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Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed

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Daniel Horitz
Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 20, 2011 at 12:01:45 pm

Hello peoples,

I am involved in a sight-specific theatre show in an old water pumping warehouse in which I will be dressed as a deep sea diver with a video camera.

I will be filming an actor as we walk around the theatre space and the footage will be projected live onto a wall as we will travel down passages which the audience will not be able to follow us through.

I have a Canon XM2 DV camera. I intend to use a 20 metre Firewire cable to send the feed to a laptop connected to the projector.

This is the proposed cable:
http://www.lindy.co.uk/firewire-cable-premium-4-pin-male-to-6-pin-male-tran...

The laptop I will be using has only USB connection. I have been looking for a firewire to USB adaptor but they don't seem to exist other than very poor quality looking ones on ebay.

Is it possible to buy a USB to firwire adaptor for this purpose or should I be looking for a Firewire card to use in the laptops expansion port? Or is there another way of approaching this scenario?

I'm also interested in whether any other members have experience of working with live video over this distance (20 metres)?

Many thanks for your help
Dan


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Tom Sefton
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 20, 2011 at 2:34:16 pm

Every time we have used live video and needed to have a moving camera we have used a wireless HD-SDI transmitter.

This one to be precise:

http://www.tnpbroadcast.co.uk/prox-xwhdu01-xwhdu01-wireless-transmission-sy...

You could hire one - we purchased one late last year and it has been worth the money.


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Daniel Horitz
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 20, 2011 at 2:52:07 pm

Thanks Tom. Unfortunately this is a relatively small scale production and we have nearly used up the budget already.

I may look in to hiring a transmitter like this, but if we can get by with cables we will.

I have now found that the laptop we will use does have Firewire 800 input so I can buy a cable which will directly connect camera to laptop:

http://www.lindy.co.uk/20m-premium-firewire-800-cable-4-pin-male-to-9-pin-b...

Has anyone else worked in this way with such long cables?


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 20, 2011 at 7:18:48 pm

I have used even longer firewire cables, that distance shouldn’t be a problem. What will be a problem however is keeping the cable plugged in, considering firewire cables don’t exactly make the most positive connection. An extreme solution would be to epoxy the hell out of the connector to the camera/computer, but another option maybe a strain relief or something like that.

Chuck


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Bill Davis
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 21, 2011 at 5:56:56 am

I agree that Firewire or USB are both pretty fragile at the connector for this.

Most camcorders have a simple composite out via RCA. You could adapt that to BNC cable - which is robust and cheap and works great in long runs - but the challenge is going to be getting both a composite input on the laptop while simultaneously outputting to your display via VGA.

Why not just run the video feed directly into the projector and eliminate the laptop and digital conversion stages all together?.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Tom Sefton
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:16:17 am

If the camera does have an HD-SDI output, then Kramer and Blackmagic do some pretty smart HD-SDI to DVI converters - this might offer better quality and a more robust cable and connection than firewire?


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Daniel Horitz
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 21, 2011 at 12:56:20 pm

Thanks everyone.

I am going to stick with the firewire as we need the image to be initially black before seemingly 'spluttering to life' with some noise and distortion, for which I am going to use Modul8 VJ software to add fx to the live feed. Hence why the feed needs to run through the laptop and not directly to the projector.

I was thinking of creating some strain relief by doubling the cable back and taping it to the camera then tying it to my diving suit somehow.

Rehearsals should be interesting.


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 21, 2011 at 1:46:12 pm

You know I was at a computer store the other day and bought these “bungee cords” attached to plastic loops. I picked them up for the same general purpose as you need them, I would see if you can find something like that, mini carabineer clips, or even another favorite of mine “Bongo Ties”. Any should make a sufficient strain relief.

Chuck


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Daniel Horitz
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 21, 2011 at 4:17:12 pm

Cheers Chuck.

Do you mean bungee cords like this?


How do you use this in this context?

Apologies if I'm being stupid now!

Dan


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 21, 2011 at 4:39:45 pm

I was using the term "bungee" loosely. Here is more like what I was speaking of.

http://www.hometech.com/hts/products/wiring/wire_mgmt/cable_ties/bt-cr01.ht...

or even these

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_SPM2791845702P?sid=IDx20101019x000...

It just depends on your outfit, and what you can hook in to.

Again I know the epoxy sounds extreme, but there is an article I read recently about the guys that shoot "The Deadliest Catch" and they talk about how they prep their cameras for shooting out on deck.

Chuck


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Daniel Horitz
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 23, 2011 at 10:53:04 am

Gotcha. I'm looking to get a dry diving suit with cables coming out of it so should be able to bongo the camera cables to those ones too.

Thanks for all your help peoples.

Dan


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Daniel Horitz
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 29, 2011 at 12:26:14 pm

All working great except the application I'm using AV Mixer Lite, does not recognise the firewire as an audio input so I'm getting no sound from the feed.

Does anyone know of any free (or otherwise) applications which could monitor the sound from the feed in the background?

Thanks again!
D


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Chuck Pullen
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jun 29, 2011 at 12:39:31 pm

I must have missed why you need the audio? The one thing I would say, is that in the production world, you want to keep your audio and video separate as much as possible. That being the case, if it were me, I would take your camera shotgun or whatever audio you are using on it’s own XLR instead of running it down the firewire, you’ll have more control over it that way.

Chuck


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Richard Crowley
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on Jul 10, 2011 at 1:56:58 am

You can hold most any flaky connector together with the proper application of cable-ties and/or gaffer's tape. Really. Four small cable-ties will hold well enough that the cable will break before the connectors come apart.


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Daniel Horitz
Re: Live Video Feed for Theatrical Event: Cabling advice needed
on May 23, 2012 at 1:16:47 pm

Belated thanks guys! This was a great success in the end. Cable ties, tape and a climbing chuck kept it in check.

Audio was a bit of an issue, we couldn't get a good feed of the sound from the cameras point of view, so used a separate mic to pick up the speech we neeeded.

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Canon XM2
Final Cut Studio 7


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