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Old September 1st, 2015, 09:07 AM   #1
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Looking for advice on long video cable runs

I've been using video baluns with Cat6 cables for a while to monitor remote cameras and for video feeds for the venues. The lines run from 100' to 150' and have worked well for those purposes. However, I now have a few gigs coming up where I will be live switching one or two remote cameras and I am growing increasingly concerned with the video quality over Cat6 since the video will be recorded, not just for monitoring.

While my cams are all HD, I only need SD since the resulting video will be burned directly to DVD. I am using a Datavideo SE-500 switcher. Audio is completely separate.

What does everyone else use in these situations? RG59 BNC cable? Distribution amplifiers?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old September 1st, 2015, 12:21 PM   #2
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Re: Looking for advice on long video cable runs

I frequently do very long runs of 150' or more. I usually run three or four cameras. I have two 300' cable reels and two 350' reels.

I'm doing everything with HD-SDI. I use RG-6 coax for this and haven't had a problem.

I know your switcher is analog only. It would be possible to use SDI converters both at the camera and at the switcher, but that could get pretty expensive.

Outside of SDI or fiber, I'm not sure what else could reliably transport the signal that kind of distance with acceptable quality.
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Old September 2nd, 2015, 02:44 PM   #3
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Re: Looking for advice on long video cable runs

So Adam, you don't think a composite video signal could make it through 150' of RG59 coax without noticeable signal loss even with a distribution amp?

I was thinking of ordering 100' of BNC to BNC cable just to check it out, but testing in a controlled environment vs real world could be completely different.
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Old September 2nd, 2015, 03:43 PM   #4
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Re: Looking for advice on long video cable runs

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Originally Posted by Rey Lowe View Post
So Adam, you don't think a composite video signal could make it through 150' of RG59 coax without noticeable signal loss even with a distribution amp?

I was thinking of ordering 100' of BNC to BNC cable just to check it out, but testing in a controlled environment vs real world could be completely different.
I think it comes down to luck. My concern would be any RF noise at the venue affecting your signal. At 150 feet, even shielded, that is an awfully big antenna to pick up RF from cell phones, PA equipment, computers, and anything else nearby. Even if things seem fine when the venue is empty, it might be a different matter once you have a room full of people with cell phones in their pockets.

Way back when I was in high school, I directed my school's graduation video with a Videonics video mixer. If we tried coax runs longer than about 50' the video became too noisy to be acceptable. This wasn't too much of a problem for doing the graduation video itself, but we also had to send a live feed to a projector in an overflow viewing area. This required a 300' cable run. The signal was so bad when it got to the projector that you could barely tell what you were watching.

The solution we came up with was to use an RF modulator at the source, run coax from that to a VCR 300' away, then take the composite out from the VCR. This actually worked out okay. I'm not sure if you might be able to do something like this, or if there is any sort of delay or other issues using RF modulation, but it might be a more affordable solution.
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 10:00 AM   #5
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Re: Looking for advice on long video cable runs

Do your cams have a direct HD-SDI output?
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 12:24 PM   #6
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Re: Looking for advice on long video cable runs

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Do your cams have a direct HD-SDI output?
No. The cameras I am using right now for my multi-cam live setup don't have SDI built in. I am taking the uncompressed, component HD analog straight from the camera to a Blackmagic mini converter, then SDI from the mini converter to my switcher.

There are cameras now that do offer built in HD-SDI at a reasonable price. At some point in the future when I upgrade I will likely be going with something that offers SDI built in.
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Old September 3rd, 2015, 12:55 PM   #7
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Re: Looking for advice on long video cable runs

You will be just fine at 150 feet with RG59 BNC and a DA at the source. I have done it a hundred times.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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