All high performance long-range gimbals today have an onboard video processor and there are many good reasons for that. The onboard processor is a dedicated hardware processor which receives the video stream from the sensors inside the gimbal, processes the video and sends it to the datalinks. Here is a list of the key functions that the processor performs:
- Software Stabilization of the video stream
- Encoding of the video stream, usually to H.264 format. After this, the video can be sent through an IP datalink
- Object tracking. Video processor steers the gimbal to maintain the object of interest inside the video frame, even if the object is moving and the aircraft platform is moving. Scene steering is similar function, but the entire scene is kept in the video frame. Scene steering is useful when the object of interest is stationary, for example when surveillance is being done on a building.
- Roll Correction of the video corrects the disturbances in the roll axis.
- Moving Target Indication or MTI – this is an advanced functionality that is only available with the newest generation of high performance miniature gimbals.
There are several additional image processing functions that improve the usability of the gimbal:
- Overlays on the video
- Digital zoom
- Video & Snapshot recording to internal flash drive
- Multi camera presentation, such as picture-in-picture or image blending