How Does an Auto Tracking Camera Work?

robot cameraman

You’re probably wondering, how does an auto-tracking camera work? 

Well, Seeing how this device pans automatically to follow an object may pique your interest.

There has to be some sort of artificial intelligence going on within the system that makes tilt and zoom seamlessly in producing video footage without the need for a dedicated operator.

In a shooting scenario where having a technical crew is out of the question, this advanced camera greatly helps. It can be set to suit your video production needs.

Each model is different, but you can expect fine-tuning features and a selection of tracking modes from this camera.

And just because it requires no direct intervention doesn’t mean that’s the only way it operates. It can also be manually controlled with someone’s assistance.

What is an auto follow camera?

what is an auto tracking camera

An auto-follow camera is a type of smart camera mount with claws for clamping a smartphone. Just by pressing down on the power button, the device will start tracking movements.

The latest models require no software installation, meaning that they’re fully functional right out of the box. Basically, there’s no need to be concerned about system incompatibility.

How far can these devices rotate?

Some are able to pan through 360 degrees, making them terrific for producing live videos. Auto-follow cameras vary in features.

More expensive units not only have more sophisticated features, but they also have longer battery life when packing larger batteries.

Some models can even run for 16 hours or more.

Apart from smart motion detection, these devices are also capable of taking stills. In addition to broadcasting to Facebook, Instagram, or Tiktok, you can also use them to photograph people, scenery, wildlife, and other spectacular images.

Read Also: Top Rated Auto Tracking Camera for Sports

What is a PTZ camera?

what is a ptz camera

A PTZ camera is a surveillance camera with the ability to monitor large areas. Normally, this job requires a camera setup comprising several units, but with a PTZ cam, all the spying work can be done using a single device.

That’s because this camera can zoom, tilt, and pan flexibly to expand the field of view. This is beneficial to recording an area without attracting attention to the camera itself because it’s very compact. The control of the device can be done remotely.

One thing that makes them great is the fact that they can produce quality footage free of digital pixelation.

This is one of the reasons why PTZ cameras are a popular choice for broadcasting, live streaming, and security. On top of that, they also boast distinct sets of features, so you can choose one that streamlines your workflow.

Some have presets embedded by default. You can switch between them from afar to execute a specific task, like pointing at an angle or capturing a wide-angle scene.

So, How does auto tracking camera work?

These cameras combine tracking and detection technologies. The pan and tilt functions move a camera in various directions to give it a broader surveillance range, while the zoom function narrows the field of view to magnify the object of interest.

The AI algorithm that works within this device is very complex, but if you need a simplified explanation, the entire process happens in this sequence.

First, the camera will spot a difference between a picture and the one previously captured. It will then isolate the image from the background. Once the target has been locked, it will unleash the pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities to acquire better details of the moving object.

What’s more surprising is that the tracking is triggered as soon as any suspicious activity takes place in front of the lens. Right after the function is activated, it will continuously monitor the object.

Moreover, these cameras also have built-in software that takes care of the automation. There’s a special tracking module built around frame analysis that intuitively keeps close observation of an area.

It also allows the user to lock onto a target for the most precise tracking. This is great, especially when there are several moving objects captured inside the frame.

Auto follow camera (robot/phone holder) vs. intelligent tracking on a PTZ camera

auto follow camera vs ptz camera

The main difference between a PTZ cam and an auto-follow phone holder is the need for an external recording device. A PTZ camera already includes a lens for taking videos and stills.

The other has claws to grip your smartphone, and the recording work is done by your mobile device. In terms of auto-tracking technology, both use it to some degree. Otherwise, they won’t follow the user’s movements.

Just remember that PTZ stands for Pan, Tilt, and Zoom. So, any camera that can perform these tasks belongs in this category.

But, which one is better? It depends on what you look for in this product. For surveillance purposes, a PTZ makes more sense since it comes with a dedicated lens to deliver high-resolution footage.

There’s no need to slide your smartphone into the holder. For taking dynamic recordings, both are great. Despite the differences, they can all be used for live streaming, video conferencing, and other applications.

When buying a PTZ camera, the degree of rotation should be at the top of your priority list. That’s because some units can rotate in a full circle, while others have a more limited range of movement. Greater flexibility would translate into a larger tracking area.

Wrap up

You now understand how an auto tracking camera works. The mechanical parts of these cameras are controlled by AI Algorithms. To get a better look at the target, they can pan, tilt, and zoom.

Because of their ability to monitor larger areas, they are an ideal solution for a variety of venue settings. The compact devices are frequently used for security, but because of the high-resolution footage they can capture, they are also ideal for broadcast viewing, incident tracking, and remote monitoring.

The extent to which they go with automatic tracking will also be determined by the software built into them, as each product differs in this regard. Some are intended to track a moving target, while others can operate on a predetermined schedule.

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