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


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Old October 1st, 2008, 05:43 PM   #1
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Live Event Questions: S-video Cable Length & More

I am prepping for a three camera live switched & live streamed shoot (unfortunately is is a mostly pro-bono job for a club I used to be a member of..... but it will pay for the additional gear I need,....... yeah yeah... I know.... bad habit to still be in). The deal is I would get all DVD sales ($10 each expected a max of about $620 in sales - 28 quartets 16 choruses).

Should be quite hectic. It is a regional choir competition (competitors all the way from Alaska, Western Canada and the Northwestern US). The event chairperson has the following requirements (some more wishes than requirements).

1) Each quartet gets a DVD of their performance by the end of the competition.
2) Each choir gets a DVD of their performance by the end of the competition.
3) The Directors in the Chorus competition get a "director PiP" cut that has a camera facing them so the director can see how the chorus responded. This may or may not need to be done by the end of the competition (in other words a post-production edit may be ok).
4) The Quartet, Chorus, and show of champions is broadcast live via webcast (I'm not doing that part, they already have someone volunteering for that).
5) The district Org gets an archival copy of the entire competition for training future judges.

The real fun (and complications) comes as a result of requirement #3 and the organizer wanting to have switched cameras for #1/2 and not just a single static camera (static split screen would be ok, but I don't know how to do that with out it being a transition held 1/2 way on a real switcher).

The entire production wouldn't be too bad if there were two cameras (one dedicated to webcast and one for burning), or even just one camera total and an s-video splitter to send the signal to both. The org chair is trying to raise the production value from previous district competitions (held in Alaska, Surey, etc) a bit to get greater participation and make a good impression for our state's chapter.

So essentially I need a switcher, a few 100' s-video cables, a bunch of monitors, and live DVD-burners.

I am currently planning on picking up (somehow) either a Videonics MX-1 or MX-3000 on ebay (currently the only place I can find them). The Videonics units require one TV to preview & view the working surface (which cam is up next, what transition is active, etc) and then one to view the final output (after running it through the DVD recorder).

My questions (at last) to the DVInfo community are....

1) How long can an s-video run be before it needs a signal booster? NewEgg has a 100' cable, but there is no way the stage is any shorter than 150' from the back of the auditorium where it is likely that our cams & switcher will be.

2) Any personal experience with the videonics units? Alternate multi-input synched switchers?

3) Any experience with live DVD burning devices. I'm looking at the TOSHIBA D-R410 That seems to be the cheapest DVD burner. IT has the bonus of also being an upconverter and it can (theoretically) burn at longer play times (up to 6 hrs if it scales down to 320x240 from 720x480, but I wouldn't trust the compatibility on that setting)

4) Anyone with experience doing this care to comment on my plans? I have some, especially given the recent long thread about live events as they relate to live wedding reception broadcast. Fortunately there is NO post involved in this shoot (unless I need to for the Director's PiP).

See the attached schematic for a potential layout (if there is the ability to have the director's cam signal get back to the AV table that is).
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Live Event Questions: S-video Cable Length & More-equipment_layout.jpg  
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 09:58 AM   #2
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Bump

Bump..... Anyone have information on cable run length restrictions? Or personal experience with the live Toshiba DVD-Burner?
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 10:11 AM   #3
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Sounds like fun. Just some ideas from my experience-

-I've run 200-300' of S-Video no problem for a variety of events.

- Check out the Sony MC5 Sony | DVDirect MC5 Multi-Function DVD Recorder | VRDMC5 | B&H It has a built in confidence monitor. Pretty sure you can find it closer to $100 if you look around.

- I've also used Tricaster switchers. Pretty neat. They take 3 inputs and put everything on one screen for you. They also stream live outputs. NewTek | Tricaster Live Production Studio | TC000000-0101 | B&H

Good luck, sound like its going to be quite a time.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 10:41 AM   #4
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Live Event Camera Switching and Streaming

I agree a Tricaster would be perfect but start around $5k. Output can stream and to DVR.
Also see Wirecast (Apple - Downloads - Video - Wirecast) sort of a pc version of a tricaster.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 11:45 AM   #5
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Fortunately for me, all web streaming will be taken care of by another individual, so I do not need to arrange for it. Unfortunately for me, I'm not going to get paid any more than the possible max DVD sales income, of $620.

So in order for me to even be able to do the job, I need to keep my equipment purchases below that figure. Preferably, much further below.

That is good news on the svideo cables then. Now all I need to do is figure out of the event staff will run the cable, or if I need to.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 11:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Haustein View Post
- Check out the Sony MC5 Sony | DVDirect MC5 Multi-Function DVD Recorder | VRDMC5 | B&H It has a built in confidence monitor. Pretty sure you can find it closer to $100 if you look around.
The MC5 doesnt' have any AV out, so I'd need to split output before it (if I wanted to string multiple DVD recorders or if I needed to send the output to a different box). Also, it does not have the ability to record at greatly reduced quality (to increase play time). IE, record at reduced bitdepth. This is only useful for my legal videography clients.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 11:56 AM   #7
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Hi Jason,

In theory you need to boost signal after 50 ft but that does not mean you can't go beyond 50 ft, i've seen 100 ft runs without problems.

Question for you, are the DVD orders guaranteed? I shot a local beauty pageant with the same set-up, contestant will buy DVDs, I am selling DVDs at $ 50 each, I am shooting 12 Contestants so basically I am making $ 600. In the end though, only the winner wanted a copy of the DVD. So unless it's guaranteed, I would walk away from it.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 12:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
In theory you need to boost signal after 50 ft but that does not mean you can't go beyond 50 ft, i've seen 100 ft runs without problems.
Interesting. So throw the dice and hope it works? I'm not a fan of that style of event production. Can a composite video signal travel farther with out problems than s-video?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
Question for you, are the DVD orders guaranteed? I shot a local beauty pageant with the same set-up, contestant will buy DVDs, I am selling DVDs at $ 50 each, I am shooting 12 Contestants so basically I am making $ 600. In the end though, only the winner wanted a copy of the DVD. So unless it's guaranteed, I would walk away from it.
Orders are not guaranteed, but the contestants are all likely to purchase due to my previous experience with this group (also because the production value will be higher than all previous contests at this level.... usually they get a stationary cam with no mic feeds from house sound) . The contestants are choirs usually with about 30 people per choir. Asking $10 a disc is pretty simple and most choirs buy the disc and use it to eval their performance. This is a semi finals competition (divisions funnel into districts and districts to internationals). The top three in each (quartets & choir) go to the international competition this coming summer.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 12:52 PM   #9
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Hey Jason,

Sounds good then. The organizer of the beauty pageant approached me again last year, they are saying it's guaranteed. I asked them to buy whatever is not sold as a guarantee and they walked away.

About the cabling, would it make sense to do a mock set-up? See if you ran into problems? About the switcher, can you rent one locally? Maybe you can try it out and see if it will work, we rent out MX-70s for $ 350, should be the same price in the USA.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 01:01 PM   #10
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Pre-Sale Instead of On-The-Spot DVD's?

Jason -
Have you considered taking disc orders, doing a synched edit from multiple cameras, then delivering discs a few days later? I have found that doing the transaction at the time of the event (getting the money from customers) is crucial to maximizing sales but that people are perfectly OK waiting, a little, for discs. This obviates the need for lots more equipment plus editing, titling, chapter marking, disc label, etc., make for a much better product!
I prepare a 2-part form and make copies: I retain the left side as a sales record and mailing label (filled-out by the customer) and the right side is an image of what the disc will look like and the customer takes that away with them as a tangible receipt. I had been hand-delivering but for the last event I got smart and simply mailed discs in a rectangular (not square because it costs more to mail) sleeve made from folded tag board with the shipping label tapped on and two 42 stamps affixed. This is a very low cost mode of shipping.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 01:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Eric Mayrand View Post
Jason - Have you considered taking disc orders, doing a synched edit from multiple cameras, then delivering discs a few days later? I have found that doing the transaction at the time of the event (getting the money from customers) is crucial to maximizing sales but that people are perfectly OK waiting, a little, for discs. This obviates the need for lots more equipment plus editing, titling, chapter marking, disc label, etc., make for a much better product!
I have suggested that to the contest organizers, but part of the requirements for the video, is that the dvds be available a few hours after the competition so the judges can go through the video with the contestants as a "post-op" and explain why they got scores X,Y,Z. The same goes for the directors. The directors actually have a special master class with the judges to analyze the chorus director's performance. So the DVDs are actually needed right away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Mayrand View Post
I prepare a 2-part form and make copies: I retain the left side as a sales record and mailing label (filled-out by the customer) and the right side is an image of what the disc will look like and the customer takes that away with them as a tangible receipt. I had been hand-delivering but for the last event I got smart and simply mailed discs in a rectangular (not square because it costs more to mail) sleeve made from folded tag board with the shipping label tapped on and two 42 stamps affixed. This is a very low cost mode of shipping.
Very interesting shipping idea. I'll keep that in mind should the contestants be willing to skip the masterclass sessions.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 01:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
Hey Jason,

Sounds good then. The organizer of the beauty pageant approached me again last year, they are saying it's guaranteed. I asked them to buy whatever is not sold as a guarantee and they walked away.

About the cabling, would it make sense to do a mock set-up? See if you ran into problems? About the switcher, can you rent one locally? Maybe you can try it out and see if it will work, we rent out MX-70s for $ 350, should be the same price in the USA.
I will absolutely be doing a mock setup at my home to test everything. Hopefully a week prior so I have time to buy any emergency supplies.

Unfortunately there are NO other av suppliers in the valley. The only one that I know of, hasn't been answering their phones for the past few weeks.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 02:32 PM   #13
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Hey Jason

I would stay away from the Videonics stuff and look at a Panasonic mixer. There are several on Ebay right now for under $5oo. Before I started using Newtek products, I used these extensively without one problem. As far as S Video cable runs, I wouldn't go more than 100' without some boost. However, if you do go more, make sure to get a high quality cable like what you can buy at SVIDEO.COM. They also have some interesting solutions using cat 5 cable with S Video baluns. Theoretically you can run these several hundred feet with no signal loss. I have a friend of mine who does NCAA webcasts all over the country sending YC down a cat 5 line up to 500'.

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Old October 3rd, 2008, 09:57 AM   #14
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Hey Jason

I would stay away from the Videonics stuff and look at a Panasonic mixer. There are several on Ebay right now for under $5oo. Before I started using Newtek products, I used these extensively without one problem. As far as S Video cable runs, I wouldn't go more than 100' without some boost. However, if you do go more, make sure to get a high quality cable like what you can buy at SVIDEO.COM. They also have some interesting solutions using cat 5 cable with S Video baluns. Theoretically you can run these several hundred feet with no signal loss. I have a friend of mine who does NCAA webcasts all over the country sending YC down a cat 5 line up to 500'.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media
Are you referring to WJ-MX50 units, or a different kind of mixer. The Panasonic units seem ancient, though I don't know how their age compares to the MX-1 units.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 10:14 AM   #15
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I can attest to the cat-5 and Baluns connectors solution - use it all the time for runs over a hundred feet.

Videonics are okay - but used units can have hidden flaws. Might not show up till they've been on for a little while. Basically, buying a used switcher is going to be dicey unless you have time to give it a thorough shakedown before hand, so make sure you get a return policy and enough time to find another one.

Tricasters are great but out of your budget unless you can rent. Find out if that's possible.
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