NAB 2023: BirdDog Talks X120 NDI|HX3 PTZ Camera - Streaming Media Producer (2023)

BirdDog CEO & Co-Founder Dan Miall joins Streaming Media's Shawn Lam in the BirdDog booth at NAB 2023 to discuss the BirdDog X120, a new NDI|HX3 20X PTZ cam billed as "the world's first Wi-Fi production PTZ" that lists for $995.

The BirdDog X120, an NDI|HX3 PTZ cam billed as "the world's first Wi-Fi production PTZ"--thanks to its suppport for NDI andWi-Fi--debuted at NAB 2023 to much fanfare, snagging a best of show award. Intrepid reporter and Streaming Media Contributing Editor Shawn LamofSLV Livewas on the scene in the BirdDog booth to interview BirdDog CEO & Co-Founder Dan Miall and discuss what, if anything, makes this PTZ cam different from all other PTZ cams.

"A lot of viewers are familiar with BirdDog's higher-end products--the P400, the P4K--beautiful larger-sensor PTZ cameras," Lam begins. "But here you've got a very affordable $995 US PTZ camera. Tell us some of the features of the X120. What makes this one so special?"

"Probably the most exciting thing about this product, the X120, is we took all of that functionality we have in our BirdDog cameras--high-quality Sony sensors, great glass optics, and have that great workflow with all of our tools--and we brought that to a whole new price point. We've added some really cool new features as well to fit in with people that are doing live streaming and doing event-type work, like our Wi-Fi connectivity. So this is the first PTZ camera that supports NDI that's Wi-Fi as well. It doesn't mean you can't do wired ethernet--of course you can plug it in like a regular PTZ. It gives you exceptionally high picture quality, particularly for the price. It gives you all the usual tools that you're used to with BirdDog cameras, like an OLED screen, so you can see the configuration of the camera, and a big tally light over the top so you know which camera's going live at any time."

Full NDI Viewer

Miall also draws attention to capabilities that BirdDog's iPad control software--which also debuted at NAB 2023--adds to the X120.

Though the X120 is a very compact camera, Miall says, "it joins up with our brand new software that goes with it as well, which is an iPad control software. So it turns your iPad into a full NDI viewer. You can view any NDI source, including the X120, control that camera, recall presets, suggest all your color, and do that completely wirelessly as well. So you're not only getting a wireless camera, but then also your monitor using your iPad is also wireless."

The X120 and the Flavors of NDI

BirdDog describes the X120 as an NDI|HX3 camera, referencing a relatively new NDI standard that NewTek announced in February 2022.

"Let's talk a little bit about the flavors of NDI," says Lam. "Which version are you utilizing here?"

"We were the first people to put NDI I into a piece of hardware and we've been really famous for using what we call full- or high-bandwidth NDI. And that gives you the ultimate picture quality and really low latency. In fact, with this camera here, we've actually introduced a BirdDog version of NDI|HX3, which really keeps that latency down as low as possible. But NDI|HX is a format that's been around for a little while now, and it's used in a lot of other PTZ cameras. It allows you to do a lower bandwidth or a more high-efficiency compression. In the BirdDog implementation of that, we're seeing the exceptionally high-quality pictures that we have from our sensors in the cameras, then being processed into that NDI|HX3. We've also added in the capabilities within all of the BirdDog products now to support both full NDI but also do NDI|HX. We think there are some use cases where NDI|HX is great--like Wi-Fi, for example--but then if you're working in a studio, you can go for some of our higher-end cameras that will give you lower latency."

"I appreciate that you started off with the full version and waited until HX3 came out before you implemented it," Lam replies, "because it keeps that latency and the needs of your users it top of mind."

"Yeah, it really fits into our ecosystem well," Miall says. "In the X120, it gives us the portability, the size of the camera, and that Wi-Fi compatibility works great on NDI|HX3. We can even support HX|2 on the camera as well. But it's been the right time in terms of how we can bring that camera together with the quality and join it in with the rest of the ecosystem.

Color Correction Tools

Miall also highlights the X120's built-in color correction tools, which he says have emerged as a "signature" feature of BirdDog's PTZ line. "You can adjust all of your color matrix directly inside the camera. For example, quite often if you're looking at a video where someone's wearing red clothing or bright blue clothing, it can get really hot and look fake. With the BirdDog cameras--and even with this X120--you can just reduce individual colors and get them looking exactly as they are in the natural view."

"That's really awesome to have," Lam concedes, "but sometimes users just want a simple way to color match cameras together. Talk to me about that. What new in terms of the, the ability to use Kelvin color temperatures, and why was that missing in the past?"

"There are a couple of different ways to, to adjust colors and get them right," Miall says. "Obviously, there's hue and saturation where you can adjust the overall broad brush balances. We can also use our color shading where you can get into individual colors. But like you say, quite often you just want to tune it in to make it look pretty good. With the X120 camera, we can just choose a light temperature,-a Kelvin temperatures--and get it in and you'll find it works really well in terms of image quality and getting a pretty close color match on the color temperature of the light."

"Is that exclusive to the X120 at this point?"

"It's actually in our X120 and the P110 and P120 cameras as well. It's a feature that was requested by some of our customers and again, it shows how BirdDog works: If we have features requested, then we'll do our best to bring them in. And it's a great functionality."

P120 Tech Specs

"Let's talk a little bit of tech specs," Lam says. "Let's talk sensor size. Let's talk about the zoom range, and the lens ramping from wide to telephoto."

"It's a 20X zoom," Miall responds, "and when you look at it, it's amazing how far in that 20 times throws." Many small cameras with form factors comparable to the X120, according to Miall, "will only be 10X in their zoom capabilities. In terms of the sensor size, it's a 1/2.5. So it's a reasonable-size sensor for the type of camera that this is. But if you actually look at the image quality, the behavior, or how it works in low light, it's really incredible, owing to the types of sensors that we use within our cameras. We build our own cameras from the ground up. We specify exactly what sensors we use and we build all of the electronics inside, and then of course all of the interfaces that go on top. So they're purpose-built with production in mind."

"How is that lens in terms of when you're wide and telephoto, in terms of the f-stop?" Lam asks.

"It's an F/1.6," Miall says, "so you can get really quite nice pictures. It's very bright. You can even get a little bit of bokeh effect as well, which is what some people are searching for. And then obviously you can close that right down if you've got some particularly bright environments.

"This brings me to another feature, which is really key in a lot of our cameras: We also have a filtering on the front. So in a really bright environment, you can put an ND filter on the top. You can also put on polarizing filters as well. So if you are using it in some challenging environments, you can really get the optics looking fantastic."

"And is it about F/3 when we're full telephoto?"

"I think it's 2.8."

"That's very reasonable," says Lam. "The nice thing too with the smaller sensor is that the lens doesn't have to stop down as much, because sometimes in those larger ones, the more telephoto you get, you're getting to 4.8, 5.6."

"It does get pretty stopped down."

"So, it's a great price point on this camera," Lam says. "It's one of those types of workflows that if you're going to buy one, you might even buy four or five of them. You might go crazy on it because with the cost of one of this versus the cost of one large-sensor cameras, you can get multiples of this."

"That's right," says Miall. "And again, the the quality you get out of it and then the flexibility of having multiple cameras works amazingly well. We also have announced a battery plate for this camera as well, so being completely untethered it's just amazing. Even at the NAB show floor where there's Wi-Fi and mobile service everywhere, we've got some of these cameras running on Wi-Fi and working perfectly. So it's it shows you the power of that Wi-Fi connection."

"And obviously it's PoE-powered, right? So it doesn't have to only be DC-powered?

"Yes, it's completely PoE-powered as well," Miall confirms. "So you can have that one cable solution, which is what a lot of people want."

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What is PTZ vs NDI camera? ›

PTZ stands for “pan, tilt, and zoom” which refers to the capabilities of the camera. NDI abbreviates to Network Device Interface – it is a set of protocols that make the sending and receiving of metadata signals over a network easier.

What does NDI mean in PTZ? ›

NDI stands for “Network Device Interface,” which represents a proprietary set of tools and protocols created by a broadcast manufacturer called NewTek, that facilitate the transmission of high-resolution video over a fast, low-latency network.

What is the disadvantage of PTZ camera? ›

Disadvantages of PTZ Cameras:

Limited View: PTZ cameras are unable to record areas that the camera isn't specifically looking at, which is a major con leading to gaps in coverage. Cameras can pan, tilt and zoom to cover potentially huge areas, but not simultaneously.

Does NDI need a router? ›

Cost – With NDI®, you do not need expensive video routers to send and receive video. A standard 1Gb network switch is now your video router.

Why should I use NDI? ›

The Benefits of NDI:

NDI allows for high-quality video to be transmitted over standard Ethernet networks. This means that you can use your existing network infrastructure to transmit video, without the need for expensive and cumbersome dedicated video cables. NDI allows for low-latency video transmission.

How do I use NDI over the Internet? ›

With NDI Remote, external camera feeds can be connected to the Internet to contribute to a live broadcast. It's as simple as sharing a QR code or email-able link with a remote user who can click to join their SmartPhone, webcam, or any camera that can stream via a web browser to live production.

What quality does NDI broadcast? ›

All NDI ® is an I-frame high bit rate protocol with ultra-low latency (1 frame or less) and almost no loss of quality, which can replace complex SDI/HDMI connections, but requires a certain bandwidth, such as a single 1080p60 An NDI stream may require 140 Mbps, and a single 4Kp60 NDI stream requires 250 Mbps.

What is the maximum distance of PTZ camera? ›

Long-Range Night-Vision PTZ Network Camera

These PTZ cameras provide IR illumination for night viewing at a range of up to 1,600 ft (500m).

Are PTZ cameras good for live streaming? ›

Pan-tilt-zoom cameras are valuable for broadcasters.

Instead of a camera operator stationed at each unit, a PTZ camera for live streaming allows remote operation of the unit. The ability to remotely control a PTZ camera makes it especially useful for live streaming.

What is the best position for a PTZ camera? ›

Regardless of your location, PTZ cameras will need to be mounted to a ceiling or wall or placed flush against a surface. Additionally, you'll need to ensure that your camera can connect to the DVR and power source from its mounted location.

Does NDI work without internet? ›

NDI HX works with all NDI-compatible devices, including NDI HX cameras. Once connected to the Internet, the camera will stream videos. The NDI HX protocol also works with Open Broadcaster Software. Both NDI HX require Internet.

Does NDI work over WiFi? ›

Does NDI work over WiFi? NDI will work over a wireless network but at a reduced frame rate depending on the bandwidth available. As a general rule of thumb 100Mbit is recommended per 1080p video feed.

Does NDI affect Internet speed? ›

NDI® video streams can use over 100 megabits of bandwidth while NDI|HX® video sources can be used to conserve bandwidth. NDI® video streams are compressed in order to be sent over a network in-between computers. In general, the more compression that is used, the lower the video quality will become.

What speed do you need for NDI? ›

A single 1920×1080@30 fps NDI stream needs approximately 100 Mbps of dedicated bandwidth. The bandwidth required will change, however, depending on the resolution, framerate, and how much motion is being captured by the camera. For example, a 1920×1080@60 fps NDI stream requires 150 Mbps.

Does NDI transmit audio? ›

As well as video data, each NDI stream can carry up to 16 channels of embedded floating-point audio and bi-directional data, meaning you can use NDI to control tally lights, NDI PTZ cameras, and the like all over one network connection. The answer is yes, NDI does carry audio.

Is NDI good for streaming? ›

NDI is a superior solution for convenient and efficient video creation and streaming; SDI is better for lossless video quality preservation.

How do I connect my NDI camera to my computer? ›

All you need to do is plug the camera's HDMI output into the converter, and plug the converter into the network. Most of these NDI® encoders use a Power Over Ethernet (PoE) switch. If you do not have a PoE switch, most NDI® encoders can also be powered via a USB connection.

Does NDI work over ethernet? ›

NDI® (Network Device Interface) is a video over IP technology developed by NewTek. It is a transcript protocol used to simplify the transmission of video content over Ethernet. NDI video streams are high-quality and low bandwidth, with minimal latency, making the technology perfect for use in live production.

Which is better NDI or SDI? ›

Since the 1980s, SDI has been the digital video standard, but NDI is gaining momentum as the best network link for broadcasting video communications. With quicker, higher-quality images up to 4K and superior audio quality, NDI is the better choice for 2022.

Can NDI handle 4K? ›

Telycam's NDI PTZ camera includes 4K to 1080p FHD version, 5x, 12x, 20x to 35x versions are optional, with full video output interface (NDI, 3G-SDI, HDMI and USB3. 0), for various live streaming application.

What is the port range for NDI? ›

The port ranges used for automatic configuration of NDI prior to NDI version 2 are 49152 to 65535. If NDI devices are used on networks with firewalls positioned on the internal network, configuration to allow for traffic between devices in this port range is required.

What does NDI camera mean? ›

NDI® (Network Device Interface), developed by NewTek, is an open standard for connecting video devices over a network.

What is the purpose of NDI? ›

What is a Network Device Interface? NDI is a flexible and versatile solution that allows many video streams on a shared connection as the future of video evolves toward more network-based distribution methods. Over ordinary Ethernet networks, NDI enables high-quality, low-latency, frame-accurate video.

What is PTZ on a camera? ›

Pan-tilt-zoom or PTZ cameras have been around for years and had become a popular camera for a range of applications. Pan-tilt-zoom or PTZ cameras can be used to provide surveillance over much larger areas than conventional security cameras.

What does PTZ mean camera? ›

PTZ stands for Pan, Tilt, and Zoom. Where Pan means to rotate, Tilt to move the lens up and down and Zoom to zoom in or out on a part of the image you're trying to capture. In short, a PTZ camera is a controllable camera that can move over 3 axes.

Does NDI work without Internet? ›

NDI HX works with all NDI-compatible devices, including NDI HX cameras. Once connected to the Internet, the camera will stream videos. The NDI HX protocol also works with Open Broadcaster Software. Both NDI HX require Internet.

Does NDI work over Internet? ›

With NDI Remote, external camera feeds can be connected to the Internet to contribute to a live broadcast. It's as simple as sharing a QR code or email-able link with a remote user who can click to join their SmartPhone, webcam, or any camera that can stream via a web browser to live production.

How much does NDI cost? ›

Hence the cost is higher, at a flat rate of $5.00 per subject, regardless of the number of years searched.

What can I do with NDI? ›

NDI can directly drive the camera to encode SDI or HDMI video source into NDI protocol stream, video transmission over a wired network or wireless WIFI network, video transmission over a wired network or wireless WIFI network, reducing wiring cost and deployment time.

How do I set up NDI streaming? ›

Adding an NDI source to Twitch Studio

Open OBS Studio on your main (gaming) computer. Select the Tools > NDI Output Settings. Select Main Output and name your Main Output however you want it (this naming will show up later for your screen share option on Twitch Studio). Make sure your gaming screen is captured on OBS.

How far can a PTZ camera see? ›

The PTZ security cameras or zoom security cameras, on the other hand, are more suitable if the viewing area is far away (beyond 40 feet) from the location where cameras are installed.

Do PTZ cameras work only with Internet? ›

If IP cameras, despite the moniker “Internet Protocol,” do not need a live Internet connection, how to power a PTZ Camera then? Having access to a LAN is all that's needed. For example, you might connect your IP camera to your computer's Ethernet connection to create a very simple version of this LAN.

What is the range of a PTZ camera? ›

These PTZ cameras provide IR illumination for night viewing at a range of up to 1,600 ft (500m).

Which is better NVR or DVR? ›

Higher Storage Capacity: NVR camera systems can upload footage to cloud-based servers - an advantage of being connected to the internet. Unlike DVR systems they aren't limited to on-premise storage, and as a result, they can support a higher capacity compared to DVR systems.

How long do PTZ cameras last? ›

How long do PTZ cameras last? Due to their weather-resistant properties, a PTZ camera can last up to 10 years with regular maintenance and cleaning when required.


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