Closed Circuit Camera system

Dsmagnussen

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Location
McKendree University
Hi all,
We need to replace our closed circuit TV system. The camera in the back of the house and the monitors backstage are all toast. Has anyone had to spec this kind of equipment lately? Most interested in knowing about what camera you chose and if you could use your existing network of cables or had to install new cables everywhere. Looking for a camera that can deal with the crazy light shifts on stage without washing out. Looking for High Def if possible.

Thanks !

Doug
 

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
Joined
Jan 11, 2007
Location
Lititz, PA
Hi all,
We need to replace our closed circuit TV system. The camera in the back of the house and the monitors backstage are all toast. Has anyone had to spec this kind of equipment lately? Most interested in knowing about what camera you chose and if you could use your existing network of cables or had to install new cables everywhere. Looking for a camera that can deal with the crazy light shifts on stage without washing out. Looking for High Def if possible.

Thanks !

Doug
So, a couple years back I did a video system upgrade for the theatre I was working for. We did a mostly HD system but kept some SD equipment as the digital processing added unacceptable latency to the video streams of conductor cam. This would have lead to sync issues between actors and the orchestra, so conductor cam remained analog SD. The rest of our house feeds became digital HD.

The HD cameras we installed were Sony EVI-HD1s, which are controllable, broadcast quality PTZ cameras. There are newer models out now. We also wrote control interface software so that we could control the cameras like moving lights from our lighting desk. This allows for full PTZ control plus iris and gain control. It means that the camera con be adjusted to the varying lighting conditions on stage either live or as part of the cue stack. The sACN to Sony VISCA software runs on a Raspberry Pi and we are happy to share it. It works with any VISCA compatible camera and even has camera definitions built in.

All of our digital HD cameras are wired back to distribution using 3G-SDI runs. Encoding and distribution is done with ZeeVee HDBridge hardware. OUr video distribution is over standard coax as that was existing in the building.

Your post made it sound like you were interested in doing some kind of IP distribution. There are HD encoders that will send IP streams, but you probably really want to send that over it's own network (depending on number of channels and the rest of your network infrastructure). I also have no idea what the latency of an IP based system is. An IP based system would also require STBs at every TV, whereas doing QAM distribution over coax only requires that your TVs have a QAM tuner (most modern TVs do).

The system we installed supported up to 4 digital HD sources (cameras or other sources like computers) plus a few analog sources. We typically used one HD camera on the balcony rail, one "high angle" camera outside the booth window (primarily so that choreographers could see dance figures from above), and sometimes a top-down view of the stage. Then we ran analog conductor cam. The output of the analog and digital modulators is them combined and fed into the building cable system. Hook up your TV, let it scan for channels, and bob's your uncle!
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Location
NYC
Budget here is going to be your biggest question and starting point. I did a stage monitor system last year that is closed circuit and operates via cat5 all over our space. It does require receivers as mentioned above, but I like the system because I can transmit audio and video up to 500' on a single cat6 cable before loss or latency, which gets me pretty much anywhere I need in my venue. It's HD and infrared which makes all of our visiting SM's go crazy when they walk in essentially ready for curtain.

We're now adding an HD static archive and streaming system this year. I'm adding a second system for two reasons, this second system is fully HD and broadcast capable and works on a different color system. It is also not an IR unit, but is an F.4 so that it should still see everything I want it to, without broadcasting scene changes.

Your budget range could be as low as a couple thousand upwards of tens of thousands depending on your control, interface and hardware. I tend to like Pelco products which is also a good standard in the NYC rental market, but Sony and Panasonic are also solid choices. Be sure to look at closed circuit surveillance systems not available at Best Buy, but at specialty security system companies or high end video suppliers. Most of what you're looking for is not going to be on the shelf, so be sure to do A LOT of research.
 

Colin Bishop

ValleyPoint Church AVL Tech
Joined
Nov 24, 2015
Location
Delaware
The HD cameras we installed were Sony EVI-HD1s, which are controllable, broadcast quality PTZ cameras. There are newer models out now. We also wrote control interface software so that we could control the cameras like moving lights from our lighting desk. This allows for full PTZ control plus iris and gain control. It means that the camera con be adjusted to the varying lighting conditions on stage either live or as part of the cue stack. The sACN to Sony VISCA software runs on a Raspberry Pi and we are happy to share it. It works with any VISCA compatible camera and even has camera definitions built in.
Now that sounds pretty awesome. My church is looking to add some cameras, a video switcher and live streaming of our services. Would a camera like that allow us to get many angles without operators at each camera? Thoughts on using them for live streaming?

Colin
 

MRW Lights

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2017
Location
NYC
Now that sounds pretty awesome. My church is looking to add some cameras, a video switcher and live streaming of our services. Would a camera like that allow us to get many angles without operators at each camera? Thoughts on using them for live streaming?

Colin
It's definitely possible, but there are ups and downs much like anything. 1 operator in a multi system setup can get someone in the weeds and create a domino effect, but multiple operators takes team management, cohesion and more infrastructure so... it depends on your setup and budget. If you have the chance check out some of the Mega Churches in Texas/ Ozark Valley in Missouri. I was once offered a Union position as a video tech at a church in Missouri, because that's how heavy their production services are. It sounds like if you can identify a budget number you could put together a pretty great system if you're already looking at a number of cameras and switcher. Also look into PTZ cameras and a controller.

If you go the remote route be prepared for some decent practice time and always remember to have a dump out safety option and lots of presets. If you can master a ptz control switcher you'll be a popular person in a lot of fields.