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Streaming to Network

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by Raiden38, May 22, 2018.

  1. Raiden38

    Raiden38 Member

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    Location:
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    Hi. I need your help finding a good streaming solution for our show. I need to put a camera near FOH to stream audio and video to 2-3 PC somewhere else on the network. The goal is to be able to view and listen to the show so the artists know when it's time to go on stage. It needs to go through the network, no hardwires.

    I bought a check Amcrest 2K camera. The network part works very fine. It streams on the network and I am able to view the sound and image from anywhere. When the room is lighted with normal neons, it works perfectly fine. But as soon as I turn on the FOH (Source4), it's too bright and the camera cannot auto-correct correctly. The image is just horrible. The the sound is really awful, even if I have a direct connection between the sound board and the camera. It's choppy and all low frequencies are lost

    Would you have any recommended setup? I would prefer something that would be low cost, perhaps 500$ if possible. I saw some 2000$ streaming camera that might do the trick but we definitely don't have budget for it.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. dbaxter

    dbaxter Active Member Premium Member

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    Would something as simple as a piece of neutral density filter over the lens cut the brightness? I might check that the sound sample rates are the same for the camera and the board.
     
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  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Occupation:
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    Most cameras are going to have a very hard time doing automatic exposure in a theatre setting. This is typically because you have to have a very wide shot to capture the entire stage which leaves a lot of dark area surrounding the bright stage. The camera tries to compensate for all the dark areas, which effectively blows out the bright areas. Under your worklights, you probably have a much more even illumination that is less peaky, so the camera does not get confused and can adjust accordingly.

    If you want a "set-and-forget" setup, you will likely need to buy a much higher end camera (IP security cameras won't cut it) that allows you to adjust how it meters the scene. That way you can tell it to meter the bright parts of the image, despite them taking up a smaller percentage of the frame. The other option is to get a controllable camera where you can control the exposure settings. If you were to choose a Sony camera that can accept VISCA control, i have a program that we built that can take sACN and spit out VISCA so that you can control Sony cameras from a lighting desk. This would allow you to cue the camera so that exposure was good for every scene.

    In terms of getting the best audio, unless you pick a camera that supports an external audio input, it will never be great. However, you could get a non-IP camera and a separate encoder/streamer box that would allow you to take in the video signal and then add an audio signal and encode it all to send out on the network. Of course, this isn't cheap, but it is a much more robust solution.
     
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  4. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I'm more optimistic than Alex because I have found similar cameras to be surprisingly flexible, but you have to patiently navigate the setup menus. The ND filter won't help because the auto exposure will compensate.

    Looking at the spec sheet, it has manual exposure adjustments, backlight control (BLC), highlight compensation (HLC), and wide dynamic range (WDR) settings. Some combination of those settings should improve how it looks with stage lights on. You may have to compromise how it looks with lights off.

    The audio is distorted because you are driving a microphone level input with line level from the mixer. A simple, 40 dB attenuator (resistive pad) can match the levels. If you would like to solder one up, let us know.
     
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  5. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    If you're going to point cameras at a stage and light it, you have to light for the cameras, not the live audience. Any camera will have a limited number of stops of dynamic range, and your light-to-dark range has to fit inside that.

    Some cameras will let you auto-expose for "high light" which is usually the problem in this kind of case -- small focal figure that's much brighter than the rest of the picture -- but if not, and if you can't manually expose for that, then you'll have to bring up your backgrounds, or dim down your face light, or both.

    The more expensive the camera, in general, the more range you'll get -- the $6k BMD Ursa Mini 4.6 Pro does 15 stops, for example.
     
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  6. JonCarter

    JonCarter Well-Known Member

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    Seems like just another use of technology because it exists. Isn't this what assistant stage managers are for??
     
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  7. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    In fact it's not. If I correctly remember the relevant passage in Stage Management by Lawrence Stern, the stage management crew is only responsible for warns before each Act. Entrances are the responsibilities of the actors.

    I think that's actually part of the Equity contract, but it's been awhile since I read the book. I've never read the contract. :)
     

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