Shotoku Broadcast Systems has added intelligent automatic face tracking to its TR-XT robotic camera control system. Called AutoFrame, it requires a minimum of selection and set-up choices, the rest is automatic. Indeed, it can even initiate tracking without any human intervention, recall the shot and start tracking immediately in one operation.
It means control rooms require fewer people and operators can easily work from remote locations or at home.
“Face tracking is not new, we are all familiar with the ability of even the simplest of PTZ cameras to identify and track a face,” said James Eddershaw, Shotoku’s managing director. “The challenge for live TV applications though, is to ensure the tracking is intelligent and produces a viewing experience virtually indistinguishable to that of a manual camera. To hold frame is easy, holding it smoothly and naturally as presenters and inexperienced guests move, is more difficult. AutoFrame makes this possible by combining tracking algorithms with subtle adjustments for response delays, accelerations and decelerations in motion.”
Tracking can be based on a single face, or two faces simultaneously – maintaining appropriate framing in interviews. All tracking selections can be carried out by an external automation system so, where appropriate, productions can be run without any dedicated robotics operator at all, even on shows where on-air re-framing may still be expected. However, human intervention is always possible whenever the need arises – AutoFrame will immediately disengage if an operator takes control of the camera or if acceptable tracking becomes impossible to maintain. AutoFrame will never randomly move the head, hunting for a face to track. It will remain disengaged on that camera until tracking is restarted.
AutoFrame is tightly integrated with TR-XT and can be added to any TR-XT installation new or old, but is also compatible with other Shotoku controllers such as those used in parliamentary applications. Each system can simultaneously track four live cameras and multiple systems can be added to increase that capacity if required.
“TR-XT, with its wealth of features and advanced operational capability – and now with AutoFrame face tracking, offers any live TV broadcaster the chance to expand the use of robotics without compromising on production quality, while keeping costs firmly under control,” said Eddershaw.