PTZ Visca Control with USB Joystick

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
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PTZ Visca Control with USB Joystick

Postby jeremywillden » Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:44 pm

Our stake center was just upgraded to the new HD distribution system and we finally have a PTZ camera mounted on the back wall of the chapel. The person who adjusted the system and trained us said there was a free Visca control software package for controlling the camera (via USB->RS232->PTZ camera) but the packages I found were either free and supported IP cameras only (no Ethernet on this camera) or cost almost as much as a Visca hardware joystick controller ($300+).

For anyone interested, I've put together (very early "pre-alpha" quality, written in Golang, so it should compile for Mac, Windows, and Linux) PTZ control program that accepts input from a USB game pad joystick controller (a cheap clone of the XBox controller on Amazon) and connects via USB (in the video rack) to the camera.

One joystick ("hat") controls pan and tilt, the other controls zoom and focus. The other dozen-or-so buttons are not yet used, but could be. It takes advantage of all the variable zoom speeds supported by the Visca protocol, so it is pretty easy to move very smoothly, including panning and tilting while zooming. I'm running it on a Raspberry Pi with a touchscreen, though it's just a command-line application right now.

Anyone interested in trying it out? I plan to open-source it, and I'd like to add a few more features like:
GUI with preset buttons for specific shots (wide, tall/medium/short pulpit, choir, organist, pianist, chorister) and maybe even an "automatic choir" mode that slowly pans across the choir slowly, perhaps with a "choir men" and "choir women" button as well. I thought it would be even cooler to add an Arduino under the pulpit with a laser rangefinder module (I think they are about $15 or so) to send the pulpit height back to the Pi eventually, to support a "pulpit auto-height" mode as well.

Anyone out there feeling really adventurous that wants to try it out soon? Our conference is in about 10 days so I hope to add several more features in time to use them in a real stream.

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Re: PTZ Visca Control with USB Joystick

Postby missmini13 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:04 pm

Jeremy, I am interested. We too have the set-up in our stake center as you describe.

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Re: PTZ Visca Control with USB Joystick

Postby tietjenl » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:57 pm

I have searched far and wide and finally found a product that works like a charm. - (at the time of posting it was $99)
It supports on screen (windows) control or Joystick control.

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Re: PTZ Visca Control with USB Joystick

Postby bwarnke2 » Tue May 05, 2020 5:27 pm


I'm wondering if you ended up making the PTZ code available?
Is it on github - or something similar?


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