Canon has announced a new multi-camera friendly PTZ controller which, fans of Star Trek's original series will no doubt spot, seems to share some design elements of the bridge of the USS Enterprise. Sure, Canon loves a bit of red and black, but I see the classic red, blue, and yellow primary color accents which dominated the first Enterprise, as well as an array of large, simple, lit buttons.
XC Protocol support
Pro analog joystick
Open connectivity (with licences)
20 control sets x 4 tasks (80 sets)
Max cameras: 10 (via IP)
I'm not saying the design team at Canon – or their partners at SKAARHOJ who are manufacturing the device – spend a lot of time looking at the specs of the NCC-1701, but you can't help feel Gene Roddenbury's set designers would be proud.
It was designed for Canon by live production controller specialists SKAARHOJ, and fully supports Canon's XC protocol so can be used to extend the controls of a PTZ camera (or more than one) to give a multi-camera production all the pro-quality remote control you need. At the same time, the design is clearly not excessive; there is a small display with the selected camera's mode and settings, which each other button gets an individual display label which changes according to context.
Within Canon's ecosystem, PTZ cameras (like the CR-N100 and CR-N300), Cinema EOS and camcorders will all be controllable. The monitor will show iris, focus, R and B gain, Master and Pedestal, and the zoom rocker is analog for precise, smooth operation.
You studio can be set up as you like, but the new PTZ controller looks like a solid object. This is in contrast to some of the alternatives which rely on less tactile touch screens, like Canon's own RC-IP-100, or the $4,999 flagship RC-IP1000 which only went on sale last month.
It seems Canon is clearly keen to make its presence felt in the space and offer a good choice. In my quick test, I was impressed with the subtlety of the joystick on the earlier RC-IP100 so hope for the same here too.
Details of the new Canon RC-SK5 can be found on Canon's site, while the existing RC-IP100 is a popular seller (at least according to B&HPhoto). The price we've heard for the RC-SK5 is €3225 (about $3,500/£2,750/AU$5,300) and the device is expected to go on sale in March 2024.
Star Trek fans (and I count myself amongst you) should know that I understand 'Engage' is more of a Picard quote, while the primary colors scheme harks further back, and perhaps is alluded to in Strange New Worlds, but please forgive me!
Read my guide to the best PTZ cameras – there are even some PTZ webcams!