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Old April 10th, 2016, 08:56 PM   #1
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HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

I have been using the HDMI output of my camera to produce sport for a high profile sports client.

I live stream, record, and on occasion, output a signal for a large stadium screen.

Last weekend, at a large sports venue, a much more experienced AV technician referred to HDMI as being a "four letter word", unreliable etc. And I get it. It's not SDI. But it has been working for me.

I am looking to move to an SDI set-up for this client soon. But I am trying to extract as much value as I can out of the current rig.

How have others been going with HDMI in your paid/professional work? Never again? Horses for courses? Couldn't complain?

Cheers.
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Old April 10th, 2016, 11:05 PM   #2
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

I use HDMI just for a client monitor sometimes, and even then it is flaky. I would never want to use it for a mission-critical application.

With actors and a script, if your HDMI connection goes wonky, at least you can yell "cut" and go again. With live sports I would hate to jerk the camera on the winning goal and lose the feed at a critical moment. Might lose that moment forever.

That said, I understand that there is an amount of budget for everything. Your national sports teams probably have more money for video than your college sports teams, and they again more than your local high school sports, who have more money than the local pee-wee league. If you were doing it for a national-level sports team I'd probably call you an idiot, and if you asked how long you could get away with it at a high school, I'd probably say forever. Do the best with what you have. If you can sell it and buy something with SDI for the same money, I'd do it in an instant.
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Old April 11th, 2016, 08:20 AM   #3
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
I use HDMI just for a client monitor sometimes, and even then it is flaky. I would never want to use it for a mission-critical application.
Cheap cables, poor management, long runs. Back in the day my SDI connection from the HPX170 to my DP6 would blink quite a bit. Just in that particular setup (using HDMI from a Canon 60D/Panasonic GH2 was no problem).

Quote:
With live sports I would hate to jerk the camera on the winning goal and lose the feed at a critical moment. Might lose that moment forever.
Which is why you always record ISOs in camera. SDI is not 100% reliable.
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Old April 11th, 2016, 09:09 PM   #4
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miggy Sanchez View Post
I have been using the HDMI output of my camera to produce sport for a high profile sports client.

I live stream, record, and on occasion, output a signal for a large stadium screen.

Last weekend, at a large sports venue, a much more experienced AV technician referred to HDMI as being a "four letter word", unreliable etc. And I get it. It's not SDI. But it has been working for me.

I am looking to move to an SDI set-up for this client soon. But I am trying to extract as much value as I can out of the current rig.

How have others been going with HDMI in your paid/professional work? Never again? Horses for courses? Couldn't complain?

Cheers.
I have used HDMI in professional workflows- For doing live, multi-camera productions I have gone from a camera's HDMI out straight into a HDMI/SDI converter at the camera, then SDI to the switcher. The converter is mounted on the camera, so it moves with it, thus the HDMI cable is never strained. This is an extremely short cable run, only six inches. From the switcher, I use HDMI to go into a Hyperdeck recorder. Again, both the switcher and the hyperdeck are rack mounted, and the cable length is very short.

Additionally, when shooting single camera with my C100 I have used HDMI to connect to an Atmos monitor/recorder and to feed the director's monitor. However, when shooting single camera like this, I always make sure to shoot another take for safety.

So yes, I have used HDMI in my work flow. But, especially when utilized in a live event workflow, I keep the cable length under 12 inches and I make sure the HDMI connectors are never having any kind of force or movement applied to them.
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Old April 12th, 2016, 07:33 AM   #5
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

Cable management plays a huge role. In my job as a video gear sales/demo guy, I visit a lot of different facilities from high schools and community media centers to more high-end facilities, and it boggles my mind that without exception, every one of them has the video cables just sticking out the side of the camera and dangling five feet down to the ground, all that weight straining the connector and just waiting to get snagged by a foot or something - it boggles my mind!

I've been using HDMI cameras, recorders, monitors, switchers for years in my own video productions and have never had an issue with signal loss (and of course analog before that as well). HDMI cable coming out of the camcorder gets looped and tied back to camera or tripod for strain relief/safety and provides a positive connection.

Does HD-SDI provide a more reliable and secure connection? Of course it does, but SDI gear is not in everyone's budget, although more cameras in the $2000 range are now including HD-SDI these days.

Your client may look down their nose at you for using HDMI, but if you get the job done right, what's the difference in the end? The quality is the same.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
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Old April 12th, 2016, 01:13 PM   #6
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

+1 Jeff, I could not agree more about cable relief. So important and so easy to do yet not practiced enough.

Its not the client that scoffed. It was an uppity AV tech. I am one, but not the uppity part. This is about more than just the type of cable HDMI vs. HD-SDI, its about are they the right cable? Both come in several flavors. There are five standards for HDMI and even more for BNC connected coax. Both the signal you are sending, the length of the run, and the quality of the cable matter. If your using the right cable for your purpose don't worry about the attitude of the tech who probably has a big company behind him to buy all of his broadcast quality gear. Here is the catch. If you think your going to do this more you should have your own HDMI to SDI converter as mentioned above. That is because if your going to interface with high end gear you WILL run into situations where HDMI is not an option. At least he could take your feed. A lot of (if not most) broadcast switchers do not have HDMI inputs on them. If you are going to feed a jumbo tron it is your responsibility to provide a proper signal. That is where you can get in real trouble.

Just because a cable has BNC (British Naval Connection) on it does not mean it is adequate for HD-SDI transmission. Next time your in that situation look at the SDI cables he is using. They should have 75 ohm labeled on them or they are probably not HD-SDI rated.

To transmit HD video at 1080P a HDMI cable should meet the "HDMI High Speed" standard.

Cable quality also greatly affects usable distance. A high quality "HDMI High Speed" cable is good for about 10 meters. I have one and have never had packet loss. I have seen 50 foot HDMI runs with no booster but I would not do it. The sending and receiving devices also have a big impact on long run efficiency.

The good news when it comes to long runs is we are sending digital signals. It works or it does not work. If it does not work you experience digital packet loss or no signal. If it works the image quality is not degraded by the long run. Compared to the analog days when a long run would degrade the overall quality of the signal but the picture might still get there.

Personally I like the AJA converter boxes much more that BMD. But thats my opinion.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old April 13th, 2016, 07:21 PM   #7
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

Thanks guys. Really appreciate the responses and I have taken something from all of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Pulera View Post
Cable management plays a huge role.

I HDMI cable coming out of the camcorder gets looped and tied back to camera or tripod for strain relief/safety and provides a positive connection.

Your client may look down their nose at you for using HDMI, but if you get the job done right, what's the difference in the end? The quality is the same.
I am quite paranoid about cable management. I use HDMI cables with a locking mechanism at the connection point. They seem pretty secure with some token pressure applied. Do you rate those locking mechanisms Jeff? I consider them to be but one line of defence, rather than ultimate security.

Another question: does coiling/looping the HDMI cable affect the signal in any way? Does looping the cable weaken/degrade the cable fibres over time?

And I agree that HDMI is getting the job done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges
If you think your going to do this more you should have your own HDMI to SDI converter as mentioned above. That is because if your going to interface with high end gear you WILL run into situations where HDMI is not an option.

The good news when it comes to long runs is we are sending digital signals. It works or it does not work. If it does not work you experience digital packet loss or no signal. If it works the image quality is not degraded by the long run. Compared to the analog days when a long run would degrade the overall quality of the signal but the picture might still get there.


Hi Steven. I use BM's Ultrastudio Express, which loops the HDMI signal out of the SDI OUT. Has worked at both national stadium and a good size entertainment centre. But I am pretty sure I have read you are not a BM fan...but the UltraStudio Express has been nothing short of solid. I have not been able to find fault with it.

Really useful knowledge regards long runs/degradation of signal. Cheers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Grunseth
...and I make sure the HDMI connectors are never having any kind of force or movement applied to them.
Check! Most of my stuff at the moment is just me, so I know exactly where the cables are and the physics being applied. Beyond paranoid in this area!
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Old April 13th, 2016, 07:34 PM   #8
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
I would never want to use it for a mission-critical application.

With actors and a script, if your HDMI connection goes wonky, at least you can yell "cut" and go again. With live sports I would hate to jerk the camera on the winning goal and lose the feed at a critical moment. Might lose that moment forever.

That said, I understand that there is an amount of budget for everything.

Do the best with what you have. If you can sell it and buy something with SDI for the same money, I'd do it in an instant.
Hi Mike. Yep, totally agree with all you have said.
I am sort of at "mission critical" stage in what has been a part-time "career" the last 6 years. I feel like the investments in gear and learning/troubleshooting etc. are infinite, especially as video becomes increasingly common/free/competitive/saturated etc.

Thus, I am trying to milk the current the set-up whilst I contemplate my potential future in this industry. In the interim, having learned about and operated a prosumer/consumer HDMI workflow has been a revelation. Thankfully, failure rate has been very low, "almost" negligible.


Cheers.
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Old April 13th, 2016, 09:49 PM   #9
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

Hey man, I get it. I have probably $40-50k worth of stuff floating around and I always wish I had more. Another GoPro, a longer lens, a nicer camera, better tripod. When I worked TV news we had 19 broadcast camera kits - and you were always scrounging for a 2nd kit or a filter or something.

Your HDMI connection won't kill anybody. That's why I didn't go into med school!
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 05:23 PM   #10
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
Your HDMI connection won't kill anybody. That's why I didn't go into med school!
Mike, I have yet to experience a true death when the SH** hits the fan during a live show. I have however witnessed several presenters and meeting planners having heart attacks. Not the least of which was a Surgeon who I saw cry on stage in Paris in front of 1400 of his colleagues when his PowerPoint files would not open (primary and back up). I was on switch in a control booth at the back of the theater and he could see me. He stomped his feet and melted down like a five year old whose brother ate his ice cream. His verbal assault on me was so dramatic the A1 had to lower his audio level to almost nothing and everyone in the house was turned around looking at me to see who he was belittling. Of the five meeting planers and assistants that rushed into the booth screaming at me to DO SOMETHING I heard one of them say "I have that presentation on this jump drive. Will that help?" Thank god for a voice of reason!

I can laugh about it now but at the time it was a crisis. After five years of flawless, international, five day events, each in a different country, we lost the client. The Doctor who melted down was the PRESIDENT of the association! Once he dried his eyes he never spoke to me again!

Oh well, thats show business. A business associate of mine who was there now loves to tell the story and claims my greatest accomplishment was making a doctor cry on stage!

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old May 3rd, 2016, 07:33 PM   #11
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

HDMI can be unreliable at the best of times and a live event can be scary if it pops out or just dies.

I would get better HDMI cables, yes they do matter. I've used cheap cables that suddenly just die for no reason or they work on some cameras and not others, just weird.

Also get a HDMI to SDI converter. I use the Blackmagic mini converter HDMI to SDI, had this thing for years and has never stopped.

Also I'm stating the obvious… short runs on HDMI and tape or tie all connections and then have a backup plan.
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Old June 5th, 2016, 08:03 PM   #12
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

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Also get a HDMI to SDI converter. I use the Blackmagic mini converter HDMI to SDI, had this thing for years and has never stopped.
Simon,

Thanks for your contribution.

Do you, or anyone else for that matter, know if there is a significant delay in that conversion from HDMI source signal to the outputted SDI?

I need to connect to a big stadium screen on occasion for live sports, so cannot have a delay.

Hope that makes sense.

Cheers!
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Old June 5th, 2016, 10:07 PM   #13
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
If you think your going to do this more you should have your own HDMI to SDI converter as mentioned above.

That is because if your going to interface with high end gear you WILL run into situations where HDMI is not an option.

Personally I like the AJA converter boxes much more that BMD. But thats my opinion.
Have indeed followed the advice to purchase HDMI-SDI converter.

After considerable research, I have ordered an ATOMOS Connect H2S - HDMI to SDI. Two SDI outputs.

https://www.thestreamingguys.com.au/...s-hdmi-to-sdi/

The decision was a "middle path" one. AJA just out of my budget right now, and BM ignored in favour of trying out another proprietor's gear.

Will endeavour to report back on findings as I get this out into the field over the next few weeks.

Cheers.
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Old August 28th, 2016, 07:45 PM   #14
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Re: HDMI in Professional/Paid Workflows: Who's Using It?

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Originally Posted by Miggy Sanchez View Post
Have indeed followed the advice to purchase HDMI-SDI converter.

After considerable research, I have ordered an ATOMOS Connect H2S - HDMI to SDI. Two SDI outputs.

https://www.thestreamingguys.com.au/...s-hdmi-to-sdi/

Will endeavour to report back on findings as I get this out into the field over the next few weeks.
I have now used the ATOMOS Connect H2S - HDMI to SDI for approx 45 hours of live production, including usage at a very large sports stadium on two distinct occasions feeding one of its two SDI outputs to the big screen.

The device has not missed a beat since simply plugging in and playing. Instruction manual is thorough and well-written. The device, its charger, 9V AC adaptor and external battery were all well packaged and remain so.

The external battery has a stated working life of 10 hours. However, I would say that is a little overstated.

8 hours would be the most I'd attempt to use the battery before either changing it, or plugging in and using the adaptor.

The device allows you to hot swap batteries/adaptor, as it contains an internal battery with a life of 1 hour. I have not pushed this feature, preferring to quickly swap out the external battery for the AC adaptor.

The battery charger's indicator for when a battery has been fully charged does not seem to work. This is also supported by another user's review on the internet. However, this is far from a deal breaker IMHO.

Thanks to the guys above for suggesting an HDMI-SDI converter for my work flow! Only wish I had known about it earlier!!!!
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