View Full Version : Gpi Tally

Tod Cole
05-02-2003, 08:19 PM
A little different question here. Can someone point me where I could buy a tally system for my cameras to interface with BOB?:cool:

05-05-2003, 09:01 AM
If anyone can build one to sell, I would be interested in purchasing one too. Or plans would be nice too.

Tod Cole
05-05-2003, 11:17 AM
This is a golden opprotunity for someone out there that has skill in this area. (ihave none)

05-05-2003, 12:56 PM
Count me in as well. Just something I can mount on my cameras and it would be controlled by the Tally Triggers on the Toaster.


05-05-2003, 07:04 PM
I'm working on building this. What types of features would you like to see in a system like this?

This is what I envision:

A Box with a Serial Cable to connect to the SX-8. From that box are eight Mini 1/8" jacks. These connect via a cable to each of the tallies. The tallies consist of one front tally (either velcro or shoe mountable) and one smaller rear tally for the operator.



Tod Cole
05-05-2003, 09:32 PM
Is there a possibility for a wireless box that sends signal to the tally on camera?

05-05-2003, 10:47 PM
I'm sure it's possible, but beyond the realm of something I could do. You'd have to find 8 different frequencies to broadcast on, interference acceptance, etc. may end up being a pain. But who knows, not really my area when you get there. I wish I could do it, but I'm guessing it'd be too expensive for me probably.


Tod Cole
05-06-2003, 07:42 AM
Well I would like to see something better than lights that go on a bike. My engineer has wipped these up enough for me to tell you it's tough to see tally unless it is a small bright red light on the top of a camera.

05-06-2003, 07:50 AM
Ok, well isn't that what I'm proposing? Red Lights on the front of the camera?


Tod Cole
05-06-2003, 07:53 AM
YEP that'll work...that'll work.:p

05-06-2003, 09:01 AM
We have actually built two of these units. One simply used the 3.3V provided by the SX-8 that we ran out to small LED's on each camera (we didn't want anyone to really know which camera was live beyond the operator). The others we used relays tied into the tally control to drive 12V lights. In my opinion both worked very well.


05-06-2003, 12:30 PM
I have been slowly working on this exact product for a church client of mine. I had to put it on hold because of the slew of orders for our miniBOB product.

Since I have a little experience building "mini" products, I do not think it would be that hard to make this available fairly soon. I will get my tech to finish up the unit and post some pics later tomorrow.

What I have in our design is a small box with a DB15 cable that goes to the SX8. The box is powered by an external 12v source. The output connectors are the 1/8" minijack connectors. There is also a LED above each connector to let you know everything is working OK. The 1/8" minijack cables would attach to either a CCU's Tally in or go down a 20ga cable to a Tally module mounted externally on the camera.

How much would you pay for a ready to plug in Tally box???

I also have been thinking about creating a Tally module that could be mounted on the camera. You could have either a Front Light or Rear Light or Both illuminate. It would mount to the Camera shoe.

So what do you think these should sell for??

We use in our smaller productions a cable that has 2 Coax and 3 audio cables all in one jacket. We use the coax's for Video to the switcher and also for return video of the program out. The 3 audio cables are used for 1-Clearcom, 2-Audio to the switcher, and 3- Tally. This all works out quite nicely.

In our larger production events we use Sony D30's with CCUs and their tally support

Tod Cole
05-06-2003, 12:50 PM
Well time for folks to speak up for this if its gonna work!

05-06-2003, 01:41 PM
So Tod,

Since you have spoken, how much would you pay for this little box of goodies?

05-06-2003, 02:31 PM
Well I'll take a stab in the dark....

I would think the materials to make the main box would be under $25, fab time of like 30 min, testing of like 10 min, clean-up 5 min. so say an hour of labor at $100 per hr. R&D recoup of 10% materials so $5.

So I would say like $100 - $150 for the main box...

Now for the camera tally light.

a simple led array like the ones found here:

about $5.00 for a front light and $3.00 for the rear
wiring say $5.00
a few switches to switch the front light manually off

ok so how about $50 per camera which provides both a front and rear tally, with a switch for the front light. Not including that cable which I think should be a 3 pin XLR as we all have miles of it and it locks in place, and most of our snakes have a spare run of XLR.

Anyway that is my 2 cents

05-06-2003, 03:36 PM
Well, maybe I'll stop development on my product if someone is already doing it. I was actually planning the EXACT type of system. I'll hold to see what you come up with, or I'll just make one for myself :) Good luck! I can't wait to see it!


05-06-2003, 03:38 PM
I was looking at doing it but it's that whole free time thing... or lack of it

Tod Cole
05-06-2003, 05:29 PM
Ill pay that easy...

05-07-2003, 05:24 PM
Ok so I got some free time and have built a prototype today and it works!! :)

Attached is a picture of the main connection panel that I am having quoted. Let me know what you think.

I am now going to go design the camera side...

05-07-2003, 05:26 PM
Oh the connections will be 3 pin XLR for the tally and 4 pin XLR for the GPI (which I will make a "Y" that goes to 2- 3 pin XLR for connection to two buttons or just use the 4 pin XLR to connect to a single box with two buttons.

05-07-2003, 07:02 PM
So on the actual tally light who would want the TV style "Big Red" beacon, or a small but "Ultra Bright" LED for your front camera light? For a rear light I am planning on just a simple small led.

I am also looking at making a small velcro light for use on your preview monitors and or decks (assuming they are on inputs 1-8 of your toaster) so you will know which deck is live.

05-07-2003, 09:41 PM
My version is quite a bit smaller. due to the tight confines of transporting things in smaller and smaller vehicles I made ours in a small 4x6x2in box that can hide practically anywhere.

One thing about using 3pin XLRs, I know from experience it is not pretty to have a Union Stage Hand plug a clearcom line with voltage into a DMX lighting board just because it fit. I can't imagine I would want to take the chance of a misconnection out in the field. Who knows what voltage down the line going into the SX8 tally connector would do to the SX8????

My thoughts were immediately to use XLR because we have a ton of it. I decided on 1/8" mini-plugs instead just to remove Murphy further away.

Personally I like the rackmount idea since all our systems we sell are in rackmount computer cases. I just designed ours to save a few more of those precious rack spaces.

I post some pictures of it tomorrow afternoon.

05-07-2003, 10:21 PM
I would agree about the 1/8" over the XLR. I was designing for the same thing (1/8") because of confusion and because of weight at the camera end, etc.

Can't wait to see what you guys come up with. Good ideas here! I'll post something whenever I have a chance to get something built ;)


05-07-2003, 11:06 PM
Actually the connectors on the unit could really be whatever... I am designing mine using relays and 12vdc LEDs. The reason for the XLR was on my camera snakes I have a spare XLR (my snake is 3 - BNC, 4 3-pin XLR, 1 4-pin XLR Power). As for power down an XLR it is no different than Phantom Power (48v dc) which is why I figured it shouldn't make that big of a deal?? I could be wrong??

05-07-2003, 11:20 PM
That's my point for staying away from XLR connectors. 48v on a shorted cable or better yet just a phase reversed cable would most likely feed back into the SX8 when that channels tally was ticked.

I use similar snakes but we put 1/8" connectors in place of the XLR connector on one of the audio runs so we would not have any confusion.

Tod Cole
05-08-2003, 08:10 AM
I would like to see it about 50-100 per camera.:D

05-08-2003, 08:23 AM
There would be no way for the 12v to go back to the SX8 if there was a short as it would stop at the relay. (in which case the relay would blow up and you would have to replace that channel's PCB) There should not be any phyiscal connection from the SX8 to the tally light. The 3.3v coming from the SX8 will stop at the coil in the relay, where it triggers the 12v to be sent down the line to the tally light. With my design there will be 11 seperate PCBs (printed circut boards) that make up the box. I was going to do just simple wires but the chance for problems was much higher vs good quality PCB traces. This also makes it a simple task to repair if needed.

So if I understand correctly your method of just sending the 3.3v from the SX8 down an 1/8" could end up sending power back to the SX8? As there would be a direct connection between the SX8 and tally light.

Nothing like a good debate :) This is good by the time we are done with this debate I think we will have the best way figured out.

05-09-2003, 09:58 AM
So if I understand correctly your method of just sending the 3.3v from the SX8 down an 1/8" could end up sending power back to the SX8? As there would be a direct connection between the SX8 and tally light.

No, we are actually using relays also. Sometimes CCUs need contact closure and sometimes they need a 12v supply.

We are on similar paths.

Brett, email me privately at jef at pizazzproductions dot com



05-13-2003, 10:52 AM
I am just now getting the bill of materials all figured out to build a high quality tally system....
Questions are:

1) What outputs do you need, as of now I have designed my system to spit out either 12vdc or a simple contact closure. I noticed that some CCUs want 24vdc which I could do but it would add to the price of the unit.

As for connector, I am still leaning towards the 3 pin XLR. If everyone speaks up I could swap over to 1/8" mini or just add it next to the XLR.

2) In an effort to make this 100% rock soild, I am using high quality PCB Boards all mounted in a 2U rack with full silk screened graphics "looking very pro" As of now I am looking at a price of $499 for a kit form (I provide all of the parts and you solder them onto the boards and assemble) or for just $599 you get a fully assembled and tested unit. Mind you this is just the box which takes the Toaster output and converts it to standard Tally output needs. I will also be desgining an actual Tally light for both cameras, decks, monitors (my guess is they will be between $50 - $100 each).

Now I could lower the price, but that would also lower the quality. Such as mounting everything in a simple "project box" using unreliable "breadboards" vs printed circut boards, using a "wall wart" transformer vs internal power supply. Plus many other short cuts...

Anyway, I will have the first working prototype done by the end of the day today, and I could have units for sale in about another 3 weeks.

Please email me at [email protected] if you are interested in buying a system. If I can get 100 units "Pre-Sold" I can lower the price a bit due to savings on the parts.

05-13-2003, 10:55 AM
I would like to see the 1/8" but I also think the system is getting a little out of my price range. You're talking $599 + lights?


05-13-2003, 01:12 PM
Bret or Jef

Do either of you have prices yet for a 3 camera system using either XLR or 1/8" jacks.

I think that $800 might be out of my range, but $500 - $600 might fit.

I am ready to buy today or pre-order if that helps.


05-13-2003, 02:06 PM
What type of camera are you using?
Are you using a CCU (camera control unit)?

I am now thinking I may offer 2 different models one being a professional rack mounted solution and the other being a simple "project box" solution which would be much cheaper. (The custom rack panel and chassis alone with no electronics is over $150)

Please email me at [email protected]

Tod Cole
05-13-2003, 08:58 PM
I like it a lot. I like the rack mount. I like the light arrangemet idea. What are you thinking price?
Did I mention I love the rack mount?

05-13-2003, 09:21 PM
As of now given the costs I'm looking at it would be $499 for a kit form (you solder and assemble) or $599 and you get a fully assembled and tested unit. This would be the "Pro" model all rack mounted, voltage selection (120v or 230v for international users) Each output would be selectable to send either 24vdc,12vdc, 5vdc, or a contact closure (this would make it compatable with 99% of all the CCUs out there (more over 100% of the CCUs I've looked at). The lights on the top of the connectors will all be green to signal that the output is active (basically that the relay is getting power) once the output is "live" the led with switch to red. Also due to popular demand I will add a 1/8" connector to each output. The "Link" led will tell you that the system is connected to the SX8. The GPI connector will connect to a wired remote which will allow you to trigger the Auto and Cut bottons (defaut settings for GPI) The GPI Remote Box will be included in the price. Also included in the price will be a 8 simple Tally lights nothing fancy basically an UltraBright LED Array.

I am also looking at doing a "consumer" model which will not be rack mounted (electronics will be mounted in a small plastic box), will require a wall wart power supply, will only output contact closure or 12vdc, will only have 1/8" connectors. 4 simple tally lights will be included. No GPI remote (but the connector will be there is you want to purchase the remote). Price unknown until I finish the "Pro" version.

Once I get the final product all designed I will design some "Cool" tally lights (I'm a Lighting Designer by trade, and have moved to video in the past 2 years). These will be like the Bid Red beacons seen on studio configs and small micro beacons for attaching to your decks.

Anyway I'm working on the electronics which is turning out to be a bit trickier than I first thought it would be.

Like I said please email me at [email protected] if you are interested, that way I can measure the possible sucess of this product before I dump a ton of money into it.

05-23-2003, 01:10 PM
Okay, I've been looking through these interesting posts and was hoping that someone would be able to post a schematic of the box? I've got some ideas in mind and am not quite sure how to go about assembling everything.

Could anyone help out?:cool:


05-23-2003, 01:21 PM
So far I have spent like 80+ hours testing different designs and designing the circiut board to make everything work.... and I finally have it all figured out and working.

I will be selling a few different options in the comming weeks ranging from a simple kit where I will sell you the printed circut board and parts, you will then have to solder it all together and mount it in some sort of box. I will also be selling a fully rack mounted solution which will be fully assembled and tested.

Take it from me do not try to jerry rig something because if you do you may end up blowing up your SX8 and that would not be good. A printed circut board is the way to go...

However I am ordering 4 of my board designs to be made as a prototype run... as such I am looking for 3 other people to act as beta testers of the unit.... If you are interested please email me privately for details. [email protected]

Brett Beanan

08-02-2010, 10:49 AM

seven years on, what ever happened to this project?

I am still looking for an answer to the tally light problem.

Did you end up making these?


08-02-2010, 03:15 PM
Visit www.tally-lights.com for all your tally lights needs,

Tally lights for the VT series with the SX-8 or SX-84 accessory.

Tally Lights for the Tricaster Studio & BroadCast & TCXD-300

Tally Lights for the TCXD-850


08-03-2010, 04:48 PM
I'll throw my stuff in here also:

Tally Lights for TriCaster Studio/Broadcast

Tally Lights For TCXD300

Tally Light Controller for SD TriCasters and VT[4]/VT[5]

All at: http://www.metasetz.com/category/tally-lights/