An umbilical contains all the cables to connect a camera through to the control room for a live show. These are run in parallel inside a flexible plastic sheath, so they should be dead easy to connect up and move around with, without risking tangling everything.
A typical umbilical should contain:
- One, although more often two, BNC cables for sending video back from the camera. They should have colour-coded strain relief boots on both ends, two are included to have a spare in case of an all too common failure.
- A 4-pin XLR cable, used to send power to a camera. Note that these aren't the same on both ends, the power goes in the side with the pins (so you can't poke your fingers and get a shock) so the female end goes to the camera
- A 3-pin XLR cable, for camera comms. This should be connected to a comms beltpack at the camera-operator's end and a squid at the other, which should connect all the camera comms together.
- A Cat-5 cable (network cable) for Tally. This should be connected to a tally block on the camera end, and the tally splitter (menorah) at the other end, which then links to the tally line back to the control room
Umbilicals come in a selection of lengths, from shorter for studio use to a couple of extremely long ones for on-stage use at Woodstock