PTZ cameras may actually be the best solution for small-time film crews looking to create a high-budget look on a local filming budget. Whether shooting a talking head show or a YouTube webseries or streaming a church service live, pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras mean content creators can create professional content without having to pay for additional staff like camera operators. 

Canon_ptzCR-N300 & CR-N500Credit: Canon

Taking a close-up look at Canon’s new line of pan-tilt-zoom cameras, it’s easy to see how they can be a godsend to the one-man crew, or a church looking to livestream their weekly services.

Using a combination of CMOS sensors and the latest DIGIC DV 6 image processors, Canon’s PTZ line is capable of delivering brilliant 4K video with on-air movement. Canon’s indoor models, the CR-N500 and CR-N300, support connections via HDMI, 3D-SDI, and IP with support for popular protocols including NDIHX, RTMP, and other live functions.  

These cameras also enjoy many of Canon’s top features, including Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Log 3 color science on the CR-N500, and Hybrid AF on the CR-N300. The CR-N300 also comes with four unique scene modes: Portrait, Sports, Low Light, and Spotlight.

The long-range 15x optical zoom on the CR-N500 and the 20x optical zoom on the CR-N300 also support buttery bokeh for a cinematic look.

Crx500CR-X500Credit: Canon

Meanwhile, for outdoor shots, users can opt for the CR-X500, which offers 12G-SDI connections and enjoys robust weather-resistant housing with an IP rating of 55.

It also has the same 15x optical zoom as the CR-N500 and captures 3K video in 60p with 10-bit color that can be shot in Log3 for wide dynamic range.

Rcip100_controllerRC-IP100 ControllerCredit: Canon

And to keep control of the system, Canon has put out the RC-IP100 remote camera controller, which supports both IP and serial connectivity of every model in the PTZ line. That translates to complete control of pan, tilt, zoom, focus, and iris settings. The remote settings are adjusted courtesy of control and seesaw zoom levers, and a 7-inch touch screen interface, which can adjust up to 100 separate indoor PTZ cameras. Additionally, when an outdoor CR-X500 camera is connected serially via RS422, up to 99 indoor PTZ cameras can be connected as well. 

This kind of adaptability means that the PTZ line can be used for all types of broadcast, educational, and even corporate events. But just how flexible are PTZ cameras? Here are a few ideas.

Local Church Services

Volunteering at a local church is always a challenge, and adding the technical know-how of camera operation and training can be even more challenging. Canon’s RP remote camera controlling setup with PTZ cameras means that a limited staff of church volunteers can run a live video stream with minimal training and operation.

Live Sports and Concerts

In some areas of the country, local high school sports enjoy as passionate a following as nearby professionally broadcast games. But don’t forget the arts programs, with music concerts and live events.

With the PTZ cameras and remote control, a small AV club or local TV station can broadcast or livestream games without the need for a huge crew. Even cities can get in on the action, broadcasting civil events and streaming them online with just a pair of technicians to set up and operate the system via IP.

Corporate Training Videos

Zoom is rapidly becoming the way that companies will be doing business in a post-COVID world, and the PTZ setup is ideal for communicating with and training company employees through the internet. Livestreams that can be controlled via IP with remote operation of every aspect of the PTZ camera means a streamlined and professional presentation.

That’s only the beginning, though, as the automation of Canon’s PTZ line can translate itself to covering just about anything a local film crew can cover, and doing it with limited staff and budget.

Prices start at around $5,400 for the CR-N500 and $2,700 for the CR-N300.

The outdoor-centric CR-X500 variant, however, will set you back a hefty $22,000, which makes me think that it may be a better idea to buy three CR-N500s and build them custom all-weather cases.

The Canon RC-IP100 controller will run around $1,200.