Logitech brings 4K to enterprise for capture
February 2017 – Webcams have been an integrated part of mobile computing and an add-on for desktop computing for several decades. These cameras have been increasing in performance over the years for image size, resolution, frame rate and color clarity. They have been bounded by the interface speed of USB2 which limited the capabilities for live streaming. This streaming capability includes the performance available for video collaboration systems such as Skype and GoToMeeting. For the duration of the industry, Logitech has been at the forefront of the technology and feature curve for the add-on webcam market for both the enterprise and consumer arenas.
Once again, Logitech takes a first step into the market with a new 4K webcam, called the Brio for the enterprise market and 4K Pro Webcam in the retail packaging. The camera uses a USB3 interface that allows the unit to operate at 4K@30fps with 10bit HDR and is downward compatible to USB2 supporting 1080p@30fps and 8 bit color. The camera brings a number of new features and technology to market in a sub-$200USD product that is available from both enterprise resellers and on the shelf retail. The unit is identical with the exception of the external packaging – 4 color presentation box for retail, brown cardboard box for VARs.
The camera brings a number of new features to address issues with current webcams, these are being solved by a combination of new processing horsepower in the camera and the higher speed interface. The highlights are their RightLight 3 technology with HDR that brings an enhanced image from the camera, the 4K ultra HD image sensor, IR facial recognition for security interface to programs such as Windows Hello, and a 5x digital zoom. Since the camera has the UHD sensor, it has the ability to have a smaller 1080p FHD frame. In this mode, the camera can not only Zoom, but pan and tilt inside the image window digitally. This is a new feature for a fixed lens camera and for a webcam to support the PTZ function in the small footprint and low cost.
The RightLight3 technology brings enhance images to the camera. Now in bright light and back light situations, you have clear visibility of objects in the background behind the speaker and the speakers themselves have a proper skintone shade that is not washed out or shadowed by the room light. The HDR technology allows for an increased identification of the objects due to the enhanced color range. This makes uses such as images on white boards, food & cooking, views out of windows, and people up on stages more lifelike and realistic.
For Enterprise applications normally requiring multiple sign-ins, the Windows Hello software provides a facial recognition based solution. To work properly a 1080p or better IR sensor camera is needed to identify the large number of points to do the secure sign-in. The Brio camera provides this capability as part of the native configuration, and is a supported product for the application.
In addition to the PTZ and 5X zoom capability of the camera, the large imager field allows the camera to have 3 different fields of view (FOV). As the resolution has increased, so has the field of view – 720p at 69 degrees FOV, 1080p at 78 degree and 90 degrees FOV based on the codec supported, and now the Brio has a selectable 65 degree FOV for face-to-face applications, 78 degree FOV for a larger desk view and a 90 degree FOV for YouTube and event streaming. When the FHD 1080p mode is selected, you can still perform the PTZ function to find a capture window inside the selected Field of View.
The images captured at 4K 30fps are quite clear and well balanced. In tools for video editing, the image white balance with the new RightLight 3 technology is very consistent clip to clip. The dual microphones bring a full and balanced sound that appears as proper 2 channel sound. In 1080p mode, the camera supports a 60fps maximum through the USB3 connection. The higher frame rate to capture and streaming produce a very smooth image that is easy to watch and does not miss movement for sports and detailed demonstrations. These features allow the camera to be used in factory automation and inspection applications, telemedicine applications that require “true color” imaging such as dermatology, and legal proceedings capture. For use in these applications the camera has an integrated, standard tripod mount.
The high frame rate and large imager size, with the PTZ capability make the camera idea for location and scene framing prior to image capture with a multiple camera production. The low cost and high quality of the image provide for setting the camera in place and being able to time lapse capture the location to determine the real lighting and color of a scene for usability prior to production camera placement.