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Up Close and Personal with Digital Zoom

Getting greater visibility from Meraki MV with digital zoom

When reviewing footage and trying to identify key characteristics about something in a scene, the distance between the object and your camera can often feel like a frustrating limitation. In many cases, you can clearly see the whole object, but some of the finer characteristics are difficult to make out.

To help with this frustration, and make some attributes easier to spot, the Cisco Meraki MV team has added a digital zoom feature in the Meraki dashboard, giving users enhanced visibility from all of their MV cameras.

How does digital zoom actually work?

Digital zoom can be a bit confusing at first, as it doesn’t really involve the camera at all. Instead, everything is handled by your web browser.

To achieve the zoom effect, we use a process called bilinear interpolation. As you zoom in, the image is cropped, stretching pixels apart as this happens. Interpolation then fills in any of the ‘gaps’ in pixels using a best-guess system, where it estimates the color to add based on that of neighboring pixels. Functionally, this is very similar to how your smartphone handles zooming in on your saved photos.

Giving users the ability to instantly achieve up to a 12x zoom on both live and historical footage, digital zoom is an extremely practical option, and can be easily combined other available zooming features, like optical zoom or sensor crop.

In the image on the left, no zoom is applied — note that we can’t see the brand name on the purple bike in the left-side of the frame. With 12x zoom in the photo on the right, we can see the brand name perfectly.

How you can use digital zoom on the job

Digital zoom is one of the most straightforward features in the dashboard, making it easy to use whenever you think it could be helpful (or if you want to zoom in and out repeatedly for a bit of fun).

Navigate to any single camera feed in your network, and hover your mouse over the video player. Then, scroll with your trackpad or mouse (like you would if you were navigating up and down a web page) to zoom the video in and out — the location of your mouse will ‘aim’ the zoom.

Note that you’ll see how far you’ve zoomed in on the top-left corner of the video player. Once you’re happy with the level of zoom, you can click-and-drag to pan around the field of view.

And that’s it — you can now use this on all your cameras to extract even more information from scenes. Check out our documentation article for more, and tell us how your organization is taking advantage of digital zooming over at the Meraki Community!