Need Help In Troubleshooting a 3-Live Camera, Live-Switch Problem

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by James G, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. James G

    James G Guest

    (I first posted this in rec.video.desktop, but received an email that
    this group might be better suited to my problem)

    We're shooting shows (live bands, mostly) for a streaming internet
    site. We use three prosumer-level cameras and live-switch between the
    feeds. We utilize an in-house stage/set so we're not talking about
    setting up at bars and clubs.

    The cameras we have offer two choices for video out: s-video and
    rca-style composite. We've been going with s-video because of the cable
    runs needed (50-feet and 100-feet) and we would also like to preserve
    as much quality as possible (we're not so much concerned about the
    quality for the live stream, more for archiving).

    However, given the fragile nature of the s-video connection, we've been
    going through s-video cables like you wouldn't believe. We've found
    them to be really unreliable and we need to find an alternative
    solution, as the 100-foot runs of cable are really expensive.

    We are stuck with the cameras we have for now, so we do only have two
    video out options: s-video and composite. Oh, and we aren't really able
    to move the stage and the switcher any closer than they are right now.

    We are most seriously considering a system in which we utilize a "hub"
    in which we can plug shorter runs of s-video cable from the cameras
    into the hub (the shorter runs would be much cheaper to replace). The
    hub could easily be place within 15 feet of each of the cameras that
    move around the most (the ones closest to the stage). However, does
    such a hub exist? We're looking for at least a two-in, two-out hub, but
    we'd definitely consider a 4X4 or similar if it can get us what we
    need.

    Do any of you guys know of such a hub? All the things that I've seen
    are designed to be switchers (1X4, etc). We are actually considering
    buying a few of these and using them basically as video
    amplifiers/extenders. One that we are considering is found here:
    http://tinyurl.com/yc9nd6

    Any suggestions and/or hints (even if it is to suggest a more
    appropriate group) would be much appreciated. We can't afford to spend
    thousands on the solution, but I would certainly be glad to read any
    thoughts even if they were outside the boundaries of our budget.

    Thanks in advance...
     
    James G, Oct 24, 2006
    #1
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  2. Since this is a fixed installation, put in hard-wired runs terminated at
    wall-plates with the 4-pin miniDIN Y/C connectors. Then you can use
    cheap, short, "disposable" Y/C patch cords between the camera and
    the wall plate.

    If it were me I would hard-wire with Cat5 networking cable (which is
    about as cheap as you can get). And use those "balun" transformer
    boxes at each end.

    There has been quite a discussion of using these over on the
    newsgroup where they
    are starting to use it for running monitoring audio over to "video
    village" and running video back from "video village" to the sound
    mixer's cart, etc.

    Or use two lengths of garden-variety antenna coax from Radio-
    Shack (or wherever). As long as they are the same length (within
    1/4 inch) and terminated to the 4-pin miniDIN conectors, they
    are likely superior to any 50 or 100 ft Y/C extention cable.
    Yeah, been there, done that. We used to use consumer camcorders
    for multi-camera live switched production. But dealing with the sub-
    optimal lighting conditions (and tally/intercom, etc.) soon took us into
    using industrial cameras with real Camera Control Units (CCUs), etc.
    One run of Cat5 cable has 4 pair which is good for two separate
    Y/C video runs (or four composite video). Or run one Cat5 cable
    to each camera position and use the other two pair for tally &
    intercom, etc.
     
    Richard Crowley, Oct 24, 2006
    #2
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  3. James G

    Mike Kujbida Guest

    Richard, I've read the discussions on RAMPS and am seriously looking
    into using Cat5 for this purpose.
    Your statement about tally and intercom piqued my curiosity though.
    Can you expand on that a bit? Model #s and so on? Thanks.
    Hmm. I wonder if this could would with my existing Camplex system?

    Mike
     
    Mike Kujbida, Oct 24, 2006
    #3
  4. "Mike Kujbida" wrote ...
    The four pairs inside the Cat5 cable are just raw material with
    which you can do whatever you wish.

    You could just use a big red LED (or whatever) connected to
    one pair as a tally light. I have modified both Panny WJ-AVE5
    (2-input) and Videonics MX-1 (4-input) switchers with tally
    light outputs.

    You could use the other "spare" pair as intercom, but it would
    depend on what kind of intercom system you were using how
    to connect it. For example, the intercom used in Sony CCUs/
    cameras is based on a balanced, ~line-level system.

    I'v been thinking about a couple of products based on Cat5:
    a) Intercom system like "Clearcom", etc. but based on balanced,
    twisted pair cabling like Cat5 (rather than shielded mic pair)
    b) Camera cable replacement (between CCU and industrial
    camera). There is one product out there already that uses
    two Cat5 cables (8 total pair). But I'd like to make something
    more affordable. Maybe even duplicate the CCU functionality
    for some of the more popular models (Sony CCU-M3, etc.)

    How about this?:
    A small box that you can put on the side of your consumer
    camera/camcorder where you could plug in the video (either
    composite or Y/C), with a big red tally light, and an intercom
    system. Then a bog-standard Cat5 cable plugs into it and
    goes however-many 100s of feet back to the control room
    where there is a similar box to terminate the Cat5 cable.
    Patent Pending :)
     
    Richard Crowley, Oct 24, 2006
    #4
  5. James G

    Mike Kujbida Guest


    Thanks for the info Richard.
    I'l lbe watching your website with great anticipation :)

    Mike
     
    Mike Kujbida, Oct 24, 2006
    #5
  6. James G

    James G Guest

    Richard Crowley wrote:

    Thanks for the real-world, practical advice. I love the idea of using
    Cat5 for this application and my searches have now provided some
    promising brands/models of these transformers.

    However, I haven't yet seen a Cat5 converter that will take two Y/C
    runs--that would be great. Does this product actually exist or are you
    just commenting on the possible line-run capacity of Cat5?

    Thanks (and hopefully we'll one day be in a position to replace the
    cameras we're using now!)
     
    James G, Oct 24, 2006
    #6
  7. James G

    Mike Kujbida Guest


    Check out http://www.avovercat5.com/ for more Cat5 options that you
    ever thought there were :)

    Mike
     
    Mike Kujbida, Oct 24, 2006
    #7
  8. James G

    James G Guest

    Great site, thanks.

    I also found this, which is exactly what I was looking for:

    http://www.svideo.com/500032sv.html

    Two s-video runs on a single Cat5.

    This is going to be a fun project. I'm finally full of hope after being
    distressed as all hell over losing signal constantly.
     
    James G, Oct 24, 2006
    #8
  9. James G

    Mike Kujbida Guest


    Good luck with it James and please let us know how it works out.

    Mike
     
    Mike Kujbida, Oct 25, 2006
    #9
  10. James G

    Bernie Guest

    How about using professional composite video cable? It doesn't break
    too easily, and 100ft is no problem. For an example, go to
    http://rswww.com/ and look for part number 240-6696. You normally put
    BNC connectors at either end, but you don't have to, or you can make up

    short adaptors. It isn't cheap, but it'll last a good long time.

    Bernie
     
    Bernie, Oct 25, 2006
    #10
  11. "Bernie" wrote ...
    Bog-standard antenna coax from RadioShack, etc.
    will do the same. I think I suggested that. Could even
    route it to wall plates (as if it were antenna/cable TV)
    and then use short jumper cables between wall plate
    and camera. With two lengths you could do Y/C
    ("S-Video")
     
    Richard Crowley, Oct 26, 2006
    #11
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