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Video stage monitoring

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by fosstech, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. fosstech

    fosstech Active Member

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    Location:
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    Our theatre has absolutely no monitoring for the cast whatsoever, only a mic installed on the catwalk to get to the booth monitoring system. A few years ago, we got a baby monitor to put backstage so people in the greenroom can hear their cues, and get backstage in time for their entrance. Well that woked okay, but the audio level and quality wasn't great at all. People had trouble hearing their cues. I contemplated installing a 70V monitor system with a little 70V amp and speakers, but running new wire and buying the amp and speakers would be too great of a cost. And then the other day while I was thinking about it, I put two and two together, and the lightbulb went on.

    About five years ago, the school was wired with an IDF in every room, numerous Cat 5 cables, and most importantly, TV cable coax. Last year, the school had a portable rack built that has a modulator, a mixer, a couple of wireless mics, and a DVD/VCR in it. The whole package is in an SKB portable rack. The modulator can be plugged into any coax jack in the school, and transmits whatever's plugged into it on one of the unused channels (can't remember off-hand, but I think it's 16).

    Now here's where we can use it. A camera can be placed in the booth focused on the stage, and plugged into the video input of the modulator only. The sound from the camera won't go anywhere as it is useless (the actors don't need to hear our chatter about them ;)). An aux off of the TT24 (no problem with shortages there, there's 12 auxes) will go into the audio input of the modulator. The overhead mics on stage will be assigned to the aux pre-fader, and some of the other sources (i.e. wireless mics, MD and CD decks) will be assigned to the aux post-fader. The output of the modulator will be plugged into the coax jack in the booth.

    We certainly don't have a shortage of TV's in our school...there's at least 10 of them on carts in storage. Plus, many of the school's remodeled rooms have A/V systems with LCD projectors, so teachers don't need the old TV carts anymore. A few of those TV's will be placed in strategic locations, such as in the green room and out in the halls and entrance lobby. They would all be tuned to channel 16 (or whatever it is), so everyone in the greenroom and out in the halls would be able to see the play, and hear the show audio.

    Go ahead and tell what you think about it...and if you do something similar for a video monitoring system.
     
  2. propmonkey

    propmonkey Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    that sounds like a good plan. we have 2 cameras. one looking at the stage for the sm and backstage and one above for the folks in the booth the tell how far up or down stage something is. we have 4 perment hanging mics above the apron so we just run an aux out to an amp and we have 5 old speakers backstage for it. works great.
     
  3. Sombra2

    Sombra2 Active Member

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    one thing you have to check is that the outlets get the input from the rf modulator. Which might be. Also you might want to limit the tv onlys where the actors are going to be so the audience doesn't get distracted. You also might want to hook another microphone to the sound output to the tv so that you can say stuff to the actors in the green room or hook the comm system to the output if u have that.
     
  4. Inaki2

    Inaki2 Active Member

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    Best one I've done so far was with Les Miz's touring production. Sound had a camera aimed at the orchestra director, lighting got a whole stage feed, and an infrared view of the stage for blackouts. The stage manager also got this infrared view.
     
  5. theatremagic

    theatremagic Member

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    So basically a show relay in the green room as well as for the SM. Always good to have. One of the theatres that I work at has basically the same system as propmonkey and it's well worth having if you have the equipment.
     
  6. propmonkey

    propmonkey Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    if you have good cameras thats an easy way to record the shows. we finally got 3 good cameras which we will be using to record the shows.
     
  7. fosstech

    fosstech Active Member

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    Location:
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    Yeah, I don't think we'll use it for recording since there is a student here who already has a very nice Sony DV camera, plus a DV deck and a good shotgun mic (I'll be giving him a feed off of probably the same aux). There won't be any TV's within view of the audience, and there probably won't be any backstage because of the light cast by them. There will be one in the hallway, since the house manager does not let people back in the house until a set change or some other transition that will not disturb the rest of the audience. That way, one won't miss much if he or she steps out for a minute to go to the bathroom. And of course, at least one in the greenroom, and probably two...one for the girls and one for the boys :)

    I really didn't want it to end up being a cue system, just something for the cast to see where the show is in the script, and to keep the people outside the house informed. So I think I'll just put the show audio in there.
     
  8. AVGuyAndy

    AVGuyAndy Active Member

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    Sounds like a great plan! I've been meaning to try something similar at my school to see if I can get RF from the auditorium, or gym, etc, through the cable system, so I can get in the local access TV room, so I can broadcast live events from the high school to all of my town.
     
  9. DJErik07

    DJErik07 Active Member

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    I set up a CCTV feed in my school as well. I have a camera backstage monitoring the fly system, and just a general view of the stage. I also positioned it so that when our scrim is down i can view behind it w/o having to light behind it. I send the feeds from this view to our "booth" and this year, per director request, i have put a few feeds in the dressing/green room.
     
  10. SketchyCroftPpl

    SketchyCroftPpl Active Member

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    Hey thats an awesome idea. We actually do the same thing at my school. Theres a cam hooked into the booth so that the actors can see it back there. One thing we do that I'm not sure if you could or would is we also took a speaker port that was in the back and just took 100 ft of wire and ran it into the same room off of the spymic channel. As long as they arn't up enough and all then no one in the theatre can hear it and then they have sound and video. Just an idea, a great place to look for speakers (all the ones in my room) is a town recycling center. Mine has one where people pay to drop stuff off but its free to pick up. I've gotten 2 speakers with 14 inch woofers from there perfect, and many others only need a $12 new foam ring. Very smart thinking though on the cam idea.

    ~Nick
     
  11. CHScrew

    CHScrew Active Member

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    Location:
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    Our school has a close circut TV system and I plug into that. We just put a camers in the booth and you can get it on any TV in the school. And since they use classrooms as changing rooms and every room has a TV you can see and hear the stage from anywhere.
     
  12. AVGuyAndy

    AVGuyAndy Active Member

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    Why run audio seperately from the RF signal? Then you can just use the speaker on the TV, instead of getting crappy speakers from a junkyard.
     
  13. DJErik07

    DJErik07 Active Member

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    I use the sound (RCA) output and put it though our snake right to our booth. Then instead of using speakers I just plug in my old trusty headphones.
     
  14. AVGuyAndy

    AVGuyAndy Active Member

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    While I don't know what you're referring to, putting an unbalanced signal through a long snake is asking for trouble.
     
  15. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Your Snake has RCA connections?
     
  16. CHScrew

    CHScrew Active Member

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    He probably just made an adapter.
     
  17. DJErik07

    DJErik07 Active Member

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    Yep, I have a short snake that is 1/4in to RCA.
     
  18. Diarmuid

    Diarmuid Active Member

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    Location:
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    I was wondering, as you can convert xlr, to phono for sound, would it be possible to use a Xlr cable with a phono adapter on it for video feed? I was just thinking because that way we would be able to run a video feed through the microphone patch panel to backstage where we could then place a teelevision monitor so the SM and crew could watch the action from on stage.
     
  19. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    You can easily make an RCA (phono) to XLR adaptor, and a matching XLR to RCA for the other end. Wire the tip to pins 2 and 3, and wire the shield/outer circle thing to pin 1. On one end, use a male XLR, on the other, female, and use male RCA on both end, I'd think.


    Personally, I tend to use TRS 1/4, since our built in snake has 4 of those, and our drop snake has buttloads of them, but I do run into problems when I use TS cable on one end to send the signal further. And, I have not had any problems running 150 or so feet of unbalanced or unamplified and with no magic elves video signal.

    Our school does not have a nice video distribution or CCTV thing, so I just send the signal down the snake, and put one of my own small tv's wherever the actors are--this past year we hardly used the backstage area, most of the actors staid behind the "fake wall" because of where their entrances and exist were, so I put the tv right there.


    Anyone found a fix for the cameras that shut off after a few minutes if you are not recording on them? I haven't, and it's very annoying!!

    and Diarmuid, email me or PM me if you need more help with the adaptor.
     
  20. Diarmuid

    Diarmuid Active Member

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    Location:
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    In my experience, the best thing to do with video cameras that turn off, is just to set them on record, with the same tape every time, or if the camera will allow it then without a tape. Hopefully from the phono out you wouldnt get a record symbol flashing away. And thanks for the help, I'd never made the association between a RCA and a phono before
     

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