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Anyone use CAT 5 with Component for recording multi cam video?

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Al Kohout
Anyone use CAT 5 with Component for recording multi cam video?
on Nov 19, 2011 at 2:17:26 am

Hello...we have a Tricaster Studio (not HD)...and wish to make connections simple. We wish to switch live some of our productions and have component out of our cameras --- I fear quality loss..so need some good direction ---because we may have to edit the video as well.

Component requires much wires, that if we can avoid it, but still get great video recorded...thats our goal.

I heard we can run the signal through a Balun on each end and convert to cat 5. (or cat 6 --what is difference?)

Can someone explain a bit deeper and point me in the best direction?


Thank you


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Bill Davis
Re: Anyone use CAT 5 with Component for recording multi cam video?
on Nov 19, 2011 at 5:09:08 am

Cat 5 is a DATA cable standard.

If you're doing the digital sampling at the camera and converting it to pure 1s and 0s then you can certainly send the result via Cat5.(or any other wire scheme capable of digital data transmission.

HOWEVER.

Nearly all video is an analog signal (or often a SET of signals) at the source. Cat 5 is a TERRIBLE transmission media for analog signals. It has none of the coaxial shielding that keeps radio frequency noise from infecting signals in long cable runs and if you're sending a mixed VIDEO signal, you may be operating with the parity checking and other signal verification built in to data streams.

So your idea is POSSIBLE. It just requires high quality analog/digital converters at EACH camera - and the appropriate decoder(s) at the receiving end.

Historically, runs from cameras back to a central switching point have been done via Coaxial runs, since they are as immune as possible to interference and pass the signal in "real time" without the delays necessary for signal verification.

The only "cameras" I've seen that commonly use Cat 5 are security cameras - where the ability to recover the finest possible signal at the receiving end is a very low priority.

There are some "video over cat 5" solutions in some of the catalogs like Markertek - but I've yet to run into someone using them in an actual "live switch" situation. But that's not my core practice.

So YMMV

Good luck.

"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'Connor


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Mark Suszko
Re: Anyone use CAT 5 with Component for recording multi cam video?
on Nov 21, 2011 at 3:47:53 am

The use of baluns and ethernet cable to do long runs of analog video is kind of a niche area, you see some wedding guys run this for multicam live-switched setups instead of coax with composite video, and instead of S-video, a radio link, fiber, or an HD,SDI-rated coax, because the cabling is much cheaper with the Cat 5 for the same distance.

I think Cat 5 also may enable you to use a pair for intercom or tally, or audio.

There's also the fact that many buildings already have runs of cat 5 installed, and if you can't afford to pull new coax in the building for a special purpose, then this is another method to leverage what is already in place. I've heard of it being used to relay signals to video projectors in hard to reach areas. For many setups, I think it could be just fine. It really has t be judged on a case-by-case basis.

It's a trade-off: you start with a better quality using component analog over composite analog, but the quality drops over distance and with the quality of the devices connecting each end. If we're talking digital over ethernet, I have to say that the non-HD digital solutions can work darned well. We use a 200 mile fiber link every day that looks very clean, and we're hoping to upgrade it to HD some time.

Myself, I think we have to be willing to migrate to all digital and leave analog behind, no matter how flexible and adaptable it has been. I don't mean it has to be overnight, but I think it is inevitable. They aren't really building a lot of new analog switchers anymore, you know:-)


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Al Kohout
Re: Anyone use CAT 5 with Component for recording multi cam video?
on Nov 21, 2011 at 3:57:22 am

thanks Mark. I apprecaite the feedback. I guess..it still leaves me a bit confused... we do multi-cam concerts and recittals...so our niche is that

We also need to be able to edit and deliver on DVD.

So..based on your note...I guess it could work? Component to a very good (intelix ) balun through cat5. and not lose quallity? for some 300 feet back to switcher?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Anyone use CAT 5 with Component for recording multi cam video?
on Nov 21, 2011 at 12:55:26 pm

I think it's possible. Results? Highly subjective, and you're comparing the result against the costs. I haven't eyeballed one of these in person, only read about them. If there is any way to get a hands-on demo, you should go for that.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Anyone use CAT 5 with Component for recording multi cam video?
on Nov 22, 2011 at 2:07:37 am

Yes, with the proper hardware, you can run video over CAT5 cables. This is not the same as running video over IP; these encoders and decoders use the wiring, but do not run any standard data or networking protocols.

In my experience, CAT5 is easily damaged. Bring spares, or consider fiber extenders instead.

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
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