Shotoku Broadcast Systems, international manufacturer of high-quality, easy-to-use, robust and reliable robotic and manual camera support systems, has announced a smart new feature for its TR-XT control system. AutoFrame adds intelligent automatic face tracking to the TR-XT control system – the centrepiece of the Company’s robotic platform and the choice of broadcast facilities all around the world.
The TR-XT has consistently expanded in response to the Company’s customers’ growing needs with increased capacity and features, and today remains at the leading edge of robotic camera control with features such as CRuZe, LiveView, and now AutoFrame.
“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,” commented James Eddershaw, Shotoku 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.”
As always with Shotoku systems, the focus is on advanced performance and reliability with the simplest of set-ups and operation. AutoFrame requires only a minimum of selection and set-up choices, the rest is automatic. So much so that it can even initiate tracking without any human intervention - recall the shot and start tracking immediately in one operation. With this level of automation control rooms require fewer people and operators can easily work from remote locations; even at home if necessary.
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. That said, 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 but is also compatible with other Shotoku controllers such as those used in parliamentary applications. AutoFrame can also be added to any TR-XT installation new or old, large or small. Each system can simultaneously track four live cameras and multiple systems can be added to increase that capacity if required.
Added Eddershaw, “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.”