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dance recital viewing backstage

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artydance recital viewing backstage
by on Jun 14, 2005 at 9:45:42 pm

here's a query

recently i've been asked by quite a few dance recitals if they can get a monitor in the back for the dancers backstage and stage mom's

what's the best way to do this ?

if at all...

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MatteRe: dance recital viewing backstage
by on Jun 15, 2005 at 12:00:02 pm

[arty] "what's the best way to do this ?"

The BEST way is to run a coax cable from your video out to a video input on a monitor backstage.
(Do not send any audio, let the audio operator for the event do this if they want it.)

The cable-run will be long, difficult to keep folks from tripping over and will cost a bit of money, but it WILL be reliable.
There are wireless transmitters that can be used for this purpose, but it has been my experience (and I have a LOT of experience) that the wireless method will simply NOT be reliable.
(If this is just a "convenience" for the backstage folks, you might be able to go wireless and the real probability of constant static and video break-up won't be a big deal.)

OTOH, I can tell you something that is a real secret, so don't let anyone else know.
(Anyone else but Arty reading this... just STOP and move along... nothing to see here, people.)

Standard MICROPHONE cables will work very well for connecting rather long runs of standard VIDEO signals from cameras to monitors (especially just for viewing backstage).

So if there are long mic cables available in the theater (and if you can get the audio operator to lend some to you) you can get some RCA plug-to-XLR plug adapters for each end of the mic cable (if, like usual, your camera has an RCA output and the monitor has an RCA input), and run MIC cable from your video position to the backstage monitor.
This will even be easier if there happens to be an unused BUILT-IN mic line from near your position in the house (or booth) to backstage (there are usually LOTS of unused mic lines available in theaters.)
Again, if you can make "close personal friends" with the audio person, you can make your life a bit easier.

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Mark SuszkoRe: dance recital viewing backstage
by on Jun 15, 2005 at 3:11:05 pm

It depends on what they want this for: just to give an overall sense of what's happening there for stage managing purposes, or do they want to get a true audience experience back in the "green room"? For the latter, nothing will do except a coax feed from the live switcher output.

Good coax, the kind that minimizes losses over long distances, is expensive. Well, it is to ME. There are little breakout boxes available that let you run video over a spool of twisted-pair telephone wire. This can be cheaper than good coax over the same distance, and the wire is often easier to run. For a non-critical use like this, it's what I'd suggest if a wireless solution is not possible.

You can find wireless video transmitters for rent at the larger broadcast rental outfits, or you can go with amateur stuff like Supercircuits sells. This is a handy system if you want to run multiple monitors, just give each one a good directional antenna.

If you wanted to be super hi-tech, you could feed a stream via wi-fi from a laptop near the cameras to a laptop backstage, then mirror the laptop's output via it's video-out to a larger TV monitor. This would only be *near* real-time, it would be out of synch with the stage sound, and the frame rate would likely be stuttery.

Another way to go would be a dedicated camcorder or cheap security type camera on a wide shot, locked down, mounted up in the lighting grid, with a simple composite coax running to backstage. Again, Supercircuits or something of that ilk would be a cost-effective source, if all you're wanting is a general sense of the stage action.

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artyRe: dance recital viewing backstage
by on Jun 15, 2005 at 8:02:57 pm

thanks !

it doesn't have to be great jsut so the folks back stage can see what's going on...
thanks for the advice

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Doug GrahamRe: dance recital viewing backstage
by on Jun 17, 2005 at 6:42:56 pm

If you have one of those RF modulators that takes the audio and video signal out of your camcorder and sends it as an RF composite TV/audio signal, you can include both the video and audio, and display it on just about any television set.

Most consumer cameras come with an RF modulator, but not many pro cameras do.

Doug Graham

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