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Old June 18th, 2016, 12:48 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,810
Connex Mini 1080p wireless video system review

I picked up a Connex Mini from Camera Motion Research and thought I'd post a few thoughts.

I use Teradek 2000's as primary transmitters, from cameras to my DP station. Where I needed an extra transmitter was to send a quad split of the cameras out to various viewing points, such as handheld director's monitor and a large TV used by the hair, makeup and wardrobe folk. In the past I had an original Paralinx Arrow on the handheld monitor, and regularly had interference issues with it. I thought I'd try out the Connex mini as a replacement.

Camera Motion Research (a DVInfo sponsor) offers the Mini at a competitive price to the usual online resellers and also offers a unique accessory package. Rich Greb at CMR set me up with their full package, which includes standard rod antennas for the receiver rather than the strip ones that are normally supplied with the Mini. The package also includes battery cages for both components that provide additional mounting points and piggyback lithium packs, plus various cables including p-tap.

I opted for the Connex Mini vs its larger brother because I preferred the smaller form factor for the receiver end, and a better price point. The difference between their spec'd range is 3300 ft for the Connex and 1600 for the Mini. These are intended for aerial units where such distinction is relevant--for my purposes, what I was looking for was robust performance up to, say, 100 ft, but given the amount of wireless floating around in a typical set it's much better to have more than you need!

These are HDMI based units which of course require conversion if one is in an SDI workflow. For my application, I'm able to connect to the unused HDMI port from my Decimator MD-Quad for the transmitter and the handheld monitor and vanity TV both have HDMI inputs, so this is fine. The transmitter uses the micro HDMI connector and power is via the RC-type VST connector, both of which are quite delicate. This may be a dealbreaker for those looking to use the Mini directly on a camera because you really have to aggressively protect these ports and cables from being whacked or tugged. My transmitter is mounted behind the top monitor on my cart, safely out of the way so I don't have to worry about it. CMR tells me they are working on some solutions to this.

I'm waiting for the receiver modules to be sold separately which should happen within the next month. In the meantime we were using the receiver on a 42" TV which was of course static, but the performance was functionally identical to hardwired. I tested it on the handheld monitor, walked it around the stages and found it to be better than expected--it passed through cinderblock walls without a single glitch at distances of several hundred feet, only losing signal once I stepped outside the stage at that distance--and re-linking was very fast. Extremely impressive. There is no visible delay in the image.

The system operates on the 5ghz band and and dynamic frequency selection, but you cannot select channels manually.

I think for those looking for an affordable onboard transmitter, this is a solid contender performance-wise but with functional caveats. Most cameras output SDI, and you could add an SDI to HDMI converter. Blackmagic has a now, it takes 5v USB, but that's a bit of a klugy package to mount onto a camera. And as previously noted, you'll need to strain relief the heck out of the power and video cables on the transmitter to keep them from being yanked.

For my purposes, this setup is working great, and I like knowing that I own a robust, tiny 1080p wireless system that I could pull out of its current configuration if a specialty application (where the Teradek 2000's were too large) presented itself.
Charles Papert
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