Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Document camera (visualiser)

Photo of a Samsung SDP 900 DXA Document Camera - this is a model used in many teaching spaces across CSU campusesA document camera (also known as a visualiser) is a video camera which can be used to display much more than just documents.  It can be used to project and enlarge any fixed or moving object onto a big screen.

There are a few different brands and models of document cameras across our teaching spaces.  The newer models have a richer feature set but all of our document cameras have the same basic capabilities.

They can be used in both local and videoconference teaching spaces.

Document cameras are a great presentation technology for visual learners and usage is only limited by your imagination.

You can show

  • 3D objects and models
  • pages from a textbook
  • artworks, photos, maps, plans, charts and graphs
  • techniques such as knot tying and other practical skills
  • instruments used in particular  industries (nursing, podiatry, dentistry, vet science etc)
  • comparison of two or more objects side by side
  • live animals (earthworms, insects,  fish or tadpoles in a  bowl etc)
  • flowers, leaves, rocks (all can be viewed in minute detail)
  • X Rays, transparencies and slides

Additionally students can learn by watching you write whilst also listening or contributing. Example scenarios include

  • working through drug calculations
  • working through Business Statistics calculations
  • working through maths calculations
  • demonstrating how to  construct simple mind maps,  process flows, Venn diagrams and concept maps
  • recording student ideas during brainstorming exercises and discussions

If you are teaching by videoconference to students in another location you can step  them  through sharing their work with your room by using their document camera. They need to turn their document camera on, wait for it to run through its startup process, put their document on it, tap the touchscreen to bring it out of standby,  press the Videoconference button, Transmit button then select Doc Camera from the Image to Send menu. The image from their document camera will be projected onto the wall screen in both rooms.

Turning the document camera on

  • The power  button is located on the document camera. Press the power button  once to turn it   on. Press it once to turn it  off
  • Some older document cameras have a switch which you press to turn it on or offPhoto of power button and red light indicating it is in standby mode

In the photo to the right the red light indicates that this particular document camera is in standby mode (off). When the button is pressed the light turns green to indicate the document camera is turned on and ready to use.

It will take two minutes after turning it on to project at its optimum brightness.

Best practice is to turn the document camera on, wait for it run through its boot up sequence and perform an automatic white balance (aka colour adjustment). After this process the document camera is ready for you to place your document or object on the document plate. 

To display the image from the document camera on the wall screen(s)

Local classScreenshot of Doc Cam button on touchscreen

  • Press the Doc Camera  button  on the touch screen (see right). It is located in the row of buttons at the bottom of the screen

Videoconference to another site or single point recording of a local class

  • Ensure you are on the videoconference transmit screenScreenshot of Doc Camera button on VC Transmit screen
  • Press the Doc Camera button under Image to Send (see right)

If  delivering to another site by videoconference or  recording a local class in a videoconference teaching space you must use the aqua button to display the image from the document camera to your remote site students or to have it recorded by CSU Replay.

If  a blue screen is shown after selecting the document camera from  the touch screen it is turned off. Press the power button to turn it on and wait a few seconds for it to start up and display the  image.

Name  of each part

Photo of Samsung SDP DXA900 Document Camera with numbers pointing to each part which is explained below

  1. Lens Unit in its normal position pointing down towards the document plate / light box. The Lens Unit can be rotated backwards or forwards to show other objects
  2. Camera Lens
  3. Main Lock button. Press to move the main support (arm holding the Lens Unit)
  4. Lamp Unit also known as Upper Lamp
  5. Main Control Panel (this is where the power and other control buttons are located)
  6. Document plate / lightbox.  This is where you place your document or object. It is referred to as a lightbox when the base light is turned on

The document camera shown in the photo above is a Samsung SDP 900 DXA.  This model is installed in many teaching spaces.  The instructions below are also based on this model.

To display a document or 3D object

  • Place document or 3D object on the  document plate
  • Adjust zoom and focus as required
  • Press the relevant doc camera button on the touch screen to display it to students

To display a transparency

  • Press the Lamp button to turn the base light on, this will backlight the transparency
  • Place the transparency on the  lightbox
  • If necessary  use the Iris button to adjust brightness  and/or the + button to zoom in
  • Press the relevant doc camera button on the touch screen to display it to students

To Zoom

  • Press the + button to zoom in and the - button to zoom out

Auto Focus (AF)

  • Press the AF button to automatically focus the image

TXT / IMG

This button is an image sharpness control. TXT Mode optimises material which is mostly  words. IMG Mode optimises material with many pictures or colours.

  • Press TXT / IMG to switch between modes and sharpen the image which is projected to your students

Auto White Correction (AWC)

Use the AWC button to correct any strange image colour  issues.

  • Place a piece of white paper on the  document plate
  • Press the AWC button

The document camera does not reach optimum brightness until 2 minutes after it is turned on. For best results  do not use the AWC button until then.

Adjust Brightness

  • Press the + button under Iris    to lighten the overall image and  the - button  to darken the overall image.

Lamp

Use the Lamp button to select the  lighting you wish to use

  • Press Lamp once to turn the upper lamps on
  • Press Lamp again to turn the lightbox on
  • Press Lamp again to turn all lighting off

To Rotate

  • Press the Rotate button to rotate the image by 90°
  • Press it again to rotate by  180°
  • Press it again to rotate by  270°
  • Press it again to return it to its original position (0°)

Freeze

After freezing the image, you can remove your document or object while leaving its  image displayed on the screen. Place your next document or object under the camera  lens and press the Freeze button again.  Your presentation continues without  interruption.

  • Press Freeze
  • Remove existing resource and replace with another
  • When ready to show the new resource press Freeze, the  screen will unfreeze and your students will see the new image

Troubleshooting

ProblemCauseSolution
Document or object is not displaying how you expect

Previous user

  1. left it zoomed  in
  2. moved the camera lens
  1. Press the - button to zoom out
  2. Ensure the camera lens is pointing down towards the base of the document camera where your document or object is sitting
Document camera image not showing on screenDocument camera has not been selected on the touch screenPress the relevant Doc Camera button to show the image to your class. See Using the touch screen to display the image from the document camera above for more information about which button to use
Document camera image still not showing on screen after selecting the relevant one from the touchscreenNo document or object on document camera, signal issues, power fluctuations

Put a document or object under the camera lens

Use the touch screen to switch to other sources to test if they can be displayed eg press Computer, press DVD to see if they display then press Doc Camera and it should display

If there is still no image turn the document camera off, wait 5 seconds and turn it back on again

Blue screen after selecting document camera using touch screenDocument camera in standby mode or turned offPress power button to turn document camera on
Students in another location  being taught by videoconference tell you they  cannot see the image from the document camera  on their screen, however, you can see it on the screen in your roomThe local class Doc Camera button on the touchscreen has been used instead of the one on the Videoconference transmit page. The image is only being shown in your room and is not being sent to your remote students

On the touchscreen press Videoconference then Transmit Mode

Under Image to Send press the Doc Camera button

Your remote site students will  see the image from the document camera

Document camera malfunctioning or not respondingNumber of causes, power fluctuations are often to blamePress the power button to turn the document camera off, wait 5 seconds, press the power button to turn the document camera back on again

Further support

If you cannot resolve your issue using any of the above solutions please contact the IT Service Desk on 84357 to request further assistance.

If you would like a document camera installed in a teaching space please log a request with the IT Service Desk and you will be contacted by an AV specialist to discuss requirements and cost (if it is unable to be funded by DIT).