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NDI Basics for a Newbie

Our church is planning to install a single PTZOptics camera. I would prefer to run only a Cat5e or Cat6 cable to the camera. Am I correct in assuming I can power the camera with PoE and get what the camera "sees" by directing the signal as packets sent loved LAN to the computer running OBS for e.g.? (I.e. no need for SDI or HDMI to get the camera signal into OBS. I think I've understood this to be true. Assuming I'm right so far, can I also control the camera over ethernet or do I have to run an RS232 cable from a joystick to the camera. If I can control the camera over ethernet (IP) what do I need at the control booth to send pan/tilt/zoom and preset commands to the camera? Do I need a joystick, some kind of controller connected by ethernet, or can OBS (or Vmix etc.) do this via software. Sorry if this is a too simple a question, but I haven't been able to get a clear idea from searching the net. Thanks.

Hello Tim,

You can indeed get video, control, and power all through the Ethernet connection on the SDI/NDI and ZCAM models of our cameras. The only cameras we have that do not support PoE are the webcam and the USB models. 

Both OBS and vMix would be able to access either the RTSP or NDI video over the network. The PC running the software would just need to be connected to the same network as the camera. So you would not need to use the SDI or HDMI outputs from the camera to bring in the video. 

There are multiple options for controlling the cameras over the network. 

We have an OBS plugin which would let you control the cameras as well as a stand alone camera control app

There is a mobile camera control app.

vMix also has built in PTZ control if you get the 4k version or better. 

For a hardware option, we do have an IP based joystick controller, the PT-JOY-G3. It would just need to be connected to your network via Ethernet like the camera. The IP joystick can also be powered through PoE. 

Please let us know if you have any other questions. 

So, if i understand how this works, the components of a functional system would include:

  - a capable computer with vMix, OBS, or other software (ex:  i7, 1TB SSD, 32 GB, Nvidia gtx 1660 super)

  - 4 NDI PTZOptics cameras

  - 1 IP joystick controller

  - and a gigabit PoE switch.

In other words, other than the graphics card in the computer, no other capture devices are needed.


Hi Jerry,

That is correct, if you plan to use the NDI feed of the cameras you would not need an additional capture device.

You would just need to install the NDI tools (which includes the NDI HX driver) on the computer in order to access the NDI feed.

We plan to install a single camera and stream the audio and video to a streaming server.  I understand I could use the PTZOptics 20X NDI with vMix Basic or OBS with appropriate plugins.  However, we want the flexibility to also use this system with Zoom.  Someone has told me that this setup is not compatible with Zoom.  If instead we choose the PTZOptics 20X SDI camera and install an SDI Video Capture card in our computer, or an SDI Video Capture USB dongle, we would be able to stream either way.  Is that correct?  We would be able to control the camera using vMix or OBS even while using Zoom, right?

Hi Louis,

If you plan to use the PT20X-NDI-xx-G2 model with both Zoom and vMix, as one example, at the same time have no fears that the camera can support this.

This is possible due to using the NDI capabilities on the camera where you can pull the camera feed into vMix via NDI and then use the NDI Virtual Input / Webcam Input to turn that same NDI feed into a Virtual USB Camera" for Zoom. If you attempt to make a third connection to the camera, without using multicast on your network, and camera(s) you may find issues with being able to reliably receive a feed.

Please note the other setup, SDI / HDMI to a capture card, will definitely work as well if you decide to head down that route.

For you reference please see a screenshot of a single PT20X-NDI camera operating in both vMix and Virtual Input --> Zoom at the same time.

I hope this information is helpful, and if you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to follow up.

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