Studio/camera converters. Any advices/impressions?

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Alexander Kinov

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Studio/camera converters. Any advices/impressions?

PostFri Feb 16, 2018 1:34 pm

Hi, sorry if this was discussed before, but I couldn't find exactly what I need in older posts.

Basically I need advises and impressions from people who used the ATEM studio/camera converter system, before we spent money on it. I also need advises on how the system works.

First, here is what I have to do. I have to do small mobile broadcasting system with ATEM TV studio switcher, 3 cameras and other devices. The initial plan was to use 3 100 meter BELDEN coaxial cables (can't remember the model, but I have it somewhere) for SDI signal and additional cables for the intercom system. Now my bosses want longer cables, like 200 or 300 meter but I'm sure coaxial SDI won't work with such a length. The proper solution is optical fiber, but I don't have much experience with that.

- So, will this work: 3 cameras (SDI out) go to 3 camera converters. I already have some optical fiber cables with 4 LC connectors on each side. I don't know what I need them for - I see the Camera and the studio converter need only 2. On the other side of the fiber cables I will put ATEM studio converter. 3 SDI OUTs of the studio converter go to 3 SDI INs of the ATEM switcher. 3 of the program OUTs of the switcher go to 3 of the SDI INs of the studio converter. Is that right?
- Intercom and additional audio. I see I can use intercom headset on every camera (connected to the camera converter) and I can use headset connected to the studio converter. Does this mean the audio of the intercom won't interfere with the embedded audio coming from the camera? (for example the onboard microphone). I may need the audio from the camera for my broadcast and I definitely don't need the voices of the camera operators.
- Battery life. Most of the events we're doing are less than 3 hours. However, sometimes we do really long events (like 8-10 hours). Will the battery of the camera converter last for so long? And if I use the whole capacity of the battery, how long does it need to recharge after that?
- Overheating. I read review somewhere that the Camera Converter overheats after few hours and stops working until it's cool. Any experience with that? Does it happen with battery only or all the time?
- Reliability. Can I trust this system? Can I trust it won't fail me during important event?
- Reliability and safety of optical fiber cables. I think they are more sensitive than the coaxial cables, am I right? Usually, when I have to deal with optical fiber cables, it is with really short length and usually I can use cable defenders or route where no one will step on them or drive over them.
- Of course it depends what optical cable do you use. Sometimes I work for rental company (with mobile TV studio and equipment). Once we had to use long optical cable for one of the cameras - it was like 1 kilometer. The cable had to go around few streets, but there were no cars, only pedestrians. The cable looks tough, but the engineer of the company prefers to use coaxial SDI for shorter lengths. I'll tell you what I already have (not for the rental company) and maybe you can tell me if it is ok, because I'm planning to get more. We have one reel of optical cable. The guys who made it for us, made the same for most of the big TVs in my country. With the same purpose. We have one reel with 80 meter optical fiber cable 4F ARM G657 FR PVC Black (that is what's written on the bill about the cable). The cable looks tougher and harder than the ones I usually use. On one side of the cable we have 4 LC connectors. On the other side (the reel) the cable goes in small box, mounted on the reel. The box has 4 SC connectors, We also have 4 small and thin optical cables - SC connectors on one side (they go in the box) and LC on the other (they should go in the studio converter I guess).
- I still wonder why do we have 4 fibres and 4 connectors on each side. The ATEM Studio/Camera converter system needs only 2 fibers for every camera, right? One fiber sends the signal from the camera (video, embedded audio, voice of the operator) and the other sends the signal from the side of the swtcher - feedback video, intercom (voice of the director). Right?

That's all for now.
The post became quite long, so thanks for your time and thanks in advance for any information and advises.
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Xtreemtec

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Re: Studio/camera converters. Any advices/impressions?

PostFri Feb 16, 2018 3:03 pm

Alexander Kinov wrote:- So, will this work: 3 cameras (SDI out) go to 3 camera converters. I already have some optical fiber cables with 4 LC connectors on each side. I don't know what I need them for - I see the Camera and the studio converter need only 2. On the other side of the fiber cables I will put ATEM studio converter. 3 SDI OUTs of the studio converter go to 3 SDI INs of the ATEM switcher. 3 of the program OUTs of the switcher go to 3 of the SDI INs of the studio converter. Is that right?

Check the manual page 18. There is a very clear explanation on how to connect hardware together as a system. Atem Studio converters manual
You will only need 1 output to go to the Atem studio converter. To the PGM input. It will distribute itself..

Alexander Kinov wrote:- Intercom and additional audio. I see I can use intercom headset on every camera (connected to the camera converter) and I can use headset connected to the studio converter. Does this mean the audio of the intercom won't interfere with the embedded audio coming from the camera? (for example the onboard microphone). I may need the audio from the camera for my broadcast and I definitely don't need the voices of the camera operators.
While audio from your camera is embedded on channel 1&2 in the SDI. Intercom is embedded in channel 15&16 of the SDI. So no this will not interfere.
Be aware that the intercom function is not build for noisy enviroments!! The idea behind this intercom was to use cheap Apple Earbuds.. While that might work for studio enviroments.. It wont work at all in high noise enviroments were amplified music or speach is done. (Festivals, congres etc..) The amplifiers in the Atem camera converters are not able to drive broadcast headsets. ;)

Alexander Kinov wrote:- Battery life. Most of the events we're doing are less than 3 hours. However, sometimes we do really long events (like 8-10 hours). Will the battery of the camera converter last for so long? And if I use the whole capacity of the battery, how long does it need to recharge after that?

No the battery will do 2/4 hours.. But you can run it also by feeding it power trough the power / charge input. 12V is the power input.

Alexander Kinov wrote:- Overheating. I read review somewhere that the Camera Converter overheats after few hours and stops working until it's cool. Any experience with that? Does it happen with battery only or all the time?

Overheating is an issue. We had some troubles in the past with this. But we also had good succes with the units. For the Studio converter make sure you leave enough room in the case to vent out the heat. Also keep 1U space above the Studio converter free to give it room to cool. The units do tend to get hot because of the SFP's.. ;)

Alexander Kinov wrote:- Reliability. Can I trust this system? Can I trust it won't fail me during important event?

In general we did some major IMAG jobs with the fiber converters. If you keep your fiber connections clean and have the propper cleaning tools to stay clean there is no problem. Be sure to feed power to the units and use the battery only for short jobs.. We tend to put them between 2 Vlock plates and power them with 14V Vlock battery power.

Alexander Kinov wrote:- Reliability and safety of optical fiber cables. I think they are more sensitive than the coaxial cables, am I right? Usually, when I have to deal with optical fiber cables, it is with really short length and usually I can use cable defenders or route where no one will step on them or drive over them.
All depends on what fiber you use. There is fiber and fiber. Some brand break easily and some you can drive over with a truck or tank and nothing happens to it.. Also LC connectors aren't the best connector for live situations.. More armoured fiber does have connectors that don't break easily and are sturdy enough to be pulled trough dirt and mud while used on festivals.

Alexander Kinov wrote:- Of course it depends what optical cable do you use. Sometimes I work for rental company (with mobile TV studio and equipment). Once we had to use long optical cable for one of the cameras - it was like 1 kilometer. The cable had to go around few streets, but there were no cars, only pedestrians. The cable looks tough, but the engineer of the company prefers to use coaxial SDI for shorter lengths. I'll tell you what I already have (not for the rental company) and maybe you can tell me if it is ok, because I'm planning to get more. We have one reel of optical cable. The guys who made it for us, made the same for most of the big TVs in my country. With the same purpose. We have one reel with 80 meter optical fiber cable 4F ARM G657 FR PVC Black (that is what's written on the bill about the cable). The cable looks tougher and harder than the ones I usually use. On one side of the cable we have 4 LC connectors. On the other side (the reel) the cable goes in small box, mounted on the reel. The box has 4 SC connectors, We also have 4 small and thin optical cables - SC connectors on one side (they go in the box) and LC on the other (they should go in the studio converter I guess).
Can't find the fiber you specify.. So i guess it is theire internal number. But the use of LC connectors is cheap but also very very fragile..
Fiber that is used in broadcast and rental a few examples:
Neutrik Opticalcon Duo
FieldCast Fiber
Lemo SMPTE fiber
So if you might want your fiber and connectors to survive and stay reliable you might want to go for other options then LC connectors.

I personally use Fieldcast now for over 3 years between my OBV and the cameras and Stageboxes.. They are cheap and have been on many festivals already. I don't use golden gloves to handle them.. And have seen trucks and cranes drive over them.. 8-) And at the expanse of 400 euros for 100 meter reel one may break once in 2 / 3 years.. But till now none of my 12 reels did break.. :D

FieldCast and BlackJack do have implementations to have a heavy duty connector on your Camera converter.
Image
Image

Alexander Kinov wrote:- I still wonder why do we have 4 fibres and 4 connectors on each side. The ATEM Studio/Camera converter system needs only 2 fibers for every camera, right? One fiber sends the signal from the camera (video, embedded audio, voice of the operator) and the other sends the signal from the side of the swtcher - feedback video, intercom (voice of the director). Right?
Yes you only need 2 fibers, Probabbly done because of "Wrong order 4 instead of 2" or "have 2 spare in case a LC breaks" Which i think the second one is the reason.. :lol:
Daniel Wittenaar .:: Xtreemtec Media Productions ::. -= www.xtreemtec.nl =-
4K OBV, ATEM TVS HD, 1M/E 4K, 2M/E Broadcast Studio 4K, Hyperdeck Studio Mini, SONY FS7 4K, Ursa Broadcast 4K
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Alexander Kinov

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Re: Studio/camera converters. Any advices/impressions?

PostSat Feb 17, 2018 9:27 am

Thank you very much for the detailed answer! It gave me a lot of useful and important information. However, I may need to add few more questions/comments, so thanks in advance for your time and patience :)

1. Thanks for the manual link. I tried to find it before, but I guess I was looking at the wrong place.

2.
Xtreemtec wrote:Be aware that the intercom function is not build for noisy enviroments!! The idea behind this intercom was to use cheap Apple Earbuds...
While I didn't have to deal with apple earbuds before, I worked with cheap and expensive intercom headphones. Even with good amplifiers in the intercom system, we had problem during loud music concerts. However, that's not our goal now. We're doing sport events. Local company uses the ATEM camera converters and I guess they have no problem with that (they are doing mostly sport events and not so noisy music and entertainment events). The sport isn't noisy, but sometimes the crowd is.

3.
Xtreemtec wrote:No the battery will do 2/4 hours.. But you can run it also by feeding it power trough the power / charge input. 12V is the power input.
2 to 4 hours ? Of course I will prefer to use charger, but there might be events where we'll have to work outdoors without any power socket around the camera (and using 200-300 meter power cable from the van to the camera might be a problem)

4.
Xtreemtec wrote:Overheating is an issue. We had some troubles in the past with this...
Do you have any observation about how the environment affects the overheating and how long you can work before the device is overheated? (and when overheated, how long it needs to cool down before it can be used again)

5. Can you please check this picture?
Clipboard01.jpg
Clipboard01.jpg (138.76 KiB) Viewed 590 times

It's part of the setup of a local company. Friend of mine made the picture for me (but he didn't made a picture at the broadcasting van). There are 3 cables coming from the van. The 2 white ones are fiber optic, the grey one, I don't know - looks like it's connected somehow with the camera, but it is not power, nor intercom. Maybe some kind of DIY control of the camera, but it doesnt matter now. The white cables go to some sort of adapter (the blue-red thing) and then there are 2 yellow optical cables going to the camera converters. I need to know (if you can see it on the picture) what kind of adapter is that and what connectors they have on the white cables and the yellow cables. Doesn't look like the most reliable connection, but if it works for them....
The reason I'm asking is because we don't have unlimited budget, so I want to make the system relatively cheaper, with the option to upgrade it later with some more accessories without getting into too much trouble, or having to throw some of the things we bought first. So, those cables and heavy duty connector accessories you show look good. I can't see them with some of our local dealers, but we may order them from abroad. That's not what I need to ask. I need to ask is it possible to mount the heavy duty connector on another optical cable? Lets say I buy tough cable with LC/SC connectors but later I decide to remove those connectors and mount the heavy duty ones (along with the blackjack/fieldcast accessories for the converter ). Is it possible? Of course, I can't do that. You need knowledge, experience and special tools for that. Local company has tools and experience.

Thanks!
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Xtreemtec

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Re: Studio/camera converters. Any advices/impressions?

PostSat Feb 17, 2018 1:27 pm

1. Your welcome It is a bit hard to find.. As the manual isn't updated for 2 years.. And in the support section the Fiber manual in under converter section while in the product catalog they are under the Atem mixer section.. So this can be confusing. ;)

2. Well with the right headsets with earmufs it would be douable.. But i always had the idea it was not loud enough for my taste.. But we are used to clearcom which can be set very loud. :D

3. I will try to make a photo of my converters next week.. As said before.. I have them Vlock mounted on the back of my JVC cameras. And they are powered from the Vlock battery of the camera. Which overcomes this problem completely.

4. We had issues.. But most issues did arise when in hot conditions like summer games and so on.. The converters that we mounted on the back of the cameras never failed on heat.. But due too added metal bracket they cool on that metal too..

5. The grey cable is Ethernet cable. I see a black wire come down and go down into the Control port of that JVC. So i guess they send the Serial data for shading over that ethernet cable.
The white wires are fiber.. Very breakable fiber... And the coupler brings it too SC the bulky blue connectors.. From there a patch cable goes to LC to the Atem camera converter.. Not very clean and possible issues with fiber..

I have the Camera converters in between the battery and camera. With the steady fieldcast connector on the end.. So no loose fibers that can easily break.. And nice clean setup all on the camera.. Again i will make photos of it.. * i already have to do as i'm selling my 3 camera converters and Atem studio converter as i upgraded to 4K recently..

Keep on running in LC is "" easier "" to repair in the field.. But i think you will be better off by using sturdy cable and connectors as they change they will break is much much less.. If you start out with LC and have to replace 2 fiber reels in the first year i think the sturdy connection would been the cheaper option in the end.

FieldCast can't be user build on cable.. They only use there own fiber. And Neutrik connectors over older fiber might be a challenge as in the end you moght end up with a loose connector that has no real sturdy connection to the canvas wires inside of the fiber cable.. SO might break easily after all.. ;)
Daniel Wittenaar .:: Xtreemtec Media Productions ::. -= www.xtreemtec.nl =-
4K OBV, ATEM TVS HD, 1M/E 4K, 2M/E Broadcast Studio 4K, Hyperdeck Studio Mini, SONY FS7 4K, Ursa Broadcast 4K
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Re: Studio/camera converters. Any advices/impressions?

PostSun Feb 18, 2018 6:30 pm

Okee here some photo's i promissed.
Foto 18-02-18 18 59 12.jpg
Foto 18-02-18 18 59 12.jpg (535.6 KiB) Viewed 497 times

Foto 18-02-18 18 59 37.jpg
Foto 18-02-18 18 59 37.jpg (508.99 KiB) Viewed 497 times

Foto 18-02-18 19 01 50.jpg
Foto 18-02-18 19 01 50.jpg (415.27 KiB) Viewed 497 times

as you can see i have to do a bit more work on the connector as the houding were i screwed the connector into was falling apart.. So we taped it on the job..
Daniel Wittenaar .:: Xtreemtec Media Productions ::. -= www.xtreemtec.nl =-
4K OBV, ATEM TVS HD, 1M/E 4K, 2M/E Broadcast Studio 4K, Hyperdeck Studio Mini, SONY FS7 4K, Ursa Broadcast 4K

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