The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Video Monitor System Upgrade

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by gafftaper, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,306
    Likes Received:
    2,314
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Hi, So trying to keep up with everyone else I want to upgrade my video system as well. My theater has an SD camera, that feeds a TV in the Lobby, a mini TV stage right at the SM's panel, and three TV's in the dressingrooms. The system is all SD signal onto HD TV's. I want to upgrade to get an HD image in the lobby as well as add Two large HD TV's on the backside of the Proscenium wall, and possilbly a couple extra ports on the back wall to make it easy to feed another TV. (We get a lot of little kid shows and some schools like to have the kids all sit on stage behind the mid, so having a way to pull out a TV would be great). I don't really see a need to upgrade the video in the greenroom, it's not great but it's fine. IF we improve the camera, the image will be better even if I leave it an SD feed to this area.

    Below is a sketch.

    So here's what I'm wondering about. Wireless Video through the cinderblock wall into the lobby. Bad Idea or Terrible idea? It's the easiest solution, but I fear probably the worst idea. Thoughts on that?

    What is the best strategy for Daisy chaining the new backstage TV's video locations vs running separate cables?

    Any recommendations on a good video camera for the job. I'm sick of everything washing out or being too dark. I have a decent budget and want a good camera and I'm happy to pay a little extra if need.

    I kind of like the idea of having a PTZ remote controlled mount for the camera. I have a church rental every week and they would love being able to zoom in on the pastor.

    I also like the idea of being able to record on this upgrade. Thoughts on that?

    Any general advice would be appreciated.

    Gaff's video upgrade.jpg
     
  2. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    2,891
    Likes Received:
    841
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    The more features you want, the higher the price tag goes. With a PTZ camera comes triple the cost with no better image quality, plus the expense of a controller.

    Without PTZ, Marshall Electronics offers some very inexpensive fixed cameras you can park wherever you need to with the appropriately sized camera lens for the throw. That saves you a lot of image brightness over a PTZ at the back of the room zoomed all the way in, which throws usually 70%-90% of potential brightness away and ruins your image quality. Similarly, Black Magic makes some great, HDR cameras you can park an appropriate DSLR lens on and get an even better image if you don’t mind going with the operator-at-a-tripod or set-it-and-forget-it approach. The cost differential here is that it’s usually so much cheaper to go with fixed cameras and a switcher that you can afford to buy 3-4 fixed cameras for multiple angles over a single PTZ from one position.

    Off the top of my head, I can tell you the better PTZ’s like Panasonic’s high end stuff will run you $7k just for the camera. Most of the stuff below $5k is meant for nearfield videoconferencing rooms and will suck in a theater application zoomed in.

    If you have any existing cabling in place that’s worth hijacking, I would explore that. ZeeVee makes some great HDMI to RF modulators if you already have decent coax strung out to all of your TV’s. Then instead of putting a video decoder or HDBT receiver at each display you can just plug the coax into the TV and tune to channel 3 for the stage view with house mix feed, channel 4 for the conductor feed, channel 5 for the stage feed with production intercom loop, and you get the picture.

    Given the choice, I always recommend pulling the cable. It’s almost never as hard anyone thinks, it always works, and it doesn’t undermine the point of paying for a better camera.

    Another approach if you have solid WiFi everywhere is go with something like a Livestream HD31 or HD51 switcher. You can record live, record simultaneous for post-production editing, stream to your network, and do sharp looking graphics overlays. Like learning an Ion or an Element, there are also a ton of training videos available. Enough latency you wouldn’t want to do this for IMAG, but it’s well within the capabilities for a green room feed.

    Again, if you have good WiFi and go with the right streaming option, you can park a $150 Chromebox behind each display and use Single App Kiosk mode to boot up to a window for viewing the stream at a predefined URL. Very scalable. If you park a wireless keyboard and mouse at any of those spots you can also override Kiosk mode on boot up to use the Chromebox as an impromptu web browser, collaboration station, call board, or presentation display.

    A lot of people insist on PTZ because they think it’ll make their lives so much easier and because they grossly overestimate the smoothness of tracking a moving target, but my professional opinion in these systems is if you settle for less and go with fixed, you can afford to do so much more on the back end.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  3. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,306
    Likes Received:
    2,314
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Thanks @MNicolai . Yeah the PTZ was just a random, "if it doesn't add too much to the expense of doing this project it would be cool" sort of thing. Nothing I'm hooked on. What I really need is a camera with outstanding combination of Iris and auto focus abilities. My current camera is a mediocre Sony SD camera. It's always blown out and struggles for focus.

    My existing system is all SD over BNC cable with an Extron Distribution Amp. It's only about 6 years old so should all be in pretty good shape.

    The HDMI to RF modulator is a really cool idea. I've never heard of that before (I'm a armature in videoland). Does anyone have a recommended Brand/model? Could I simply put that inline before my Extron Distro Amp, plug in a new HD camera and throw BNC to Coax adapters on the ends of the existing runs and have an instant HD upgrade? It can't be that easy.

    I would like to keep the whole project in the $4,000-$5,000 range.
     
  4. dbaxter

    dbaxter Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Well, it's not much harder. Here are the two things I bought to go HDMI to Channel 3:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01H6OM8OI
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GUS4A7A

    Like you, we already had the old coax running to the lobby, dressing room, and band loft. Seems to be running fine. One word for setup - don't put those two items real close to each other. Don't stack them. A 6" separation does the trick. Otherwise you get banding on your monitors from some sort of interference between the two.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,306
    Likes Received:
    2,314
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    That's amazingly cheap Dave! Do you have them running through a distribution amplifier? Just curious if that messes things up.
     
  6. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Likes Received:
    238
    Location:
    St Pete FL USA
    We put in 2 PTZOptics PTX-20-SDI cameras this season, one in each house, for latecomer. And later, streaming -- we have lots of rights issues to clean up.

    They were about $1600, which seems the absolute bottom of the PTZ space; they do HDMI, SDI, and MPEG4/IPunicast/IPmulticast (simultaneously, yes).

    With the built in web control panel, they're hard to fly smoothly, and don't have "slow-go" to presets. We'll likely get a joystick controller when we do start to stream.

    I also mentioned the TrendNet IP-314PI in another thread; these are perfectly serviceable if the 72deg horizontal angle isn't too wide for you; amazingly good video up to 4k, and damned fine at 720p, where I'm running them for security/situational awareness.
     
  7. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    2,891
    Likes Received:
    841
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    My experience is with the ZeeVee ZvPro810i and 820i's, which go HDMI > RF in one or two channels respectively. Probably more machine than you're looking for but they're rock solid. Also also you to embed audio into the feed if you want to drive a dedicated output from your mixer/house mic/ALS into the RF feed.

    Not sure which model of Extron amp you have but I imagine it won't work since modulated video is not the same as composite or SDI video. To do modulated video you'll need to swap out to an RF distribution amp or RF amp/splitter widget.

    Alternatively, you could swap your DA out with a Black Magic VideoHub 12x12 and go with HD-SDI or 3G-SDI over your existing coax to SDI > HDMI widgets at your receivers. You can't readily flip between channels but you can hook multiple sources up to the SDI router and make assignments to each display at the router. Probably a cleaner transition for you to make.

    Might want to double check what kind of coax cable you have to verify it is up to the task for higher resolutions/bandwidth.
     
  8. dbaxter

    dbaxter Active Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I think there is one in the dressing room that then goes off to the band loft. Sorry, haven't looked at in a while. (If it ain't broke, don't fix it.)
     
  9. Calc

    Calc Active Member

    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    My church put in one of these. The only annoyance I've found (besides the no slow-go presets Jay mentions) is that to start the built-in streaming you change a setting, then restart the camera to apply it. All doable over the web interface, but every stream starts with the end of the pan/tilt/zoom encoder test.

    When I'm there to run it, I'll use the booth computer to pull the feed from the camera into OBS, then stream it from there. That lets me add in other effects to the feed too (fades to pre/post service, PIP, etc.).
     
    Jay Ashworth likes this.
  10. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    4,134
    Likes Received:
    629
    Occupation:
    Projectionist
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I did a demo of one of Datavideo's PTZ HDBaseT cameras. I was hoping to go with their whole mobile kit for some of our special events, but the portable production studio wasn't ready yet. However, I was quite impressed at the 130' distance between the camera and the subject still getting an excellent image even in low light. I will probably demo it again next month now that the mobile kit is up to snuff. The nice thing is that the camera is not only HDBaseT, but it also has HDMI, SDI, and composite outputs. This might allow you to deal with both old and new systems until you can get it all up to speed. In addition, they do sell recording equipment. You could probably call them for a demo and see how it works in your space.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  11. NickVon

    NickVon Active Member

    Messages:
    533
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    07003
    If you already have Coax run, is it RG6. You could track down a SDI camera, and SDI > "TV input connector" converter and be set. Blackmagic SDI to HDMI converters are priced in the sub 100$ range if want something basic but capable

    At my Venue we have a Can XA35 (the model with an SDI out) mounted an a pipe in our booth. We route it's SDI output to a small viewing monitor by our Mac workstation, which also runs Qlab and Wirecast into an Blackmagic Ultra Studio. That our primary use for that camera, but if we need it feed back stage only I'have got a short jumper that we bypass the Mac, and send it's signal straight down our coax run to the Green Room. If I need both, I use the SDI out on the Ultrastudio box to feed the Green Room run. SDI splitters/distribution amplifiers also quite affordable on a institutional budget.

    Our camera is located at a position where we can refocus or live adjusted if needed, but that may not be practical depending on your space. We looked at a PTZ camera and controller and opted not for that reason. We don't do a lot of live tracking and it's not hard to just refocus our camera from a wide shot to a podium shot if needed.

    I think the Canon XA35 at 2700$ has a very nice pictures, powerful camera feature set if needed, and the convenience of built in recording to Dual SD cards if renters or we need it.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.

Share This Page