Camera For Theater

Alfonso

Member
Joined
May 1, 2016
Location
United States
Hello, the theater I work for is looking to install a camera probably around the FOH Position. the goal is to hook the camera up to TVs in the lobby, and dressing rooms to use as a stage view for cueing and so patrons can see the stage at the concession stand. does anyone have any recommendations for a camera? I'm trying to stay away from wireless or IP cameras due to network restraints. I was thinking SDI, HDMI, or even just an analog signal.
Any help is appreciated.
 

StradivariusBone

Custom Title
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Location
Space Coast, FL
I'm currently just using a cheapo analog security camera for this purpose. It's only 480p, but it gets the job done in near-zero latency. If I were to upgrade, I'd probably consider some kinda POE camera with PTZ and then run it into a converter like a Magewell, but I have to sit down and figure out the best way to network that system before I upgrade.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard

almorton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Location
Caterham, Surrey, UK
You're right to avoid IP - our camera outputs analog and ip. When you switch between the views the ip is noticeably behind the analog. We use a security camera from hikvision but in the past we've used others such as samsung.

One thing to be aware of is the time it takes to automatically switch into nightvision during a blackout. We have set our camera to manual switching mode. We have a small dmx relay board that switches a 12v signal to flip between normal colour view and IR view. This means when we have a blackout cue we also program the camera to immediately switch to IR so the scene on stage remains visible.
 

StradivariusBone

Custom Title
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Location
Space Coast, FL
I wouldn't dismiss IP cams out of hand. There is obvious latency, but usually on the order of milliseconds. It wouldn't be useful as a conductor camera or anything that absolutely needs zero latency, but for a backstage/overflow feed it wouldn't be a problem.

We recently acquired PTZ Optics cameras that output on NDI and RTSP and the latency is less than 500ms from what we can tell, maybe even under 100ms. If timing is less important than quality of image, then IP based cameras are the ticket.

Another thing with the low light relays is some of them are loud. Ours is definitely audible in the house. *Blackout Go*-------CLICK!
 

mikebags

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2011
Location
Chicago area
Lately I have had good luck with Marshall's line of compact cameras. We almost always run SDI from the camera back to a rack where it gets further distributed around the building. Most new installs we encode the camera feed onto the network for distribution, but we have also distributed with SDI and HDBT. Generally, this video is for patrons or backstage viewing where some latency will not be an issue. If low light is needed I will add a dedicated system that's locked in the low light mode. For anything where the least amount of latency is required, I will still use a cheap analog CCTV camera and analog DA's.

http://www.marshall-usa.com/cameras/CV350/index.php
 

Alfonso

Member
Joined
May 1, 2016
Location
United States
You're right to avoid IP - our camera outputs analog and ip. When you switch between the views the ip is noticeably behind the analog. We use a security camera from hikvision but in the past we've used others such as samsung.

One thing to be aware of is the time it takes to automatically switch into nightvision during a blackout. We have set our camera to manual switching mode. We have a small dmx relay board that switches a 12v signal to flip between normal colour view and IR view. This means when we have a blackout cue we also program the camera to immediately switch to IR so the scene on stage remains visible.
Would you happen to know what model your hikvision camera is? I was looking at a couple from them.
 

almorton

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Location
Caterham, Surrey, UK
I'll have to go in and check. It's one of the more expensive ones, though.

The latency is definitely too high in ip mode for a conductor. I guess for patrons it's ok. The stage manager is probably ok most of the time. The changeover between IR and normal is silent. The camera is only about 4 feet above the head of someone very tall when they are standing, and you can't hear it change over. When we were setting it up we had to be on a ladder next to the camera to hear the very (very) slight click of the relay. The camera itself was silent.
 
Last edited:

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
We just picked up a marshall CV 350 to replace our 20 year old balcony camera. As well as 2 PTZ cameras for recording and imag purposes. Knowing full well there will be a slight delay, but an acceptable exchange for what our usage will be. I'll drop some pictures once its all set up. The marshall cameras are spectacular for as small as they are. We had MST3K through this year and they had 3 marshall cams that you barely saw in the dark and a real solid picture, especially for the cost.

 

Matt Marcus

Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2018
Location
Tucson, AZ
For a long time a common camera was the Panasonic WV-CP480, which we're currently still using tor the FOH shots. Ours are set to B&W for the IR shot, but can be color as well.
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
I can get some better pictures at work this week, but we are VERY happy with the marshall camera. Nice clear picture and the low light mode looks just like an IR shot. It's the lower left (input 2)
IMG_4949.jpg
IMG_4963.JPG
 

macsound

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2018
Location
San Francisco, CA
How do you multiplex the cameras into your tv? I assume thats not a feature of the tv itself.
Wondering because the only options I know of are expensive. If you have a cheap SDI solution I'd be thrilled to adopt :)
 

josh88

Remarkably Tired.
Premium Member
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Location
Ypsilanti, Michigan
How do you multiplex the cameras into your tv? I assume thats not a feature of the tv itself.
Wondering because the only options I know of are expensive. If you have a cheap SDI solution I'd be thrilled to adopt :)
Blackmagic has a 4 input SDI multiviewer. As far as multiviewers go it’s a pretty reasonable at sub $200.

Blackmagic Multiviewer
Thats exactly what we're using. It also has an sdi loop out so, we're running a matching monitor in the lighting side of the booth, and then it feeds backstage and to our green room.

That being said the ATEM mini pro and ISO both have an option for multiview out the HDMI output, so if you're already looking for a small video switcher that double dips. We went with the separate multi viewer so that we could retain the HDMI output from the ATEM to feed tvs or projectors (or what have you) and because all of our cameras also have both HDMI and SDI outputs.
 

Alfonso

Member
Joined
May 1, 2016
Location
United States
Now the manager at my theater would like me to find a camera to record theater shows and/or concerts. the ones I was looking at were the Panasonic HC-V770 and the Canon XA11, those two are the budget we have. does any one have any experience using these cameras for recording shows?
 

StradivariusBone

Custom Title
Fight Leukemia
Joined
Aug 23, 2013
Location
Space Coast, FL
I would definitely recommend you check out the Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K. Base package would be in your budget, it doesn't come with a lens, but it does take MFT lenses which might already have. We have two and the quality is amazing. Very easy for volunteers to operate and train on. The only downside is the battery life is terrible, so plan on being plugged in.

We had a Canon similar to that model and while the canon was really nice, the BMPCC was a big improvement in theater lighting scenarios.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RonHebbard

Users who are viewing this thread