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Datavideo SE800

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Bill Baker
Datavideo SE800
on Aug 10, 2005 at 3:40:49 pm

Hello all,

We are considering using the Datavideo SE800 DV switcher in a live-to-tape studio environment. Our plan is to use 3 Panasonic DVX100 cameras and to record the program feed to DigiBeta via the SDI output of the switcher.

Does anyone have experience using this switcher in this type of application? I'm particularly concerned about audio synch.

Any help would really be appreciated.

thanks,
Bill Baker


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Matte
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Aug 11, 2005 at 8:26:57 pm

We connect all of our cameras via long FireWire cables (we have run up to 150 FEET and had no problems.)

Although there IS a built-in delay for audio on the switcher, we keep the audio in perfect sync with the digital video by sending our audio mixer's output (via XLR cables) to one of the CAMERAS' audio inputs during the shoot so the audio comes into the switcher along WITH the digital video from that camera.
I thought of this method on a baseball shoot where the temperature on the field was over 100 degrees and we didn't want to "fiddle" with trying to find the right amount of delay.
It was such a simple "remedy" that we now just use it all the time with this switcher.

Note: We have had some problems with the SDI output on our particular switcher (odd artifacts) so we use other outputs instead.

Since you're starting out with DV resolution, you might just stick with FireWire and record to a DV deck or just use ANY small DV camcorder with a FW input.


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R. Hewitt
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Aug 12, 2005 at 5:37:48 pm

Over a 150 feet! Not recommended at any time but if it works for you that's great.


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Matte
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Aug 12, 2005 at 9:57:37 pm

[R. Hewitt] "Over a 150 feet! Not recommended at any time but if it works for you that's great."

That's why I mentioned it.

These were outside, on-the-ground FW cable runs (pro baseball stadium).
We hooked two 75-foot FW cables together for the longest run to the far camera.)

We had a waveform monitor and vectorscope connected.
No quality loss at all.

With digital, either you HAVE a signal, or you don't (unlike the slowly-diminishing chroma and luminance levels with longer analog runs).

Its pretty amazing what's possible for so much less money and less gear these days.


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R. Hewitt
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Aug 15, 2005 at 10:11:26 am

"With digital, either you HAVE a signal, or you don't (unlike the slowly-diminishing chroma and luminance levels with longer analog runs)."

That's not quite true. With any long cable run the effect is exactly the same. High frequencies are attenuated more than lower. This will affect the data on the cable that can lead to anything from 'blocky' images through to intermittent problems in scenes of high details to garbage. It all depends on how the receiving firewire transceiver can handle the incoming stream and what the video codecs following can then make of them.
In most high data rate digital line systems, the data is 'scrambled' in a known and recoverable way to minimise the number of simultaneous '1's and '0's. Capacitance in the cable can lead to a change from a long series of '1's to a few '0's and back to '1's, losing the '0's completely as the charge on the line doesn't balance back to zero.
In all cases it is essential to use the highest quality cables possible.


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Bill Baker
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Aug 15, 2005 at 2:31:47 pm

Thanks. this is exactly the kind of info I was looking for.

Bill


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R. Hewitt
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Aug 15, 2005 at 3:28:17 pm

No problem.

For info the standard limit is 4.5 Metres but the IEEE1494b version will provide for 100 Metres.

Now all they need to do is make a decent, lockable connector!!


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hawaiirap
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Sep 9, 2005 at 5:37:21 am

If I read this right, in theory, I could have my dsr Pd 170 hooked up via firewire to a switcher like the datavideo or sony anycast using up to 100 meters (300+ feet) without any in-line "boosters". Is the video broadcast worthy? Without trying to reinvent the wheel, I was going to build up a (4)cam system connected via firewire. Thinking of using a wireless video return showing switcher output to each camera (maybe that laird waveshot coupled with some mini uhf tv's). Wireless headsets. I like my pd170 but maybe that's not the best camera as you cannot use the focus on the varizoom (to my understanding). I would prefer a full wireless system (too include camera's) but that just costs big bucks... seems to me the firewire (at 300') would do the trick. Agree/disagree?
regards,
hawaiirap



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Matte
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Sep 9, 2005 at 10:48:12 am

I'll let others comment further about maximum effective FW cable length.

[hawaiirap] "Is the video broadcast worthy?"

Our SE800's output from a FW input looks identical to the direct camera output.

[hawaiirap] "I like my pd170 but maybe that's not the best camera as you cannot use the focus on the varizoom (to my understanding)."

I have used the Bogen/Manfrotto and Varizoom zoom controllers and they work perfectly for zoom and focus on my PD150s.
The Zoe controller's focus works with the Sonys.
I have never found a LANC controller (designed for Sony) that did not work with focus on any Sony with a built-in lens (but some functions on OTHER BRANDS may not work).

The thing to consider, though, is that under live conditions those kinds of controllers (any brand) are not very fast or convenient for FOCUS use (Zoom is great).
In fact, ANY manual focus with these "infinite-spin" focus rings on the built-in lenses is "hit or miss" under the best conditions.
The good news is that the auto-focus is so GOOD on the PD150/170 that under most conditions I leave "auto" ON (with great results) and just worry about framing/zooming with the remote, and IRIS (which must be controlled directly on the camera body).


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hawaiirap
Re: Datavideo SE800
on Sep 9, 2005 at 7:55:44 pm

Thank you so much for the education. I really appreciate it. I think I mis-read the focus issue, in that, it would appear that you cannot switch between auto and manuel as it is a mechanical switch. (Was thinking of using it on the end of a jib-arm). But, you're right about the auto-focus.. coupled with the wide angle, should work just fine. I've been looking at those wireless transmitters(2.4ghz/5.8ghz--Premier Wireless eg.) in the $2k~$3k range and wondering if they'd work for broadcast (assuming a short range 200yds max kind of set up - - just can't see running fw out to center field). I figure around a $50k fly-pack.. which is quite amazing considering the cost of broadcast even a few years ago.

regards,
Bob aka Hawaiirap



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