm in the right forum. Sorry if this is off-topic!

My son's high school has a fairly decent theater where they do plays, concerts etc. It has two big movie screens, one on either side of the stage, where they sometimes mount projectors and show videos from computers, movies etc.

The director has a project in mind where, when the school band gives a concert, to have a camera (or two) that can show the group on stage, and/or zoom in on a soloist, and show the image (thru the projector) on one or both of the big screens, live as the performance goes on.

I had the idea to use one or two remote-controlled cameras, mounted on a side wall or on the overhead catwalk, to show various parts of the stage. Such cameras are apparently called PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) cameras, and are sometimes used as security cameras.

Some of these cameras produce (I think) an NTSC signal, others produce a digital signal. I'm considering using the NTSC type. I am an electrical engineer and have some experience with RS-232 and RS-485 interfaces, and with NTSC and PAL video signals.

A typical such camera might be the Zmodo CM-Z2212GY. It has a 22x zoom, can pan and tilt, and has an RS-485 control interface. A couple of links to information on it are:
(a home-security company)
(good old

My question is:

Does anyone know how these cameras are controlled? To pan back and forth, tilt up and down, zoom in and out? Are these cameras supposed to be plugged into, say, a desktop PC with a joystick or mouse interface to move them around? Does software exist that can control them?

My apologies if this is off topic. If so, does anyone know where I can go to ask such questions?

Thanks all!

VTphotog Dec 10, 2012 3:59 PM

The systems I have seen use dedicated controllers, though there is probably PC control software now. Here is a page from a supplier I used quite a bit when I was working in the electronics field.
Should be some relevant information.


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