Auto Tracking Camera For Teacher Lecturing

Education has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. No longer are classrooms just physical locations where students come, sit down, and listen to their lectures while taking notes. Classrooms are now dynamic and online and available to learners all over the world. The technology that is now available to broadcast or stream classrooms around the globe has been a hugely positive change in the world of education. Teachers are now using Learning Management Systems or LMS systems for short to enhance student learning opportunities by providing additional online resources. LMS systems are a popular way for teachers to organize resources that now include full HD recordings of the lectures and presentations along with digital assets such as PowerPoint files, PDF documents, and other supplemental learning materials. Learning management systems now provide everyday students with the ability to bring classroom learning back to their dorm rooms and homes for further studies. Many MBA program students who have full-time jobs rely on online learning management systems to keep up with their studies amidst their busy lives.

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Auto Tracking Camera For Teacher Lecturing

The Benefits of an Auto-Tracking Camera in the Classroom

One of the technologies that have made this giant leap possible is auto-tracking cameras. Before auto-tracking cameras, colleges and universities had to hire students to operate cameras that were used to record lectures. Not only is it expensive to hire students to record lectures for posting into learning management systems, but they also are often not as reliable as auto-tracking cameras. These cameras are easy to set up and provide an automated, non-invasive way to record or live stream a teacher or professor for the benefit of their students everywhere. The Huddle Cam HD SimplTrack2 camera, for example, provides the ability for classrooms to connect laptops for use with video conferencing and distance learning software such as Zoom video conferencing or Adobe Connect via a simple USB connection. The SimplTrack2 also features an SDI video output that can be run long distances and connected to lecture capture systems such as Sonic Foundry Media Site or Echo360. Here are all the benefits of having an auto-tracking camera in the classroom.

Zoom Video Conferencing Auto-Tracking Camera

How It Works

An auto-tracking camera is an automated camera that is positioned in a room to capture an instructor as they move during their presentations or lectures. They are commonly used in higher education for teachers to capture their lessons via video so that students can follow along live or watch the lectures using a learning management system where the teacher uploads their notes and the video/audio that is recorded is also available for students to review. The SimplTrack2 has simple management software that IT departments can use to remotely monitor classrooms. The software is also used to set up a highly intelligent auto-tracking system of rules that include tracking and blocking zones. For example, if students are coming in through a doorway during the lecture that area can be blocked from auto-tracking. IT managers can view multiple classrooms at the same time using the management software and turn auto-tracking off if they want to take manual control. The idea of the auto-tracking camera software is to provide a flexible one-time setup that allows the camera to function properly in almost any space. Once the auto-tracking camera is set up, it is ready to work 24/7, anytime a professor is ready to teach a class. With the camera’s simple integration into learning management systems, professors simply don’t have to worry about the technology. The auto-tracking camera and microphones in the room do all the work recording lectures when the classes are scheduled.

What are the Benefits? 

There are many benefits that an auto-taking camera provides in an educational setting. Here are a few examples of the most important benefits.

No manpower required

The best part about an auto-tracking camera is that it is easy to set up and once you do, it operates without requiring time or money. In education, where budgets are tight and help can be hard to find, having a person dedicated to holding or maneuvering a camera to record a lecture is not efficient. An auto-tracking camera takes the need for a person to monitor it out of the equations which save money and frees up people’s time. Many universities find that the auto-tracking cameras pay for themselves within the first 12-16 months of operation.

Caters to student’s needs 

The modern student is very different than the students of old. To attract students today you need to offer flexibility that not only appeals to people’s individual learning styles but their lifestyles as well. Offering lectures, recorded or live, online is a huge competitive advantage that will appeal to today’s students who want more choice in education. Students entering college today have experience with technology and online learning management systems from the high school level. The K-12 education system has been using the “flipped classroom” techniques that bring the homework into class and deliver the lectures via video for students to learn from at home. This trend continues to become more and more important as higher education modernizes and improves its ability to deliver education online.

It allows schools to expand their reach

With so many education institutions out there today, there is a growing awareness that many times there will be a finite number of potential students who can attend the institution. Just because they cannot be there physically though does not mean they cannot become a part of your educational system. Offering online video classes allows institutions to greatly expand their reach and attract students from all over the world. An additional benefit is these students do not require the physical resources that on-site students do. 

The Comprehensive Guide To Finding The Right Auto Tracking Camera For Your Situation

FOCUS ON THE MEETING, NOT THE CAMERA

THE POWER OF AUTO TRACKING WEBCAM TECHNOLOGY

Whether your organization is moving back into the workplace, continuing to work remote, or trying a mix of both, finding the right meeting equipment has likely come up more than once. During your research, you’ve probably come across auto tracking as a feature in many webcams. Auto tracking can be great when creating a safe distanced meeting space, but what can you expect after making your selection?

While we strongly encourage using this powerful tool, the right auto tracking camera can vary based on your need. In this article we aim to reduce some of that clutter and help you make the right decision in picking the best auto-tracking PTZ camera for your needs.

WHAT IS AN AUTO TRACKING CAMERA?

An auto tracking camera has built-in technology that allows the camera to automatically detect an object that moves within its field of vision or gets picked up by the attached audio. In practice, this allows the camera to highlight a speaker, best frame the room participants, and adjust the frame when others join an in-progress meeting. Anyone who has manually made these adjustments understands how great this idea sounds. With these concepts in mind, we can look at how auto tracking differs across a variety of cameras.

The biggest factor when deciding on a PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera for your meeting space, is the size of the area you are looking to capture; this idea is still true when looking for an auto tracking webcam. The good news is auto tracking can still be a great benefit even in smaller rooms. For example, highlighting a speaker in a meeting still feels natural in a small huddle space.

SMALL BUT POWERFUL

The Auto Tracking Camera for Huddle Spaces and Small Conference Rooms

The Polycom Cube fits this role nicely. While still properly framing your meeting participants, it performs best when focusing on individual speakers. As opposed to keeping the camera on the entire group, the automatic focus feels like you can talk to the other side of the video call face to face. However, while having a nice, wide field of vision, the picture on the Cube can look a bit distorted if trying to capture too large of a room. We recommend using this camera in a smaller room with up to four people around a small table. As you can imagine, this can make keeping a safe distance rather difficult.

THE SAFE DISTANCE OPTIONS

The Auto Tracking Camera for Meeting Rooms

When needing that larger space for safe distancing or framing a bigger group, we recommend either a Poly Studio x50 or an AVer Cam540. Since the Studio x50 comes equipped with speakers and a TC8 Touch Control unit, it is the best choice for when you need an all-in-one system. Others may want the Cam540 for the 4K capability. Either way, the auto tracking in these cameras differs a bit from the Cube. Rather than prioritizing individual speakers, both the Studio x50 and the Cam540 aim to perfectly frame the entire group of participants.

While having presets available, it feels much more convenient to allow the camera to frame the shot for you. The transitions on the x50 feel very natural and it does well when adjusting to movement and additions to the meeting. It feels the most natural of the bunch. The Cam540, on the other hand, does well at framing the group but does not flow as nicely. It also has difficulty detecting individuals wearing a mask. The trade-off is its impressive 4K picture and 18x zoom capabilities. So, it really comes down to what you value more. When it comes to auto-tracking camera capabilities, the x50 takes the cake.

TOP OF THE LINE

The Auto Tracking Camera for Teacher Lecturing and Classrooms

The Polycom Director II has the most robust auto tracking features. Equipped with 2 PTZ cameras, it can focus on individual speakers while keeping the entire group in focus. While being a bit overkill in smaller rooms, it shows its value in a larger space. For example, the Director II performs well in distance learning classrooms. One camera can automatically focus on someone asking a question while the other keeps the rest in frame. Other situations include larger conference rooms and safe distancing with a larger group.

LIVE TRACKING

The Auto Tracking PTZ Camera for Live Streaming and Live Tracking

The remaining feature we get requests for is live tracking an individual. The above cameras have impressive auto tracking abilities but have yet to integrate live tracking. For this instance, we recommend the Poly Studio. When placing the Poly Studio in Presenter Mode, the camera can follow the speaker as they walk around the room. This is perfect for active presentations or live streaming but can become overwhelming with more than one person in view. Also, the tracking capabilities struggle when the speaker is more than 12 feet away from the camera, so you will want to keep the Studio close to the presenter.

Auto tracking technology in PTZ cameras continues to make great advancements with each product release, and we strive to keep you informed of all the new updates. Click the links below if you have any questions or you would like to request a quote. We pride ourselves on our years of expertise. Let us aid you in discovering your next solution.

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