A note on S-Video connections

S-Video is a great thing for vloblive technicians – it gives you a lot of the benefit of component video in terms of quality, without increasing the cable count too much. The big downer of S-Video is that, invariably it requires connection with those horrible little miniDIN plugs. Not only are they hard to orient in a hurry, but the pins bend easily and they have no mechanical locking mechanism. Here’s one way around it…

In the broadcast market, the normal practice is to use component analog video with separate cables for the three primary (RGB) or complimentary (YUV) colour components. Many now have abandoned analog completely and go for digital SDI. Meanwhile In the industrial (better than prosumer but not broadcast) market they have long since abandoned miniDINs in favour of either a 7-pin connector with a locking ring (JVC, Panasonic etc) or two BNC sockets – one for Y (luminance = brightness) and one for C (chrominance = colour).

There is a way to get the benefit of S-Video with longer cable runs without the pain of miniDINs Use a miniDIN to BNC adapter or ‘jump’ as they are called. This is a miniDIN connector with two short cables coming out, going to inline BNC sockets. This lets you split out the Y and C onto high quality coax video cable. They are especially useful for long cable runs, but can also be used in any situation where you have to cable S-Video with the maximum quality of interconnect. You can get some mechanical stability by cable-tieing the the BNC connectors to something solid,, or better still use a back to back BNC patch panel in your equipment rack to join to longer BNCs. One final note – I don’t recommend that you try to make them yourself – it IS possible, and I have done it, but you will get much better results just buying one. I think that markertek in the US and VDC in the UK do them.


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