When you’ve got to shoot a live event, even the shortest, smallest cables can be a major source of annoyance. From tripping and falling to catching on tables, seating and other items, cabling is an irritating necessity of live video that offers just as many downsides as it does advantages.
Add in the fact that cables limit the range of your camera operators and it becomes clear why so many live video companies are looking for alternatives.
Luckily, there’s a great solution out there. Modern wireless video equipment allows you to record live events with ease, all without having to worry about loose cables catching on items or posing a safety risk.
Like all technologies, a wireless video has advantages and disadvantages. It’s convenient, highly portable and surprisingly affordable. However, it does have one downside: many wireless video systems just don’t have the same range as fiber optic video cable.
In this post, we’ll look at the different ranges for wireless video equipment and explain what your options are as a video producer. We’ll also share specific recommendations for equipment that’s designed for long range transmission without a noticeable decline in picture quality.
What is the maximum range of wireless video?
There’s no single maximum range for wireless video equipment. Instead, different equipment is designed to allow for a different maximum transmission distance, with our systems ranging from as little as 10 meters all the way up to two miles.
The distance that wireless video can travel depends on several factors. The first of these is the type of antenna that’s used. A small, low-gain antenna is unlikely to be able to transmit video at an acceptable level of quality for a long distance, whereas a high-gain antenna likely can.
Most of the time, you’ll see a direct correlation between price and transmission distance. Some of our low-cost wireless transmitters have a maximum range of 3000 feet for HD SDI and HDMI signals. Add high-gain antennas and this range can increase to 1500 feet, showing the difference that higher quality, more sensitive antennas can make.
Another option is to use a line of sight transmission equipment. This type of equipment has a high transmission distance and little to no latency or interference, largely because it’s designed for a point to point, a line of sight transmission.
As you’d expect, a line of sight equipment only provides good performance when there’s nothing in the way of the devices to affect the transfer. Some line of sight video transmission gear has a range of up to two miles.
Lose the line of sight and this equipment will still perform, albeit with a far lower range than the amount you can expect with a direct line of sight between the two devices.
What can affect a wireless video transmission?
A variety of factors can affect the quality of a wireless video. In a live event setting, physical items and objects such as people, plants, and buildings can affect the quality of a wireless signal, with a noticeable decline in the range of a wireless video transmission system.
The best way to avoid this is to make sure there’s always an uninterrupted line of sight between your video transmitter and receiver. Another option is to use wireless ethernet links in areas that contain lots of people, trees, structures and other sources of interference.
Another factor that can affect the quality of your video transmission is the weather. Heavy rain and lightning can negatively affect most video transmission equipment, making it hard to provide a clear signal on rainy or turbulent days.