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Whether it’s in the classroom or on the field of play, higher education is in the midst of a significant evolution in how students, professors, athletes and fans interact and stay in touch.
Prompted by prolonged campus-wide shutdowns due to the pandemic, remote learning became a more prominent feature in the virtual halls of academia. On the football field, basketball court and other collegiate fields of competition, new economic realities stemming from the pandemic pushed many institutions to look for ways to maximize their video production budgets.
Canon pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras have answered the call in classrooms and at sporting events, helping colleges and universities respond to and overcome limitations, enabling common-sense steps likely to remain relevant even as the pandemic recedes.
“We want our productions to be like you are watching ESPN every single night in the Big South Conference so our fans can really enjoy the product, enjoy the games and the content,” said conference commissioner Kyle Kallander.
However, neither the university nor the conference have an ESPN-sized production budget. The Canon PTZs made it simple to add exciting shots—like fan reactions and coaches and players on the benches—with pre-set shot setups and controlled from the production trailer as opposed to camera operators positioned in the rather cramped confines of Buccaneer Fieldhouse.
“That’s just priceless at our level because staffing is an issue. Equipment is an issue. Why? Because budget is an issue. So, to be able to have that kind of expansion—to make a small production group feel like a major production team—is a big deal,” said Mark Bryant, director of broadcast services at the conference.
Thanks to its robust feature set and competitive price point, the Canon CR-N500 PTZ camera is quickly becoming a favorite among collegiate sports producers. Engineered with a high-performance 1-inch CMOS sensor capable of 4K UHD resolution, the camera captures images on par with those of other high-end field production cameras, with less noise in low-light situations. The larger sensor also exhibits a shallow depth of field at large apertures, producing a beautiful bokeh and blurred backgrounds in images, while Canon’s DAF tracks and keeps subjects in sharp focus. Its 15x optical zoom (20x digital) with one of the widest in class 73-degree angles-of-view, and optical stabilization also help bring a new level of flexibility and performance to the PTZ class of cameras.
Support for PoE+ simplifies placement of the CR-N500 in sports venues, reducing the number of cable runs required. Its support for both IP and SDI-based productions ensures shots are easily integrated into newer IP-centric and traditional video workflows.
The CR-N500 also offers a fast and precise auto focus system, which includes face detection and tracking, —attractive solutions in sports production applications. Support for pre-set shot recall, remote control via the Canon RC-IP100 and from certain Ross Video and NewTek video production switchers, as well as use of premium servo motors to ensure ultra-smooth pans, tilts and zooms make the camera simple to integrate into professional production workflows.
In The Classroom
The heightened emphasis on remote learning during the pandemic may be reducing as students get back to the classroom. Still, the lockdowns underscored the role remote learning and PTZ Cameras can play in education going forward, greatly expanding the learning opportunities for students too distant or unable to attend in person.
One challenge, however, has been the inability to replicate the organic back and forth between students and teachers in a real classroom. Canon addressed this with the launch of its Activate My Line of Sight (AMLOS) technology, a hybrid collaboration solution that combines advanced PTZ camera functions and software to enable remote students to see what’s happening in a classroom with clarity. AMLOS even proves angle-corrected views of white boards making it as simple and clear to see what a professor is writing as it would be sitting in desks in a classroom. The AMLOS solution is capable of working with the Canon CR-N500 PTZ camera as well as the CR-N300, which shares some of the same features and offers a longer zoom range at a lower price point, making it an attractive option when budget is the highest priority.
Solutions like AMLOS, and PTZ cameras in the classroom and in collegiate sports production played critical roles in helping colleges and universities maintain operations during the pandemic and have found a permanent home in collegiate life, helping institutions better meet the needs of their students, professors, fans, donors and boosters.
As Big South Conference commissioner Kallander put it, Canon PTZ cameras are helping conference schools put their “best foot forward.”
Canon U.S.A., Inc. is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean markets.