Using 3rd-party cameras with an Icon 600/800 codec successfully

Document created by richdwa Partner on Mar 7, 2017
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I have seen too much posted in other places about how LifeSize isn't "integration-friendly" and I have to argue that's only true if you don't understand it!  As a rebuttal, I am creating a number of documents to show the community just what can be done with a little work.

 

Let's start today by using cameras that aren't the LifeSize 10x. It's a decent camera, but it has limitations that come up pretty regularly for us (and I am sure others who do integration regularly).

I will discuss (2) scenarios that we have (in some cases painfully) worked out the particulars of having a 3rd party camera work 100% of the time below.

 

Scenario #1: Icon 600/800 with Vaddio RoboShot 12 HDMI camera.

Advantages of the Vaddio:

  • Ability to mount upside down AND still use the PTZ functions as its mechanically designed to work inverted;
  • Wider angle lens without distortion (fisheye) effect;
  • Ability to adjust camera via IP as it has a built-in web server.
  • Super fast and quiet movement, brighter colors and better overall adjustments/controls.

Ok, we have used this camera in two scenarios:

  1. Attached directly to the Icon 600/800 (HDMI out on Vaddio to Camera In or DVI in on Icon 600/800) and using a USB-Serial Adapter to connect to the RS-232 control on the Vaddio using the supplied DB9-RJ45 adapter, a null-modem cable, and a CAT5/6 cable (but watch that the total length including the null-modem cable doesn't exceed the non-extended length of a serial cable)
    • The Icon sees the Camera correctly under diagnostics/system information and is able to be controlled using the phone or remote, or through FECC successfully. This works VERY well when you can do it.

WARNING! Do NOT attempt to use ANY of the normally effective CAT5/6-RS-232 serial extenders with this scenario for control. After exhaustive testing with Extron, Crestron, C2G, TrippLite etc. we were always able to get the video to extend but we were never able to get the Icon to "see" the camera unless it was connected with a serial cable and the USB-Serial. Every attempt to extend the serial failed. It didn't make sense, but eventually, we realized it just won't work. (I wanted to save some of you the stress of trying and getting frustrated like we did)

If you want to do the above scenario you're going to have to either A, keep the camera close enough to the icon to use a serial cable without extenders, or B, use a control system (like Crestron or AMX) to talk to the camera directly using the RS-232 connection. (in which case, see scenario #2 below except plug the camera into the HDMI directly and use 3rd party control)

 

Scenario #2: Icon 600 with multiple Visca-controlled cameras:

In this scenario, we have two or more Visca-controlled Cameras and are controlling the setup via Crestron or AMX.

We are using the Icon 600 (codec-only) and brought the cameras into a switcher first, then taken a single output to the camera input on the Icon 600.

Control is directly from the Crestron or AMX to each camera, and you can place the cameras where needed and have full control of them.

This scenario does NOT work well if you are planning to use the Lifesize Phone Or Phone HD) but if you're using a control system like Crestron or AMX and a touch screen then it works great, and in cases where you have the need for multiple types of cameras you can offer the best cameras and still use the Icon 600. There are some additional considerations for audio summing/balancing when using the Icon 600 in an integration scenario, but this post is about Cameras so message me if you have questions about that.

 

Any questions, feel free to reach out.

 

Rich

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