BERKSHIRE, U.K. ��� Bluebell Opticom Ltd., provider of fiber-optic solutions for fixed and remote applications, recently announced the ShaxX, a system designed to provide 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 pre-installed fiber networks on location in order to cut rigging time and position cameras freely wherever they are needed.
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 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 also connects to two strands of single-mode fiber in order to carry signals from the camera to the CCU and vice versa. The Shax unit on the CCU end receives those fibers, 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 fiber.
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 fiber 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. At the same time, it reduces rigging time and allows crews to tap into existing fiber networks in stadiums, arenas, concert halls, and other venues.
The ShaxX is enclosed in a ruggedised aluminium case, making it a good choice for outside-broadcast and fly-away applications. LEDs on the front panel give operators instant feedback on the status of the link between camera and CCU.