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  • Writer's pictureMarco Herrera

Introducing Spherical Video PTZ: Navigate 360° Videos with Pan, Tilt, and Zoom Controls

RidgeRun is constantly developing new products to give our clients the tools required to bring their ideas to reality effortlessly. In this blog, we introduce Libpanorama’s latest feature Spherical Video PTZ. This new feature allows you to dynamically select a region of interest from your spherical input stream, and produce a standard rectilinear output.


Spherical Video PTZ transformation diagram


Spherical videos provide an immersive experience that lets you explore a scene from all angles. Just like if you were physically present when the moment was captured. This form factor has plenty of useful applications, such as sports and entertainment, live event watching, real-time surveillance, vehicle surround monitoring, and robot teleoperation, among many others.


However, for a spherical video feed to be properly consumed, an equirectangular (2D spherical representation) to rectilinear mapping needs to happen. Otherwise, just cropping the input will result in warped and deformed outputs. This is where Spherical Video PTZ comes into play.


Spherical Video PTZ abstracts all the complexity from these projections and presents a simplified interface to the user. This interface allows you to define an output resolution and then select where in the sphere your region of interest is placed. This is specified through pan (horizontal), tilt (vertical), and zoom controls, which can be updated at any time during execution.


In contrast to traditional PTZ cameras, which physically move to change their scene, these controls are applied digitally over a 360° stream. That means you can instantly switch to a different view without delays and even get multiple simultaneous views from a single spherical source.


Spherical Video PTZ is packaged as an engine in our library (Libpanorama) for direct usage from your application; in addition, it is also wrapped in a GStreamer element. This ensures easy integration within your multimedia pipeline and lets you leverage all of GStreamer's already existing features.


The following example shows how Spherical Video PTZ can be used for visualizing and interacting with a spherical image. We'll start with an equirectangular image of the inside of a cube (shown below). Notice how the image is highly distorted around the edges.



Spherical (equirectangular) image from inside a cube. (Source: View360)


From there, we can use Spherical Video PTZ to generate a 1920x1080 region of interest that is now rectilinear and can be moved around inside the spherical view. This gives the effect of being inside the cube. As shown in the following GIF, we can modify the pan, tilt, and zoom properties to look around in all directions.


Standard (rectilinear) video demonstrating PTZ controls.

Finally, regarding performance, Spherical Video PTZ leverages NVIDIA's CUDA acceleration to make the most out of your embedded platform resources. This significantly boosts computational power, enabling faster processing speeds and smoother performance for real-time spherical PTZ remapping.


Check out our developer wiki for more technical and detailed information, as well as our performance measurements and product video showcasing usage examples. Don't hesitate to contact us and get access to our evaluation version.


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