Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Production Gear › Video switcher, long cable runs? › XTR, You hit off somethin
You hit off something pretty important, which is that the gauge of your cable affects the quality of your signal.
You’re dead right in the sense that if you try to pack a pile of data in a flimsy composite or S-Video cable like the kind connecting your DVD player to your TV, you’re going to get signal loss. However, the general rule of thumb is that the beefier your cable is, the longer you can run it with a clean signal. For example, the CVG Premium S-Video cables I use for my switch are almost as big in diamater as the actual S_Video jacks themselves. This is the sort of cable you’d want to use for a long S_Vid run. I’ve done a 300′ run with these guys, and even at that length, there’s only the slightest bit of noticable signal loss.
You also hit on a very important point that completely slipped my mind: Coax cable. This stuff is incredible for long composite video runs. Besides the fact that it’s dirt cheap thanks to the super mass production of it for cable companies nationwide, It’s also an incredibly thick gauge cable with more than enough bandwidth to take long distances. I’ve seen (amplified) signals shoot more than 1000′ over coax. If I were going to go composite, this is the way to go.
If you don’t have an S-Video line for output, composite cable is the best way to go. In a composite signal, the luminance and color are blended together, which is a problem because they each have their own wire in an S-video cable. To separate them, you would need to buy what’s called a comb filter. These things can cost thousands of dollars, and would only be converting you up one notch from about the lowest quality signal (composite) to the second lowest quality signal (s-video). In my book, it wouldn’t be worth it.
Instead, I really like XTR’s suggestion. At radio shack you can get a couple BNC to coax adapters for a few bucks. If you’re a cable subscriber, a lot of cable companies will cut you lengths of coax for free or fairly cheap. That might be the way to go. The added bonus is that coax has enough bandwidth that it can carry an HD video signal across it, something that a standard composite or S-Video cable cannot do.