High School Studio patchbay - help!

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Brian N
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High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by Brian N » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 am

Hey all. My background is as a video producer, but teaching high school broadcasting for almost twenty years, I've become fairly adept at basic TV engineering. That said, our current control room space, which is next door to our news set and has cables run loose, needs to move to a room down the hall (about 30 feet). The district is bringing in someone to run the cables and shield them, and basically gave me carte blanche to tell them what I want run and where.

Currently, we pull three camera HDMI cables into the Wirecast mixer, send a prompter signal via VGA, send a couple monitor signals via HDMI and then a bunch of audio back-and-forth for mics and intercom stuff.

Here's my questions:

1. How big of a patch bay do I need for this?
2. Do I have them do 10 each of HDMI and XLR? A few VGA?
3. Should I have them drop SDI for down the road when we upgrade cameras?

I feel like I possess about 90% of the knowledge I need to write the specs up for this job, but don't want to drop the ball.

Thanks, in advance!

Brian

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NECRAT
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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by NECRAT » Sat Aug 18, 2018 12:26 pm

Brian N wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 am
Hey all. My background is as a video producer, but teaching high school broadcasting for almost twenty years, I've become fairly adept at basic TV engineering. That said, our current control room space, which is next door to our news set and has cables run loose, needs to move to a room down the hall (about 30 feet). The district is bringing in someone to run the cables and shield them, and basically gave me carte blanche to tell them what I want run and where.

Currently, we pull three camera HDMI cables into the Wirecast mixer, send a prompter signal via VGA, send a couple monitor signals via HDMI and then a bunch of audio back-and-forth for mics and intercom stuff.

Here's my questions:

1. How big of a patch bay do I need for this?
2. Do I have them do 10 each of HDMI and XLR? A few VGA?
3. Should I have them drop SDI for down the road when we upgrade cameras?

I feel like I possess about 90% of the knowledge I need to write the specs up for this job, but don't want to drop the ball.

Thanks, in advance!

Brian
Out of curiosity, why the desire for the patch bays? Unless you plan on crossing from one source to another, or need some absolute troubleshooting, the patch bays may be more trouble than they are worth. Another point of failure, so to speak.

The general rule of thumb I've used is 1/4 to 1/3 more than the items you use. So if you have 8 items, go with a 12 bay. etc.
I've never dealt with HDMI patch bays before, so I don't really know what the standard sizes are
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Brian N
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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by Brian N » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:11 pm

It's possible I'm using the wrong word, but basically I can't have cables just hanging out of the ceiling and running into our gear. Everything needs to be run, shielded and have a point of origination for fire code. I need everything mounted on a rack, with port, including HDMI, VGA, 1/4", RCA, XLR. Our district technology department is very capable, but we may end up having to hire out to an engineer for the specs.

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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by dbuckley » Sun Aug 19, 2018 5:44 pm

"Tie lines"

spareparts
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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by spareparts » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:21 pm

Brian N wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 am
Here's my questions:

1. How big of a patch bay do I need for this?
2. Do I have them do 10 each of HDMI and XLR? A few VGA?
3. Should I have them drop SDI for down the road when we upgrade cameras?
As to capacity: Take what you are currently using and double it.

As to future proofing the work, I would start with ladder rack between both locations. A quick option for rack panels at both ends is the TECNEC MDHDPATCH3. Markertek sells them.

Should the off-the-shelf MDHDPATCH3 does not fit the need, Neutrik makes modules for XLR, TRS, HDMI, Ethernet, and BNC (for SDI) that fit a standardized 19" frame. A note on the HDMI cabling: You are likely going to have performance issues due to cable type and length. Consider HDMI over coax (or fiber), as opposed to using active HDMI cables.

Where the cables penetrate rated wall assemblies, I use the Wiremold Firestopper product, either two or three, depending on the width of the cable tray.

On the subject of Life Safety, you may need CMP or CMR rated cables if the ceiling is an air handing space. Your local fire prevention staff would be able to clarify.

If you outsource this: The person you want will have the BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) certification

SP

Brian N
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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by Brian N » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:39 am

spareparts wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:21 pm
Brian N wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:21 am
Here's my questions:

1. How big of a patch bay do I need for this?
2. Do I have them do 10 each of HDMI and XLR? A few VGA?
3. Should I have them drop SDI for down the road when we upgrade cameras?
As to capacity: Take what you are currently using and double it.

As to future proofing the work, I would start with ladder rack between both locations. A quick option for rack panels at both ends is the TECNEC MDHDPATCH3. Markertek sells them.

Should the off-the-shelf MDHDPATCH3 does not fit the need, Neutrik makes modules for XLR, TRS, HDMI, Ethernet, and BNC (for SDI) that fit a standardized 19" frame. A note on the HDMI cabling: You are likely going to have performance issues due to cable type and length. Consider HDMI over coax (or fiber), as opposed to using active HDMI cables.

Where the cables penetrate rated wall assemblies, I use the Wiremold Firestopper product, either two or three, depending on the width of the cable tray.

On the subject of Life Safety, you may need CMP or CMR rated cables if the ceiling is an air handing space. Your local fire prevention staff would be able to clarify.

If you outsource this: The person you want will have the BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) certification

SP
Great tips. Thank you. The rack mount in each location is the go to. Currently, everything is cable-tied and very functional, but fire safety for schools is different than a regular studio, so we are hustling.

Yes, we were planning on moving the HDMI that way. We will eventually go to SDI, so want that option, but not yet.

spareparts
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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by spareparts » Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:10 pm

A forward looking option would be to deploy coax / connectors suitable for SDI and use HDMI over COAX boxes at both ends.

https://www.blackbox.com/en-us/store/De ... C-HDMI-SDI
https://www.blackbox.com/en-us/store/De ... C-SDI-HDMI

djpcraze
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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by djpcraze » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:31 pm

I agree, however I have had very good experience with the super cheap SDI-HDMI converters. Given you're working on a school budget, this could probably make more economical sense. Pull something like Canare L-4CFB or equivalent, which would be far cheaper per foot than HDMI, and then terminate in BNC.

You could then use cheap components like:

https://smile.amazon.com/Ablewe-Convert ... +sdi&psc=1

and

https://smile.amazon.com/Ablewe-HD-SDI- ... hdmi&psc=1

until you are ready to go full SDI gear. Considering what in-wall rated HDMI will cost, you will probably save money with this route.

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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by PID_Stop » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:58 am

One issue nobody has addressed is cable length -- and for digital signals, that can be a show stopper. Generally speaking, 50 feet is about the maximum reliable distance for an HDMI line, and this makes the assumption that the cable is in new condition (not deformed or kinked, connectors in good shape).

Coaxial cable is far more robust, is easily terminated in the field, and will sustain much greater cable lengths. At HD rates (720p, 1080i), you can run up to 370 feet of Belden 1694A, or 301 feet of 1505A, or 214 feet of 1855A. These three types range from largest diameter to smallest; we mainly use 1855A to wire our racks. You need to make sure you are using 75-ohm BNC connectors -- for instance, Kings 2065-10-9 (for 1694A), 2065-2-9 (for 1505A), or 2065-11-9 (for 1855A).

I have deployed a lot of Blackmagic's MicroConverters lately, and they typically cost less than $60 apiece. So far they seem to be more reliable than the older MiniConverter series (the power supplies were a weak spot). We mainly use them to extend monitor feeds into the studios and control rooms, and they work extremely well in that role. Some of our monitors have a USB port, and that can supply power for the MicroConverter... which makes a rather neat installation.

One rather handy (and unexpected) application: if you have a computer with a DisplayPort output, you can get an inexpensive passive cable to plug from the computer's DisplayPort jack, and feed the HDMI input on a MicroConverter. You'll get a 1080p (3G) SDI output that you can send several hundred feet over coax... and with distribution amplifiers, you can drive multiple monitors. If you have an application like distributed signage, this turns out to be a good way to accomplish it. (We did this for our rack of weather graphics equipment, so we keep the rack of computers in the clean and temperature controlled rack room; the monitors, keyboards, and mice are the only part of the system actually in the studio.)

Jeff

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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by PID_Stop » Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:12 am

spareparts wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:10 pm
A forward looking option would be to deploy coax / connectors suitable for SDI and use HDMI over COAX boxes at both ends.

https://www.blackbox.com/en-us/store/De ... C-HDMI-SDI
https://www.blackbox.com/en-us/store/De ... C-SDI-HDMI
I agree wholeheartedly with the approach, but BlackBox is not exactly a mainstream source for video equipment; in the price range for "professional" equipment, you can get converters by companies like AJA, Cobalt, and Ensemble Designs; or you can spend considerably less for something like Blackmagic Designs, which falls somewhere between "prosumer" and professional.

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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by Nathaniel Steele » Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:00 am

PID_Stop wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:58 am
(We did this for our rack of weather graphics equipment, so we keep the rack of computers in the clean and temperature controlled rack room; the monitors, keyboards, and mice are the only part of the system actually in the studio.)

Jeff

Jeff,
What's a good cheap way to extend the keyboard and mouse in this scenario?

Thanks!

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Re: High School Studio patchbay - help!

Post by PID_Stop » Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:37 am

We originally installed the Gefen USB 2.0 LR extenders as part of the WSI system (back when the rack was in the studio), and they work quite well. You only need one set per computer: the computer end plugs into a single USB port, and the remote end has two USB jacks that will accommodate both keyboard and mouse. This unit is a bit pricier than some, mainly because it's designed for longer range -- up to 330 feet over category 5e cable. I've also used cheaper extenders from Startech.com, but over a shorter cable length.

The big crunch came when we rebuilt the studio and decided to permanently keep the rack in the rack room. The USB extenders were more than capable of reaching the far end of the building where we temporarily staged the weather office during the rebuilding, but we needed to extend half a dozen monitor feeds, and really didn't want to buy hundreds of feet of VGA cables or extenders -- for one thing, VGA generally gets pretty bad at those distances. Using the DisplayPort to HDMI cable with the BMD MicroConverters eliminates the distance issues, delivers excellent video quality, and uses the same cable and connectors that we already use everywhere else.

Jeff

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