What is VISCA and how does it work with PTZ cameras?

HOLLYWOOD, FL – JUNE 30th 2017 –

What is VISCA? We get this question a lot at Dycap and we figure we’d help with a quick history lesson and share where VISCA is implemented most often. VISCA stands for ‘video system control architecture’. Pioneered by Sony, it is a device control language enabling synchronized control of multiple devices. Basically, it describes an interface between a computer and a video device that is device as well as platform independent; you can envision it as a bridge between the computer and the video. Figures 1 and 2 below show the common connectors used with VISCA over serial, the most common interface is the RS-232 connector.


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Figure 1

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Figure 2

The VISCA control protocol faciliates advanced camera control with hundreds of options. It is usually accessed over the RS-232, a standard communication protocol for linking a computer and its peripheral devices to enable serial data exchange. Along with RS-422 and RS-485, it is one of the original serial interfaces still used in many electronic equipment today. In Figures 3 and 4 below RS-422 and RS-485 cables respectively.


Figure 3

Figure 4

Besides RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485  cameras can also be controlled via the VISCA protocol over IP connections. For instance, the cameras can be mounted anywhere in a boardroom, classroom, or house of worship where there is an active PoE+ ethernet port without the need to run extra AC or DC power. In this case, an IP cable is an interchangeable term with Ethernet cable. Whether or not you’ll need a Cat5 or a Cat6 cable will determine based on your specific situation.

VISCA and PTZ cameras

VISCA is common with pan-tilt-zoom cameras (PTZ cameras) which, as you may be aware, are capable of remote directional and zoom control. PTZ controls are used commonly with professional video cameras in TV studios, sports events and other spaces relying on audio-visual technology.

You can control your PTZ camera in different ways. Some of them include:

-The Perfect Track, Dycap’s new software which can automate any PTZ  camera using VISCA. The Perfect Track software by Dycap uses facial detection to know who is the subject of interest and will send VISCA commands to any PTZ camera in real time. For a demonstration or free trial version of the Perfect Track auto tracking software please contact Dycap directly at support@dycap.co
-Cameras with IP capability can be controlled via an IP connection, wherein each camera offers a corresponding webpage to perform configurations and control various functions.
-With PTZ controller software, you can control your PTZ VISCA protocol camera – such as one from Vaddio – through your computer. Instead of the PTZ keyboard or joystick, you can control the camera with your standard computer mouse.
-Some VISCA camera controllers allow you to control seven or more PTZ VISCA compliant cameras from your PC via your keyboard or joystick. These products may offer multiple modes of operation, unlimited number of presets and programs, and free software updates, among other features.
-A handheld IR remote control for configuration, pan, tilt and zoom. The remote can be used to operate multiple cameras, with the option to pre-configure settings for each. The remote will send VISCA commands in real time too but require the attention of an operator.
-The RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 control utilizing the Sony VISCA camera protocol is another option. The cameras can be controlled from any audio-visual control system (Crestron, AMX, Extron, etc…) OR the RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 cable can be converted to USB and the camera controlled with the VISCA control software. Here, the camera can be controlled from a computer or mobile device on your network.