How good is the Bolt 2000 Pro?
Posted 24 August 2014 - 10:22 PM
Side by side, matched monitors, to the human eye a cleaner, sharper, crisper "looking" image. As I said, I have not done scope comparisons nor do I really care. That is for the DIT. I hump the Steadicam around and now I have a long range, solid transmission system that looks great. When it comes to digital, it is not all or nothing by the way. Anyone who has ever gotten ahold of a just barely bad BNC cable or long runs of cable has seen the dreaded "Sparkles", especially if it is on the recorded image when the Genesis deck was away from the camera, etc. The Boxx gets good range but as it approaches end of range it does start to "break up" but does not lose signal altogether until you go past the end of range. The Tomahawk gets better range but there is not really a warning that you are approaching the end of range. It just goes out.
First, Hey! Hope you get back to New Orleans soon.
Second, I would have agreed with you since the Tomahawk and Bolt 2000 do work off the same chipsets but after testing all three (Boxx, Teradek, Paralinx) together and now working with the Tomahawk alongside five different Boxx systems (including my own) I would say there is something different. Not one Boxx has beaten my Tomahawk in range or wall punchiness yet. No idea why the Teradek didn't match performance with the Paralinx system but the one I tested didn't. And yes, RF is always a funny animal and is a form of voodoo and I never trust it completely because it will bite you in the ass. Like I said, test them all and trust no one, including me...
Grayson Grant Austin, SOC
Posted 21 October 2014 - 04:24 AM
Anyone has experience using it with directional antenna to lengthen the range?
Posted 28 October 2014 - 11:45 AM
Long overdue for a review of the Paralinx Tomahawk system and since I had all three systems (Paralinx, Bolt 2000 Pro and Boxx) at the same time to test them side by side I should let you guys know what I found.
First of all, I always made it the hardest on the Tomahawk in tests, like just using stock rubber duck antennas on receiver while Boxx had long range panel antenna, etc.
My practical test which was the most telling was this:
All three transmitters set up close together in my office (which was the garage and was converted) so it is solid concrete walls all around and the only door to the house is a solid fire door. I set up the transmitters close to see if they would interfere with each other or play nice. The Bolt 2000 never liked the Boxx very much so I usually powered it first and let it seek channels which leads to my first issue with it. The link up time is long, sometimes more than three minutes even though on screen it said wait 60 seconds. Yes you have picture quickly but the annoying message is prominent on screen for a long time. Boxx doesn't do this and Paralinx Tomahawk lets you turn this off and I have not noticed any perceivable distance loss in this mode. In fact, it still easily beat both the other systems time and time again. I'll get to that in a minute. I know the link time issue is one that can be addressed but at the time I couldn't wait which was the big reason I sent back the Bolt 2000. Hopefully they have/ will resolve this.
On to the test.
All transmitters used their stock supplied antennas and were mounted on a baby triple header and fed the same video signal from an Atomos Blade. Receivers were clustered together so I could carry them around together fed to a monitor to view. Boxx had the long range Boxx panel antenna, Bolt 2000 had high gain rubber duck antennas (also tested with stock antennas) and the Paralinx Tomahawk had stock rubber ducks. I walked from the office through the laundry room, closing solid fire door and into kitchen, again closing every door I went through, now crossing through open living room and up stairs, which is now two solid walls, one of them concrete and brick, up the stairs (at this point I consistently lose the Bolt 2000) and into the master bedroom, closing the door behind me and another 20 feet (losing the Boxx at this point). I can walk to the very back of the room and the Paralinx Tomahawk is still solid). I then tried the Tomahawk with the long range Boxx panel antenna. Here is where it gets interesting. Now it is incredibly hard to kill the signal. It already beat the other two systems hands down time and again but now it blows them away with the long range. I have now used the Tomahawk on my last several features and series exclusively and have yet to find the end of line of sight range. Even against Boxx systems with the exact same long range panels, it blows them away through set walls, outdoors, car to car, Pasadena RF hell, etc and the picture is rock solid and in general looks better than the Boxx picture.
Downside for now is that the transmitter is HDMI but come July ish, that won't be an issue anymore and so far, no actor has ever come up to me and asked why my transmitter wasn't HD SDI, not even Will Smith. Weird since I thought he would be really concerned about things like that. Go figure... For now I use a Decimator mated to it and it's fine with no delay. I've checked and my focus puller can easily pull focus from it. I'm so thrilled with it and confident that I sold my Boxx system. It transmits to multiple receivers which are HD SDI out and have power pass through on the Anton Bauer plates just like my Boxx did so it can go on the back of a monitor and power the monitor as well and mates perfectly with the panel antennas. And when I say Boxx long range panel antenna, I am talking about the more expensive ones they do that have five separate smaller panels attached to a metal enclosure where the antenna cable live, not the single panel multiple Antenna style.
I will post some photos over the weekend of some recent setups. The most recent test was from inside a moving bus with a follow van for video receivers. B Camera with Tomahawk transmitter inside bus, A camera inside bus on short Hydrascope (yes a hydrascope inside the bus) but the Boxx transmitter had to be on the outside top of the bus to get reception. Both receiver on outside top of follow van many car lengths behind. Tomahawk was rock solid. Boxx would have some breakup and occasionally lose picture if too many other vehicles got in the way. It has also been perfect in the blazing summer heat and humidity of Louisiana outdoors all day long in 90 + degree weather. No issues. Everything in this review is only my experience but I have been doing this for more than twenty years and in that time have owned or used almost every type of wireless video system out there including microwave, etc. I can't wait for the HD SDI version of transmitter. Hope this helps any of you but as with all things, do your own research and testing. Trust No One!
Grayson Grant Austin, SOC
Thanks for your feedback. Can you contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we would like to talk through your test results further and offer any resolution? Or if you can send me your phone number I will give you a call with some suggestions which may help to improve the performance of our systems.
Posted 31 October 2014 - 12:00 PM
I didn't want to start a new thread for this, but for those of you in the market for a new Bolt model (or Beam), we've got a Halloween special going on. Buy a dual IO Bolt 600 or Beam, get 50% each receiver you add onto the system. Flyer attached.
As always, any questions, concerns, comments - shoot me an email!