Portable Full HD Capture System (HDMI + Intensity Pro) for <$800 at DVinfo.net

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Old May 11th, 2009, 11:53 PM   #1
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Portable Full HD Capture System (HDMI + Intensity Pro) for <$800

So here's the plan... I'm hoping to build this in the next few weeks, and hopefully it'll work...

Parts List
Blackmagic Intensity Pro HDMI Card - $188
Mini-ITX Case w/ 80watt PSU A-Open M270 - $50
Zotac 7050 Mini-ITX Motherboard - $55
Riser Cable for Blackmagic Card - $25
Intel E5200 Dual-core Processor - $70
4GB DDR2 800 Ram - $40
Silverstone NT07 Low Profile Heatsink - $20
1TB WD Green HDD - $90
Pelican 1500 w/o Foam - $80
Dell 17" S1709W - $80
12vt 12amp/hr Lead Acid/Valve Regulated Battery - $30
12vt 8amp Charger - $40
150Watt Car Inverter - $30

These are all pretty rough estimates, but it comes in around $800

I'm looking to fit this all into a Pelican 1500 case, I've done the measurements and without foam it should fit just fine...

The 17" Dell LCD would be mounted on the lid of the Pelican case, 1440 x 900 resolution and really cheap :) It uses 34Watts maximum, but we won't need to use the screen once we're recording (Atleast I don't plan to) so hopefully it doesn't get too much usage (10-15 minutes at the most) but it still needs to exist for now.

The HDD pulls about 6 watts while read/writing... processor and motherboard should be pretty low once they're under-volted, and I don't think the card should pull much either. The lower the power usage the longer I can record.

The idea is basically so I can get full 1920 x 1080 out of my FX7 (Or any camera with HDMI) at high bit-rates with no compression for cheap... and have it fit somewhat small... Also hopefully get 5-6 hours recording out of the battery... the less power I use the better... I have about a 12 x 6 x 4" space to fit the battery, inverter and AC adapter for the computer. the current battery is 6 x 4 x 4 so it takes up almost 50% of that...

And then to actually use the system would be a little USB trackpad/buttons, only to basically launch the program, start recording, then probably unplug it and unplug the monitor.

HDMI/Composite HD/HD-SDI DIY portable capture station tutorial on Vimeo

It's like this concept, except no $800 Magma box... no $800-1000 Laptop... without the monitor it should be less than a laptop, I'm hoping 30-40 watts while recording at most.

A better solution would be a find a way to have the program launch automatically when the computer is turned on, have a very small LCD that can give basic information like HDD space left and if the program is recording or not... So I wouldn't have to use a trackpad or a bulky 17" screen.

We could probably do without the pelican and the 17" LCD... instead use a smaller LCD with a touchscreen (Which would bump the cost up about $100) and then we could store it all in a backpack... it's not very protected, but you could just pull the LCD out to make any adjustments / view what's happening (7" LCD would run at 800 x 480 vs. 1440 x 900 of the 17") and it only pulls 9watts while being used vs. 30+

But it's not very protected in a backpack for the most part, things can get bumped around and moved, so I think securing everything in a pelican makes sense. it could probably taken as a carry-on too (I think the 1500 fits in that class still) although security might look at you funny and they probably don't allow lead-acid batteries on planes...

and if I found a backpack big enough to store the pelican inside I could wear it while filming too, probably weighing close to 30lbs.. I'm filming paintball so both options work... the other idea is I could just rest the case on the ground and just run a 10ft HDMI cable out, vs. wearing it on my back... just means I'd have to be picking up a tripod and a pelican whenever I moved.

Just sorta rambling on/coming up with ideas... if anyone has any questions/ideas/input... would be cool...

From what I've been reading if you use Cineform you don't need fast HDD's or a Raid for capture, but just a faster processor... E5200 is a 45nm (lower power) but still quite fast, it can be undervolted at stock speeds to hopefully lower power consumption (but not low enough to cause instability).

I'll update as I go along, I just bought the Blackmagic for testing on my main machine, but I plan to start ordering the rest of it shortly after :) Probably going to be lots of trial and error, but it should be fun...
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Old May 16th, 2009, 12:08 AM   #2
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Here's what I've been figuring out so far...

It looks like a Pelican 1510 might make more sense, it's the largest pelican you can use as a carry-on... (plus it has wheels/handle)

2nd, with a 1510 I can fit a 12vt 22amp battery which is 264 watt/hr vs 144watt/hr originally planned.. $40 for the battery, $30 for the charger, and $20 in other cables/misc pieces it's 7" x 7" x 3"

3rd, You can't take lead-acid batteries on the plane so you could ship the lead-acid, or you could build a lithium-ion pack... but to get close to 264 watt/hr's would be more than 5x the cost. ($250-300 when you're all done)..

4th, Newegg is having a special on a 15.6" Asus for $70 shipped, awesome deal, does 1366 x 768... Should be about 15" x 8.5" x 2.5"

Then with the 1510 I have more height but less width, so moving to a taller case can work, found one that is 8.5" x 10.5" x 4" little bit more expensive, but it comes with a 150watt DC board which I can probably sell for $60 and get a wide-input Pico PSU (This would let me use Lithium-Ion packs up to 22vt if I wanted)

And I got the BlackMagic card in today and got to play around with it really quickly, I think there's a pretty noticeable difference!
A = 100Mbit MPEG 1920 x 1080
B = 25mbit HDV 1440 x 1080

http://lousyhero.com/blaze/bmi/bmia1.jpg
http://lousyhero.com/blaze/bmi/bmib1.jpg

http://lousyhero.com/blaze/bmi/bmia2.jpg
http://lousyhero.com/blaze/bmi/bmib2.jpg

http://lousyhero.com/blaze/bmi/bmia3.jpg
http://lousyhero.com/blaze/bmi/bmib3.jpg

http://lousyhero.com/blaze/bmi/bmia4.jpg
http://lousyhero.com/blaze/bmi/bmib4.jpg

I also tried the uncompressed capture, but it doesn't look like it'd be worth it, it was closer to 800+mbit and that's not really feasble in any portable solution 420GB for an hour vs ~45GB for MPEG.. Uncompressed pegs the HDD's, Mpeg pegs the CPU... more

The good news I think is that with the 100mbit Mpeg, I should be able to use a single 1TB HDD to capture (And fit 18-20 hours of footage!), I saw about 25-30% CPU usage while capturing with my Q6600, so with an E5200 that usage might be closer to 50-60% but hopefully manageable.

This might turn into <$1000 vs. <$800 but still a good deal I think ;) if I can get the power usage around ~30 watts... it would last close to 8 hours on that battery.
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Old May 18th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #3
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Very cool.

So, what CODEC does the Intensity Pro record to?
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Old May 26th, 2009, 10:51 AM   #4
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Hi James,
At this point in time it records to two that come with Blackmagic design's software.Uncompressed and Motion jpeg.It is also supported by Cineform and I suppose prores on the mac side but I do not know.From June however the company is releasing Media express 2.

Quote from press release

'This new version is a major update that adds support for direct capture and playback of DPX, AVI and QuickTime files, as well as list based batch capture and playback. This software update also includes a major user interface overhaul.'

Opens things up a bit.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 01:09 PM   #5
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Very interested to hear how this system ends up working... the original Blackmagic HDMI capture card has been out for a while (2 years?) and with more cameras available with HDMI out, I'm surprised there's still no more portable (eg. laptop-based) solution for HDMI capture.
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Old June 6th, 2009, 09:10 PM   #6
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Is there any word on how this is working out? I'm interested in attempting something similar. Do tell if you've had any progress!
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Old June 8th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #7
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Matrox MXO2 Mini - Specifications

Io Express - AJA Video - Serial Digital Video Interface and Conversion
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Old June 8th, 2009, 08:18 PM   #8
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^

those do about the same thing correct? Which has the better codec? Unfortunatley my notebook doens't have a pci-e slot.. so I have to buy a new notebook.. what's the min spec you'd recommend for a notebook to pair this with? thanks!
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Old June 9th, 2009, 01:45 AM   #9
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I do not understand why Blackmagic-design has not produced the intensity in two version PCIe and PCIexpress, since it is basically the same thing except the form factor.

It should not ask more than redesigning the print circuit in order to fit in a PCiexpress 3/4 card, even if a good part of it has to protrude out of the slot, like do some firewire or e-sata adapter.
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Old June 9th, 2009, 01:51 AM   #10
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oh my gad, the matrox mini doesn't support 23.976fps ..so lame and renders this device completely useless for most people..
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Old June 9th, 2009, 10:05 AM   #11
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Expresscard slot is essential and also at least 2.4 ghz cpu is my suggestion.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 04:42 AM   #12
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wait, now I just read a spec that states the matrox mini supports 1080i at 59.94, which I assume is 23.98 in a container... so confusing.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #13
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You'd have to do a 3:2 pulldown from 1080i60 to 1080p24.

I'm seriously considering the Matrox MXO2 Mini. I'm trying to figure out how to retrofit this to make it (semi) portable. I'd connect the MXO2 Mini to my Macbook Pro via PCIExpress Card, but I still need to power the MXO2 Mini. Anybody have any suggestions for batteries to use for that?

I'm also thinking that if I get an external (maybe touchscreen) monitor, I could store the laptop (with lid closed), MXO2 mini and battery in a backpack. Then I can just start and stop recording from the external monitor. Any suggestions or objections?

On a separate note, what's the opinion on good cameras to pipe into this type of setup? Something as small as a Canon HF S10? Larger like a Panasonic HMC150? I also have an old JVC HD100 that I'm curious how it would look. Any other cameras that would be any better? Would love to hear opinions!
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Old August 24th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #14
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any updates?
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