SDI is great in most cases, and allows you to run 4k cameras up to 100 feet away, or longer with repeaters, far further than HDMI. Fiber however is what broadcasters use, when they want to run cameras at really long distances, such as for sporting events, concerts and festivals.
Having the ability to locate your camera up to 2000 feet away from the control booth / production area / stitching box is amazing. While not a cheap solution, quality fiber reels last a long time, and are the only way to do this professionally.
The challenge with fiber is wading through all the myriad of options available. Fiber is not just used in the broadcast industry but the computer industry as well. It can be very confusing with a number of different connector types and modes.
We’ve tried a number of different setups and have found success with this. You can be safe in the knowledge it will work perfectly with Mini EYE™ 3 and Mini EYE™ 4, and other Blackmagic camera set ups.
We have picked the most common connector found in stadiums and venues for the broadcast industry, and included all necessary adapters and converters.
Operation is straightforward. At each end of the reel there are 4 optical connectors. You use SDI-to-Fiber converters (included), to convert from SDI to Fiber, and back again at the other end. You will need SDI cables to connect your camera to the reel, and from the other end of the reel to your stitching or other equipment. There is nothing to configure, the system adapts to different frame rates and resolutions automatically.
4K Fiber Cable Kit Features
- Run 360 cameras at very long distances, using broadcast rated 4k fiber optic cable (4 channels)
- A 360 camera like Mini EYE™ can operate at up to 6k (stitched) resolution
- Live stitch at a remote location from your camera
- Kit supports 4 x 4k 30 fps video channels 10 bit (fiber itself can handle much more, the converters are the only limiting factor)
- Includes eight 4k SDI-to-Fiber converters (one per video channel, at each end)
- The included SDI-to-Fiber converters are two-way (SDI-to-Fiber or Fiber-to-SDI)
- Works with Blackmagic Micro Studio Cameras, or Micro Cinema Cameras with HDMI to SDI adapters (not included – we recommend these ones)
- Rugged broadcast grade cable
- Lengths up to 2000 feet
- Number of 4k video channels: 4
- Flexible kit – Supports Mini EYE™ 4, or Mini EYE™ 3 with a hot spare, or use spare channel as a return video line (back to the camera)
- Connector Type: BNC at each end (with included converters)
- Reel made in the USA
- Broadcast grade, 4-channel Fiber Optic Cable reel
- 8 x 4K SDI-to-Fiber converters inc. AC adapters (can also run off 12v using standard DC plug)
- 8 x Fiber adapters (to mate reel with converters)
Other Items to Consider
- 4K SDI Cable Kit (alternative to above)
- SDI Adapter Tails for Blackmagic (included with Mini EYE™ cameras but you may need them if building up your own kit)
- Shorter SDI cables to connect to and from the reel (available widely)
Cable reel weight: 14-60 lbs (250 to 2000 feet)
Cable outer diameter: 1/4″
A large proportion of the cost is the 4k SDI to Fiber converters. If you are having difficulty deciding which length to choose, be aware that with this kit in hand, you can easily purchase a longer reel if needed at a later stage, at much reduced cost ($1-3k per reel).
Care should be taken to protect the ends of fiber cables from any dust particles. Always cover the fiber ends with the supplied plastic caps when not in use. Fiber optic cleaning kits are available on Amazon, or you can use alcohol wipes. Be careful if you use compressed air, as this can leave a residue. This page has more info.
Avoid over-bending and never kink the cable, as this can cause connectivity issues or worse, damage the fiber.