Rigging is one of the keys to wireless camera control. Actually, what’s important is reducing the required rigging, or in some cases all but eliminating it, with a wireless approach to control.
Many wireless camera systems on the market today take an all-in-one approach, which means that a single unit is used to connect to a camera control panel and generate the RF control signal. However, we believe that this approach can cause problems. For example, if an OB truck is stationed an appreciable distance from the event or activity it has been deployed to cover — perhaps a car park underneath a stadium —long lengths of RF cable have to be run from the truck to multiple points within the venue. We’ve all seen it. Long cable runs mean that the power has to be jacked up considerably to compensate for the attenuation that naturally occurs across such lengths the further they get from the truck or source. The knock-on effect of this is that it increases the overall RF noise floor and will impair the performance of every other RF systems in use such as talkback, and often the wireless camera system itself.
The best approach is to separate the RF unit from the data unit and connect them using a standard audio circuit that can, if necessary, be separated by several kilometers without any problems at all. This ensures that the RF unit is always mounted at the optimum location and enables the RF power to be reduced to a point where there’s no concern about interference.
Think about it: At any public venue — and particularly sports stadiums — there are signals flying around all over the place. Why contribute to any interference to your own system?
In terms of control, frequency reuse is also important because it’s no secret that the increasing demand for spectrum means that fewer RF channels are available. We’ve combatted that by developing a system that allows up to four wireless cameras to share the same 12.5kHz bandwidth control channel, which is a significant advantage.
As you know, a number of advanced video compression standards such as HEVC H.265 are being introduced, and questions are being raised as to whether such standards will actually improve the take up of wireless systems. We think the answers is an unequivocal “yes,” and here’s why.
Advanced standards will undoubtedly benefit wireless systems because all wireless systems have to trade range for bit rate. It’s just the way the wireless world works. The higher the picture quality you want, the lower a wireless system’s achievable range will be. However, by adopting improvements in compression that come with new standards, high picture quality can be attained but at ever-lower bit rates. This in turn extends the range of the system to achieve, and maintain, the expected quality without failure. This benefits production teams because they can go ever further afield and maintain current picture quality thresholds — even up to 1080p — with no reduction, often even an extension, of the range in which they can operate.