Redbyte Decimator--the one to get at
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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old August 2nd, 2009, 11:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,810
Redbyte Decimator--the one to get

It's funny that I never bothered to post here at DVInfo about the Redbyte even as I made a lot of noise about it earlier this year elsewhere. So this should fix said lack of noise!

HD to SD downconversion (the portable hardware version of it) is something that many inexpensive cameras do internally, but not their larger brothers. In the Steadicam world, our SD monitors and transmitters have required us to use outboard downconverters for years, most commonly Evertz and AJA products. As these tended to cost in the region of $2000, few Steadicam operators bought them as we could simply request them in the rental camera package.

However, with the advent of RED, I personally found myself in situations where the camera would be coming from an private owner who more likely than not didn't own a downconverter. My request for one was usually met with "uh--can you just use the onboard monitor?". Even if I was told that one would be supplied, I'd show up on set to find out that it didn't happen. Several times I tried to work with the RED monitor, without the extension cable, and found it had a limited viewing angle and washed out in sunlight (two of the things that our old-school green screens handle with aplomb). With the current trend towards all things made for this industry that were once expensive being re-invented for a song, I started to poke around for a low-cost downconverter. I found Redbyte, an Australian company that was making various broadcast components. They had a product similar to the venerable AJA (which had recently been cut in half to somewhat over $1000, good but not yet great) and had announced a smaller, lighter, simpler version that omitted the component outputs and was scheduled to be sold for $ THAT was more like it! (US price has since increased to $435 due to import duties).

After forming an alliance with the US distributor, I am now proud to be both a sales rep and poster-boy for the unit. A lot of my Steadicam brethren have bought them and more contact me every day. I've used mine quite a few times and you can't beat the size and weight and simplicity of the thing. HD-SDI goes in, composite video comes out (along with a loop-thru HD-SDI output) and that's about it.

If anyone is looking to purchase, contact Perry Drogo at TECADS (A Sight & Sound Technology Co.) and he will set you up. I don't ship, I just sell them for local pickup in LA, kind of like a convenience store--a lot of people call me the night before a shoot in a bit of a panic!
Charles Papert
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