IABM Member Product Focus – BR Remote CamBall4

IABM Member Product Focus – BR Remote CamBall4


Thought leadership articles by IABM and our members
Articles taken from IABM's journal and at show papers
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The CamBall4 – IABM BaM Award Finalist 2018

The CamBall4 is the latest in the CamBall camera series from Remote Camera Specialists BR Remote. CamBall4 uses the latest sensor technology and improved 10bit digital signal processing, and offers better picture quality, extended CCU functions and a Wide Dynamic Range feature. It includes many features that were previously add-ons: DMX, Genlock, 1080p and Metadata.

The CamBall camera has become a standard in the television and entertainment industries over the past 15 years. It has consistently out-performed its competitors due to its ruggedness, feature filled specification, superb performance and weatherproof build, which is standard on all models. The smoothness of its moves and the controllability of its CCU are outstanding compared to other cameras.

David Bradley, Development Director introduces the new CamBall4 and briefly explains the products capabilities

Details of the CamBall4:

Joystick control

BR Remote CamBall4

CamBall4 has joystick control with a new feature – pan and tilt speeds are now proportional to zoom angle on speeds 1-3.

DMX control

The DMX control, developed in response to requests from leading show facilities, is now standard. It can still be controlled with any of our normal controllers, but can also be controlled via 8 DMX channels, allowing 16 bit commands in Pan, Tilt, Zoom, Focus and iris.

If the show computer can track follow sports, then it can track this camera. When used as an auto tracking camera, it can follow the artist extremely smoothly, including zoom and focus. The built-in “Predictive Move Smoothing” (PMS) algorithm predicts and smooths the moves. It also copes with missing data packets without stuttering.

Blacktrax has been used extremely successfully for Camball auto-tracking. The Camball 3D model can be downloaded from Cast-soft and loaded straight into the show model – just like a lighting fixture. The model includes the pan and tilt angles and limits, so that it can get up and running in minutes.

Free-D Control

As studios move increasingly towards automation, motion control, virtual reality and augmented reality the CamBall enables this by using the industry-standard Free-D protocol for both metadata and control, enabling full Motion Control.

The CamBall4 also responds to M* protocols, adding the ability to simultaneously control the camera’s CCU functions, without interrupting motion control.


Metadata is the essential component for VR and AR. The CamBall4 outputs Real Time continuous positional metadata in Free-D format, whilst simultaneously responding to command inputs, either M* , Free-D or D* commands. This is sent as RS422 via the D-sub connector or via the IP interface.

The Genlock input synchronises both the picture and the metadata. For higher accuracy, the CamBall4 VR has absolute shaft encoders which remove all variations due to mechanical backlash and other gear-train errors. They also remove the requirement to find a Home position at the start-up.

Profile Moves

All moves to pre-set positions follow a move profile, with Pan, Tilt and Zoom all moving in the same amount of time. The profile of this move can be adjusted by the operator.
This built-in on-shot move capability can often remove the need for external control of the camera. The CamBall4 can perform position-to-position moves itself, which means that a simple, on-shot move can be programmed in to the camera. The Real Time Metadata enables the graphics computer to keep any overlays pinned to the shot.

Control Priorities

The DMX, Free-D and M* commands are automatically recognized on all CamBall4 models. The operator can take control with the joystick panel at any time, and then when no further joystick moves are detected, the camera automatically reverts to the previous control protocol.

Pan and Tilt speeds can be set to adjust proportionately to the zoom angle. This greatly assists with shots that use pan, tilt and zoom simultaneously. As the camera zooms in, the pan and tilt speeds reduce so little displacement of the joystick is required to continue the shot. The reverse occurs while zooming out.


The CamBall4 camera is weatherproof to IP65 standard, IP66 can be specified. This means it can withstand extended periods outdoors without additional protection. A remotely switched internal heater can be fitted to clear lens fogging in cold conditions.


The chassis is built from machined aluminium with deep pocketing for strength and rigidity, and the shell is a durable carbon fibre.

Slipping clutches are fitted to both axes to prevent damage, and slip rings enable continuous pans.


The new 10bit sensor is switchable to various standards, including 1080p. 50Hz and 60Hz frame rates are supported as well as progressive outputs. CCU control includes white and black level control, with many other adjustments not normally seen on small cameras. The new Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) features enables superb highlights – this is unique in a small camera.

Zoom Lens

30x optical zoom is standard, matched to the larger, higher resolution sensor. This has a wide angle of 64 degrees, plus the option of fitting a Wide Angle Adaptor inside the housing, giving a wide end nearer to 90 degrees.


  • Dimensions: W 166mm, H 222mm, D 206mm
  • Data: RS485, Dstar, DMX, Free-D, Mstar
  • Power:12-16v @1A
  • Pan Range: 360 deg. continuous (DMX 720 deg.)
  • Tilt range: +/- 120 deg. from vertical
  • Pan Speed Range: <0.05deg./sec - >180deg./sec (other ratios on request)
  • Tilt Speed Range: <0.03deg./sec - >120deg./sec (other ratios on request)
  • Accuracy: 0.0055deg. (positional) <0,005deg. (joystick)
  • Pre-set positions: 64 16bit accuracy (+/-0.0055deg. theoretical)
  • Sensor: 0.36” NMOS
  • Active Pixels: 2.38 Mpixels
  • Sig / Noise Ratio: >50dB
  • HD standards: 1080i/50/60, 720p/50/60, 1080p/50/60 HDSDI
  • PTZ Remote: Pan, Tilt, Zoom, Iris, Focus, Pre-set Store (P,T,Z,F), Pre-set Recall, profile Move Time, Profile Move Accel, Profile Move Decell, Profile Move Zoom offsets, Absolute Position mode , P, T, Z, F reverse, speeds 1-10, Turbo Speed, Set Home, Goto Home, etc
  • CCU Remote: Auto/Manual White, Preset White, Rgain, Bgain, Ggain, Master Pedestal, Red Pedestal, Blue Pedestal, Shutter, Gain, Micro Gain, Gamma, Dzoom On/Off, Auto Iris On/Off, Auto Focus On/Off, IR Mode On/Off, Chroma, Detail, Shading, Knee, WDR, RGB balance, Output standard, ND Filter, etc.

About BR Remote – Remote Camera Specialists

BR Remote makes remote controlled cameras for professional broadcast, film and entertainment. We are specialists – remote camera systems are what we do.

We design, manufacture and support the BR Remote brand of cameras. Our equipment is used by an impressive list of clients from across the globe, particularly in wildlife, news and sports programming. Increasingly we also work across a number of different markets where broadcast quality is required; you can find our cameras at concerts, in theatres, on cruise ships and in industrial settings.

The BR Remote camera range, created some 20 years ago, has grown to offer one of the best selections of cameras and controllers on the market, for SD, HD and now 4K.

What makes our camera systems special?

Our design team includes people who have worked as broadcast camera operators and engineers, which means that we know how cameras are used in real life and how they interface with the other equipment in a production.

Over the last 20 years we have constantly refined our engineering and software to make the motion of the camera even smoother and the adjustment even more precise – so that the movement of the camera does not distract from the viewer’s enjoyment of the image, yet the camera is still easy for the operator to control.

Our cameras are built to capture high quality images; our customers tell us it can be very hard to tell the images apart from those shot with larger cameras.

Using the best of British engineering the cameras are designed and built here in the UK in our own workshop. They are built to last, and generally they are backwards compatible so that they can be upgraded as new technology becomes available. Your investment in a BR Remote camera can therefore carry on working for you long into the future.

Find out more at https://br-remote.com/