Better PTZ Functionality

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  • Official comment
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    Norman Graafsma

    I will address the enabling of the PTZ with our UI team. 

    Regarding the zoom in and delay, in general, this is resolved with our Advanced PTZ functionality which allows you to draw a rectangle around a target and the camera zooms in on it. Also, this supports point-and-click which eliminates that downside of the delay in the controls. 

    More information can be seen in the following video:

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/YUDfckjVyME

     

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    Edward Dickey

    Shortcuts for PTZ control would be great. "P" for example would be great to enable/disabled PTZ function on a selected camera.

    Same for zoom in and out. Maybe the plus and minus signs?

    Same also for taking a screenshot. Maybe F9 or something to keep it in the same part of the keyboard.

    Edward

     

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    Fredrik Ahlsen

    I would also like to see the deley issues fixed. Its cery hard to control PTZ cameras in NX because of this.

    I can control the same camera from ODM (Onvif device manager) and NX from the same computer, and ODM is way more respnsive.

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    Miguel Câmara

    Hello Fredrik and Edward,

     

    I would also like to see the shortcuts for activating the PTZ and an option to enable the mouse scroll to controlo the Zoom when in PTZ mode.

     

    However, the delay that Fredrik reported (long ago) can actually be solved by just reducing the Buffer in:

       Main Menu-> "Local Settings" -> "Advanced" tab and decrease "Maximum Live Buffer Length" from 600 ms to lower values.

     

    I know it might be no longer relevant to your previous case, but if other people wonder about it, I would like to include the tip in this post.

     

     

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    Fredrik Ahlsen

    I have already been using the the PTZ cameras with reduced buffer length for quite a while, and it helps a bit in the desktop client. So this is something I can recommend.
    But when controlling PTZ cameras from the mobile app its not possible to adjust the buffer length to make it more responsive.

    Advanced PTZ is nice when you want to zoom in on somehing that is within the view. But when you need to look around and turn the PTZ in big open areas it can not replace the normal PTZ controls. And Advanced PTZ is not available in the app.

    I`m very happy that you are looking at ways to improve the PTZ capabilities now as this will make NX even more awesome.

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  • Avatar
    Norman Graafsma

    Hi Fredrik,

    To turn around quickly, the PTZ presets might circumvent the issue you encounter. 

    Just set up 4 presets, one for north, south, west, and east. Not ideal, but I might solve the issue for now. 

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  • Avatar
    Norman Graafsma

    @Edward Dickey,

    Please have a look at our Nx Witness 4.0 Beta we recently published. In v4.0 you can enable/disable PTZ with the letter 'P' as you requested. 

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    Miguel Câmara

    Dear Norman,

     

    That is good news! Thank you for the update.

     

    What about the Scrolling zoom? Using the mouse scroll to to PTZ Zoom when in PTZ Mode

     

    Is this something that is coming also?

     

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  • Avatar
    Norman Graafsma

    Hi Miguel,

    The mouse scroll is reserved for digital zooming on any camera or even the whole layout. 

    The best thing is to use the zoom function for the advanced PTZ feature when you want to zoom in or zoom out. 

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    Tomasz Polus

    Norman, we also believe it is more intuitive to use mouse scroll for optical zoom than digital zoom. All our engineers and lot of customers tell us the same. Please re-consider, or at least please offer an option to chooses whether mouse scroll will be used for optical zoom or digital zoom.

     

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  • Avatar
    Norman Graafsma

    Thank you, Tomasz, for the feedback.

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    Fredrik Ahlsen

    Hi.

    I still think that PTZ controls in Nx Witness do not live up to the level of how user friendly Nx is in almost every other way.

    Everything else is fast, resonsive and easy to use. Manual PTZ controls are just frustrating.
    Every time I have to demonstrate this part to a possible client I feel my heart sink.

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  • Avatar
    Norman Graafsma

    And how about the advanced ptz feature Fredrik? You know we can enable that for most ptz camera?

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    Fredrik Ahlsen

    Advanced PTZ is nice, but it can not replace the manual control.
    I think it`s a good extended PTZ feature, but not a replacement.

    Its a lot of situations where its not feasible to add advanced PTZ, here are some examples:

    1. The client got 10 different PTZ cameras thats 3 years+ and no longer very popular models.
    2. Its not possible to give access to the camera to get advanced PTZ support added.

    It`s also time consuming to keep up since advanced PTZ have to be enabled on a pr camera model basis.
    So this is a possible pit-hole in project planning. And some times a big problem when you compete to take over a large system with a lot of different older PTZ models.

    Another point is that for the installers, its good that Advanced PTZ is only available on new models. Its an incentive for the customers to buy new cameras. But you can not force this on them when you try to make them change to Nx. It has to come later when they see the benefit.

    So I really think that good manual control is the only universal and system wide solution.
    And since you got manual control in Nx, both the desktop and mobile clients, it should live up to the standard of Nx.

    Right now the feeling I get from PTZ contol is: What the @%#! did they do here? 
    Instead of the usual Nx feeling: Wow, why did not everybody just do it like this in the first place! Its so fast and easy!

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  • Avatar
    Norman Graafsma

    Hi Fredrik,

    Thank you for the feedback. It is definitely something our product team will have a look at. 

    Older cameras can be mapped as well as long as they support the absolute move in Onvif Device Manager. 
    Often newer models, other models share the same sensor size, the same focal length, and the same mechanics. If that is the case, often we can duplicate the mapping and the advanced PTZ can be done quite quickly. 

    The biggest limitation we cannot overcome is network latency and therefore manual controls are always a bit challenging when you compare this to advanced PTZ. 

     

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    Matthew Fox

    The number one complaint I still get today (3 years later) is the PTZ functionality.  A lot of my live operators hate using it because of the latency delays.  It's too hard to follow someone.   The shortcuts have helped.

    The axis integration with presets is still questionable and I even have one PTZ that can only move side to side for some reason (with the advanced PTZ).  My customer really liked the Exacq PTZ controls and remind me of that every time I see them on-site...

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    Fredrik Ahlsen

    Thank you for the feedback Norman.

    When it come to network latency, I actually think that its possible for some improvements in Nx.
    It should be able to be just as responsive as ODM or other software based PTZ controls is over a ethernet connection.

    But it will not be possible to get it to the level where analog cameras with RS232 controls was, I agree to that.

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  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Patc

    Hello Matthew, Edward, Frederik, Miguel and Tomasz.

    Thanks for your feedback and suggestions. It took a while, but we've finally redesigned the PTZ controls =)
    They are going to be released in the 4.1 monthly patch or hotfix (official 4.1 release still has the old UI).

    The new interface will feature:

    1. Blue "Aim" overlay will be removed
    2. It'll be possible to drag over any part of the video to activate continuous PTZ 
    3. Zoom buttons will be moved to the left
    4. It'll be possible to move camera with arrow keys
    5. It'll be possible to zoom camera with [+][−] keys and mouse wheel. 
    6. There will be a progress indicator in the bottom left corner.
    7. Advanced PTZ commands (drag to create a zoom area or click to position camera) will work with the [Shift] key pressed.

    What do you think? If you are interested, I can make a small demo, which'd be also useful for us since we're still in a process of development, and can use some feedback to get things done right.

    Please, write me at apats@networkoptix.com if you are interested.

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    Fredrik Ahlsen

    Nice!

    Please also try to improve how responsive the controls are.
    My experience is that it has been a long delay from user input to actual camera movement.
    Compare Nx and ODM (Onvif device manager) side by side and see how fast they respond to control input.

    I also like to see the demo, but I will email you for that.

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    Edward Dickey

    This is great. Much looking forward to it! We have live operators and better use of the PTZes is a definite need.

    A demo sounds good.

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    Matthew Fox

    Fantastic news.  I just sent the word out to my customers and hope to have feedback today on PTZ functionality.  

    I too would like to see the demo.

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    Aleksandr Patc

    I recorded a short video presentation of what we currently have and what is going to be done in the short and long time perspective.

    Video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1J-vkdDFayEJlv-NvYK1ESuqkRIxetvzk/view?usp=sharing 
    Mockup for 4.1: https://vatlhm.axshare.com/ptz.html
    Mockup for distant future: https://1e1kwe.axshare.com/new_item_preview_2.html

    If you'd like to know more details or something is not clear from the video, you can comment here or write me an email. 

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    Fredrik Ahlsen

    The features and interface looks very nice.
    I would like to see Aperture controls together with zoom and focus.

    And dont forget the most important part. Improve the performance / response time for manual PTZ controls.

    Here is a video that show some problems with the current implementation:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VCapJDVnYhPNsiQ5fXYMLBk3my11zrVr/view?usp=sharing

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    Edward Dickey

    Yes, performance/response time improvement is vital.

    That video from Fredrik shows the same problem we have. 

    The new features in Aleksandr's mockups look good and much appreciated.

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  • Avatar
    Norman Graafsma

    Gentlemen (where are the women in this community?),

    Please check THIS topic and let us know your opinion about this new implementation of the PTZ controls in that topic. 

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    Fredrik Ahlsen

    I think that is a problem for the whole industry, not this community in particular.

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