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We are trying to live stream our worship service on Sunday morning. We have located an ideal spot for the video camera. Unfortunately it is 100 ft away from the sound and network connections which are "behind" the front wall of the worship space.

What can we use to connect a consumer level ($400) video camera to a computer that is 100 or so feet away. My understanding is that FireWire will run 10 ft max, and composite video no more then 30 feet without the image becoming soft and having color bleed issues.

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Are firewire and composite the only outputs on your camera? –  Jason Conrad Feb 22 '13 at 7:28
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Is Wi Fi impossible? –  Steve Feb 22 '13 at 7:36
    
Could you please add what camera you have exactly? This will help answering the question. –  Bart Arondson Feb 22 '13 at 11:46
    
We have not yet purchased a camera. But we cannot afford more then about $400 for this part of the project. @Steve, if you can tell me how to make that work write you answer below. We have 802.11g in place. –  John F. Miller Feb 22 '13 at 16:47

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

As you have Wi-Fi access you could buy a Wi-Fi capable camera. For example the HP T450 costs $134 and is able to stream to Ustream via Wi-Fi. The pages 39-42 of the manual (PDF) elaborate on the use of Wi-Fi to stream to Ustream.

This is just one of many Wi-Fi capable camera's. Sony's Bloggie ($150) can also stream over Wi-Fi, but it uses Qik as its footage server.

If your Wi-Fi signal turns out to be too weak to stream over Wi-Fi, both camera's have a HDMI out so you could use a HDMI -> RGB converter and utilise AJ Henderson's answer.

I'm not affiliated with any sellers/companies listed above

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Streaming needs to be through MegaMeeting sense that is who we have a contract with. Can any of these cameras just send the stream to a PC on the local network and let us deal with the issue of sending it out to the right place? –  John F. Miller Feb 23 '13 at 21:44
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According to page 33 of the T450 manual you should be able to use the camera as a webcam. I'm not familiar with MegaMeeting, but I think it should handle a webcam stream. –  Bart Arondson Feb 23 '13 at 22:27

I suggest you purchase a name brand 720p CCTV camera, connect to the LAN you have, then embed the video to the web page of your church and let the WWW enjoy the show.

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Unfortunately this won't really address the issue since it needs a sound feed. Granted, they could run a line from the sound board to the camera if it has an external audio input, however many CCTV systems don't run full motion video either. A lot of such systems do frame uploads instead which wouldn't do all that well for these purposes. There probably are models of IP camera that could do what you are describing, but it would be more involved than simply picking up any name brand CCTV camera. –  AJ Henderson Dec 23 '13 at 18:36

Convert the signal coming out of the camera to SDI and run a long SDI cable (it's designed for long runs - it's what they use in TV studios and outside broadcasts) into an SDI capture card on the computer which will let you do whatever you want with it. Blackmagic sell all the gear you need:

Get a Decklink card and a HDMI to SDI mini converter and that will let the computer stream to the Internet. Alternatively, just buy a Teradek VidiU or Livestream Broadcaster, and plug it in to the network (ethernet or wi-fi) and into the HDMI port of the camera. It will live stream to the Internet without the use of a computer.

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You can absolutely run composite video over RG-59 or RG-6 without any trouble up to a few hundred feet in my experience. (Analog style security cameras utilize composite connections and run hundreds of feet.) You could even use a video amp to extend further.

Also consider that when you encode/compress the stream for broadcasting, you are essentially throwing away a lot of the original quality. There are two ways to look at this, 1… Start with the highest quality image possible because you are going to loose a lot of quality in the codec. Also, the less noise in the input signal, the better the codec will perform. 2… The input image quality doesn't matter because the output is still going to look poor by comparison. You may be in the 1st group or the 2nd group.

Another thing to consider is the camera itself. It will affect the image quality far far more than composite vs. s-video vs. component vs. 1394 vs. HDMI. A prosumer 3CCD camera connected via composite over coax will give you a far better image than a consumer 1 CCD camera connected via 1394.

Other things to consider...

  • SD or HD?
  • How many cameras do you want to use?
  • Will you use a video mixer? Digital or Analog?
  • How are you feeding the audio into the encoder?
  • What are you using for encoding?
  • What are you using as a streaming host?
  • Size of online audience? If two people are watching online, that suggests a small investment. If one hundred people are watching online, that suggests something else.
  • How many people are available to run the system if there are multiple cameras?
  • Are you recording to DVD or some other media?
  • Are you feeding into a CCTV system for nurseries or overflow areas?

That's not an exhaustive list, just what came off the top of my head.

I would advise against using a WiFi camera for this type of application.

If you have other questions let me know.

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Do you have a component out. An R/G/B or R/G/B/V/U feed should be stable over a 100 ft run as long as you can separate the components on different wires. We do this for the Excel and Break Out youth conferences with Youth For Christ and our runs are significantly longer than 100 feet. If you don't, you could probably get a reasonably cheap firewire to component breakout. There are also wireless HDMI options available if you have HDMI output. The analog HDMI output is the same signal as DVI which is an RGB component type signal.

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