Auto Tracking Camera System for Successful Lecture Capture


Simpltrack Audio Tracking Software in Classroom 750

By Paul Richards
Director of Business Development — Chief Streaming Officer
PTZ Optics

The demand for live-streaming and pre-recorded content has never been greater. Many industries are turning to lecture capture solutions to transform trade shows, training sessions, seminars and more into live-streamed shows as well as on-demand content libraries. The move to digital content requires a significant investment in equipment, employees and education.

An often neglected aspect of lecture capture is camera control. Pan, tilt and zoom cameras can follow a presenter around a stage and, perhaps more importantly, zoom into presentations spaces to make writing more legible. Unfortunately, accurate PTZ control requires a human operator behind the camera. Or does it?

New Auto Tracking Cameras

Auto-tracking cameras, which calculate and track the position of a single subject on a stage, are eliminating the need for a human camera operator. These cameras are a revolution for lecture capture solutions because they allow the content presenter to also be a content producer.

The SimplTrack2 is the second generation auto-tracking camera from HuddleCamHD designed to automate PTZ controls through advanced computer vision algorithms, eliminating the need for a separate camera operator. The latest update to the SimplTrack2 allows you to do so much more than just track your on-camera talent. Integrating an auto-tracking camera into lecture capture systems with their own content publishing automation workflows allow professors and presenters the ability to walk into a room and create videos that are automatically recorded and published for on-demand access.

Lecture Capture System Integration

Have you ever set up a lecture capture system with a camera that automatically follows the presenter? HuddleCamHD has been working with hundreds of professional audiovisual integrators to make the installation and setup process for their auto-tracking cameras a “once and done” experience. The SimplTrack2 auto-tracking system does more than just automate PTZ camera operations to follow subjects in front of a room or on stage.

HuddleCamHD has recently released an updated management software that increases performance and reliability for 24/7 camera automation. The camera can replace camera operators and enable any room to be ready for high-quality video recordings at any time.

The SimplTrack2 features four simultaneous video outputs which include USB 3.0, 3G-SDI, DVI (HDMI) and IP video streaming. While many higher education customers use the 3G SDI video output with their lecture capture recording solutions, there is a growing demand for USB connectivity. For example, the school may have a lecture capture system that automates video publication to their learning management system such as Blackboard, Moodle or Kaltura, while the teacher may connect via USB to host a distance learning session via zoom video conferencing. The latest firmware also allows remote Zoom Video Conference participants the ability control the camera via a standard protocol called UVC. This allows far-end video participants to operate the PTZ camera controls when auto-tracking mode is off. Either way, the SimplTrack2 has video options that can accommodate modern lecture capture spaces and an HDMI video output that is often used to power a confidence monitor for the room.

Auto Tracking Camera Management

The new auto-tracking camera management software allows for remote camera operation of the SimplTrack2. The improved feature set now includes multi-camera viewing over the network and a redesigned set of auto-tracking camera rules for faster and more accurate automation. The SimplTrack2 remote management software features advanced controls for setting up auto-tracking zones in a room such as a classroom. AV managers can quickly set up tracking zones where they want subjects to be tracked and blocking zones for areas such as projectors and windows. Along with these features the camera can be set up to frame the subject with the ability to keep specific presentations spaces such as whiteboards in view during the entire presentation. AV managers can of course turn the auto-tracking mode off and take manual camera controls with an IP joystick like the PTZOptics IP-Joy or access PTZ preset controls with the IP management tool.

The new HuddleCamHD SimplTrack2 auto-tracking camera software is completely customizable for each classroom. The software has been designed to optimize the auto-tracking camera’s performance using a wide-angle reference camera that is used to drive the position of a 20x optical zoom lens above. The 20x optical zoom PTZ camera head is controlled automatically with options to limit sensitivity for automatic zoom, pan and tilt. After a simple setup process the auto-tracking software allows the camera to follow presenters at the front of a room and frame up a space that can give viewers a detailed view of notes written on a whiteboard. Many universities who are currently paying students to operate cameras will find that the ROI of an auto-tracking camera is less than 12-18 months.

What’s the best auto-tracking camera?

After listening to numerous customer requests, the HuddleCamHD engineering team feels like this is the best auto-tracking software release yet for the SimplTrack2 camera. Every room is generally different, but with a one-time setup process, the latest SimplTrack2 software can accommodate any space with a high-quality auto-tracking camera experience that can integrate with any SDI, HDMI, USB 3.0 or IP streaming system solution. Do you have a Crestron or Extron control system? Great. The camera also has integrations to work with existing control systems as well.

The HuddleCamHD SimplTrack2 now features a 4K wide-angle reference camera that improves the tracking capabilities beyond the 1st generation release. The HuddleCamHD SimplTrack2 has been built to provide peace of mind; after setup the camera will do what you asked for — 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year without needing a camera operator.

HuddleCamHD is very excited to bring this first of many new exciting features to the SimplTrack2. We hope that, if you’re looking for an auto-tracking solution, you will get in touch with one of our helpful team members to learn more or to see a live demonstration.