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VISCA control of a Cisco PrecisionHD 1080p12x


Hi people. First post here...


We have a setup at our Church consisting of a Black Magic Design ATEM Video switcher and four (4) of Cisco PrecisionHD 10280p12x cameras in a daisy chain being controlled over VISCA. The ATEM has an RS422 interface - and I have built an RS422/RS232 converter. We are using the camera's HDMI output and converting it to SDI for connection to our ATEM. We are using 1080p50 - and the camera's SDI output port doesn't support this resolution, 


So far so good. Now the questions...


1. On power-up we have to ask the ATEM to scan the VISCA chain to address the cameras. The Cisco cameras appear to 'forget' their addresses - or the fact that they have been configured as a daisy chain - when the power is switched off. Is this normal?


2. The Pan and Tilt control from the ATEM is very 'lumpy' (i.e. it moves in jumps). The Zoom control is (however) very smooth. I have read that the Pan/Tilt ignores the VISCA 'speed' parameter unless you turn off the camera IR control? I have raised the question regarding the 'lumpiness' with Black Magic Design - and they are looking into it on their end. However, the problem with interfacing different equipment is that it is always the 'other' equipment that is at fault! Does anyone know of any issues like this with the Cisco camera?


3. The Cisco camera manual is a bit 'sketchy' on a lot of the parameters for the VISCA protocol. Does anyone know of a better description of the VISCA parameters for this camera? For example, one of the things I would like to adjust would be the White Balance. The manual specifies there is a 'table of values' - but doesn't describe what the valid parameter index is into this table, nor what each table element specifies (presumably in terms of a colour temperature).


4. We have tried driving the camera from a PC and some PTZ software we used with a Sony D31 camera. It works much better - but you have to 'blip' the mouse very fast to get a small Pan/Tilt movement. Even then, the Pan/Tilt speed has no effect.


5. The manual mentions something about saving parameters (for example, the state of the power LED on power up) but nowhere does it describe how to save (or recall) the settings.


We are very, very happy with the video quality from these cameras. We just need to take control of some of the parameters into manual from the camera's auto setting to achieve the best results.


I am currently looking into making a little VISCA controller with a 4-axis joystick, an arduino UNO, an RS232 shield and a small TFT touchscreen device. There is some sample code to drive the Cisco camera on github (which is where I found out about disabling the IR device).


If someone could point me at a better manual that described the VISCA protocol in more detail I would be very appreciative.





20 Replies 20


Link to the code on GitHub for anyone who is interested. I haven't tested this out yet though. It does (however) compile OK.


What codec are you using? sx80/sx20/c40?

Hello Dave,
I shall do my best here to help.

  • If you are using a Cisco codec then you can leverage the "Startup Scripts". This will allow you to add perpetual configurations via xcommands. This means everytime the codec boots it will get those settings everytime.
  • If you are using a Cisco Codec along with your Camera's, then there are settings you can adjust for a smoother pan and tilt. Keep in mind these camera's are notorious for going bad (mostly due to users tilting and panning by moving the camera physically), The gears are plastic and delicate (also subject to dust issues FYI). I have attached a screenshot for these. The 2 settings to focus on would be Preset TriggerAutofocus and MotorMoveDetection.
  • As for the White Balance, you can see that in the image as well. This is configurable via the codec.
  • Also with the codec you can utilize the Remote Monitoring to move and adjust the Cameras as you need. Image attached.
  • Same answer as for #1 Startup Scripts

Hope this helps,

Sergio Quezada

I'd love to know more about how to do this. Is this done directly through the Codec settings somehow or using Visca? How do I get to the startup scripts?

Hi Jason,


We aren’t using the Codec but going straight in at the RS232 Visca port.


I have solved the issue of daisy chaining my four cameras, and managed to get pretty good control of the camera positioning.


I am just fighting with the user interface now. The camera control itself is pretty much sorted.


I have also found some inquiry commands that aren’t documented in the manual, and some functionality that only part works in the camera, so they have written it out of the manual!







We aren’t using a Cisco Codec at all is the simple answer!


The HDMI output from the camera is converted into SDI (via a BMD converter) and fed to our BMD video switcher.


The camera VISCA control is driven from the BMD video switcher as well.



you have to disable IR control of the camera.

with ir control enabled the pan/tilt speed is fast and gets faster when you longer move in one direction.


with ir control disabled the pan/tilt speed is constant and can be controlled.


but you have to send the right command {0x81, 0x01, 0x06, 0x09, 0x03, 0xff} after powering the cams up.




Thanks for the update.

Yes, I have abandoned the ATEM control and I am working on an Arduino
solution. I have spotted exactly the same scenario as you have described.

This definitely rules out the ATEM as a camera controller, and severely
limits most types of commercial VISCA controllers.


i have build my little own controllers with esp8266

i control them over wifi with vmix 4k and visca over ip

the controllers convert the visca over ip to serial and send all needed commands after powering up.

and it doubles as a tally light for vmix


you can find the project here



I’m also trying to control ttc8-02 directly from a control. I did buy this:

huddlecam hd hc-joy-g3 3. generation


but can’t get any connection. 

How do you adress the cams?

I was wondering what blackmagic converters you are using? I cant get my telepresence to show up at all on on a atem switcher, video router, or monitor.



We are using BMD HDMI to SDI converters.


The CISCO cameras are running in 1080p50 - which is only supported from the HDMI port (not the SDI port) of the camera. On this camera version, the SDI port is limited to 720.


We then use a BMD mini converter to go from HDMI to SDI and cable that directly into the ATEM.


You MUST make sure that all of your video sources feeding the ATEM are the same - and this is the same video standard configured into the ATEM.


One source of endless confusion, trial and error and wailing and nashing of teeth (!) is the A or B part of the 1080p protocol. Again, make sure your configuration is identical throughout.


If you want to know the exact part numbers we use, let me know and I will post them for you.


Update on the camera control: Got it to run yesterday. Better control of the camera PTZ already on the first attempt than the ATEM. A bit more ‘fettling’ to do before I am happy though.



If you don't mind sending the part numnber for the BMD MiniConverter that would be great

Hi again,


We are using the BMD Micro Converter 3G HDMI to SDI. BMD also do a 6G unit (replacing the 3G) that we also have - and also works. See this link from our supplier:


We have set our four (4) cameras up into a 1920x1080p50 video mode by setting the DIP switches under the camera base to ‘00011’ and connecting the camera HDMI output to the BMD micro converter HDMI input via a short length of HDMI cable.


The BMD micro converter requires power. You can either use a ‘wall wart’ or do what we did and powered it from a convenient USB socket using an appropriate USB to micro USB cable. We have power sockets located close to the cameras (to feed the cameras...) so changed these to a mains power outlet with an inbuilt USB socket.


The BMD micro converter is then cabled up to the ATEM with conventional SDI cable.


The ATEM is then set for 1080p50 mode (the same as everything else).


The BMD micro converters are intelligent, and appear to auto-negotiate with the ATEM. They can also be configured to limit their negotiating skills!


Our four cameras are daisy-chained together (using the CISCO manual cabling using the RJ11 and RJ45 connectors). The first camera’s RJ45 connector is connected to an RS232 serial shield on my arduino. I managed to get some sense out of my VISCA camera control program last night - but fell over an issue with the arduino serial library necessitating some rework.


I can, however, confirm that the ‘lumpy’ VISCA PTZ control is as a result of the ATEM and not the Cisco cameras we are using.


I will post more details on the wiring and software later once I have developed it further.




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