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The Power of PTZs

From capturing the Queen’s Christmas speech to two films, DOP Mark Moreve’s 32-year career is rich with experience in broadcast, AV and cinematographic environments. He shares his latest journey, which took him into the thriving world of PTZs

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With more than 30 years of experience on his plate, Mark Moreve has worked expansively across the broadcast and cinematography industries.

He has two films on Apple TV+ and an extensive amount of live broadcast experience, including both corporate and esports events.

“I go across lots of different boundaries. These days, it’s so important for content creators to be able to diversify and look at what the trends are – and what’s coming next. Flexibility is key in these industries now.”

As a director of photography with a background in live broadcast and corporate video production, Moreve knows better than most that the earliest iterations of pan-tilt-zoom cameras were somewhat primitive.

“I first started using PTZs for corporate clients, and they were fine and did what they had to do,” Moreve begins. “But I got rid of them because the technology had moved on.”

As time and technology progressed, Moreve found himself involved in the use of PTZs for an increasingly broad spectrum of projects.

“When Canon brought out its CR-N500s, they were significantly more advanced and truly took PTZs to the next level,” he enthuses. “What I explain to my clients is that the image we are going to be looking at from the PTZ camera compared with a Canon C300 or C500 – which are far more cinematic – creates an incredibly strong broadcast look and feel. You’ll get the kind of sharp image that you would expect from a broadcast, rather than a cine production.”

A dynamic PTZ camera aimed at productions and video streaming, the CR-N500 boasts a 1.0-type 4K UHD sensor and dual optic zoom, smooth pan and tilt as well as image stabilisation to capture content in intricate detail.

It also features the ability to automate productions using auto-tracking and auto-loop functions.

“It has come on so far with the addition of facial autofocus,” emphasises Moreve. “I usually operate four at one time, and you really have to concentrate.”

Cine x broadcast

“I’ve got my own live broadcast system and production system flypack. Recently, what I have done is set it up with the XC protocol, so that I’ve got a load of Canon cameras on there,” continues Moreve. “That means I can control not just the image, but every aspect of the camera using the XC protocol.”

Through Canon’s XC protocol, users are able to adjust settings like pan, tilt, zoom, focus and exposure using Canon remote controllers.

The protocol is supported through Canon camcorders, PTZ cameras and Cinema EOS cameras.

As his expertise in the PTZ field has widened, Moreve has recently been seen to match Canon’s PTZs with other brand cinema cases – with notable ease.

“They integrate with Sony cameras incredibly well. When you’re working with PTZs, you want something that is going to integrate really well, and Canon’s do.

“I have also shot on Canon Log with them, then that company I was working with went off and graded a load of content for it, giving us a far more dynamic range out of the cameras.”

Shooting video through Canon Log produces a stylish and cinematic look which can become a cinematographer’s visual signature.

The fact that this can also be implemented by Canon’s PTZ range highlights the ever-converging nature of the broadcast, AV and cinematography spaces.

When thinking about the future of fast-evolving PTZ technology, Moreve points to the fact that image quality is no longer the concern.

“I think instead what we will see are longer-range zooms and better optics. A super-sensor PTZ would be fantastic – and I also think movement will continue to get better.”

Canon’s range of PTZs offer a remote 4K production package for all situations, bringing to the table smooth pan and tilt functionality along with exceptional image quality for both indoor and outdoor applications.

“For me, PTZs are a string to a bow,” concludes Moreve. “They act as an additional element to further your adaptability as a DOP, offering even more flexibility in terms of what you can offer clients.”

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This feature was first published in the Summer 2024 issue of LIVE.


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