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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 10th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #1
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Looking to build a 5-7 camera flypack (SD)

Hey all,
I wanted to see what you guys thought about building a low cost 5-7 camera Standard Def flypack. Eventually we'll be building one based around the Sony EX1, but until then, we would like too have something to get us by. We have a decent budget (probably $15000 or so) but want to spend as little as possible right now just to get us by. We'd like to purchase all used gear for this. Here is what we're thinking:

5-7 JVC HD500 Cameras
Grass Valley 100N Switcher
Bogen tripods
Cabling
Blackburst / Sync Generator
7-9 9" broadcast monitors or a few rackmount multi lcds
Cases
Computer w/ Decklink SD/HD Card for capturing video

We figure we can build a system like this for less than $10,000, but it would be nice to be in th $5k to $7k range.

What do you guys think? Are there older/cheaper acceptable cameras out there, since all we will be doing is taking a live feed from them? I appreciate your opinions.
Kit
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Old December 10th, 2007, 04:46 PM   #2
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I would assume you plan to do your cabling with composite video? I would be interested if you could some how switch HDMI sources. I currently run HDMI from my sony v1 hdmi to rj45 converter back to hdmi and into a pc. Composite video isn't something I would be interested in purchasing. I currently have a grizzly pro setup which I like alot.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:12 PM   #3
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Yes, Jon, it would be composite. Once we get our EX flypack setup, it will be completely HD-SDI, but for the time being to get us through the next 6 months of shows, we would like to just go the SD route. I highly doubt any of the cameras that we would be purchasing for the SD rig will have anything other than a composite output.

We also have considered going the triax route, but that adds a ton of weight because of cabling, ccu's and remotes. It also adds a decent number of extra connections instead of just running straight into a switcher, only to gain shading & WB at the mix position.

I think an all HDMI rig would be cool, although you'll be adding a considerable amount of cost due to hdmi cabling being fairly expensive, as well as most pro switchers typically only use Composite, Component HD-SDI or SD-SDI. I have seen a few HDMI switchers, but usually in rack form instead of switcher desk form from companies like Extron, etc. If you're only running one camera to one computer though, that's a different scenario all together.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 07:36 PM   #4
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The problem with HD-SDI, is that it's expensive as well. The switchers are very expensive. Look at 3 EX cameras, is like 18k plus switcher plus cabling plus computer to capture the switched input and your up around 25k or if not more.

Currently, it's all very expensive. We shoot lots of sporting events and live would be great for us. The tricaster, if you could use it for hd would be the best option I have found but it at best does 16x9 no hd.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 08:22 PM   #5
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Don't forget headset communications along the lines of Clear-Com.
It sure would be silly to setup a 7 camera system if there was a big lack of communication with the director.

And what about audio?

To do it on the budget you have set is a bit of a pipe dream.

Have you looked at buying a used pre-built flypack?
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Old December 10th, 2007, 09:52 PM   #6
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I think you missed the point here, David. We already have existing Clear-com, RTS and portacom systems for communication, and us providing audio for the past 18 years, that's not a problem. $15k is very reasonable for what we have listed. The budget is only for the equipment listed, everything else we'll be taking care of. There are pleanty of deals to be had out there, cameras as cheap as a couple hundred bucks as well as switchers, used of course. I'm not looking to build a 5 camera EX system for $15000, believe me....

I priced out our EX system last night and it should come in around $75000. We're looking at the Panasonic switchers, which are in the $5k to $10k range.

As far as HD-SDI, that will only be for the HD rig, not the SD. SD will be all composite. HD-SDI is much, much less than HDMI, only requires standard BNC cable rather than multi-core cable like HDMI and component require. We could even take our existing cable and use it for HD-SDI.

So please, before you go saying our goal is "a pipe dream", read our original post through all the way, do a little more research and you'll find that our goal is very realistic.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kit Hannah View Post
I think you missed the point here, David. We already have existing Clear-com, RTS and portacom systems for communication, and us providing audio for the past 18 years, that's not a problem. $15k is very reasonable for what we have listed. The budget is only for the equipment listed, everything else we'll be taking care of. There are pleanty of deals to be had out there, cameras as cheap as a couple hundred bucks as well as switchers, used of course. I'm not looking to build a 5 camera EX system for $15000, believe me....

I priced out our EX system last night and it should come in around $75000. We're looking at the Panasonic switchers, which are in the $5k to $10k range.

As far as HD-SDI, that will only be for the HD rig, not the SD. SD will be all composite. HD-SDI is much, much less than HDMI, only requires standard BNC cable rather than multi-core cable like HDMI and component require. We could even take our existing cable and use it for HD-SDI.

So please, before you go saying our goal is "a pipe dream", read our original post through all the way, do a little more research and you'll find that our goal is very realistic.
Where in your first post do you mention that you already have this other gear?

Sorry to offend you, but I guess I'm a little outspoken after doing this for so long, as I have built a flypack or two, not to mention setup mobile trucks, over the last 30 years.
And am well aware of the cost of new and used quality broadcast equipment.

If you can purchase cameras and switcher for as cheap as a couple hundred bucks, and you have already thought this through, then why are you asking pros advice here?
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Old December 11th, 2007, 01:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
Where in your first post do you mention that you already have this other gear?

If you can purchase cameras and switcher for as cheap as a couple hundred bucks, and you have already thought this through, then why are you asking pros advice here?
I'm just saying that there are options available... A couple hudred bucks is on the very low side getting a deal on fleabay or something..

I'm asking to bounce the idea off of people and see if they would come up with other things that I have not thought of. Maybe someone has had great luck with older Sony cameras rether than JVC or something similar. I know a lot about OB trucks and systems as well, but I never profess to know everything.

I understand that you may know what gear costs and have been doing this for a long time, David, and you're exactly the type of person I want to be talking to. But I don't want people to think in terms of "well, it can't be done" or "it's a pipe dream". I get a bit of a rise when people say that because that's completely wrong. It "CAN" be done, quite easily, it just takes a bit of research. I'm not offended by any means, I'm just trying to get people to think positively about this, maybe a bit outside of the box and not automatically dismiss it.

When I have some time later, I will put together a system, even consisting of audio and communications, that will fall within our traget budget. If anybody has anything to contribute or different ideas on things, I would appreciate and welcome them. It does not need to be the latest, greatest gear and it really can be done.
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