IDX CW-5HD Cam-Wave System $5995

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Any DP who has had clients or producers looking over his shoulder as he shoots, can readily appreciate being able to have them monitor the shoot unobtrusively and wirelessly. Until recently, that was difficult enough to do in SD, let alone in HD. However, thanks to some new wireless standards, MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology and OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) data modulation, that is precisely what IDX’s Cam-Wave HDwireless video system is designed to do. 

Cam-Wave HD (or CW-5HD for short) uses the same core components as a wireless audio system, a transmitter and a receiver, to operate in license-free spectrum. However, the configuration is a bit different with the transmitter linked to a camera and the receiver typically connected to a monitor, or possibly to a video recorder. CW-5HD is a completely uncompressed wireless system that supports both SD and HD SDI video, as well as two channels of SDI-embedded audio. Moreover, it supports multiple streams of video, and can handle multiple formats, including 1080i/23.98Psf. Its signal latency is rated at less than 1 ms, or, effectively, no noticeable latency. 

CW-5HD uses IEEE 802.11 standards for wireless local area network (WLAN) computer communications in the 5GHz and 2.4GHz public spectrum bands, developed by the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN standards committee. However, it uses the latest versions of that standard to achieve the high date rates needed for multiple streams of HD video. This maximum raw data rate supported is 54 Mbps.

The system also uses the proposed 802.11n standard, which adds MIMO OFDM and other new features for a maximum raw data rate of 300 Mbps. Moreover, it achieves a minimum effective operating range of up to 150′, line-of-sight.

ch5hdThe transmitter and receiver are both fairly lightweight, less than 2 lb. each. The transmitter mounts to the camera via a standard V-lock, or Anton/Bauer mount, and includes an identical mount for the respective battery, which powers both transmitter and camera. The same is true for the receiver, which has the same form factor and looks quite similar to some IDX chargers. Each unit draws only 12 watts when operational.

The transmitter includes a five-position frequency selector dial with channels 1-4 and auto select, plus a uni/multi-channel option switch. There is also a high/ low power mode switch, plus an LED status indicator. On the opposite side of the transmitter is an HD-SDI input and an HD-SDI output, plus a standard four-pin 12v DC power plug. The receiver has the same form factor and uni/multi-channel switch, but no channel selector. It senses whatever signal is sent. It features two HD SDI output connections. Both units are finished in slate black and trimmed with IDX’s signature shades of violet and blue.

The Cam-Wave HD system arrived in an official IDX kit carrying bag with lots of side pockets for batteries and cables, and a sturdy strap. Inside was a complete package for operating the system with any HD SDI camera or camcorder. The system also includes the TX CW-5HD transmitter, the RX CW-5HD receiver, BNC cables, several 55w Endura 7 batteries, dual-channel IDX charger, plus a 7″ Nebtek 70 HDS monitor in a sturdy dual-handle frame for easy handholding. The kit also included an IDX 14.4 power adaptor with a V-lock mount for use with a Canon XL series camcorder. This enabled a Canon XL H1 camcorder to be used for this evaluation. The CW-5HD set can also be used with any pro camcorders equipped with HD SDI.

After connecting the transmitter to the camcorder and the receiver to the Nebtek monitor, I fired everything up only to get a “no-signal” error display in the monitor. After several attempts at troubleshooting, I called in for technical support. This confirmed that all of the settings on the transmitter were correct and also for the receiver. I finally got wise and decided to swap out the Nebtek monitor for a multistandard 8″ unit I had. Sure enough, as soon as I made the substitution I got a good HD signal. Problem solved.

No further adjustment was necessary, as the HD signal transmission was flawless and quite impressive. I could now ready to test the system’s performance.

My first test was fairly basic, and done inside my home. I turned the camcorder on and framed a scene at the very front end of the house. I then took the monitor and receiver to the far end, about 75′ away with three sturdy walls in between. Even though there was some distortion and signal breakup while I was walking, the signal was crisp and rock steady once I stopped. This continued as I stepped outside and traveled another 20′ or so. Again there was some minor breakup while I was moving, and which vanished when I stopped. However, as soon as I descended a stairway that put me some was 5′ or 6′ below my “line-of-sight” to the camcorder, the signal broke up and then vanished altogether. Apparently, the issue was not distance between transmitter and receiver, but rather dropping below the signal path.

Next, I took the monitor and receiver for a walk down the driveway, after moving the camcorder and transmitter within a line-of-sight down the driveway through a glass-paneled storm door. As I continued down the driveway some young evergreen trees and a pickup truck got in the signal path, but did not critically impede the HD signal. In fact, I managed to walk at least 150′ before I lost the signal. However, there was some breakup and signal deterioration just past the halfway mark. On my next attempt I moved the transmitter slightly to improve the line-of-sight, while following the same route down the driveway. This extended the CW-5HD’s range by another 20′ to 30′.

Then, I brought the camcorder and transmitter unit outside and placed them about 5′ above ground, and in line with the driveway. Again I made the walk down the driveway with the receiver and monitor in hand. This time I was able to make 170′ before the digital dropouts really increased. However, the signal remained usable, especially when I paused and aimed the monitor/receiver directly at the transmitter. I finally lost the HD signal at about 240′, some 90′ past the unit’s stated maximum range of 150′ line-of-sight.

As encouraging as the 240′ distance was, I couldn’t help but wonder if it could be improved if all obstacles were removed from the signal path. To test this, I mounted the camcorder and Cam-Wave transmitter on a tripod at the sidewalk end of the driveway and began pacing down the sidewalk with the receiver and monitor. The signal remained strong and clear again for at least 240′, but got a bit noisy after that. The dropouts abated if I paused momentarily. I finally stopped at nearly 300′ from the transmitter, to see if I could still receive a completely clean image at that distance. To my surprise, about 90 percent of the dropouts did clear up, leaving a slightly noisy, but very viewable image. I resumed walking slowly and noticed that the dropouts began to reappear incrementally beyond 310′. Still, the system kept a picture of sorts up all the way out to about 340′.

To see if these results were valid, I did one more test in an area with a completely clear line-of-sight. This time I backed away from the transmitter starting at around 240′ and backing away while facing the transmitter. I stopped just before the 300′ mark to see if the slowly increasing digital breakup would subside. This time I was able to maintain a viewable HD image until the system crashed just past 360′. This confirmed that, although there’s no guarantee, it could be possible to use CW-5HD to monitor a camera’s activity, from the length of a football field, at least under ideal conditions. 

It’s worth noting that I did not have an opportunity to check the HD signals on a waveform monitor to determine at what point they were and were not technically valid. A brief discussion with IDX experts suggested that when the equipment is used within the stated range of 100′ with obstacles, and 150′ without obstacles, proper signals are available for critical applications. The IDX sources cautioned that the Cam-Wave HD package is not designed for transmitting a “legally” recordable HD signal, but that it is often used for that purpose.

IDX’s Cam-Wave offers a simple, effective way to monitor, transmit or record HD and SD camera images remotely and wirelessly. It leaves the cameraperson unimpeded by entangling cables. By combining new WLAN standards, data modulation and recent advances in antenna technology, Cam-Wave is able to achieve data rates greater than 1.243 Gbps, without compression. This enables the wireless transmission of a sharp, high-definition video signal with embedded SDI audio, with very minimal latency. 
Transmission distances are impressive and the system supports multiple SD and HD video formats including 1080i/23.98Psf.

The CW-5HD’s uses could include remote news, field production video assist, telemedicine applications, video relay in large theaters, arenas, sports stadiums, training facilities and other such venues. It could also be used with special effects cameras or lipstick cameras for transmitting signals to a remotely located recorder for risky special effects locations/applications or for surveillance purposes. 

REPORT BY Carl Mrozek (www.dv.com)

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Sony UWP-V Diversity Radio Mic mini REVIEW

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sony-uwp-v167bThis compact, true diversity system is an outstanding value at £489 for the Bodypack Lavalier packages. The UWP-V Series replaces the UWP-C Series, with enhancements that include: a rugged, all-metal chassis and Mic/Line switchable input at the transmitter. PLL-synthesized tuning, space-diversity reception, and all the professional wireless features that made the UWP-C series a popular choice. 

The camera-mountable URX-P2 receiver features swivel antennas and space-diversity technology which stabilizes reception and minimizes RF interference by selecting the strongest incoming signal. It features a convenient auto channel scanning function that automatically detects unoccupied channels, allowing operators easily to select the most appropriate channel to use. A stereo mini-jack output with monitor volume control is featured and both stereo, mini and XLR cables are provided. An LCD display provides channel & frequency information, battery life, RF-input level, audio-output status and accumulated operating time. The receiver operates on two “AA” batteries for up to 8 hours. The URX-P2s compact design and included shoe-mount adapter allows for easy mounting to most camcorders.

The improved UTX-P1 plug-in and UTX-B2 bodypack transmitters feature comprehensive LCD displays and a Mic/Line-level switch for standard wired microphones line-level sources. Selectable output power provides a choice between 5mW output, which is suitable for simultaneous multi-channel operation or 30mW output for long distance transmission. The 5mW output mode also helps conserve battery life. Like the URX-P2 receiver, the transmitters feature 188 selectable UHF frequencies and operate for up to 8 hours on two “AA” alkaline batteries.

This was my first break from Sehnheizer radio mics, what attracted me to this system was the diversity receiver and the 3.5 jack monitor socket, this allows you to stick your headphones on and check the radio mic without having to switch on your camcorder. It is also a lot quieter than the  G2 Sehnheizer radio mic therefore it is used 99% of the time in my kit. The addition of diversity makes this almost a flawless radio system certainly for work of up to 25 meters. I also find the 2 “AA” batteries last a fair bit longer than the equivalent Sehnheizer 9V battery set-up and the battery indicator is a great feature.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Larry’s Tip of the Day 9

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larry-jordan-tip-9a

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PluralEyes tutorial

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PluralEyes Software for FCP By Philip Johnston
View in HD  Download 360p Version  Visit Philip Johnston’s ExposureRoom Videos Page

Just for your interest the 6 camera were 1. Sony MC1P  2. Canon HF10  3. Panasonic HPX-301  4. Panasonic HMC-151  5. Sony EX-3  6. Canon HV30.   www.singularsoftware.com

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Photique “Wall Art” quality at an affordable price

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untitled-1From Dover to Kirkwall… you can transfer your digital pictures to “Wall Art” why not give them a go…send a Wall Art of the grandchildren for Mothers Day …. http://www.photiqueimages.com

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Infomercial from Zacoto USA “Advance sound for HD-SLRs”

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Advanced Sound for DSLR’s from Steve Weiss, Zacuto USA on Vimeo.

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Panasonic give credit where credits due

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pana-add

You can get this camcorder from H Preston Media or Creative Video both have links from this page

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The man behind “PluralEyes” syncing software

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pluraleyes-banner

I was so impressed with PluralEyes that I decided to buy it myself. I then became an end user and followed the great video tutorial to the book, the tutorial comes as part of the download.

I choose a first communion I had filmed last weekend…that was my 20th and last year with the same primary school. As usual we produced a 2 camera shoot, now to set the technical scene…the main camera a Sony EX-3 has 1 internal mic for ambiance and 1 external mic pointing at a speaker. The second camera a Panasonic HMC151 recording to SDHC card pointing at the alter and the lectern where we had a small radio mic taped onto their goose neck mic. The radio mic was only there to pick up the priest and the children as they were speaking.

I brought in about 2mins of  HD footage  from both cameras, remembering the radio mic was almost inaudible as it had no speakers pointing it’s way…well I nearly fell off my seat when I pressed the sync button to discover both video and audio were in perfect sync, my hat is off to Mr Sharpe.

pluraleyes-on-dockIt took an email to discover how to invoke the PluralEyes application as it is not that clear in the tutorial, I put the blue, orange, green icon on my dock.

I also discovered a minor bug that is being looked into about creating a Multicam clip and the media being off line when it’s clearly not. Now this might be a settings problem with my FCP but Bruce and his team are looking into this one.

I sent Bruce some questions…

1. I notice in your tutorial it mentions starting a new project…can you not start a new sequence in an older
project and call it PluralEyes.  If not why not. (Reason. It would be great to re-visit older 2-3 camera projects 
to re-sync them)

Good point and you’re right. There is no need to create a new project.

2. Is this application calculating sound files if so I assume HD and SD take the same time to analyze.

Yes, most of the time is taken analyzing audio, so there’s no major time difference between HD and SD. With regard to the time taken, it takes somewhat longer to process longer clips, but the more important factor is how many clips there are. It takes a few minutes to do a couple hours worth of material in 10 clips or so. But recently someone did a project with eight hours of material split among about 80 clips. That needed to run overnight. We weren’t really expecting that what’s people would do, but some do and we are looking at ways to speed it up even more.

3. I assume it’s better taking the PluralEyes ICON onto the Doc.

Sure, that works. Personally I’m a major user of Spotlight, so I hit command-spacebar, P-L-U, return to start PluralEyes. It would be nice to be able to start PluralEyes from within Final Cut but that has some limitations that mean having a separate app is the way it is for now.

4. Is there any conditions when syncing does not happen. ie. long video clips of about 60mins etc.

The PluralEyes matching algorithm is very robust under a wide range of conditions. That’s part of the secret sauce that makes it unique. About the only conditions where it might fail are (1) minimal overlap (e.g., 20 seconds overlap between two hour-long clips), or (2) really atrocious audio. An example of the latter was some clips we pulled from YouTube of a concert. One of the videos was taken on a cell phone and the person was making a loud phone call which drowned out the music. That proved to be a bit much. But for anything less extreme, it has proven to be very reliable over many hundreds of tests.

Having said that, we are always looking to improve the algorithm and are eager to investigate any time PluralEyes doesn’t work as expected.

5. Is this the level of fantastic support other customers can expect or will it usually be Monday to Friday 9-5

Ha, ha! YES! 🙂 It’s a result of a couple of things. First, we had hundreds of beta testers over a period of a few months, so most of the problems have been ironed out. The number of support incidents is therefore fairly small and we can spend the time needed to take care of them.  And, as above, we are very interested in making PluralEyes as solid as possible. We take very seriously the goal of automatically synchronizing with just the push of one button.

Second, the product has just come out very recently so if we’ve missed any problems this is the time when they are going to show up. The sooner we get on them and fix them, the happier everyone will be.

This is indeed great software and all in cost me $189 including a CD and tax…  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  

 http://www.singularsoftware.com/autosync/index.htm

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Productions

Syncing sound with Final Cut Pro from Singular Software

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Here’s a quick look at PluralEyes™, the application for
Final Cut Pro that automatically synchronizes audio and video cips,
without the need for timecode. Click the image below to view the video
(length 2:30).

 

 

This is a class piece of software I have been looking for a program that can do this for years. It costs $149 and take it from me that is a steel.  http://www.singularsoftware.com/autosync/index.html

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Reply to Panasonic

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pana-hpx301a-blue1QUOTE JAUME “If you compare ANY OTHER 1/3″ sensor camcorder you will realize that HPX301 is less noisy and far sharper (thanks to the full HD sensor).”

When I review a camcorder I also compare the camera against a Sony EX-3. Why ? The Ex-3 performs great at 9dB the maximum noise I will personally accept and is in the £7K sweet spot the watershed between professional affordability and camcorders that need a mortgage just to buy the lenses… Yes the Sony is 1/2″ but does that not tell you something.

In my opinion Panasonic have produced a camcorder to knock the Sony EX-3 off the number one slot in the £7K price bracket and by all accounts the HPX-301 has everything the EX-3 has and a lot more… you nearly had it in fact you reduced the P2 cards by two thirds kicking Sony’s SxS cards ‘off the pitch’ but for one major miscalculation…you crammed far too many pixels onto the 1/3″ chips causing excessive noise which is exacerbated if you switch on the gain. In my 27 years as a cameraman I have never seen this phenomenon “Dancing black dots” in the shadows which you can only see on a 42″ LCD/plasma 1920 x 1080 screen. NOTE. Web presentations even in HD do not show this as there is not enough resolution.

I am a stickler for camera noise, as we all know if a camera performs well at 6-9dB you have a camera worth it’s weight in gold.

Sony decided that although the EX range was cheaper and could potentially affect the upper level pro camcorder market they were not going to compromise on chip noise and picture quality a very good philosophy and has paid off.

Panasonic on the other hand did not want to compromise the dearer 2/3″ camcorders so they took a fatal decision by using 1/3″ chips into the body of an amazing camcorder, this should be the entry level gold star camcorder of all time but unacceptable noise at 6-9dB in all HD modes cripples this otherwise fantastic camcorder. 

I dispair Jaume you talk about 1/3″ sensor camcorders but I bet you have not compared the 301 against your very own 151 well surprise, surprise I have, and it kicks the pants off the 301 at 9dB !

Panasonic were thinking of using the 151 chipset for the 301 but decided it would not have enough resolution, fair play, but this means you also know how good the 151 performs if you even considered this. I can’t quite get my head round a company who produces a camcorder for £3K (151 AVCAM) then designs a world beating full featured P2 camcorder (HPX-301) for £7K that has a SN ratio of 47dB.

Don’t bring out an all singing all dancing camcorder if the most important feature… it’s video performance needs to be compromised in the fear of costing sales to your far superior P2 2/3″ range, I have seen this strategy time and time again, the spanner in the works just in case it costs sales. The spanner could have been anything else…but the picture…the most important part of the camera…what else can I say…once again Panasonic have been let down by a poor design decision that could cost this fantastic camcorder sales and credibility amongst the people who judge you the severest…the cameramen and women who spend their hard earned cash to use your fantastic HD video products.

Remember not everything ends up in HD in fact 99% of my work ends up in SD DVD. You do not see any noise in SD mode. In HD mode the noise is very slight if you stick to -3, 0dB and will be helped when Panasonic come back with their new camera settings.

I would like to thank Jaume for replying to my blog… if it proves one thing good old Panasonic are listening and that’s a big thumbs up for them.

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