With projection mapping becoming a big deal in the AV staging and lighting business, small blue boxes are starting to show up at auditoriums, during corporate events, and at other performance venues.
“We're doing a lot more projection mapping and we had to find another way to provide the communications between the media servers and the projectors,” said Nate Covey, Lead Video Engineer for Advanced Staging Productions out of West Chester, Penn. The “blue boxes” are FiberPlex TD series transceivers, which the AV staging and lighting company recently acquired to provide the electronic interface to a single optical fiber cable between the media servers that map out the imagery, pixel by pixel, and the video projectors that project the images on “screens” such as buildings, interior spaces, objects and natural landscapes.
In particular, the TD-6012s utilize dual RX and dual TX SFP modules, allowing for high density signal transport in a small rack space. Advanced Staging Productions uses four TD-6012s, one TD-6010 and one TD-7280 for eight 3G-SDI, two bidirectional balanced audio lines, one HDMI feed, and RS-232 control for the robocams... all in a single 1U rackmount. All signals are transported through a single trunk of 12-strand single-mode tactical fiber. “We can run one cable to the truss and break it out on the receive end into the six projectors along with the data,” commented Covey, explaining that the setup has eliminated the need to string six bulky copper cables across a venue (along with a repeater if the length exceeded the copper 328-foot limitation).
Those same blue boxes are also used by Advanced Staging Productions for point-to-point communications, running video control over optical link from the control booth to the FOH, or to another stage several hundred feet away in the case of a multi-stage event. “We used it during a recent Columbia University event where we had to send the signal back to control from one part of the field that was 500 feet away,” said Covey.
The TD-6010 and TD-6012 both include two ports for interchanging SFP/SFP+ modules capable of converting analog video, SD/HD, 3G-SDI or HDMI media formats, as well as full duplex and BiDi optical signals, 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet, 10 Gbps Ethernet, and MADI. TD transceivers can also convert Dante™, AVB, CobraNet® and EtherSound audio protocols, and can even convert between single-mode and multi-mode fiber. In other words... the blue boxes are fiber optic "Swiss Army knives."
“We’ve racked it up so that those SFPs are in a sliding drawer, and we can pull out the SFP we need when we need it,” said Covey.
FiberPlex specializes in high-demand environments as the manufacturer of wavelength division multiplexers, waveguide products, and conversion frames as well as SFP modules for interfacing and converting to fiber optic communications, from serial data (EIA530, RS422, RS232, V.35) and telecom (POTS, ISDN, T1/E1, T3/E3, STS1, E&M, Avaya) to multichannel audio (MADI, Dante) and video (RS170, 3G-SDI, HDMI).
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