The above picture may just look like colored tape but it is one of our owner’s @ryandrby favorite tools of trade. We call it spike tape. Spike tape is thin strips of Gaffers tape in bright reflective colors.
You might remember Gaffers tape from a previous article we did last year. It's commonly used on stages for taping down cables as it does not leave a residue and tears easily like light fabric. Spike tape is named differently because it is used to “spike” or mark a position or item and stand out rather than blend in like black gaffers tape. It’s especially useful for marking the edges of stairs in dark areas, mic stand positions on stage as well as labeling items like control surfaces and cables. It stands out, is easy to work with and easy to write on with a marker or sharpie.
Pick yourself up some to throw in your kit of day to day tech resources. We love to pick up the multi packs on amazon that come with 4 bright colors from our friends at Tape Ninja!
A few articles ago we talked about HDMI cables and the drawback of only being able to run them 25ft or so. We also talked about how you can use SDI to get HD video signal over a long distance. But that isn’t all we have to tell you! There is a third option for you to consider!
This signal is a new comer on the video scene and is called HDBaseT. This signal was first created in 2010 and can be used for the transmission of ultra-high-definition video, audio, Ethernet, control, USB and even up to 100W of power! All of this is over a single cable! It’s the Mary Poppins of cables!
HDBaseT uses Cat6a cable, but because of all the different functions it can be used for, it uses specialized connectors. These look identical to a standard RJ45 connector but be warned! Because HDBaseT carries power as well, if you plug it into a standard RJ45 jack you can severely damage that piece of equipment! If you are unsure, its always better to ask rather than risk your equipment.
HDBaseT can be run up to 328ft giving far more flexibility in running video signal. This cable is also extreamly convenient in instances when paired with a piece of HDBaseT equipped gear. The PTZ camera, for instance, would usually require up to 3-4 cables for signal, power, and control, but with an HDBaseT connection you only need one! Think about all the money that could be saved by only running one wire connection. Not to mention the amount of time running cable through walls and ceilings. If you have a hard to reach place or a tangle of cables attached to that old equipment, it could be worth your time and money looking for an HDBaseT piece of equipment as a replacement and running one cable instead.
Continueing our series of articles on cableing, this week we are talking about Serial Digital Interface (SDI). SDI is a video signal used to send uncompressed, un-encrypted digital video signals. It can also include embedded audio. SDI signal was first standardized in 1989. Since then the standard SDI signal has upgraded to HD-SDI (1080i/720p), 3G SDI (1080p), 6G SDI (4k @30hz), and 12G SDI (4k @60hz).
The longer distance you are trying to run the signal or the higher the quality signal you are trying to achieve, will require a higher specification of cable and BNC connector. Now, just upgrading the cabling in your system will not necessarily give you a higher SDI signal! An important thing to keep in mind is that to be able to produce a signal such as 12G SDI video, every single component in that system must support that as well! So, you may have the right camera and cable, but if your video switcher can only receive HD-SDI, that will be the highest quality you will be able to use.
We recommend, especially when building a new system or revamping an old system, to make sure the core components, like a switcher or a video router, is at the final desired SDI signal level. Then you can begin to upgrade the components going in and out of the system as your budget allows. If you aren't sure about your system's SDI ability, don't hesitate to ask! That's what we're here for!
In the video world over the past 20 years there have been many, many different types of cables and connections used to pass signal from one medium to another. From composite video to VGA and DVI, and now to SDI and HDMI. But while we have heard of these cables, you may wonder what are they? And what do they do? Today we’re going to talk about HDMI and SDI. In future articles we will talk more about passing video signal over Cat6a cable using HDBaseT. If you are wondering what that even means, just keep a lookout for the upcoming article to learn all about it. ;)
Let's start with HDMI cables! HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and is the most frequently used HD signal for transferring both high definition video and audio over a single cable. Really, it's pretty amazing! HDMI is typically used for connecting devices such as TV’s, wireless presentation devices like an AppleTV or huddle space integrator like Klik Boks, and is generally considered a consumer level video cable. It's easy to find HDMI or mini HDMI in an average home today on computers, tv's projectors, etc. One of the big advantages with HDMI at the homeowner level is simply that it is a single cable solution for combining both video and audio. It has replaced many of the analogue solutions which required separate video and audio cables creating a tangle of confusing wires in spaces that were supposed to be easy and uncomplicated for the average person to use. One of the big disadvantages to HDMI cable is that you can only run most HDMI cables up to 25’. Though this isn't generally a problem for the consumer, it can create difficulties in other areas.
Our other popular Video Cable option is SDI. SDI stand for Serial Digital Interface. What does that mean? SDI is a standard video signal used by professional, broadcast grade cameras. SDI cable has the ability to transmit HD video signal over a much farther distance than HDMI. SDI also has the ability to pass audio as well. SDI cables are made up of two components, 75ohm coaxial cable and BNC connectors. Now, not all SDI cables are the same. Different cables can carry different quality signals over specified distances. Just because one cable fits or is long enough, doesn’t mean it will work at all, or even that it will work properly! The higher the quality of the video signal you are sending, may require you to either go a shorter distance with your cable or you may need to use a higher grade cable. In a later article we are going to discuss SDI video signal, the different quality, and some of the solutions that SDI offers.
Video cabling can be more complex than audio cabling and it's important to have your expensive and sometimes sensitive equipment connected properly. If it's not, it can cause you all kinds of problems and glitches or produce a poor quality video. Cable is cheap in comparison to video equipment, so take the time to see if your problem can be fixed with an easy cable switch before giving up on your gear. We hope you are learning more about cables! If you have specific questions you'd like to see answered, email or find us on social media!
This week we are excited to take a look into the second part of our cable series!
Now like XLR mic cables, instrument cables also have a doppelganger. That is, the speaker cable. These two look the same, but are used for different purposes. An instrument cable is low power and high impedance. On the other hand, a speaker cable is the opposite, high power and low impedance. Speaker cable is built to carry a strong signal from your amp to your speakers, a signal with a relatively high AC current and voltage. Because of this difference, speaker cables require a higher gauge wire.
So, always make sure you’re using the correct cable for its intended purpose. Good news is it's an easy fix if you know what to look for!
It's time to check out a few different cables and exactly how they can effect your AV systems performance. There are so many different cables and making sure you know the difference and know which fiber to use could make the change you've been looking for.
Let's start with Mic cables! These are one of the two cables that you will come across on a regular basis if you work with audio. Now, mic lines actually consist of two components. The mic cable and the connector. The connector is an XLR connector. The reason this is an important distinction to note is because the XLR connector can be used for different connections, specifically 3-pin DMX. This can become confusing as on many stages you will see both mic lines and DMX cable. Now while these two cables look the same they are doing two completely different jobs. While mic line passes audio signal, DMX passes data and requires a much higher specification cable to perform that task. Because of that you can use a DMX as a mic line, but you should not use an mic cable as a DMX line. If you are in a situation where both mic and DMX 3pin cables are being used close to each other, it’s a good idea to mark or label each cable to ensure you or your volunteers don’t mix them up!
The reason XLR connectors are used on the end of mic lines to pass audio signal is that they allow you to pass shielded, balanced audio. I’m sure if you’ve spent any time in the audio world you hear the terms balanced and unbalanced audio. So, what is balanced audio? Mic line consists of a positive, negative and ground cables. The ground pin allows the signal to be shielded, cutting down on the amount of noise that can be introduced. The positive pin carries the signal and the negative pin carries the same signal with the polarity inversed. When the signal is combined at the other end of the cable anything that is not native to the audio signal will get canceled out. Because of this the final audio signal will have almost no unwanted noise from outside electrical interference. This preserves the original audio signal and gives you the ability to pass audio signal over very long distances.
Pretty neat, right? Cabling may seem insignificant, but it can really effect the quality of your production in the end. Make sure you have the right cables for your equipment and the right connections to create a flawless performance! Stay tuned for more info on other cabling coming up!
I have taken it upon myself this Christmas to bring you a Christmas card! After all, seeing as I’m the one who proudly bares and displays the sheep, I mean lamb-(duh!)-it seemed appropriate for me to be in charge of the Christmas letter! Let me introduce myself: My name is Kirby, the immaculate Trailer. That is, I was, until Ryan recently decided to give me a piercing with a 2x4. It hurt just a little.
We started out the year on the run as we finished a 21 room upgrade with Center for Creative Leadership. Ryan, my proud owner, was more than busy. Training new staff, managing Trevor, bidding jobs, managing Trevor, traveling for installs and conferences, managing Trevor…you get the idea! It’s true, there is no rest for a small business owner. Ryan and Trevor have also have added many more audio, video and lighting trainings to help churches get the most from their equipment. It’s exciting to get new equipment and information into your hands! We love to see you succeed. We also added several more corporate jobs this year. We all loved the work and fun install at Air Academy Federal Credit Union and the video install we did at Air Academy High School
Elizabeth, our Accounting Manager and HR, had a busy year as well. Let’s be real, working with a certain new employee has brought an increased work load to her plate. But she’s a Boss and handled it like a pro! She even planned for the team to make it to Florida for Gather Church’s new building install and back without dying! It was a miracle! Trust me, Trevor almost pulled out the Batman mask one too many times! I had the privilege to carry her well organized snacks and meals for our two week job and even got a security upgrade to help guard the fruit snacks.
Trevor, our Shop Manager and Sound expert, is becoming my new best friend. He takes care of me the best and is in charge of loading up my friends Inigo Montoya, Fezik and Vizzini. Those guys are quite impressive to the clients. They carry all the tools and Lambda tech tip secrets! That is, unless Ryan borrowed something and forgets to put it back… Did you hear? Trevor got SMAART trained this summer! I’m not sure what it did for him, but they say it’s good for the company. We’ve had fun doing audio jobs and SMAART tunes for Lander Church, Clayhouse Church, Austin Bluffs Evangelical Free church and Summit church! Great sound always makes you look more professional. We even created a traveling audio system for Front Range Alliance Church East who rents a gym on Sundays.
Jewell, our Admin Assistant, is enjoying working with the company. Usually I just see her run by on her way to morning meeting, but I hear she keeps things a little better organized in the office now days. Somehow, she even managed to do ordering and communication for our biggest job this year all the way from Italy. Good thing our blog and News Letter didn’t get sent out in Italian. She also has lots of fun working with our vendors and updating the blog and newsletters. I hear the Fun Gear and Tech Tips posted on Social media is an easy way to learn about AV the simple way.
Darcy the Ridiculous Dog chases Hank the squirrel every day. She should just give up. Hank will live on forever! Her other main job is to attend staff meetings and make sure Ryan gets his exercise opening the door for her to go in and out. Yeah, it’s fun to watch
We’ve done a lot of exciting things at Lambda this year! We expanded a lot! Trevor, Jewell, Tych, Anigo, Fezik, Vizzini and myself all joined Lambda this year! And we couldn’t be happier! We have a lot of fun here at Lambda and we hope you've had fun working with us too! We are excited to keep working together and we are excited to work with each one of you in the coming year!
May God bless you richly and may your Christmas filled with much Joy!
From our Family to Yours!
Kirby, and Everyone at Lambda!
PS Could someone stop Darcy from chewing on my tires?
A microphone’s polar pattern is the 3-dimensional space surrounding the capsule where it is most sensitive to sound. There are quite a few different patterns but here are 3 of the most popular.
If you have ever stepped up to a sound board you’ve probably seen a few knobs labeled HPF and LPF. What do those mean?
HPF and LPF stand for High Pass Filter and Low Pass Filter. Some boards have just a HPF, while some boards, especially digital, give you both. A HPF allows high frequencies to pass through, meaning it will filter out low frequencies. Some consoles have a HPF button that has a set cut at 120 or 150hz. A HPF can really help clean up vocals or instrumentation that doesn’t have a lower frequency.
A LPF does the exact opposite. It allows lows frequencies to pass through and filters out high frequencies. This is a great tool for instruments like a bass guitar or a kick drum to clean give a clean low end to your mix!
It's a simple tool anyone can use! Try it out and see the difference it can make in some of your mixes!
Equipping You To Be the Best!
Have you ever wondered how some of those special features work on your AV equipment? Here at Lambda AV we are dedicated to making your AV experience the best it can be! In our efforts to do this, did you know that Lambda offers classes and training sessions at your convenience? Yes! We do! We would love to help you and your volunteers better understand any AV equipment you have. From lighting and video to sound systems we've got you covered!
Training sessions are created for your specific needs. Lambda offers training for a few hours on any system. We also offer half day training and full day training with a free lunch provided! If a full day of training and a tasty meal isn't enough we also offer training with a checkup beforehand. This includes updating your system and fixing any connection issues you might have. Sound specific training can include your band or we can come set up multi-track recording, if your system is compatible, and practice using those tracks. The opportunities and options are limitless! There is no point in having new gear if you don't know how to use it to it's best ability. Let us show you all the tips and tricks we know!
If you are interested in knowing more about our classes and training, give us a call for a free consult.