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Live event recording gone wrong

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Michael Stuckart
Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:47:50 pm

Right off the bat before I get into details about my problem and me asking if anyone knows a solution please keep in mind everything that is being done is gonna be done by a highschool media team and if we need to buy more equipment we have very little money.

So my highschool media class is going to be recording a live music festival at our school on the 14th of this month. We have had difficulty after difficulty trying to get to the point we are at now and we are still having trouble getting a working set up for this recording. Let me state what we have to work with then I will state what our difficulties are. Keep in mind we are only in charge of video, there is a much larger event group that will be handling audio and just giving us the feed or a file for post production if need be.

Equipment:
New 17inch Macbook air with Boinxtv installed
3 Canon Vixia HV40's
1 off brand panasonic Standard firewire DV camcorder
4 6 pin to 4 pin 15ft firewire connectors
3 15 ft male to male firewire cables
3 15 active extension firewire cables
4 firewire 400 to firewire 800 adapters (I may have it the wrong way around.)
1 PCI express slot Firewire card that adds a additional two firewire slots.
10 Canon HMF30 cameras (we were not planning on using but we can use them)


What we need to do is get a working live mixer going within the program boinxtv. We also have a trial of FCP if that would be easier to use, although our end all goal is to use boinx since we already have a key installed.
Issues currently:
For some reason we can not get our Mac to recognize all three HDV40's when they are plugged in Via firewire. We can get two at any point and time to work (The cameras are recognized within the mac but we can only get two feeds to show up, the third feed will remain blank, and the one remaining blank will always be running other PCI express card. We have tested multiple cameras/cables,) and if we replace one of the HDV40's with our off brand panasonic camera, it recognizes all three cameras and we get a live mix going in boinx TV perfectly fine. The issue with just using the off brand is we would one be mixing HD signals with SD signals, and the HD through the firewire has a twoish second delay so it would make audio syncing a nightmare in POST. At one point we had all three canons recognized and working on the mac with boinxtv at our early stages of experimentation with the program.
Another issue is whenever we try and use our active extensions our cameras won't recognize at all with the mac, we have no idea why.


Our primary goal is to get a flawless HD mix going for the 14th, if need be we will record to the HMF30's and spend all our time in post but the live mix would be so much easier. Our secondary goal is to get a flawless mixing system going with our macbook pro with what we have, or with spending as little money as possible. We need a working system up ASAP.


Any solutions/suggestions would be much appreciated!


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Michael Stuckart
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 12, 2012 at 4:07:38 am

Macbook Pro* Not air sorry


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Joel Hufford
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 13, 2012 at 8:52:30 am

Hi Michael,

I know you said you have very little money to go out and buy new equipment, but have you considered contacting a local staging or AV company to rent equipment for the night?

I would suggest renting a true HD video switcher for the day, (something like an MX70 from Panasonic or an ATEM from Blackmagic Design) ditching the firewire interface and using the component or HDMI outputs from the camera. You may run into HDCP issues using the HDMI outputs, so something like the MX70 and analog component HD may be your best bet. Don't forget to arrange for monitors with the switcher, and some adpaters to go from RCA to BNC connectors.

You would also need to rent something to record the output of the switcher, I think the KiPro from AJA would be most ideal, but there are also many IO devices that would integrate with your MacBook Pro, either over PCI Express or Thunderbolt, such as the AJA IoHD, the Matrox MXO2 and the Blackmagic Design Intensity Extreme.

Seeing as how you're dealing with high school students in a media class, you might even be able to get the rental company to allow you to keep the equipment for a few extra days to allow your students the opportunity to play with it and learn and see what it does.

The problem with recording live events is that rarely do you get a second chance if something goes wrong. I think you're going to save yourself a lot of headaches and reduce your stress if you aren't having to fight with your gear every step of the way!

I know you don't have very much time, but I hope at least some of this was helpful!

Good Luck!

joel
Corporate and Special Event Staging Services
http://www.pacificstaging.com


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Michael Stuckart
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 14, 2012 at 12:01:47 am

How would we run the HDMI over distance? The component can be run through BNC


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Joel Hufford
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 14, 2012 at 1:42:05 am

How long are we talking? less than 50 feet and you could get away with using a single high quality cable HDMI cable. There are also converters (or more properly, baluns) that will convert the HDMI signal and allow you to transmit over Cat5 or Cat6 cable, there are more expensive systems that will allow you to do the same thing using fiber optic cable. try googling "HDMI extender" If you've contacted a local AV company, give them a call and see what they have available.

however, I think the chances that you're going to run into HDCP issues are fairly high, so I would still recommend using the analog component signal. Also, Walters suggestion of running tape in each of the cameras as a back up is a good one - actually, a really good one and I would strongly consider doing.

also you want to think about where this cable is going to live. Is it on stage by the talent, or out in the audience? Is there going to be a tripping hazard? should you get cable ramps to secure the cables in? should there be someone to page the cable? Cat 5 can be pretty easy to manage, but it and fiber optic cable are not as durable as the RG6 or RG59 cable you'd find in component video cable.


Good luck!

joel
Corporate and Special Event Staging Services
http://www.pacificstaging.com


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Michael Stuckart
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 16, 2012 at 5:22:49 am

Cable running is not a issue, there is a larger event group in our school that works with audio and lighting but was eager to hand off video since it is a handful to handle all three with the small group. 50 Feet just doesn't cut it, the renting out is a good idea but we want to be self sufficient and it messes with our idea of training. We are trying to base classes off this equipment and introducing high school students to the world of video, if we rent equipment it wouldn't be in the class room and would be extremely difficult to train. Right now we are looking into running our Firewire cameras over Cat 5 as it is since our building has Cat 5 run EVERYWHERE so all it would take is some patching in the central HUB.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 16, 2012 at 2:52:09 pm

[Michael Stuckart] "Right now we are looking into running our Firewire cameras over Cat 5 as it is since our building has Cat 5 run EVERYWHERE so all it would take is some patching in the central HUB."

You should be aware that Firewire/Cat5 extenders do not run on TCP/IP, so you can't use networking infrastructure. Even passive patch panels can be disruptive to extenders like this.

Typically, Cat5 extenders of any type need home runs.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Walter Soyka
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 13, 2012 at 3:07:45 pm

That's a whole lot of Firewire.

I'm sorry I can't give you more direct advice, but even if you are able to get your system working in time, I'd still make sure to run records on all your cameras as a backup.

Even if you can't switch live, I'd think you'd want someone directing -- monitoring all the camera feeds and talking to the operators via intercom. Without a director, you need a very good plan about which camera operator is responsible for what visuals to make sure you are well-covered for post.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Michael Stuckart
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 16, 2012 at 5:23:59 am

Ya we always record locally to the camera whenever possible as a backup.


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Michael Stuckart
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 18, 2012 at 5:54:34 am

We are looking into new set ups, using the Macbook along side would be amazing but we need something that works point blank. The firewire is great but it has a two second delay which makes live feeds useless. Any suggestions?


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Mike Jeffs
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Feb 22, 2012 at 3:06:09 pm

Im guessing your issue with the delay is in the Mac book and not the Firewire, I have use firewire countless times without nocticable dely. The biggest problem you face is trying to make the Mac work as a video switcher. I know you don't have budget but have you tried begging any of your local TV stations for old Gear? it may be out of date but in many cases you might be better off. and heck depending on the area you live in maybe they do have a old Standard Def Switcher sitting in their suplus pile and they would being willing to donate it to your schools as a charitble contribution.

Mike Jeffs
Video Coordinator
BYU-Idaho


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Mark Suszko
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on Mar 2, 2012 at 4:46:31 pm

Boinx needs to see a dedicated firewire bus for every firewire source, is why I think you're having trouble there. The laptop has only two busses, and while you can add stuff to each bus, the Boinxtv software needs each source dedicated just to one bus. Your third camera goes in as a USB bus source, and that one's going to be lower res, so you dedicate that camera to the kinds of shots that might not need high rez.

What you're trying to do on the mac is to imitate a video toaster or tricaster, but without the toaster's dedicated processing hardware. That only goes so far, as you're finding out. My friend used to call this approach "stepping over dollars, to pick up dimes".

If you want to do professional live switching to a master recorder, well, to be blunt, get a real switcher. Ot at least a tricaster. They come in HD flavors now as well as composite, and are rentable.

Roland's Edirol brand makes an inexpensive HD live switcher that could work well for you, as it can mix HD and SD sources. And it is a real hardware interface with buttons and t-bars and all, so if the point is to get students familiar with how we do it in the broadcast world, this is the kind of thing you want.

Knowing very well about low student budgets, what I might try in your case, meanwhile, is to shoot sd anamorphic over composite. Won't be high def, but it will be 16 by 9 and much cheaper infrastructure.

Finally, contact the GM of your local TV station and ask about inheriting their surplus gear which the station might take a tax deduction for as a charitable donation.


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Fred Jodry
Re: Live event recording gone wrong
on May 14, 2012 at 5:10:03 pm

What does a computer do? Compute.
What does computing always take? Time.
You will always have troubles trying to mix live video and audio through a computer.
No matter what else you do, feed the cameras and audio through the mixer boards before the stuff hits a computer.
Now Michael, you have a better workflow than an expensive Alexa. Fred Jodry


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