Camera Motion Research is now offering Flexible Thin HDMI Cables which are often sought for when using monitors on Gimbals stabilizers. The lightweight thin cable prevents influence to the camera's stabilization, and many of their cables are available with right angle connections.
Today many people are using smaller gimbals with smaller cameras, and it could be a tight fit to get to the HDMI output. They even offer a unique Type D to Type D HDMI cable which is not common, especially with a right angle + flexible thin design. This is perfect for many accessories such as the SlingStudio CameraLink.
I've used quite a few different (somewhat affordable) wireless video transmitters, and the one that seems to be most consistent with long range has been the Connex Kits. There is a full size Connex version capable of 1,000m LOS range, and a newer Connex Mini that transmits 500m LOS range (that's still quite a distance!). There are some short comings to the Connex system when using it for video cameras, as these kits were originally designed for Drone use streaming full 1080p up to 60fps.
Some of the cons for on-camera video use are that it requires a battery, but there are no battery mounts. Also there are no standard mounts to attach to your video rigs. Finally it doesn't transmit audio (if you need this). But for distance, reliability, performance, and price the Connex kits are darn good. To make life easier, Camera Motion Research created a special frame and battery kit for us shooters.
The latest mod for their Connex Mini kits is adding an SDI to HDMI converter. This allows someone like me to now use the Connex Mini kit with professional cameras that only offer SDI out, and does it in a clean, simple, and easy way. All of the new hardware is still within the custom modded frame kit, and it's all powered by a single cable (via D-tap).
I'm often running Multicam Live Switching at events and one of the biggest headaches is runnning SDI Cable across the floors. It's not easy running cables and taping them down. This also prevents the cameras from being mobile. But with a wireless video kit, you can move freely around the event. With this new mod, you basically have a tiny high performing wireless HD video kit that can support both HDMI or SDI inputs. Here's a test of latency below.
Keep in mind that in my latency test, the Connex Mini does not transmit audio. My audio source is coming in from another input into the ATEM Switcher. Both feeds were recorded to a Hyperdeck Mini and you can see it's just about perfect in sync. With this type of setup, that camera is now free to roam up to 1600 Feet away from the receiver, and we can still Live Switch during a Live Production.
If you are working with the Connex Wireless HD Video kits, and you experience latency, that could possibly be caused by your camera's output. Some cameras will have a 3-6 frame delay and you'll notice this when connected to any monitor. I personally have moved to working with the Ursa Mini cameras for my Live Production, as this camera offers almost no delay on SDI output, and with SDI I can do long runs up to 300 feet (HDMI limit is around 12 feet).
Having a director's monitor available on set is one of the best tools to have when working with anyone that needs to view the videos being shot from your camera so that they can offer creative input, or at times this tool is used for someone pulling focus remotely (especially when your camera is mounted to a gimbal). You can also use this when mounting your camera at the end of a long JIB / Crane, or when you have a remote camera that needs to stream video back to a Live Switch. Tons of useful reasons to have a Wireless Video Streaming kit on hand.
What is your typical Multi-camera Setup when recording a performance, recital, concert, etc? Well here's a quick look at my most basic gear for three static camera angles. I typically go with (3) Panasonic GH4 cameras as I love the super long battery life, and 4K video recording all day (deliver 1080 but flexible in post for faux zooms and crops).
If i'm doing a 3 camera angle shoot, I find it's easier to match footage when you have the exact same cameras (same color profile, set same exposure, etc).
I also make sure to add a good microphone to each camera as you need really good scratch audio to do a quick sync in post. As a backup I also run timecode on all cameras and match them as close possible for post sync. In the photo you'll see i'll use either a Rode VideoMic Pro or Azden SMX-30.
I also try to use Sandisk 128GB SDXC Cards so I don't have to swap cards during the event, and record each video clip as long as possible. I find it's easier to sync a few long clips in post than a hundred small clips. Once the clips are synced in post, it's easy to cut out all the dead time.
For audio, I make sure to bring a few portable audio recorders (like Zoom H1) and set them up close to Audio Speakers, but i'll bring a Multitrack recorder (like Zoom H6) to plug directly into the sound board. The Zoom H6 offers dual recording in case sound peaks, and worst case scenario I can sometimes grab audio from the cameras (since they are mic'd up).
Finally and totally optional, i've rigged up a dual monitor setup with Camera Motion Research Connex Wireless Video Kits. Super reliable and long range systems. So while i'm operating the main camera, I can get a feed from the two other camera angles and make sure I have a clear visual what everyone is covering. With our wireless headsets, I can direct the other two operators to make sure we cover the entire performance.
So that's a quick look at the core parts of how I tackle these quick Multi-camera angle shoots. Do you have any favorite pieces of gear of tips you'd like to share?
A short while back Amimon made available a Wireless HD Video Kit primarily targeted for Drone use called the Connex. The Connex kit could stream Full 1080p HD Video up to 60fps at a distance of 3300ft with incredibly low latency. The kit, not originally designed for video shooters was quickly modified by Camera Motion Research and has since been a popular affordable choice for those looking to send wireless HD video.
Keep in mind the Connex Mini does not stream audio, but the main stand out features for the Connex Mini are it's compact size, stream long distances up to 1600 ft, almost zero latency, and more importantly the ability Multicast up to 4 receivers (if you're looking to expand your kit in the future). These combined features are normally only found on more expensive systems.
So what other applications would need Wireless HD Video? Besides drone use, or on set sending feed to a director's monitor, this can be setup on a gimbal or Steadicam while someone else pulls focus remotely (low latency is important on this one). It can also be used on a Cable Cam setup or to send wireless video back to a Multicam Switcher during live events. There's multiple reasons why you may one day require wireless video, and the Connex Mini is a good option to keep in your radar. You can get more information about the Connex Mini and custom accessories available from Camera Motion Research at CAMOTIONLLC.com (here).
We take time out to chat with Rich from Camera Motion Research about the new Connex Mini Kit. The Amimon Connex Mini is a Highly Reliable transmitter and receiver kit designed to take the feed from your camera's HDMI output and send it wirelessly over 1600 Feet (500 Meters) to a receiver which can then be displayed on an HDMI monitor. These kits are high performance offering Full 1080p up to 60fps transmissions with almost no latency. The catch is that the Connex Mini is originally designed for Drone use. This means it would normally take a bit of fumbling for you to mount to your Video Cameras along with a portable way to power the kit.
Because these systems can be more reliable than other off-the-shelf wireless video kits, Camera Motion Research has designed a custom accessory pack which includes a frame with threaded mounts for simple rigging and incorporated a lightweight portable rechargeable battery pack solution. With these custom modifications, video camera operators can use attach the kits in seconds offering access to a highly reliable wireless video solution for less money. Of course the cost is reflected by the lack of audio and no SDI inputs (only HDMI) when compared to other expensive units that may offer similar range.
Wireless Video Kits are often used when Steadicam or Gimbal Operators have to send their camera's feed to a director's monitor, when a camera is mounted to a Cable Cam (Wire Cam), Gimbal RC Car, on a custom built Drone, etc. It can also be used for today's demand for Live Streaming videos by sending your feed back to a Multi-Cam Live Switch.
In this interview video, Rich from Camera Motion Research demos the iFootage Minicrane M1 III. This tool-less Carbon Fiber telescoping portable Jib offers it's own panning base (no heavy duty fluid head required), quick leveling of the camera platform, and even Auto Tilt parallax-like tracking during vertical moves. The iFootage Minicrane M1 III weighs just 8lbs, can extend to a full 85 inches, and supports up to 33 lbs camera setups.
The iFootage Wild Bull T5 Tripod is a great choice for those looking for a tripod that is lightweight, compact, and has a high load capacity of 88 lbs. The T5 is anodized aluminum construction. It has a 59 in. maximum height, a minimum height of 8 in., and weighs only 8.8 lb. Collapsed length is 28.3 inches. Bowl diameter is 75mm.
Adjustable feet spikes and feet pads allow the tripod to function in uneven terrain. The locking legs can be adjusted to any angle from 15° to 78°. The quick release locking lever design allows fast lock and release of the tripod legs with just one hand. Its spreader is easily moved from bottom to mid section. The T5 includes a padded carrying case with comfortable shoulder strap and side handle.
Both the iFootage Minicrane M1 III and the iFootage Wild Bull T5 Tripod are available now at the Camera Motion Research Website at https://Camotionllc.com (here).
The kit includes a Battery Cage and Antenna Support for the Air Unit (TX), a Battery Cage for the Ground Unit (RX), Power Cables, Shoe Mount adapter with thumbscrews, thin 19 inch Flexible HDMI (A) to mini HDMI (C), two 12V rechargeable Lithium batteries, two AC battery chargers, and spare mounting screws. This kit is an add-on that modifies the Connex so that the TX and RX can be powered with their own portable battery along with simple mounting options to use with camera and remote monitor.
The Connex is an extremely reliable full 1080 HD Video transmitter that can achieve 1080p up to 60fps over 1000 Meters away. The omni-directional broadcast means that it is not as sensitive to direct line of sight as other kits, and we've even used the system through obstacles (several walls) without a hiccup. If you're not familiar with this system, I have a product overview of the Connex (here).
The Amimon Connex kit from CMR has been modified for ease of use with your video cameras by attaching a custom battery pack frame to both the transmitter and receiver, includes modified power cables, and also adding 1/4-20 threaded mounts for mounting to a hotshoe or rig (among other small accessories added to the kit).
Even though this particular Connex kit has been modified, you can always remove the battery mount if you want to use it for your Professional Drone. For those who aren't familiar, Amimon chipsets are licensed to other big brand wireless video transmitters (i.e.Teradek), so they are proven to be reliable and robust. The value in the Connex kit specifically is that it does lack SDI inputs and does not transmit Audio. This system is for HDMI use only (but you can always add an SDI to HDMI converter).