Professional Cameras Starting to Support Video Streaming Over CAT 5/6 Cable

By Helen Vince
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Content Creation – At a recent SMPTE New York Chapter meeting, three professional camera manufactures talked about their recent introductions from IBC: Sony, JVC and Panasonic (see full coverage here: part 1, part 2, part 3).

All support output over SDI and HDMI connectors, but outputting the content over a CAT 5/6 cable is in various states of adoption.

Sony’s Juan Martinez talked about Sony’s new FX-7 CineVerte camera, which is designed for documentaries and long form TV production. It uses a 4K Super35 sensor and is designed to be light and easy to use in run and gun situations – while capturing 4K or HD content. It has two sets of 4xSDI BNC connectors and an HDMI connector, any of which can output UHD content in a 4:2:2 10-bit format. Martinez made no mention of outputting the content by any other means such as CAT 5/6, however.

Panasonic’s Michael Bergeron discussed the Varicam (VC) 35 and VC High Speed (HS) cameras that share a common processing, recording and formatting engine, with different sensor blocks. The VC35 uses a Super35 sensor capable of recording 4K at 120 fps while the VC HS uses a 2/3” sensor that is optimized to record 1080p content at up to 240 fps. It is loaded with other features, but the output connector pack is the same as the Sony FX-7.

Bergeron told us after the presentation that the company has experimented with outputting the content using a CAT 5 cable using its AJ-PX270 handheld camera and the AJ-PX5000, a shoulder mount 2/3” B4 camera – each of which has an RJ-45 connector. “We have also been streaming video over IP with our all-in-one Pan/Tilt cameras (as a preview image)” noted Bergeron. “We have successfully tested streaming up to 25 and even 100Mbps. The 25Mbps was what we showed at NAB (although this was not direct streaming from a camera, the principal is the same)”.

Bergeron said that all streaming so far has been IP based, but other options like AVB, HDBaseT or SMPTE 2022 will have to be looked at as well.

All of the streaming features Panasonic is working on for the above camcorders are intended to work:

  • Over a LAN cable
  • Over a Wi-Fi network
  • Over a 4G network

These features are not released yet, but will be available soon, noted Bergeron. Currently all of these IP connection modes can be used to FTP video clips, however.

JVC is also busy in this area. At the SMPTE NY meeting, the company discussed its GY-LS300, which was shown as a working prototype for the first time at IBC. This is also a 4K camera based on a Super35 sensor designed by AltaSense. Record rates are lower at 4K/24 or UHD/24/25/30, but the price will be much less than the Panasonic or Sony offerings.

The GY-LS300 will have its own IP address and will create its own web page so it can be accessed with any browser to control and operate the camera. To stream content over the internet, it is working with some third parties like Wowza Media Systems. Product manager Craig Yanagi says the key for them to be able to stream content is RTMP (Real Time Media Player) technology.

JVC GY-LS300The JVC partnership with Wowza is designed to allow the streaming of content from selected JVC camcorders to a a secure Intranet site maintained by Wowza. This allows distribution for internal use or uploading to the cloud for web distribution. The two think this is a great solution for streaming content in corporate and government meetings, church services, concerts and sporting events.

Enabled camcorders so far include the JVC GY-HM650, GY-HM850 and GY-HM890 ProHD camcorders. They have the built-in Wowza streaming engine along with FTP and 4G LTE connectivity. This allows live HD transmission from the camera when paired with a 4G LTE modem or hotspot. Camera operators direct the transmission to their Wowza Streaming Engine via an IP address. The cameras also include JVC’s Advanced Streaming Technology (AST) for content-aware error correction, plus a built-in processor that maximizes bandwidth to ensure reliable transmission.

In practice, you first need to set up the streaming engine on the Wowza site. You need to specify the camcorder IP address or port number, depending on the transport protocol (MPEG-2-TS/UDP or RTSP/RTP). This will then poll the JVC camera until it can connect. At the camera, the user can use the menu to navigate to the section where the transport protocol can be selected. Then, you need to set up the encoder setting, like resolution, frame rate, bit rate, etc. That’s pretty much it once the connection is verified.

Currently supported are H.264 formats with the following resolutions and bit rates:

  • 1920 x 1080/60i (8.0 Mbps), 60i (5.0 Mpbs), 60i (2.5 Mbps), 50i (8.0 Mpbs), 50i (5.0 Mpbs), 50i (2.5 Mbps)
  • 1280 x 720/30p (5.0 Mpbs), 30p (3.0 Mpbs), 30p (1.5 Mbps), 25p (5.0 Mpbs), 25p (3.0 Mpbs), 25p (1.5 Mbps)
  • 720 x 480/60i (5.0 Mpbs), 60i (3.0 Mpbs), 60i (1.5 Mbps), 60i (0.8 Mbps), 60i (0.3 Mbps), 60i (0.2 Mbps)
  • 720 x 576/50i (5.0 Mpbs), 50i (3.0 Mpbs), 50i (1.5 Mbps), 50i (0.8 Mbps), 50i (0.3 Mbps), 50i (0.2 Mbps)
  • 480 x 270/30p (0.2 Mbps), 25p (0.2Mbps)

Note that these capabilities do not extend to 4K/UHD or HEVC at this time – even on the upcoming GY-LS300. – Chris Chinnock