Bluebell breakthrough with ShaxX fibre for production
Bluebell Opticom, provider of fibre-optic solutions for fixed and remote applications, has announced the ShaxX, a rugged system designed to provide full bi-directional signalling and power for broadcast cameras fitted with standard SMPTE 304M hybrid connectors. The ShaxX allows outside broadcast and remote production crews to forgo SMPTE hybrid cables and take advantage of preinstalled fibre networks on location in order to cut rigging time and position cameras freely wherever they are needed, regardless of distance or the location of mains power sources.
“In production scenarios that require the camera operator to work far away from the CCU, SMPTE hybrid cables are often impractical. So there is great demand for getting power to the camera without using SMPTE hybrid cables. The ShaxX meets that demand,” said Paul McCann, Bluebell Opticom, managing director. “By taking power out of the hands of the CCU and inserting it on the camera end, the ShaxX eliminates the need to transfer power all the way from the CCU to the camera, leaving only the transmission of signals back and forth on lightweight single-mode optical fibre that’s reliable and easy to rig. The ShaxX complements our standard Shax devices and, when paired with our modular fibre interface cards, can offer resilient signal transport and management of complete camera chains.”
The ShaxX works with Bluebell’s Shax hybrid alternative interface to provide power to the camera without having to transport it from a remote CCU, thereby removing the expense and effort of rigging SMPTE hybrid cables. Instead, users simply connect the ShaxX unit to the camera with a SMPTE hybrid jumper cable. The ShaxX unit, which is connected to mains power on the camera end, powers the camera. At the same time, the ShaxX is also connected to two strands of single-mode fibre in order to carry signals from the camera to the CCU and vice versa.
The Shax unit on the CCU end receives those fibres, and is then connected to the CCU via a SMPTE hybrid jumper cable. When used in combination with Bluebell’s BC series modular fibre interface cards, the ShaxX can multiplex multiple camera links over a single fibre.
The ShaxX overcomes the challenges of using SMPTE hybrid cables, which are expensive, heavy, and can be sensitive to lightning or other grounding variables. By replacing the SMPTE hybrid cable with plain fibre between the CCU and the camera, especially in instances such as on a ski slope or a golf course where the distance between the camera and OB vans is great, the ShaxX gives the production team the freedom to position cameras for the best shot/angle rather than being restricted by the location of mains power.