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Old March 11th, 2008, 04:29 AM   #1
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DIY portable HDMI recorder for under $1000!?

Hi there,

I just thought that theoretically it is possible to make a HDMI intensity recorder for under $1000. Tell me what am I missing here:
  • Asus eee PC Win XP with one free/open Mini PCIE slot ($400) if it uses Mini PCIe for wireless or for additional cards
  • RAM upgrade to 2GB simm ($50?)
  • Mini PCIE to PCIE conversion cable ($?)
  • And Blackmagic intensity on that ($350)
  • Maybe additional power for Intensity card ($?)
  • Some sort of a enclosure for that added Intensity card under the laptop as it is designed for regular PCIe port($?)
  • Oh, add some software expenses like for the XP too

It would weight about 1,5kg at max with 7" display, power adapters and all.

Doesn`t seem that hard at first glance.

Possible problems related to write speeds @ USB or internal SD card reader and SD card speed itself? The speed of the laptop processor(s)? Capture to Online JPG would at least work I assume.
If any other more expensive dual core laptop would be used that had a real firewire port/card for ext drives the write speed and capacity problem could be solved maybe. That would mean at least $2000 recorder that can double as on location editing station too - not that bad.

The main question is that if the Mini PCIe port on a laptop can be wired to regular PCIe for accepting Blackmagic Intensity and if all the data from camcorder can be stored at sufficient speed and capacity.

Who would buy a $3000 portable intensity recorder if a MacBook Pro had an integrated Blackmagic-like HDMI card recording to swappable, loop-recordable 64GB CF/SD media encoded in lossless wavelet codec or something. There must be a catch somewhere.

Cheers,
T

Last edited by Toenis Liivamaegi; March 11th, 2008 at 05:30 AM.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 05:42 AM   #2
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First problem: miniPCIe port on EEE is not on every model. They droped out this on some markets because they can't produce so many units.

Second problem: you can't connect directly miniPCIe to PCIe, there have to be some electronics between. This adapter exists but it is still not commercialy avaliable, and it works with some stuff and dont work with other.
http://www.adexelec.com/pciexp.htm#PEMINI2X1

Third problem: EEE bus&proc speed to encode in mjpeg. I have doubts that this is capable machine to do this. There is probably enough speed to save to external USB drive. But this also can make problems when long clips have to be taken or when drive becomes over 3/4 full. And so meny cables runing around is not so practical and safe either...

Maybe this motherboard is better solution so you can choose your options but again it has problem with miniPCIe an is not something that you can buy online:
http://www.ieiworld.com/en/product_I...odel=NANO-9453
but it is closest to what you can get for camera computer with lots of options like dual VGA, dual Glan. (it lacks firewire as usual...)

There is also another solution like USB to FW cable(with some electronics inside) if someone wants hdv direct to EEE and I hope its working (I cant find any info if this actualy working on any pc at all)
http://www.pixela.co.jp/en/products/...u1w/index.html
This would solve just tapelles recording with some free capture software...
but not HDMI 422 mjpeg stuff.

Last edited by Igor Babic; March 11th, 2008 at 02:01 PM.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 03:08 AM   #3
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I tried looking into single board computers and the like to see if I could do what your doing. I ran into a bunch of little awkward problems, but with power and housing the thing, it would come out to be about the size of a mac mini.

the awkwardness was mostly around input devices and a monitor. I didn't really want to be using a hack playstation controller, nor have to deal with either an on-screen or real keyboard.

I think it can be done. Not the way you saying it perhaps, but it can be.

I personally thought to go with a small desktop, since I would only need it for studio work.
I'd also have to agree with Igor. That machine probably isn't gonna have the horse power.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 04:00 AM   #4
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Here is another contender for tapeless aqusition (not for Intensity).
With pixela USB2FW cable, who knows...
http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/embedded/artigo/

It can be smaller in custom built case if you are handy with tools. It has DC-DC board inside so it is easy to adopt to some Lion battery. Instead of 2.5" HDD you can put IDE to CF card reader for video and PATA DOM for system.

Sorry for off topic but I dont see any SFF PC to handle Intesity. Smallest and easyest to buy board is still MiniITX sized.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 02:24 PM   #5
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I wonder about previewing footage with those C7 boards. I think at this point though, the subject is going more towards tapeless acquisition than getting the full 422.

You can get a full sized mini itx board and a riser to handle the intensity card.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130109
there are a few more too.

If you get the hdmi only version of the intensity card, you might realistically be able to do this for about $1000.

I was just pricing the computer at about $600, but you can probably shave some money off that. You'd just need the intensity, case, monitor, input devices, and power. So say $1200 it's very do-able.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 02:56 AM   #6
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Wearable Computer System for HD Capture

Intensity Capture Station
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Old March 13th, 2008, 03:26 AM   #7
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Serge, Samuel,
Thats exactly my point. For under 1K$ for now you can probaly only get tapelles aquisition that is portable enough to put on some rail system (or in a pocket) and again probably without monitoring, just as a slave recorder. Linux has tools for this as I can see on their forums.

MiniITX sized motherboards with 945/965 chipsets are only way to go as Serge has posted in links from this forum. But this goes over 1K$ and is only practical if you are in a studio or event that need static camera and you are close to mains power.

I was under impression that Toenis wants something more portable, so I have slightly moved this topic to tapelles. Sorry...

If we can put pressure on Adexelec to sell their product freely ( btw. it costs under 100$!), we can probably put Intensity in almost every modern Laptop with miniPCIe.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 05:07 AM   #8
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Here is another SFF industrial board that you can't buy online, and price is still very high but is small enough and it has PCIe connector soldering point on motherboard. Manufacturer and their distributors needs about 100pc or so order to put actual PCIex1 connector on it. Check manual to see what I am talking about. Here is link:

http://www.dsl-ltd.co.uk/productspec.aspx?ProdID=PB-945

This is about 10x10cm size and only 5V powered Core2Duo MB with 945gm laptop chipset, Gige, Dual sata, PCI(PC104+)...
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Old March 13th, 2008, 05:45 AM   #9
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I've been working on this concept for months now and I'm afraid it's time to burst some bubbles.

The Asus mini-laptop cannot interface with PCI Express. Its PCI Express mini card only has the USB connections working (like ExpressCard, PCIe Mini has support for both USB and PCIe x1 devices).

Secondly the EEE has nowhere near enough CPU power to compress high definition video on the fly. Therefore you're looking at 120MB/s writing rate. Maybe the SSD can handle that, but you'll get barely any video recorded. Buying a 64GB SSD is hardly cost effective either and still won't let you record much before you need to swap drives.

I have worked on a PCI Express Mini Card to PCIe x1 connector and you will have the following problems with it:

1. Laptop BIOSes *really* don't like Blackmagic cards. I've tried four laptops with both Intensity and Intensity Pro and none have worked. Other PCIe x1 cards, such as SATA cards and network cards have worked perfectly.

2. You need to provide additional power to run the card, the extent of which (in terms of ampage) is too much for a laptop battery to handle.

So basically you can effectively kiss goodbye to the concept of PCIe Mini Card working, and kiss goodbye to an integrated high definition laptop.

So, onto the Mini-ITX concept. This has been proven and it works. The only problem is that if you want a realtime preview window, you're going to need a dedicated PCI Express graphics card. Integrated graphics chips just offload most of the work to the CPU, which produces one or two results: either a very jerky preview update, or else a passable preview update but lost frames on the capture.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 06:40 PM   #10
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[offtopic]Richard, i've send to you few times answer on your request, but emails was returned:
"Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender"[/offtopic]

New mini ITX mobo: http://www.liantec.com/product/emboard/ITX-6965.htm
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Old March 14th, 2008, 05:19 AM   #11
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That's a nice looking board. Most of the mITX cases don't have room for a secondary expansion slot though, so that MXM module looks kinda superfluous.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 04:37 PM   #12
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So that's just it.
You can do it, but not something that's going to get beyond a semi-portable desktop.
As Richard pretty much points out, you might as well carry a desktop along with you.

My personal feeling is that 422 color space is only needed for those times that you are going to be doing compositing work. For me that only happens when I'm in a situation where I'm setting up lighting in a studio situation, so I can take the time to set up a desktop. And if you work with after effects or do any 3d rendering, the extra computer can be quite a help when render time comes.
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Old March 14th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #13
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Has anyone attempted this with a Core2Duo Mac Mini? The bluetooth port is a mini PCIe port. Would this be a cantidate, or would it be unworkable in the same manner as the other solutions that Richard has looked at?
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Old March 15th, 2008, 04:18 AM   #14
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Been there, done that ;)

The Bluetooth port on a Mac Mini is actually USB. The Airport card though is PCIe Mini Card (WiFi), and Intensity will work with it using the appropriate adaptor. But not Intensity Pro.

You're still left with a huge number of variables to work through though:

1. Where are you actually going to put the HD card? There's no space within the Mini. You'd be looking at fabricating a new lid.

2. Where are you going to get the additional power? The PCI Express spec requires the PCIe card having a maximum consumption of 3A at 3.3V, 2.1A at 12V and 0.375A at 3.3V_Aux. There no additional power inputs available on the Mac, or indeed any laptop either.

3. You still cannot run a realtime preview window due to the crippled integrated graphics on the Mini.

4. Where are you going to get a PCIe to PCIe Mini Card adaptor, short of sourcing your own, as I did?

5. Mac Mini only comes with a 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo - not really fast enough for 1080p capture with CineForm; CineForm being the only quality option available considering you're limited to the small-ish bandwidth of a 2.5" SATA drive. The Mini can be updated with a 2.33GHz Core 2 which is fast enough (just) *but* is another $400 expense.

If you're going to go portable, and can do without a realtime preview window, go Mini-ITX. It's not *that* much bigger than a Mac Mini. Santa Rosa CPUs can handle CineForm easily (I bench 1080i capture at 45fps using a Penryn T9500 at 2.6GHz), plus you could use a 1TB SATA drive, and you could just slot in the Intensity into a PCIe x1 slot rather than mucking about with an interface that is really only designed for WiFi cards and cellular modems.

Check out Serge's Wearable Computer System link for a practical example.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 03:08 AM   #15
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im going to bring this back from the dead.

i have been working on a notebook intensity solution for a while, mostly focusing around and external box via expresscard but there were many issues with that. now ive finally thought of something that will work. it would be doable for the advanced do it yourselfer, but i plan on offering predone systems as well on a one at a time basis if theres a demand.

you guys are on the right track with that converter the principle is basically the same as mine. my target is to use the flexi version of the converter to route an empty mini slot of a 12" core 2 duo 2.5ghz tablet pc into the cdrom bay where an intensity will be housed. a tap from a USB port 5v power to a 5-12v up converter powers the card. a hand made aluminium bracket holds the intensity in place in the dvd bay.

you lose the cdrom bay, and you have to dissasemble the notebook significantly to route the cable, but it should work perfectly. this tablet has 2 minicard slots, so it wont interfere with the wifi card.

this notebook also has an expresscard slot available to run an external 5 drive raid 0 array giving the option of uncompressed, BM codec, or cineform neoHD. im working on a battery powered 2.5" raid box as well better portability than a 3.5" 5 bay case but i dont expect to get that done soon.

being a small tablet, its ideal for shoving in a backpack, on a desk, or mounted to the camera rig itself.

heres the tablet i will use: http://www.pro-star.com/index.cfm?ma...=gallery#gotop. its about $1500 fully decked out.

this will work with many newer notebooks, as well as the a-open mp965 mini pc, the one ive chosen seems to have the best blend of size, power, features and price at the moment.

anyhow, feel free to steal my idea :) i wont be able to get mine going til later in may, so if one of you guys manages something quicker, id like to see it running.
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