In particular I need to figure out the plane of hell to which I will find myself consigned should I try to control where the camera's pointing from a Perl script. I'd sure like to have some confidence as to whether it's even possible before buying one, since I got pretty burned on those piece of shit Panasonic WV-NS324 cameras I have now.
This one says says "Protocols supported: EVF-1, Pelco-P, Pelco-D" and those words mean nearly nothing to me.
Some one seemed to have at least stared to implement a js library here. Conveniently they also checked in a pdf with the protocol description in the docs directory which might help more.
While I can't help with these specific cameras, I can tell you that Pelco-P and Pelco-D are industry de-facto standard protocols used in professional CCTV systems, so it is widely implemented, supported and documented. The protocols support preset store and preset recall commands, so getting the camera to point to specific places is, in theory, easy. The ultimate success depends on how well this particular camera has implemented the protocol and the associated mechanicals
A friend of mine pinged me about this thread. Pretty much work extensively with the Sony EVI-HD1 and have had some small experience with Pelco PTZ and some newer Panasonic PTZ stuff. Sadly, all of these companies can't come up with a standard that works across multiple manufacturers mostly since they want to sell you a hardware PTZ controller along with the cameras. However, out of most of the options out there, people have created lots of options for using the Sony VISCA stuff. If you are interested in VISCA stuff:
Now, some of the newer Panasonic SDI PTZ stuff that I saw at NAB last year seems much more promising. They also have some nice network PTZ cameras now that are controllable via HTTP and more. I believe they do have a hybrid camera where video is SDI, but PTZ controls are the whole HTTP+more thing.
Since all of these cameras seem to assume that you're using a physical controller with a joystick and whatnot, I wonder if the other route exists: a camera controller console that is itself controllable via an embedded web server?
I have yet to see something like that for PTZ controller.
When we were investigating PTZ control seriously at work, we figured we would have to interface with the camera directly with RS232C.
Oh! Looks like I was right about Panasonic. SDI output with IP Control. Sadly not cheap:
My experience with "neverfocus" has been completely shitty. The DVR we bought of theirs a few years ago was a collosal heap of shit. Sure, it had a web interface, that had a fucking horrid java app, and it was like the Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde of DVRs - you could name channels and set up recording framerates (in inches per second of tape, despite it not using tape (!?!)). Then you go to the web interface and everything is grainy, 2 frames per second on a good day, and the channel names aren't there at all. You may as well be trying to nail jelly to the wall to review a recording with it. I ended up buying a black and white security cam monitor for it after a few years just to do things like set the clock. I danced the day I removed it.
The AXIS camera I bought just before corporate foisted the neverfocus on me integrated nicely into the AXIS camerastation setup I bought 5 years later to replace the neverfocus. And the PTZ units do what they say on the tin, though the zoom isn't really zoom, it's "cropping, with style".
Pelco-D is a basic and widely-supported system for pointing cameras -- typically, security cameras. Being nothing resembling new, it uses RS-485 and can support multiple cameras per control cable, but they all must be in a line (think 10base-2, including the terminators, except with twisted pair instead).
So, in practice: All of your video cables are in a star, and your control cables aren't. (They can be, but then you need separate RS-485 transceivers...)
Google for "pelco d protocol manual" and you'll find the skinny on making it fly. It is, perhaps unfortunately, not very complicated: It's geared toward being useful to a security guard at a desk with a joystick in 1980-something.
And, no, I have no experience with using Pelco D with Everfocus gear. I don't even have any experience with SDI, since the security CCTV world that I live in is now consumed by IP.
But I do have experience using it between random crappy DVR software and random generic NTSC cameras, wherein it always seemed to work without a problem for indefinite periods of time.
RS-485 and terminators? That's Apple LocalTalk and the year is 1989. I wonder if old Farallon kit wold work with it.
RS-485 is still used all over the place. Even for gas pumps and other every-day mundanity.
Just because it's old doesn't mean that it's somehow bad or unsuitable. There isn't much data going on when it comes to camera-pointing...
But yeah, visions of LocalTalk would come to mind if I'd ever experienced LocalTalk. (In 1989, the networked computers I cared about were already using Ethernet, and the ones I care about still are.)
Jamie, surely you know about the Axis network cameras you can spy on with google inurl:axis-cgi?
I documented the CGI interface here back in 2005: http://www.harrowell.org.uk/blog/2005/10/30/cctv-hacking-part-2/
Yes, I know about them. I do not know of any sane solution that involves them.
Never change, jwz:-)
Look, if you do know something, tell me! If not, give me the benefit of the doubt that I can guess and google as well as you can.