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Old April 12th, 2007, 12:32 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Lynn View Post
If I had a choice between a solid HD infrastructure consisting of studio cams only, or a full SD setup with tape iso's and graphics, I would take the HD setup.
As much as that makes sense to you and I, trying to convince the people in charge of the money who don't know a thing about video is another thing entirely.

"I want some money to upgrade our production facilities"
"Why? Is your equipment breaking down? I thought it was brand new, we only just got it."
"No, I just want the ability to do more with our video."
"But it looks fine the way it is."
"Yes, but I want to make it better."
"Well, the congregation is used to it this way and I don't think they will respond well to changes..."

Maybe it's better at other churches, who knows, but whenever I try to improve anything I'm told to maintain the status-quo. If I hadn't built it the right way in the first place (well, mostly the right way, there's some technological duct tape here and there), I'd be screwed.

It's also my experience that any technical system that starts small and slowly gains little additions here and there tends to turn into a horrible Frankenstein creature over time. You get inconsistencies and poor documentation of your signal flow and nasty workarounds caused by bad design decisions that didn't affect anything at the time they were implemented but are now causing headaches. You really should redo from scratch every time you upgrade your facilities, which can get tiring, or design them in the first place with a rock solid plan for exactly how you're going to upgrade. Otherwise you get stuff like "Why are cameras 1-4 on the left side of the switcher, but camera 5's here in the middle?" "Because input 5 is our graphics machine and swapping the inputs would mean rebuilding all of our switcher presets."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Hicks
To do hand-held with full CCU control is possible, but would require you to build up a custom cable harness. You would need several cables bundles together - video, genlock, intercom, and CAT 5 for the CCU extender. You would also need to power the camera with a battery.
Hmm, would it be possible to run regular CCZ cable most of the way and just build a custom fantail to attach at the camera end of the run? Having to fabricate an entire custom cable is... Unappealing to say the least. Custom cables don't tend to wrap very well, which is very important for a handheld camera cable. CCZ is hard enough to wrap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Werner Wesp
And you have steadicam images - that's quite a bonus...
Only if you've got a decent steadicam operator who's willing to volunteer their time. This is a church, remember. =D

Anyway, best tool for the situation really... Both handheld and steadicam get shots that the other can't. Steadicam sucks at sports, for example (yes, I know MNF uses one, but it's honestly not that great of a look compared to everything else they have). Given a choice between them I'd take handheld for most of the stuff I do, though if I could have the option of both that would be the best.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:01 AM   #17
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Wow, great stuff. As far as going multicore vs. handheld CCU's, it seems my instinct on that has been confirmed. Additionally, without actually using one, I wonder if there is any value (whether physically or psychologically) for the camera operator to use the multicore adapter on the GYHD250: i.e. closer weight and balance to that of a traditional studio camera?

As for going HD in House of Worship, I understand the initial aversion to it; it is "God's Money" after all. Initially, the plan was to have an SD, 16:9 workflow that could then be upgraded to HD in the future. As we began doing more research though, it became clear that the HD financial and technical obstacles have quickly dissipated in the last 12 months alone; not to mention many anticipate NAB this weekend to shed even more.

There are actually quite a few options for affordable switching from Panasonic, Edirol/Roland, FOR-A even Grass Valley. There is still the catch of recording/archiving in HD -- but I think this is a problem that will fix itself in time. How many people do you know with HD playback available to them at home? (SIDENOTE: It's funny how CES now seems to be driving NAB rather than the other way around.)

As people begin to make the switch to Digital in the next couple of years, which in the U.S. will be [nearly] synonymous to a switch to HD (or at least 480p+), there will be a growing expectation of that everywhere they go: malls, restaurants, theaters, bars and even at church.
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Old April 12th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Justin Teague View Post
closer weight and balance to that of a traditional studio camera?
You'd need to add a LOT of weight to get anywhere near the weight of a traditional studio camera. A standard studio lens alone weighs about 50 pounds. It's probably the highest cost-per-pound of video gear that I've ever personally held over a hundred foot drop. =D

Quote:
As for going HD in House of Worship, I understand the initial aversion to it; it is "God's Money" after all.
I'm practical about the need to spend money to further the ministry, but at the same time money is tight and I'd rather get the most capable setup I can for the money they're giving me. Even a lot of broadcast TV is still SD nowadays, so I see no reason to rush with the HD transition as long as I have something that will at least upconvert well. (i.e. 16x9 capable)

Quote:
There are actually quite a few options for affordable switching from Panasonic, Edirol/Roland, FOR-A even Grass Valley.
I've personally used the Grass Valley Kayak, their current budget offering, though my opinion of it was colored by the fact that I was using it in a professional truck where it was missing many key features for that environment. It would probably be fine in a church, though the pricing would prolly be a little over the top. I remember installing a 1 M/E SD Kayak in a cable access truck and that ran $30k, and it would probably be significantly more for a 2 M/E HD version.

We need 2 M/Es because we cut separate feeds for our imag projection and for the in-house TVs and internet. We do it so we can show the people watching cable TV and the internet the musical performances instead of having them stare at worship lyrics the whole time. If all we did was imag we'd only actually need one camera, maybe two.

I take one look at Edirol gear and laugh. The panel configuration is just awful. I couldn't imagine using that every week and trying to put out a serious show. Maybe it works for VJs who are used to turntable gear, but for a guy used to broadcast production switchers... Lawl, just lawl.

I've used Panasonic's old MX-50 in various high school and government access control rooms here and there. It's alright, but I hope they've added proper flip-flop mixing because having to keep looking down to figure out whether the A or B bus is live is REALLY ANNOYING.

The FOR-A stuff actually looks nice, their 2-M/E switcher looks like it far exceeds the capabilities of our current 2 M/E Echolab Nova. I wonder how the price compares though, I'm going to guess it's somewhere in the realm of what Ross is charging for their stuff.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 12:42 AM   #19
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Is Camplex An Option?

Carl,

Thank you for contributing to this topic. I kind of found it accidentally through a search on the RM-LP55U remote. I, too, am looking at upgrading my church's video equipment in the next year or two. We're currently using a VT[4] with two Sony cameras/CCUs and a Canon XL2 as a stage camera. It's working OK and our volunteers are learning the process so it's allright for now, but I long to do something so much better.

I'm curious if the CP-301C/HD from Camplex would be an option for using an HD250 as a handheld camera with a CCU. I've seen the HD250 up close with the sled on the back and I liked that it could be done, but I've thought that it wouldn't be possible to use it handheld. It seemed to me, though, that the sled took the CCU cable and split it out into component, power and genlock cables instead of plugging directly into the back of the camera. Am I correct in this? Would it be possible to buy/have built a breakout cable from the Camplex's CCU cable output to the separate cables the HD250 needs? Obviously it would add more expense, but it seems like it would be a nice option for someone using HD250s on tripods with the CCU sled to be able to have the same camera handheld.

Thanks.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 02:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Sheneman View Post
We're currently using a VT[4] with two Sony cameras/CCUs and a Canon XL2 as a stage camera.
How's VT working out for you? We've got one ourselves but there's no way you will ever convince me to actually run a show off it. We use it for video playback and graphics and feed it into our production switcher, but even then I would have rather spent the money on a hardware DDR and a GenCG (it's cheaper than Chyron for a VERY good reason).
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Old April 27th, 2007, 07:43 AM   #21
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Stephan,

VT is working out OK for us. It's not without its problems, but it is nice to have all the tools it provides all in one package. I've been using Video Toaster systems since probably about '92 or '93 when they were on the Amiga platform so I'm very accustomed to Newtek.

We've gone through several different setup configurations since we purchased our first VT system at this current church (I used the Amiga one and an earlier version of the Windows VT at another church in Alaska before I moved down here). We've gone from using it as our primary switcher, replacing a Panasonic MX50/Videonics MX-1 combination to using it only to key graphics and play videos through a Grass Valley 100 switcher, to using it as our primary switcher again with a Grass Valley 200 as an additional switcher (because there was some sort of problem with the 100 according to our former video director). Now I'm in charge of sound, lights and video again and I'm trying to get us to be able to use the GVG 200 as our primary switcher with the VT only being used for graphics overlays and video playback/recording again.

I've been thinking about how cool it would be to have the new SDI switcher for the VT and use some of the JVC or Canon cameras that are more affordable but have SDI and built-in genlock. Right now we don't have enough TBC/Frame Syncs to sync all our external sources which is why I'm so dependent on the VT right now.

Speaking of genlocking, can anyone give me any tips or point me to a place online that would show me how to genlock sources to the GVG 200 switcher? Each of the program-preview-M/E busses has to be timed separately and I don't know enough about it. The switcher has never been timed properly and now that I'm in charge again I need to make things work right.

I agree about having separate hardware devices. When everything is dependent on one computer it's pretty scary. I've been looking at the Broadcast Pix systems lately. In fact I tried to stretch our budget far enough to get one when we purchased the VT system about 3 years ago, but it was going to be about twice what the VT system cost and they just wouldn't go for it. It's growing up quite a bit now. There's a lot of redundancy built in plus it's a true hardware switcher unlike the VT where all the switching is done in software which induces a good amount of latency. That's my other big problem with the VT. Unless you can get the timing just right (and some have been able to, but not us for some reason) you have very perceptible latency - something like 6 frames if you're projecting IMAG (because of the projector's inherent latency, too). Not fun.

My fingers hurt from typing now. I'm going to finish my breakfast and start my work day.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #22
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Broadcast Pix looks like a good system, I'd much rather use it over VT, they actually paid attention to things like operator workflow and failsafes for software crashes. It's designed as a live production environment, unlike the VT which seems to be designed as a post production environment with some live production features kind of added after the fact.

Newtek's coming out with an SDI BOB for the VT that will let you hook up more digital sources.

One way you can make a couple TBCs work for more sources is to make the inputs routable. Yeah, makes it a LOT harder to TD your show. Oh well. What you do is put all your untimed sources into a pushbutton switcher, with the output of that going into your TBC. If you've got more than one TBC, get a small routing switcher, or several pushbutton switchers where you loop the inputs through from one to the next.

Since you're back in the analog age, you should know that even being genlocked isn't always enough. For your sources that are genlocked you really need to get yourself a waveform monitor and vectorscope and tweak the technical adjustments to get them into exact sync. After you do that they should stay where they are.
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Old April 27th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Villalba View Post
I do consulting for churches and TV ministries and I was waiting for JVC to come out with an HD CCU. Is that coming at all?
A rep at NAB last week said that JVC is in fact releasing a HD CCU this Fall. Instead of using the HDSDI signal from the camera, it essentially allows the component output of the CCU to carry an HD signal.
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Old April 28th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #24
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Stephan,

I agree that the Broadcast Pix system really is designed for fail-safe use. I'm beginning to uderstand the importance of that more and more. The VT system actually was designed as a live and post sytem. The original Amiga based Video Toaster was a 4 input switcher with built-in framestore and CG. As computers got faster they added the ability to play back video clips (early version of a DDR) as well as adding non-linear editing (Flyer).

I will admit that version 1 Video Toaster on the PC (yes they were still calling it Video Toaster then) was only able to edit (with Speed Razor). Version 2 brought all the switching, keying, CD, DDR, etc., to the system, so in a sense it wasn't originally designed for switching, but I believe the intent was there all along. In fact a lot of people on the various VT discussion forums complain that Newtek spends too much time/resources making VT a live switching system and not enough time focusing on the post production capabilities. I am looking forward to working with Speed Edit as the new editor when VT[5] comes out because I like some of the capabilities in the current VT Edit and Speed Razor seems to add a lot more (plus it can be run on a separate machine, too), but it won't take me away from my favorite - Vegas!

Thanks for the hint on using a switcher in-line before the TBC. I've done things like that before and it sure is a pain. My problem is right now that I have a lot of volunteers who don't eat/drink/sleep/daydream about video production like I do so i have to make everything as easy as possible for them. I'll be doing some things pretty soon that should get me a little more money for my department and a few more TBCs are definitely on my list.

I know about making the adjustments with a waveform monitor & vectorscope. I don't have as much practical experience doing it myself since the times I've worked in a place where it was a necessity someone else has been doing the engineering, but I know enough about it to get me where I'm going. VT does have a waveform monitors & vectorscop built-in. I know they're not Tektronix but it should suffice.
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