Ncam to launch new PTZ camera tracking technology for augmented reality
Ncam is planning to launch a new entry-level camera tracking solution at IBC2015. The new device is designed primarily for broadcasters wanting to use virtual graphics or augmented reality, but only need pan, tilt and zoom functionality rather than complete freedom of movement. Conventional pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) heads provide a good degree of tracking for augmented reality, but are limited to tracking the movement of the head itself. The Ncam solution uses the company’s core tracking technology, so it detects subtle movements of the camera itself, not the camera head.
“The really clever part is how the system picks up tiny changes in the camera body,” explained Nic Hatch, CEO and founder of Ncam. “Platforms on a high tower, crane or cherry picker will tend to move about a little, and encoded systems are typically unable to track these movements, so the graphics no longer lock to the video. The Ncam PTZ software will detect these movements and maintain alignment.”
Ncam is known for its Live 7D, which uses a lightweight sensor bar attached to a camera to track natural markers in the environment. It means the camera can move freely at all times, generating a continuous stream of precise positional information which feeds a real-time graphics engine, or on movie sets a pre-visualisation system to match live and VFX elements.
The new PTZ product provides much the same functionality and renowned workflow and speed of set-up, but for fixed position cameras. It works on any camera head, tripod or pedestal, and with any camera. Encoded lenses can add focus and zoom to the Ncam data stream.
“This is part of our tiered product approach, giving customers a real choice of solution,” added Hatch. “Unlike typical hardware solutions, our software is upgradeable, so users can add functionality as they need it via a software license. So, by utilising existing hardware they can upgrade all the way to the full Ncam 7D system.”