Camera Operations Guidelines

Observation Deck is Off-Limits – although the cam is pretty obvious, people go there to enjoy trains in a quiet, peaceful place. Therefore, there’s a privacy mask in place.

Don’t zoom out completely when looking West – you’ll catch a corner of the privacy mask

If you catch Bob or Amy mowing part of the field east of the Lookout closest to the tracks, please don’t zoom.

Bob and Amy working on the Train Party yard (mowing, cleaning up, etc.) is also not camera fodder. 

Thank you, everyone!

Thank you for offering your help with our 360 PTZ cams! These play such a critical part in the success of many of our VRF locations, and your attention to them is much appreciated.

  1. Cam Operators are not permitted to touch any camera settings without approval by John Szalay or Bill Hamilton. If you notice an issue, please let them know. Don’t try to fix on your own.
  2. It’s very important that you indicate what camera you’re operating in the Camera Operators Matrix, so that others know that someone is logged into that camera. At the moment, there’s no way of knowing if multiple operators are on the same cam, and this seriously affects performance.
  3. You must check out of the camera in the Matrix when you log out of the camera.
  4. If you are checked into the camera in the Matrix but are not logged into Mod Chat, then it will be assumed that you forgot to log out of the camera on the Matrix and the camera is available for someone else. This obviously doesn’t apply to non-moderator camera operators, which is why it’s very important that they maintain their status in the Matrix.
  5. The stars of the streams are the trains. Please be judicious about panning/zooming between trains because 1) many of our railfans are nervous about missing a second of train activity, and more importantly, 2) YouTube is not our primary audience. We have paying members on our website who have no clue why the cam is being zoomed or panned outside of expected rail activity, because they aren’t participating in the YouTube chats.
  6. Do not make the activities of people within the view the prime subject. While all of our cameras are mounted in public places, we need to respect the privacy of people who are simply going about their daily business. Rule of thumb: If it feels like an invasion of privacy, it is.
  7. Do not zoom in closely on any workers, particularly railroad workers. These workers deserve the courtesy of performing their duties without the scrutiny of people hundreds and thousands of miles away who probably have no idea about the work being done or what is proper or improper in doing it.
  8. For obvious reasons, do not look into the windows of nearby buildings/houses/structures. People within these buildings have the right to their privacy.
  9. For the same reasons, never zoom into passengers through the windows of a train.  Some cameras, like La Plata’s stationary cams, are positioned in such a manner that it’s impossible to avoid them.
  10. If someone should fall or suffer some form of physical distress within the field of view, the camera should be repositioned so that the injured person is not visible. We’re not here to zoom in and share someone’s misfortune or distress.
  11. Zooming in on people who are waving to the cam, displaying signs for the cam, or otherwise obviously looking for the attention of the cam is acceptable provided such activity falls within the bounds of acceptable family viewing.
  12. You are encouraged to take full advantage of the PTZ capabilities of the cam as much as possible to show train related activities. Closeups of locomotives, rail cars and related equipment is welcomed and of great interest to our viewers.
  13. Do not grant the whim of every YouTube chatter who requests a closeup or other camera movement simply to satisfy their own curiosity. If a request is made and is appropriate for the subject matter, then it’s at the camera operator’s discretion whether or not to perform the requested move. Remind folks that there are other viewers who are not watching the cams on YouTube.
  14. Moderators should limit the number of cameras they are logged into. It is impractical to think that you can give proper attention to 3 or more cameras at the same time. Please do not check a cam on the Matrix if you aren’t truly operating that cam.  The Matrix is not a reservation tool.
  15. If you’re operating a cam and it’s available on YouTube, you must actively mod the chat as well. Don’t assume other mods are watching the chat, they’re naturally assuming you are.