Setup for 5D on a Steadicam Scout at DVinfo.net

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Old November 3rd, 2012, 10:37 AM   #1
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Setup for 5D on a Steadicam Scout

Well I'm having a lot of trouble trying to setup the connections I need on the Steadicam. It would help if anyone else here is flying a 5D or other DSLR on a Scout, Zephyr or Pilot.

I bought a Blackmagic HDMI to SDI converter as the 5D mark III doesn't have SDI out.
The problem is that the Blackmagic Comverter requires 12v power and I've been trying to figure out a way to give it power through the LEMO 12v power out on the Steadicam's stage.

The Steadicam did come with a 12V 3-pin Lemo to XLR Female Power Cable (078-7351-01), but this won't connect with the Blackmagic device directly. I think I need something like a Switronix 12v Regulated P-Tap Cable for Black Magic Converter available here: Switronix 12v Regulated P-Tap Cable for Black Magic Converter :: Power Cables & AC Adapters :: Cables :: Equipment Sales :: AbelCine However even that won't connect directly, I'd still need something else to go between the XLR female 4-pin connector and the P-tap cable. But I'm not even sure if this is the right way to go.

If this discussion is too technical for this forum, I'd appreciate someone pointing me to another site where I can get some help with this! It's quite hard to try and source these components as the area is so specialised.

Thank-you!
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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Re: Setup for 5D on a Steadicam Scout

Hi Kris:

OK, so let's break down what you are working with. The "classic" Blackmagic HDMI converter is spec'd at 12v but really, it's 12v or less (down to something like 9v as I recall). Over 12v, it will shut off. Hence the need for the Switronix cable.

If you are still able to return that converter, you have two options also by Blackmagic: their
Heavy-Duty converter
and the
Battery Converter
. Both are significantly cheaper options than the original plus the Swit cable (in fact the Battery Converter is exactly the same price as the original version) and you just need a "dumb" cable to power it off your rig, as they both have a 12-31v input range. Ignore the battery aspect of the battery converter, it doesn't last long enough to count for anything. Also, the case is much more solid on both of these and the connectors are protected. I personally haven't used the battery converter but I haven't figured out why it is actually cheaper than the heavy duty and does more; interesting pricing.

Now on to getting power out of the Steadicam. Chances are you are going to need to eventually plug more things into your rig than this box, so it makes sense to start building towards that possibility now. The most common universal plug these days for onboard accessories is the p-tap. Start with
this unit
. It will give you four p-tap outputs for powering multiple units. You have several choices on how to connect this to your rig, depending on how adventurous you are and how much you want to spend. One way is to also buy a four pin male XLR and replace the single p-tap end with that (incredibly simple solder job), then plug into your sled with your existing cable and velcro the splitter box under the stage. Voila--four 12v outputs ready to go. Another way is to have a 3 pin Lemo to female p-tap cable made*, which will do the same thing with less bulk. Yet another is to replace the single end of the splitter cable with the 3-pin Lemo. Less bulk still, but I don't like this as those splitter boxes are prone to wearing out--I have several and it's not been unusual for them to develop bad ports. If you are cool with soldering Lemo connectors yourself, may not be a big deal. Finally, the cleanest version would be to hardwire the splitter box directly into the rig, but this will require modifying the rig and you may not want to do that. But you get to keep the Lemo available as well (that four pin XLR cable will power a number of cameras directly).

Hopefully this all made sense but I'm happy to clarify anything that didn't.

* If you want to have the Lemo to female p-tap cable made (or any Lemo cable), I recommend Terry West at (310) 374-5711, techrat531 -at- verizon.net. He's been engineering Steadicam stuff for 30 years so he speaks the language. I'm sure there are guys in the UK that can do it also, but I don't know them.
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 08:50 PM   #3
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Re: Setup for 5D on a Steadicam Scout

I did a gig with the 5D on my Pilot. The analog SD out from the 5D worked fine. Doesn't the Scout monitor have an option to run analog SD?
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Old November 6th, 2012, 03:58 PM   #4
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Re: Setup for 5D on a Steadicam Scout

Thank you so much Charles for that insight - Most helpful indeed.

I see now I should have looked into the Black Magic converter a bit more before buying the one that the shop guy suggested first off.

I think I will go with your solution about the 4 p-tap outputs and buy a 'dumb' cable to power the new Blackmagic HDMI converter I need to get hold of. You didn't say where I could get that cable from though - I'm guessing it would be a male p-tap to the Blackmagic size adapter (which I would say are fairly common) - although not sure where to find one of those. I suppose I could make one up pretty easily.

I will also buy a four pin male XLR and replace the single p-tap end with that as you also suggested. This should work nicely with the existing LEMO to female XLR that came with the Scout. The price of LEMO cables is utterly astonishing!

I will keep Terry West's details on file - No doubt I will need those services before long!

Never thought I'd be screwing around with wires and soldering etc... I feel like I'm back in the good old days!
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