View Full Version : Fiber optic for HD-SDI

09-05-2011, 06:10 AM
Hi All,

Next month I have a production than needs to put a camera some hundred meters away from the tricaster. Obviously that calls for fiber optic connections but since the production is in an island in the middle of the indian ocean i won't have a local dealer to hire the fiber optic cable from.

I'm thinking of flying in a reel of bulk cable, and (since i won't now the distances needed for each camera until the last moment) terminate it there. Last time i terminated fiber optic connections was in the university lab, and it was a process that needed special electronic equipment, but i keep reading that nowadays all it takes is a special crimping tool and the appropriate connectors.

Does anyone have experience finishing FO connectors? Is it easy and doable on the field?

Also, since air transport costs are prohibitive (15$/Kg) i need a very lightweight cable that's easy to roll and will handle being on a beach or even in the water for some 8 hours a day, 5 days a month (it'll get rolled back in the studio after each day of competition, rolled out each morning). Any ideas? recommended brands? I'm tempted to go with indoor cable for it's lightness since it's not a fixed instalation, but torsion breaks are critical.

Terry Rhodes
09-05-2011, 06:29 AM
We might be able to help you out of South Africa. Where in indian Ocean
are you going to be working? How many cameras, what lengths. Timbre Broadcast does a lot of Broadcast installations and cable setups. Contact Armand Classens of Timbre Broadcast Systems.
[email protected] :)

09-05-2011, 08:50 AM
Up to 200m is easy to do with a good quality HD-SDI copper cable. That would be an option. I wouldn't trust fiber optics in such an enviroment (sand, water dust...).

I would recommend to use HD-SDI cable.



09-05-2011, 09:10 AM
Same here! Fiber Optic connectors can be infiltrated by dust or dirt very easily. You don't need much (a microscopic particle is enough to cause all sorts of random issues). It's good in controlled (studio) environments, but not in sand/dust/...

Like said: use copper (HD)SDI cables. Good cable easily goes 200meters, and you can add repeaters/reclockers/amplifiers if more distance is needed. SDI is proven technology, fiber not yet ...

09-05-2011, 09:31 AM
Problem is that we cannot carry too much weight, and a RG-6 cable is already too heavy.. Plus in some situations my customer wants (needs, he says) a camera as far as 1 km from our position, and reclocking five times without a power source is complicated.

I guess the problem with sand, salt crystals and water would be in the terminator end, not in the middle of the cable. We'll have look for some sort of hermetic connector for the terminations, or keep the termitators well protected (inside a micro-peli case or similar).

09-05-2011, 09:42 AM
I do FO all the time outside in the sand, rain, and muck... It isn't that bad just make sure you have a fiber cleaning tool with you. as for field terminating I would say don't do it. Just get your spools for each run pre-terminated and then connect the spools together with couples to get you where you need to be then leave the left over on the spool. I did one run that was 4 1500' spools(24 channel FO multi) and 1 750' (quad FO) coils for one camera last year... the cable path was at a golf course. after testing the runs we went back and wrapped all connection points with plastic

09-06-2011, 05:47 AM
Thanks for the info.. I guess I'll pack up five rolls of 500ft, some couplers and link them as needed.

How delicate is indoor fiber nowadays? I remember working with fiber (OC3 and networking) 12 years ago and bending it too much would mean dropped connections, or even worse, a broken cable. Is that so anymore? I keep reading of "bend optimized" fibers that will work tangled and knotted..

09-06-2011, 02:11 PM
All the stuff I have been using is all Tactical Fiber (granted it is not lawn mower proof as we learned) The indoor stuff I have seen it used and so long as you are not tying knots in it or running over it with forklifts it should be fine. But I would bring an extra spool or 2 just in-case someone does something stupid... and don't forget a FO Cleaning tool

09-06-2011, 02:38 PM
All the stuff I have been using is all Tactical Fiber (granted it is not lawn mower proof as we learned) ... Lawn-mower proofing requires a different grade of 'tactical':

http://ts2.mm.bing.net/videos/thumbnail.aspx?q=987349844341&id=4e9ce8150d54d80d5c2afae2e7fa9636&bid=70VAPcIcK0m3WA&bn=Thumb&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DMep 5At8_Zcg


09-06-2011, 08:35 PM
yea we were about 1/2 hour to going live and suddenly we lost 4 cameras so we ran out to the first junction and saw the carnage... lucky we had 2 or 3 spare 1500' reels so a quick run with the golf cart and we had it swapped out...

That run in it's full was 4 1500' reels for the main run then off of that we ha 4 more 750' runs to break out to the cameras... the worst part was the out since it was VERY dark after the last golfer finished so by flashlight reeling in the better part of 8 miles of fiber. In Oklahoma swamp land was all sorts of fun. At least we had 16 camera operators to help...

09-08-2011, 10:02 AM
Ha! Sounds like a fun day at the country club..

Any brand of lightweight tactical fiber that you'd recommend? For us the limit is 50Kg/Km. Anything above that means that transport costs are more expensive than buying cheaper cable for each event and just leave it there. Sounds enviromentally awful, but air cargo costs are just crazy.

That was my idea behind buying cheap indoor fiber, it just has to work for a week and then we can susbtitute any broken threads.

09-08-2011, 10:07 AM
ours were all rented from Bexel so I am not sure the exact brand... but more common in your area are the new Neutrik opticalCON cables and connectors they are very nice and the connectors seal so less chance of contamination.


09-08-2011, 10:58 AM

Belden developed cables to be used for golf tournaments with a green jacket coating so it would be less obvious where the cable runs are on camera. And they developed the cable with a chemical coating to discourage the number one hazard to video cables on a golf course, squirrels. Squirrels love chewing on cables so a chemical coating was added that they find distasteful.

Back tot he topic at hand. Termination of optic cables requires a steady hand or you will have to do it over...and over...and over. In the field is not where you want to be dealing with this. It's bad enough to make a repair. You don't want to make it part of your normal op's. I don't do these repairs myself. I just watch the guys who have been trained to do it and let's just say there is usually a lengthy period where many expletives are used.

09-09-2011, 01:01 PM
Yeah, that's what i recalled from 2001, but lately i've been seeing "easy terminating conectors" and "bend ignoring" fiber, and wondered if we had reached that level of technology.

The easy on "easy terminating" is obviously relative.. But you're right, I don't want to be sitting on a beach at 3am taking the name of god in vain with the production clock ticking for a 6am start. The corning clearcurve technology looks great though. Cable tightly knotted and only a 0.15dB loss!

I'm already asking Neutrik for info on their systems. At 19kg/km (dual or quad fiber), it looks promising for me.

09-17-2011, 09:38 AM
You should easily get 100m out of copper cable, even if it's pretty low grade.

However if your worried about weight that's not an option. I recommend neutrik tactical fiber. They do a pre terminated duplex option called optical con duo. So you can even put return video and coms back to the camera. Also the connectors conform to the SMPTE304M standard. I'm pretty sure you could run over them with a lawnmower.

If that's out of your price range than go for pre terminated single mode 9 micron fiber with LC connectors. It's dirt cheap and very light. You will need to baby it a little but you should be fine even leaving the excess coiled fairly tight without much loss.

Another thing to note. If your using devices that support the proper fiber SDI standard from SMPTE, they will most likely only support LC connectors. The same holds true even for optical line drivers with proprietary protocols. So if you go down the tactical fiber route you will need some very short lengths of LC to LC terminated fiber to get from your device into the neutrik or other brand SMPTE304M connector.

I wouldn't even attempt to terminate your own single mode fibers.

Hope this helps. Tom.

09-19-2011, 07:30 AM
It does help. Boy, this tactical fiber is expensive. I'd love to go the Neutrik route, but it's more than 10 times the price of the other one, and the extra weight is also a concern.

I have to run the numbers well, but it's either put up the money for the opticalcon fiber (great product indeed) or go with dirt-cheap single mode bend-ignoring fiber with LC termination, professionaly finished.

The main thing I'd like to have from the Neutrik Optical Con system is a protected, locking LC connector. Regular LC connectors are too easy to disconect accidentaly by just tripping on the cable, etc. And without some kind of protection they'll end full of muck. Unluckily Neutrik doesn't sell theirs independently from the cable. Any ideas? Somebody has seen a protected LC connector other than the opticalcon? Or do i buy a retractile cover for it?

09-19-2011, 12:43 PM
Seriously dude.

If your trying to keep costs down just use LC terminated standard os1.

It's not as flimsy as you might think. Certainly no more ciceptible to damage than cat5.

Don't use reels cos they will be heavier than the cable.

Check out the link below for some LC caps to keep dirt out.


09-19-2011, 01:50 PM
Get one of these:

then before you make a connection use a 1' piece slide it over make your connection and then slide it over the connection and use some gaff tape to seal the ends around the connector

and these work great for cleaning

03-22-2012, 12:59 AM
Tactical Fiber Systems sells low cost Tactical Fiber cables for BMD ATEM camera converters, AJA FIDO and Telecast Rattlers. The cables are military grade TAC2 fiber single mode dual fiber terminated with LC, SC or ST connectors. They are delivered on professional Hannay cable reels in lengths from 250 to 2000 feet.

For more info: See www.TacticalFiber.com


Rich Rubin
Tactical Fiber Systems