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VISCA / VISCA commands (Sony VISCA)

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

skoopia block cameras as well as skoopia board cameras support the VISCA protocol. VISCA offers operators / users of the camera systems to control, manage and determine status of multiple cameras.

All of skoopia's board and block cameras supporting SDI and/or LVDS support the VISCA protocol as well as the Pelco-D protocol. Despite the ease of Pelco-D, skoopia cameras are typically used in a setting in which operator efficiency and effectiveness is required. Over 99% of camera implementations (using skoopia board or block cameras) are using the VISCA as this offers more flexibility (significantly more direct commands) and control (VISCA has a back channel, indicating the message is received and handled, and even offers inquiry commands to determine the factual status of the camera for each parameter.


skoopia block cameras as well as board cameras offer unique VISCA commands for specific application purposes, such as:

  • Set AreaAutoExpose

  • Set Iris Min/Max

  • Set Shutter Min/Max

  • Focus Data

  • Block command

next to options that are typically not found in most VISCA cameras, such as:

  • Crop/Full CVBS

  • EX-SDI (and EX-SDI 1.0 / EX-SDI 2.0 / EX-SDI 2.1 / EX-SDI 3.0) vs. 3G-SDI / HD-SDI selection

  • Parallel video output selection (e.g. LVDS / SDI / CVBS output)

  • Strobe/Trigger commands

  • WDR selection (next to HLC / BLC etc.)

Contact us to find out what the purpose of such specific commands are.


The vast majority of VISCA implementations for cameras are RS-232 / UART 5.0V or UART 3.3V TTL based. A small fraction uses different transport protocols (e.g. RS-485), primarily to be compatible with Pelco-D / support both Pelco-D and VISCA.

 

Introduction VISCA

VISCA protocol has been introduced by Sony to allow customers to control one or more (Sony) block cameras in detail. It has become the "de facto" standard for communicating with block cameras in the industrial and medical market, outside of security applications.


VISCA is described as protocol, but has also an implementation standard of commands (Protocol = language) , implementation = factual content, >90% of content commands are derived from Sony block cameras having (near)-identical VISCA commands).


VISCA command structure

VISCA is default based on RS232 communications protocol, but also RS485 implementations of VISCA are known. The most common baudrate in VISCA is 9600 bit/s, but also 2400 bit/s (lowest), 4800 bit/s, 19200 bit/s, 38400 bit/s, 57600 bit/s and even 115200 bit/s are supported by block and/or board cameras offering VISCA commands structure (VISCA adhering ot he 8-N-1 convention).

VISCA offers no flow control typically though a DB-9 connector, but can also be on 8-Pin DIN, RJ45 and RJ11 connectors used in daisy chain configurations. Intrinsically, the VISCA command only requires 3 pins (Rx, Tx, GND).

VISCA hardware connector - DB9
VISCA hardware connector - DB9

VISCA utilizes a serial repeater network configuration in order to communicate between the command station (typically a PC or microcontroller (often referred to as device #0) and up to 7 cameras (formally called peripherals (#1 through #7). It offers daisy chaining capability, minimizing the cabling required. The VISCA message walks the wiring (daisy chain) until it reaches the target camera as selected in the VISCA (commands: 8x, x being the camera, or inquiry: 90 5x, x being the camera number). Responses then walk the rest of the way down the chain and back up again to reach the system. Specific packets can be broadcasted to all cameras.

VISCA data packet consists:

  • Address byte (1) message header

    • Typical: 8x, x being the device number, typical return message y0 with y = x+8, as in most implementations only 1 camera is present: 81 for command, 90 for return message)

  • Information bytes (1..14)

  • Terminating byte (1) 0xFF

Each VISCA data packet has a corresponding response data packet. The response to a particular packet is variable in size and may indicate an error condition. This is a major strength of VISCA, as users are informed of the situation / response of the camera on a command control or inquiry.


PELCO / PELCO-D / PELCO-C / PELCO-P

Introduction

Next to VISCA another standard (driven by security applications is the PELCO block camera standard. Although several flavours of PELCO exist (PELCO-D, PELCO-C, PELCO-P), the PELCO-D standard has been most widely adopted, and is adopted primarily in the security industry as it allows for easy PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom), a key requirement in security applications using block cameras.


Pelco (Pelco-D) is typically RS-485 based, having the advantage that the signal can be transported over very long distances. The Pelco-D command set is very limited, yet allows for addressing more cameras, but just addressing primary functions. Camera configuration typically happens once, and then only basic camera modes can be adjusted (Pan/Tilt/Zoom, focus / iris).


Comparison PELCO / VISCA


Advantages VISCA Advantages Pelco-D

Significantly more commands Dedicated hardware available (e.g. joystick)

Back channel More cameras can be addressed

Inquiry commands Longer distance


Camera specific commands

Although multiple specific commands are available, the key command that often differs per camera is the addressing of the On Screen Display (OSD) menu. Whereas Pelco as standard addresses the OSD (it hereby tries to circumvent the minimum of commands available via direct commands, allowing the user to navigate the OSD structure), cameras supporting VISCA typically allow to address an OSD, but this is not seen as a standard function that should be implemented. Consequently, there are no standard VISCA commands for addressing the OSD. Naturally, the OSD is different per camera type.


 

VISCA implementation skoopia board cameras (21C26S /21C14S)

board cameras with VISCA commands
21C14S (left) and 21C26S (right): 14mm x 14mm and 22mm x 26mm SDI cameras with VISCA commands

Underneath you find the Control and Inquiry commands for the above two cameras. VISCA commands for both cameras are identical, except when a function is not available (e.g. 21C14S has no digital zoom, 21C26S has no EX-SDI2.1 support).


Ack/completion messages

90 41 FF Returned when the command is accepted (Ack)

90 51 FF Returned when the command has been executed (completion).


Error messages

90 60 02 Returned when the command format is different or when a command with illegal command parameters is accepted.


Network Change messages

90 38 FF OK

90 38 FF Issued when power is being routed.


Command

CAM_DZoom

81 01 04 06 20 FF Tele(Variable)

81 01 04 06 30 FF Wide(Variable)

81 01 04 46 00 00 0p 0q Direct

CAM_WB

81 01 04 35 00 FF Auto

81 01 04 35 01 FF 3000K

81 01 04 35 02 FF 5000K

81 01 04 35 03 FF 8000K

81 01 04 35 04 FF Preset(OnePush)

81 01 04 35 05 FF AutoExt

CAM_Rgain

81 01 04 03 00 FF Reset

81 01 04 03 02 FF Up

81 01 04 03 03 FF Down

81 01 04 43 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_Bgain

81 01 04 04 00 FF Reset

81 01 04 04 02 FF Up

81 01 04 04 03 FF Down

81 01 04 44 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_AE

81 01 04 39 00 FF Auto

81 01 04 39 03 FF Manual

81 01 04 39 0E FF Flicker

CAM_AE_AreaDisp

81 01 04 40 02 FF On

81 01 04 40 03 FF Off

81 01 04 40 04 FF Area 1

81 01 04 40 05 FF Area 2

81 01 04 40 06 FF Area3

81 01 04 40 07 FF Area 4

CAM_DSS(Sens-Up)

81 01 04 5A 1p FF Direct (0-32)

CAM_Shutter

81 01 04 0A 00 FF Reset

81 01 04 0A 02 FF Up

81 01 04 0A 03 FF Down

81 01 04 4A 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_Gain(AGC)

81 01 04 0C 00 FF Reset

81 01 04 0C 02 FF Up

81 01 04 0C 03 FF Down

81 01 04 4C 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_Bright

81 01 04 0D 00 FF Reset

81 01 04 0D 02 FF Up

81 01 04 0D 03 FF Down

81 01 04 4D 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_LR_Reverse

81 01 04 61 02 FF On

81 01 04 61 03 FF Off

CAM_PictureFlip

81 01 04 66 02 FF On

81 01 04 66 03 FF Off

CAM_ICR

81 01 04 01 00 FF Auto

81 01 04 01 02 FF Color

81 01 04 01 03 FF B&W

CAM_MENU

81 01 04 16 01 FF Up

81 01 04 16 02 FF Down

81 01 04 16 04 FF Left

81 01 04 16 08 FF Right

81 01 04 16 10 FF Menu

81 01 04 16 20 FF Esc

CAM_System

81 01 04 72 02 FF 1080p30

81 01 04 72 03 FF 1080p25

81 01 04 72 04 FF 1080p60

81 01 04 72 05 FF 1080p50

81 01 04 72 06 FF 720p30

81 01 04 72 07 FF 720p25

81 01 04 72 08 FF 720p60

81 01 04 72 09 FF 720p50

81 01 04 72 0A FF 1080i60

81 01 04 72 0B FF 1080i50

CAM_Backlight

81 01 04 33 02 FF Off

81 01 04 33 03 FF HLC

81 01 04 33 04 FF BLC

81 01 04 33 05 FF WDR

CAM_Stabilizer

81 01 04 34 02 FF On

81 01 04 34 03 FF Off

CAM_CrossHairDisp

81 01 04 64 02 FF On

81 01 04 64 03 FF Off

CAM_CvbsMode

81 01 04 56 02 FF Crop

81 01 04 56 03 FF Full

CAM_Baudrate

81 01 04 05 00 FF 2400

81 01 04 05 01 FF 4800

81 01 04 05 02 FF 9600

81 01 04 05 03 FF 19200

81 01 04 05 04 FF 38400

81 01 04 05 05 FF 57600

81 01 04 05 06 FF 115200

CAM_Memory

81 01 04 3F 00 00 FF Reset

81 01 04 3F 01 00 FF Set

CAM_ByHueNegative

81 01 04 6B 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_ByHuePositive

81 01 04 6C 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct CAM_RyHueNegative

81 01 04 6D 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_RyHuePositive

81 01 04 6E 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_Sharpness

81 01 04 70 00 FF Reset

81 01 04 70 02 FF Up

81 01 04 70 03 FF Down

81 01 04 7E 00 00 0p 0q FF Direct

CAM_EXMode

81 01 04 80 02 FF On

81 01 04 80 03 FF Off

CAM_ShutterGainDisp

81 01 04 82 02 FF On

81 01 04 82 03 FF Off

CAM_USER_OSD

81 01 00 73 yy xx 00 "nnnnnnnnnn"FF

81 01 05 30 01 FF Clear

CAM_MemoryBlock1

81 01 04 55 0m 0n 0o 0p 0q 0r 0s 0t 0u 0v 0w 0x 0y 0z 0a FF Set(contact skoopia for details)

CAM_MemoryBlock2

81 01 04 54 0m 0n 0o 0p 0q 0r 0s 0t uu 0v 0w 0x yy 0z 0a FF Set(contact skoopia for details)


Inquiry commands

CAM_DZoomPosInq

81 09 04 46 FF 90 50 00 00 0p 0q FF

CAM_WBModeInq

81 09 04 35 FF

CAM_RGainInq

81 09 04 43 FF

CAM_BGainInq

81 09 04 44 FF

CAM_AEModeInq

81 09 04 39 FF

CAM_AEAreaInq

81 09 04 40 FF

CAM_DSSModeInq

81 09 04 5A FF

CAM_ShutterPosInq

81 09 04 4A FF

CAM_GainPosInq

81 09 04 4C FF

CAM_BrightPosInq

81 09 04 4D FF

CAM_ByHueNegativeInq

81 09 04 6B FF

CAM_ByHuePositiveInq

81 09 04 6C FF

CAM_RyHueNegativeInq

81 09 04 6D FF

CAM_RyHuePositiveInq

81 09 04 6E FF

CAM_LR_ReverseModeInq

81 09 04 61 FF

CAM_PictureFlipModeInq

81 09 04 66 FF

CAM_ICRModeInq

81 09 04 01 FF

CAM_SystemInq

81 09 04 72 FF

CAM_BackLightModeInq

81 09 04 33 FF

CAM_StabilizerModeInq

81 09 04 34 FF

CAM_VersionInq

81 09 00 02 FF

CAM_CvbsModeInq

81 09 04 56 FF

CAM_BaudRateInq

81 09 04 05 FF

CAM_SharpnessInq

81 09 04 70 FF

CAM_EXModeInq

81 09 04 80 FF

CAM_GainDispPosInq

81 09 04 82 FF

CAM_MemoryBlockInq1

81 09 04 55 FF

CAM_MemoryBlockInq2

81 09 04 54 FF

 

List of cameras supporting VISCA commands (skoopia and some competitor modules)


skoopia board cameras

  • skoopia 21C14S

  • skoopia 21C26S

  • skoopia 21C42S-LL

  • skoopia 128C42X

skoopia 20Z series

  • skoopia 20Z10S-NF

  • skoopia 20Z10L

  • skoopia 20Z20A

  • skoopia 20Z30A

  • skoopia 20Z30L

  • skoopia 20Z30S

  • skoopia 22Z36L-LL

  • skoopia 22Z36S-LL

  • skoopia 60Z36L-LL

  • skoopia 60Z36S-LL

skoopia 21Z series

  • skoopia 21Z10L

  • skoopia 21Z10S

  • skoopia 21Z20L

  • skoopia 21Z30L

  • skoopia 21Z30S

  • skoopia 21Z30S (u-fl)

  • skoopia 21Z36S

  • skoopia 23Z36L-LL

  • skoopia 85Z18H


Sony FCB EH series

  • Sony FCB-EH3150

  • Sony FCB-EH3310

  • Sony FCB-EH3410

  • Sony FCB-EH4300

  • Sony FCB-EH6300

  • Sony FCB-EH6500


Sony FCB EV series

  • Sony FCB-EV5300

  • Sony FCB-EV5500

  • Sony FCB-EV7100

  • Sony FCB-EV7300

  • Sony FCB-EV7320

  • Sony FCB-EV7500

  • Sony FCB-EV7520

  • Sony FCB-EV7520A


Sony FCB EX series

  • Sony FCB-EX1000C

  • Sony FCB-EX1000CP

  • Sony FCB-EX1010D

  • Sony FCB-EX1010DP

  • Sony FCB-EX1020

  • Sony FCB-EX1020P

  • Sony FCB-EX11D

  • Sony FCB-EX11DP

  • Sony FCB-EX12E

  • Sony FCB-EX12EP

  • Sony FCB-EX15E

  • Sony FCB-EX15EP

  • Sony FCB-EX20D

  • Sony FCB-EX20DP

  • Sony FCB-EX2200

  • Sony FCB-EX2200P

  • Sony FCB-EX2400

  • Sony FCB-EX2400P

  • Sony FCB-EX2700

  • Sony FCB-EX2700P

  • Sony FCB-EX45A

  • Sony FCB-EX45AP

  • Sony FCB-EX45B

  • Sony FCB-EX45BP

  • Sony FCB-EX45C

  • Sony FCB-EX45CP

  • Sony FCB-EX480A

  • Sony FCB-EX480AP

  • Sony FCB-EX480B

  • Sony FCB-EX480BP

  • Sony FCB-EX480C

  • Sony FCB-EX480CP

  • Sony FCB-EX48A

  • Sony FCB-EX48AP

  • Sony FCB-EX48B

  • Sony FCB-EX48BP

  • Sony FCB-EX48C

  • Sony FCB-EX48CP

  • Sony FCB-EX48E

  • Sony FCB-EX48EP

  • Sony FCB-EX490D

  • Sony FCB-EX490DP

  • Sony FCB-EX490E

  • Sony FCB-EX490EP

  • Sony FCB-EX780B

  • Sony FCB-EX780BP

  • Sony FCB-EX78B

  • Sony FCB-EX78BP

  • Sony FCB-EX980

  • Sony FCB-EX980P

  • Sony FCB-EX980S

  • Sony FCB-EX980SP

  • Sony FCB-EX985E

  • Sony FCB-EX985EP

  • Sony FCB-EX990D

  • Sony FCB-EX990DP

  • Sony FCB-EX995E

  • Sony FCB-EX995EP


Sony FCB H series

  • Sony FCB-H10

  • Sony FCB-H11


Sony FCB IX series

  • Sony FCB-IX11A

  • Sony FCB-IX11AP

  • Sony FCB-IX45A

  • Sony FCB-IX45AP

  • Sony FCB-IX45C

  • Sony FCB-IX45CP

  • Sony FCB-IX47A

  • Sony FCB-IX47AP

  • Sony FCB-IX47C

  • Sony FCB-IX47CP


Sony FCB P series

  • Sony FCB-PV10

  • Sony FCB-PV480


Sony FCB SE series

  • Sony FCB-SE600


Tamron block camera

  • Tamron MP1010M-VC

  • Tamron MP1110M-VC


Hitachi DI-S series block camera

  • Hitachi DI-SC210

  • Hitachi DI-SC110

  • Hitachi DI-SC211

  • Hitachi DI-SC233

  • Hitachi DI-SC231

  • Hitachi DI-SC120R

  • Hitachi DI-SC132

  • Hitachi DI-SC116

  • Hitachi DI-SC121


Hitachi VK-series block camera


  • Hitachi VK-U114R

  • Hitachi VK-U114ER

  • Hitachi VK-U174

  • Hitachi VK-S214R

  • Hitachi VK-S214ER

  • Hitachi VK-S274R

  • Hitachi VK-S274ER

  • Hitachi VK-S454N

  • Hitachi VK-S454EN

  • Hitachi VK-P554

  • Hitachi VK-P554E

  • Hitachi VK-S654N

  • Hitachi VK-S654EN

  • Hitachi VK-S665N

  • Hitachi VK-S665EN

  • Hitachi VK-S888N

  • Hitachi VK-S888EN

  • Hitachi VK-S858N

  • Hitachi VK-S858EN

  • HItachi VK-S274R

  • HItachi VK-S274ER

  • Hitachi VK-S634N

  • Hitachi VK-S634EN

  • Hitachi VK-S654R

  • Hitachi VK-S654ER

  • Hitachi VK-S454R

  • Hitachi VK-S454ER

  • Hitachi VK-S655N

  • Hitachi VK-S655EN

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