Connecting Your PTZ Camera To Your PC
There are two steps to connecting your PTZ Camera to your computer. The first step is connecting the camera controls and the second step is connecting the camera video feed to your computer. We will go over both.
Connecting The Camera Controls To Your Computer
PTZ cameras normally have an RS485/422 port you use to plug in the control cable (VISCA). To connect these cameras to a computer, you need an RS485/RS232 or RS422/RS232 converter. If you do not have an RS232 port on your computer, use an RS485/USB or RS422/USB converter instead. This is called a serial connection.
You can also connect your PTZ Camera using a Cat 5 or Cat 6 cable if your camera is an IP camera. This connection is similar to plugging in your computer to your router for internet access. You plug one end of the Cat 5 or Cat 6 cable into the camera and the other end into the computer, router, or gigabyte switch. This is normally used for live streaming software like vMix or OBS.
Once you get the camera set up to your computer properly, you can move on to the next step, which is usually setting up additional cameras in the same fashion that you did the first one.
How To Connect A PTZ Camera To A PC Using USB
This is one of the simplest solutions. Basically, all you have to do is connect one end of the USB cable to your camera and the other end into the USB port on your computer. However, at times you may need to take a couple of extra steps. Some cameras need you to install the drivers onto your computer before they will work. And at times you may need to change the settings in the control panel of your computer to designate this as the camera you want to view.
USB makes it simple but there are limitations. Your USB cable should be no longer than 15′ without using a USB signal booster. This makes it inconvenient to use a USB connection when placing cameras at a distance from your computer.
How To Connect A PTZ Camera To Your PC Using A SDI or HDMI Capture Card
Most computers do not have inputs for HDMI and SDI. DO NOT connect a camera to your HDMI output used for monitors. You will risk frying your video card on your computer.
Most people use what is called a capture card. This is a small piece of hardware that will transform the signal from SDI or HDMI depending on which type of video you are sending from your camera to USB.
When using a capture card, you will run an SDI or HDMI cable from your camera to the capture card and a USB cable from the capture card to the computer. You will then need to have your software recognize the capture card. Usually, it will give a brief description of the device to let you know which one it is.
One thing to be aware of is that capture cards can cause latency. Cheap capture cards on Amazon will cause there to be a lag in your video.
How To Connect A PTZ Camera To Your PC Using NDI
If you choose NDI instead of SDI or HDMI. There may be a few more steps involved after you make this selection, but they are usually self-explanatory. As a general rule, here is what you would have to do:
The connections are similar to setting up a camera with an IP address. You need to run a Cat 5 or Cat 6 cable from the camera to either the router, gigabyte switch, or the computer. Then you need the software to recognize the NDI signal. Be aware that not all cameras or software have adopted the NDI protocol. It normally costs more for an NDI camera and for the software to have the ability to capture NDI signals.
Well I hope this has helped you know how to connect a PTZ Camera to your computer.