Live video-multiple cameras



  • What is the best set up for a multiple live video feed?  Are there any good USB cameras that can send video over 20 feet, can I use wifi streaming cameras?  Do I need to use a video switcher?  I plan on doing a multi-angle live feed that is then projected from 3 or more projectors onto a backdrop.

    Any ideas would be great!
    Thanks


  • My favorite multicam setup is 3 USB iSight cameras salvaged from old white iMac. Long USB runs are maintained with Active USB Extenders. These cams show up as iSight 1;2;3 and are mac native cams VGA quality. Latency is about 1/2 sec.

    If you need better quality then use video capture cards and security or HDMI cameras.


  • For a live feed if you are not adding effects you are best using a video mixer or switcher and non USB cameras. This will mean less latency (sometimes none) and much easier to deal with (getting 3 USB cameras over extensions could well give you a headache and an unreliable setup as well as putting un-needed strain on your computer).

    Wifi cameras are very difficult high latency and can be unreliable when faced with a hipster force field (200+ people with wifi turned on on their smartphones sitting in a theatre). Look for wired security cameras (in the Netherlands I can find them from the internet for about 60 euros) and a video mixer (an old v4 would do fine). You can use the preview out of the mixer to send any camera into your capture card if you want effects and still reduce the load on your machine. This way you just need to use video cables which most good theatres will have and you don't have to buy the active extenders. The video mixer also gives you a hardware control if something goes wrong you can always fade to black and pretend it was meant to be- if you are plugged directly into the projector and you get a crash it will be your desktop live on stage with no turning back.
    Fred


  • "hipster force field " : )



  • I use a number of different USB webcams and booster cable. I've gone up to 30' without problems (for that show was using 3 cameras and ran out of cable or would have tried for a longer distance). As Fred writes, I've also had difficulties with wireless systems, but I have used a live camera on stage plugged into a Direct TV transmitter to good effect. For good images, I prefer using a wired camera that I plug into my Canopus ADV, and have also used another wired camera into my Pinnacle Dazzle (simple, but effective). Have gone 100' with that system (balcony to backstage). I can wire several analog cameras into my video switcher if I don't need simultaneous video. I've found that the USB webcams are really picky about which port they're plugged into, and some of them only work when they are separated (different sides of the computer. Really! like children that won't get along.) I have 2 old Creative webcams that still do a fine job, but have a lower resolution than the new Microsoft LifeCam, which I bought for its wider angle. As you buy, make sure the resolutions are the same or you'll have to separate them in Isadora and do some fancy adapting, and my projectors don't like that. For a very wide angle (90 degrees), I use a wired spycam over the stage that lets me easily track the dancers in low light. So, in conclusion, I use a combination of USB and analog cameras for live video feed, ask Isadora to recognize them and then project the generally good results. Do you want to send a different video feed to each projector? Valerie


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