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Wireless Camera Control Outdoor Operation
The Maxwell z24 wireless camera control system has been successfully used in many studio and arena venues. But we’re regularly asked how far it will work outside? As with all RF systems the answer is not always straightforward and is heavily dependent on the environment in which the system is working. Manufacturers tend to publish a ‘best case’ range which is a theoretical distance based on ideal conditions. Unfortunately most live broadcast environments are far from ideal as far as RF is concerned! Factors such as non-line of sight operation, co-channel interference from other RF devices and traffic in the ISM band need to be considered too.
In this particular study we tested the Maxwell system at a central London based event in the grounds of a park. In terms of RF interference and physical obstructions it was about the most challenging environment that we could find. In addition to the trees and furniture of the park, the event was busy with visitors, stalls, restaurants, hospitality stands and exhibitors and featured a huge marquee in the centre of the park. So almost all operation was non-line of sight with a great deal of RF absorbent material around.
The Maxwell Camera Interface mounted directly on a hand-held Sony HDC-1500R camera alongside a Link L1500 video transmitter operating in the mid the 2GHz band. The Maxwell Remote Tranceiver was mounted on the roof of the production truck at chest height on the comms mast. Both the Maxwell Remote Transceiver and the Camera Interface were set to 100mW output power and used standard 2dB omni antennas. The Link transmitter was set to a power output of 250mW. Also on the truck roof were two 2GHz band transmitters providing return video coverage over the site and with estimated power outputs of 10W E.I.R.P. The close proximity of the L1500 video transmitter to the Maxwell Camera Interface is likely to have de-sensitised the receiver, impeding the operating range. Similarly the proximity of the video transmitters on the roof of the production truck will have desensitised the Remote Modem transceiver. In addition to this co-channel interference there was heavy in-band traffic on the 2.4GHz ISM band as wifi was provided to the event organisers, the public, exhibitors and broadcasters.
Despite all this the Maxwell system was flawless, achieving full control without any dropout throughout the park. The camera was controlled all the way to the far corner of the park through heavy crowds with the camera carried underarm and worked even when placed on the ground at the far corner, a distance of over 250M away from the Remote Transceiver and through the metal structure of the marquee roof. At this point the signal strength meter was reading just one bar of signal. However all controls continued to respond promptly. The system outperformed the Link 4-way diversity video receiver which suffered breakup at the extremities of the park.
This case study goes to show that the system is reliable outside of the studio and can be considered for outdoor events including concerts, sports events and outside broadcast. Extending the benefits of fully featured camera control, manufacturers control panels and licence free operation.