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Composite video???

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by RonHebbard, May 6, 2019.

  1. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Does composite video still exist or has it gone the way of Edison cylinder recorders and open reel audio decks?
    Life used to be so simple in the era of analogue composite video: An infra-red sensitive camera, clear colored images under normal stage lighting shifting automatically to decent black and white images under infra-red; camera output into a powered video splitter, runs of simple co-ax to every monitor in your complex. It was all so easy.
    Have "improvements" robbed us of the reliable simplicity??
    Did I miss composite video's funeral???
    Toodleoo!
    @MNicolai @FMEng @Ancient Engineer @TimMc @Amiers At anyone????
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
  2. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    I just installed a Videotek 1X6 compensating DA into a local theater that had an astonishing array of Y-cables (dear <insert name of your favorite diety here> don't get me started on the awfulness of Y-cables!) to solve stage and dressing room monitor problems...

    It is sad that the simplicity of a BNC connector that any ol' drunken sailor could put on has been replaced with HDMI that, quite frankly, is way easier to just buy made.

    Composite would go over a 1000' run and still make a passable picture.

    Nowadays if the booth is more than 300' from the stage... you have to resort to compromising the signal by converting it to something else, or inserting boxes into the signal path.

    Generally reducing the reliability just to make lengths... HDMI over NIC is not an improvement really with now two boxes (needing power) and two connections becoming six connections (with at least -2dB loss at each connection interface)

    The real difference is that analog composite would show you something, even if the cable, camera, and monitor were all crap.

    In an emergency I ran composite over 14/2 lamp cord to get through a show, it made a good enough image...

    HDMI is not robust in that regard, it needs a lot of good packets before anything like an image makes the trip.

    It is one of many reasons why I use HD-SDI if at all possible for high definition data.
     
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  3. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Ancient Engineer To answer my query: Are you telling me I've missed the funeral AND the obit?
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  4. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    Well... I think the ashes have already been spread...

    Us elders will wax poetically about the "good ol' days" while the whipper-snappers will scoff at us and our 525 lines of resolution as petroglyphs.
     
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  5. jtweigandt

    jtweigandt Well-Known Member

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    I use digital for my backstage monitors, but I use a miniature color camera with composite output and run it to an rf modulator to feed the coax to our
    2 offstage monitors (old 12 inch color tv's) used so offstage chorus can sing in time with the director. Analog video is the ONLY thing that will do here. Even very expensive digital has too much
    encoding and decoding lag ... I got ryh thm..... I .........who c...ould.. ...ask fo ...r anything more.
     
  6. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Composite may be dead, but coax with BNC lives on for video. It's used for SDI, serial digital interface. Mostly used with pro gear, although I found a security camera with it. It's good for distances to 300 meters. Beyond that, it's fiber optic cable.
     
  7. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @FMEng Coax with what type of connectors, larger PL connectors or smaller F connectors? My mind's drawing a blank on Amphenol's designation for their larger pro' connectors, PL259 possibly?? I was pleased and delighted to see @jtweigandt 's post regarding composite video and particularly enjoyed how he illustrated his problems with the newer gear.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  8. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    Yup, we use HD-SDI all over the place with good-ol BNCs. It is a great system for high-speed data.

    PL259 style connectors don't handle the higher frequencies as well as BNCs.

    300MHz is the bleeding edge a PL2549 and 100MHz is really the practical limit. BNCs can be used up to 4GHz! Interestingly the lowly "F" or RF connector is good up to about 2Ghz!

    Considering the PL259 was designed with NTSC video in mind (which has a 6MHz bandwidth) its eventual transition to RF uses is reasonable for VHF types of applications.

    I have seen them on 2 meter ham equipment, but this is really above the practical limit for the connector. (I convert my Yaesu 2M ham gear to BNCs...)


    There is a delay-less (well... nearly) HD digital transmission system.

    I had used it for broadcast applications and we use it at the park for remote real-time cameras: https://www.teradek.com/collections/bolt-family

    It is some serious magical wonderment...
     
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  9. jtweigandt

    jtweigandt Well-Known Member

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    I am guessing even with wonderful encoding/transfer on the send side, my cheap HD Tv monitors would still be problematic on the decode side. Interesting to turn on 2 tv’s these days to an over the air HD station. They many times (most?) will not be synchronized. As it is even with a really nice encoder.. we get a 1.5 second delay from Reality to monitor output. But then I am encoding to a cable video channel so I don’t need any special hardware on the far end. Have a nice encoder from Pro Video (PVI). Supposed to be getting Something like 40 ms encoding... but even that is 4/100 of a second. My delay I’m sure is on the cheap tv side.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  10. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    We did a test in NYC back oh, in 2011, with 10 commercially available televisions set up in the same room.

    All tuned to the same local station with a basic antenna on each.

    3 of the TVs were the same make and model.

    When turned on at the same time, none were in sync.

    Even within the same brand/model.

    The greatest difference was just over 5 seconds (!).

    Sometimes... digital is just awful.
     
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  11. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Ancient Engineer Back in my broadcast days our Motorola 2-ways used PL259's for antenna connectors, we had a line powered base station in our control room with its antenna routed to the roof of our 15 story building. When our studios were relocated to a taller building, we moved our base station to an elevator penthouse where we could use a much shorter run of coax to feed its antenna. We had several portable units, one lived in the main news department car while another went in a boat during the summer for our marine patrol and also went in a copter for traffic reports; during the winter it ended up in another news vehicle. Al of our Motorola's used PL259's for their antenna connectors; even our news guys couldn't mis connect them, we sealed the one outside on the roof with some kind of waterproof sealant that never dried out.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
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  12. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    Sure, but I'd wager they were in the 30-60MHz VHF frequency range, back in the day when you could use those frequencies... perfectly suited.

    We use N-type connectors for our 400-475MHz UHF stuff here. The goop on the connectors at the bottom of the radiators needs annual care, here by the lake...

    Icky
     
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  13. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Sherpa CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I don't think that you missed the funeral, composite is hanging out in hospice. It's there and good as it ever was. The problem is, composite isn't up to snuff with the quality of image being processed.

    As for digital not being good enough for theatrical use (latency), you just need to get the right equipment. Cheap gear has always given sub-par results. Same goes with newer technology. Video technology today is considerably different than 2011. Even five years ago, I might have agreed that conductor monitors had to still be analog. That may be still the case for some budgets. Going against changing technology won't help anyone. Do you still tell audio technicians that they should use tube amps?
     
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  14. jtweigandt

    jtweigandt Well-Known Member

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    OK call me when you have a digital conductor setup that can match mine in price performance ratio. 30 buck camera 25 buck rf modulator 2 free color tv’s. No detectable latency. For the conductor, I don’t need great resolution, I need as close to zero lag as possible. For the stage monitors, I have a 300 buck camera an 800 buck digital encoder and a series of 8 $100 digital TV’s which are much more satisfying to see the stage. You can’t get me zero apparent latency on the conductor for less than $5,000 bucks I’m betting. So in this case, in our community theater, old, cheap, and effective is the rule of the day for the pitcam. The 2 most recent concerts I was at.. Jeff Dunham, and James Taylor had live video, I’m sure they were not using cheap stuff either. You could watch, and not be annoyed, latency was still in the 250 millisecond range, but the feed was not good enough for use by a musician following a conductor. 250 ms is a 16th note at only a 60 tempo. That aint that fast musically speaking.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
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  15. jtweigandt

    jtweigandt Well-Known Member

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    This is audio, but you all owe it to yourself to listen to this series “Ways of hearing” about the transition from analog to digital audio recording over the last few decades. Really well done and thought provoking. 99% invisible is one of my favorite podcasts. I listened to this part of the series to get me through painting the kitchen. https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/ways-of-hearing/
     
  16. EdSavoie

    EdSavoie Well-Known Member

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    Composite video over coax with BNC connectors? Why, clearly the future is using that coax to pass your video data over 10BASE5 or 10BASE2!
     
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  17. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Sherpa CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Snark duly noted. As I stated, it depends on budget. Community theater often has to support itself in thrift shops. That will be your source for TV monitors. It might start to be difficult even there as some thrift stores are refusing the old TV sets since most people don't want them, they take up a lot of space, and legally you can't just throw them away (even though many people still do).
    Once you understand how digital equipment processes a signal, you can get no noticeable latency if you do it right. Yes, even in a $5000 budget, depending on your space.
     
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  18. jtweigandt

    jtweigandt Well-Known Member

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    I actually have a stack of 4 "reserve" monitors up in the light loft. I understand digital endoding, and decoding. It's really as simple as my sisters tell me.
    "Natural Beauty just takes time and money." I've turned away more analog set "donations" over the last 5 years than I can shake a stick at. Hopefully by the time
    I exhaust my reserves, then natural beauty will have fallen drastically in price, as it did for my backstage digital monitors. But for now, no way I can justify the outlay
    to myself, or my board of directors. What I really want is an old philco predicta set though... now those are the coolest analog monitors on the planet.
     
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  19. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    Apples and oranges... Tube amps and solid state amps process the same analog signal in similar ways.
    NPN transistors are essentially a triode made out of rocks... and there is no PNP transistor tube equivalent... OK, so similar...


    To make your comparison more relevant IMHO you need to address the signal and all its 'isms...

    Like:
    "Do you still tell audio engineers to record direct to 2" analog audio tape?"
    or
    "Do you still tell video engineers to send the subcarrier separate from the video?"


    ...


    But more to your point: I am not an advocate for going against changing technology.

    I never ever want to have to use a quadruplex recorder for a critical recording application. (I could if I had to though...ugh)


    I am an advocate for not leaping from a crawl. Mayhaps we we could walk a little first...


    Maybe we (the collective "we") could make logical choices based on the compromises inherit in all decision making.

    That would be nice.
     
  20. jtweigandt

    jtweigandt Well-Known Member

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    I guess what I am sayingt right now is that in the analog video world, we had incremental improvements until we reached the technical ceiling so to speak. But each part of the path forward didn’t come with as much sticker shock. To move from a 100 buck analog no latency director cam to digital is not a few bucks more, but rather an order of magnitude. Fine if you want to be an “Early adopter” or if you really want/need the increased video resolution. For me the matrix of price, latency, and quality.. is still a “pick any two” situation. Especially if it’s a function that does not impact what the audience sees or hears.
     
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