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Old May 13th, 2006, 12:41 PM   #1
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Wireless for steadicam

This question has probably been asked million times, but it seems I cannot find a direct answer to this simple question:
what you guys are using to transmit audio and video wirelessly?
Is there anything afordable which does both at the same time? (I have a Flyer, so with the XL2, the M2 adapter, the follow focus, the matebox... weight is going to be a problem soon).

Best Regards,
Quoc
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Old May 13th, 2006, 03:12 PM   #2
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Hi Quoc,

I also wanted something lo cost so I bought this from ebay

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/2000mW-Wireles...QQcmdZViewItem

It's no canatrans but it does work and only cost around 30UKP.

John.
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Old May 13th, 2006, 03:57 PM   #3
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Check out: supercircuits.com

A number of very reasonable transmitters available.

p.s. what follow focus system are you using, Quoc?
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Old May 14th, 2006, 01:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for the link, I'm going to check that.

Charles, I'll have a follow focus for the M2 adapter in about 2 weeks (redrockmicro are shipping on May 29th for those who were on the pre-order list). You can see some picture here: http://redrockmicro.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1656.

I still don't have a wireless follow focus, but I'm working on one (and possibly selling it if it works great, if it ever works ;) ). And apparently redrockmicro is also working on one.

Why are you asking?

By the way, I'm going to the Flyer workshop at Glendale with Peter Abraham in 3 weeks. I'm sure that's going to be great. I'm still wondering whether or not I should go with the M2 adapter. Since I don't have a wireless follow focus yet, and given the light requirement of the adapter, I'll probably go without it to concentrate on the important part: the operating. I think having to take care of light and DOF issue at the same time is going to be too much for a first workshop. What do you think?

We (with some friends) are going to shot a 15min short with the M2 with possibly some steadicam shots (with the M2 on) the weekend after the workshop anyway. I'm sure this one is going to be a lot of fun as well... But the steadicam shot are probably going to be limited, we'll do more dolly shots to be able to follow focus. So I'm not too worried.

So back to the wireless transmitters, for this short I'm planning to run cables through my coat as you described once. I tried, it is not ideal (it has a tendency to make the camera pan), but I think it would work for this short.

Regards,
Quoc
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Old May 14th, 2006, 01:34 AM   #5
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I just checked the link, they seem to have low price stuff for video, which should be enough for monitoring. But I'm wondering about the audio. Initially was thinking about using a wireless transmitter and receiver to record sound on tape. But then I'm wondering about the sound quality, if I'm using a shoeps for example I don't want to degrade the sound quality.

Do you think it is worth having an audio transmitter/receiver for the steadicam work, or do you think it's better to record audio separately? I'm guessing that for sound quality it's probably better to plug the mic directly into the mixer and record separately, unless you know some professional quality audio wireless transmitter/receiver?
I'm basically trying to figure out how much it would cost to have the audio on tape to reduce hassle during editing, but without degrading the audio.

And apparently, if I don't want to sacrifice the audio quality, I'll have to go for separate transmitters for audio and video, correct?

Regards,
Quoc
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Old May 14th, 2006, 11:29 AM   #6
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Quoc:

I was curious about the follow focus because I was indeed wondering if there was some inexpensive wireless system out there and I might have missed it. I'm sure you've discovered that it's virtually useless (or very difficult) to be able to have someone put their paw on the knob if you are doing a Steadicam shot! Good luck with your own project to make this.

Regarding the cable--don't think it was me that was recommending putting it in your sleeve (?) but that's an interesting idea. I like making a large loop, with the cable exiting the camera just to the left of the gimbal and the other end attaching to the left shoulder of the vest (I fly with the rig on the left), then over the back and securing to the bottom before heading out elsewhere.

The problem with transmitting audio is that you can't really monitor it for hits which are always a possibility even with high end gear. It will work fine for a scratch track to get you through the rough edit, and make syncing later easier. Thus your easiest bet is to record "double system" using a DAT or MD recorder, and use a wireless (can be inexpensive if you like) to the camera. Alternatively, you bit the bullet and fly the audio cables. The best setup is the "snake" that has two XLR's and the headphone out to allow the mixer to monitor the sound back off the camera, just in case. The snake has a single quick release connector which makes it easier to balance and get around without being hampered. And it's a reasonably flexible cable, although thick.

As far as trying to get a single unit that will do both audio and video, understand that you are transmitting video FROM the camera, but sending audio TO the camera, so obviously you will need two separate boxes to achieve this.
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Old May 14th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #7
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Thanks for the advices.

Yes, I was not planning to have someone on the FF while doing the steadicam shot. I just don't see how it would work :)
For the sleeve, I think you explained what you just described and my mind pictured it with the cable running through the sleeve.

As for the wireless thing, I think I'm going to record audio separately, and let the sound guy takes care of that. For the video I now have another problem: on the camera I can probably do a special cable to power the transmitter from the anton bauer batter. But then I also need to make a standalone system for the LCD I'll give to the director. Like an Anton bauer battery+gold mount attached to the receiver and the LCD. Do you have such system that you give to the director, or does it come in standard with any 35mm camera? And maybe some company are already selling such bundle?

Again, thanks for the helps. It's amazing how you have to take care of a lot of small details before you have a full rig really ready.

Regards,
Quoc
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Old May 14th, 2006, 01:06 PM   #8
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Good, so then you can lose the FF when you are flying to save weight, right? (I'm looking at your original post and concerns about maxing out the Flyer).

Most shows I do have a video assist guy who takes care of the various monitors around the set but most of us (Steadicam ops) have handheld monitors in our kit, ranging from the little Casios (2") which take AA's to larger units like this, with AB batts mounted on the back as you guessed. I have an old 4" 4:3 LCD that I don't use any more so I'm going to pick up one of the 7" units shortly and have the mount attached. Some people use the clamshell decks to give to the director but since they never end up recording on them, it seems like a lot of weight and expense for this sort of thing.

Oh, I should qualify--this works great if your transmitter works on the UHF band as it can tune it directly. If you are using a dedicated transmitter/receiver on a non-TV band then you will have to combine everything into a handheld package with the battery.
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Old August 23rd, 2006, 07:34 PM   #9
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Quoc -
It's not exactly "cheap" but the system I use works FLAWLESSLY. Actually, Peter Abraham gave me the tip, and not just because he sells them. IDX recently came out with a system called WEVI. It's a digital video AND audio trans / receiver system that works on the WIFI band. If there's a signal at all, it's perfect! So far, I've had very good luck, even non-line of sight, which is usually a limitation of microwave band systems. Both the tranny and receiver have v-mounts on both sides, so I clip it on the battery mount, and battery to it. On the receiving end, I have a marshall 7" monitor with a v-lock mount. The receiver snaps on it, and a battery on the receiver. All 1 piece, only 2 cables - audio and video. Turn it on and it works, never any interference and it WILL NOT mess with your wireless FF or visa-versa. Oh, and I spoke to the engineers at WEVI a couple days ago, and they say that when the "need arises," they will offer an HD-SDI software upgrade - no need to sell the whole system to do the HD upgrade.
I LOVE it. If you're ever in the NYC area, drop a line and I'd be happy to show it off.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 03:03 PM   #10
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Hi Jaron,

How much is the WEVI?

TIA

Regards
Leigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaron Berman
Quoc -
It's not exactly "cheap" but the system I use works FLAWLESSLY. Actually, Peter Abraham gave me the tip, and not just because he sells them. IDX recently came out with a system called WEVI. It's a digital video AND audio trans / receiver system that works on the WIFI band. If there's a signal at all, it's perfect! So far, I've had very good luck, even non-line of sight, which is usually a limitation of microwave band systems. Both the tranny and receiver have v-mounts on both sides, so I clip it on the battery mount, and battery to it. On the receiving end, I have a marshall 7" monitor with a v-lock mount. The receiver snaps on it, and a battery on the receiver. All 1 piece, only 2 cables - audio and video. Turn it on and it works, never any interference and it WILL NOT mess with your wireless FF or visa-versa. Oh, and I spoke to the engineers at WEVI a couple days ago, and they say that when the "need arises," they will offer an HD-SDI software upgrade - no need to sell the whole system to do the HD upgrade.
I LOVE it. If you're ever in the NYC area, drop a line and I'd be happy to show it off.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 05:45 PM   #11
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Just stumbled into this thread and while it's a bit out of my range for my current needs it piqued my curiosity. It looks like the price point for the wifi kit is around the $2,500-$2,900 range depending on where you look.

Here's the info blurb about it:

Quote:
WEVI's CAM-WAVE technology provides a live professional-quality streaming system that enables real-time viewing of images and sound directly from video/film cameras with no cables or wires required. CAM-WAVE enables ENG/EFP production, as well as film shoots with video taps, to let directors, producers and crew see precisely what a camera is seeing, live, via streaming video. Using an 802.11a "WiFi" wireless protocol, CAM-WAVE produces a professional-quality signal directly from a camera, and streams it to one or several video monitors equipped with CAM-WAVE receivers.

The system is composed of two units: The CW-5 TX transmission unit clips on cameras, and the CW-5 RX receiver attaches to monitors. Each weighs less than one pound and draws 6.5W. Both units are equipped with video and analog connections, BNC for video and five-pin XLR audio as well both male and female V-Mounts.

Unit range is roughly 165 feet and can be extended for longer distances. WLAN transmissions can be varied: 24, 12, and 5 Mbps are standard; MPEG-2 video rates of 14, 8 and 4 Mbps are selectable and include automatic error recovery. The license-free 5.2 GHz signal frequency is approved for use in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The CW-5 TX transmission unit includes NTSC, PAL and SECAM decoders and an MPEG-2 encoder that enables digital signal transmission. A single transmission may be viewed by multiple monitors and multiple transmissions may be viewed simultaneously. AES encryption enables viewing only on authorized monitors.
If they're going to make a free upgrade to HD-SDI available then that's a pretty sweet setup if it works as advertised.

Cheers!
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Old August 24th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #12
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Yeah, I got it for about $2300. one thing to note too is that it is legal without a license. Now, I'm sure most people never really care, but certain studios do and technically you can get into trouble with a TV-band system without a license. I doubt it would ever happen, just a thought. But, I got this system because of the fact that it always works, and is software upgradable. Yes, it hurt a LOT when I compared it to my other option, a $100 single channel "spy" transmitter... But it's about the same price as a Canatrans (a little less, actually). In the end I'm glad I have this because I know I won't get to a job sweating because I can't get a picture to the director.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 11:30 PM   #13
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Jaron:

I saw the system at NAB, it does have significant amount of delay, yes? About 1/2 a second? This would presumably be a bit disconcerting if the directing is monitoring sound via Comtex etc...?

It's an intriguing idea though.

There are a number of TV band transmitters floating around, from older single-channel crystal boxes like the Coherent to the tried-and-true Modulus ($2K new, but used models like the 2000 probably about half that). As you point out, the legality using such systems without a license is suspect but virtually every TV show and movie does it...!
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Old August 25th, 2006, 07:57 AM   #14
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i described there DYI style wirelwss EFV
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Old August 25th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #15
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Charles - yeah there is a delay, and initially I was very very worried about it. But, the system transmits both audio and video (2 channel audio) at the same time, so someone in video village can watch a sync'd feed as long as they take both signals from the wevi. I played with it a lot and in practice, and they delay didn't really bother the dir's I worked with. Some actually said they liked it because they could watch a mistake live and look down to see how it showed in camera.
Honestly though, for me it was more that I don't like setting up analog transmitters. Every modulus has a slightly different output, Canatrans is SUPER nice but $4000, and the spy transmitters... who knows. If I can provide a signal that's clean, my part in the whole wireless video setup is done. I chose WEVI, I really like it. As for legality, who really cares, though I've heard stories of people not being allowed onto certain stages with them. Actually, I was at the US open grounds yesterday and the "signal guru" was walking around handing out frequencies to everyone for audio and Follow Focus. I'm sure it's SUPER rare, but in that kind of situation, it would be bad to get caught and not have a backup. The guy had a spectrum analyzer.
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