Video Conference Camera Comparison

I'm going to compare the typical experience that you get with the industry standard pan tilt zoom (PTZ) camera with that of the camera and image processor from Array Telepresence. Of course as you can read from the sidebar, I am the Director of Engineering for Array, so take my opinion with a grain of salt and do your own independent research. Opinions are mine alone and do not necessarily represent those of Array.

The PTZ camera is the industry standard camera for meeting rooms and has been for at least the 15 years I have been in the industry. Only recently have improvements to the PTZ been made to image acquisition for video conferencing. Polycom took the lead with Eagle Eye Director and later with Producer. This is a PTZ camera that automates the panning, tilting and zooming functions and attempts to frame meeting participants. Cisco's version of this is called Speaker Track. Each has their own set of positives and negatives, but for this blog I will only go into comparisons with standard PTZ cameras. Maybe later I'll dive into the automated tracking cameras.

Below is a video we shot in early November of 2015 at our headquarters in West Chester, Ohio. We replicated a meeting using a PTZ and our DX camera at the same time to clearly show the difference between the two.

The first thing that may jump out to you is that the people in the back of the room at the top of the video look bigger and not small as they do on the bottom of the video. Our technology uses a proprietary piece of hardware to enhance the image and to make the people in the back of the room the same relative size as the people closest to the camera. The standard PTZ camera can only do this if you zoom in to the back people but by doing that you end up not capturing the people in the front. This is the main, and key difference between the two technologies. We do not believe in hampering the meeting by having users feel that they need to pan all around the room to only look at a couple of people at a time at a large enough size to actually see them.

For clarification, the image map we used for the demo may make the people on the outsides appear vertically stretched too much. That was due to my subjectivity when designing the map. I made a new set after this video was taken that looks a hell of a lot better.

The typical question is: What about content sharing?
We're able to take our dual stream image and put the entire thing on one screen allowing for data sharing on the second screen. That's also how we become easily compatible with the soft codec world and their typical single stream of video limitation.

If you have a meeting room with dual displays and a relatively new codec, I can show you the difference live. Just drop me note to let me know you're interested and we'll set something up. Other than that, feel free to reach out and ask me any questions you have.

As always, follow me on Twitter @bryanhellard

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