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GH2 Monitoring on Steadicam Pilot


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#1 Josiah Sjostrom

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:28 AM

Hello,

I'm new to the form here. Decided to join given the limited information I've found elsewhere.

As the title suggests I'm flying a GH2 on a Pilot and I really need to figure out something for monitoring. For those not familiar with the GH2, while recording it ONLY has HDMI out. As opposed to the Canon DSLR's which have a composite option. Also, for some reason unknown to me the GH2 HDMI will not work with an HDMI to analog converter. I have no first hand experience with this, but from what I've read elsewhere it seems to have the same problem as the composite output (which is that it will only display an image during playback - not during recording).

Yes, I know they're coming out with an HDMI version of the Pilot, but it's not available yet and I already have this one which is otherwise working just fine. So, what I'd like to do is run an HDMI cable through the center post. I know of one guy who has done this successfully and here is the link to his video: However, it's fairly unclear to me what he has actually done, and although I have posted a comment on his video - I've not heard back from him yet.

Has anyone else done this modification?

I'm able to get the cable through the bottom end of the post, but the top end is proving to be more difficult. The guy with the video above says he ground something to make it fit. If possible, I'd like to avoid that - but if it's the only option I'm not afraid to give it a whirl. I think if I were able to remove the stage from the top, I would be able to pass the HDMI cable through the composite port that is already there, and then put it back together. I'm having difficulty removing the stage as it is not only the four screws that hold it in place, but also the side to side adjustment bolt.

I'd appreciate any help someone may have to offer.

Thanks
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#2 Chris Callarman

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:37 PM

If you don't want to permanently modify your sled you can simply run an HDMI cable from the front of your stage (under the lens) straight to the monitor. It's not as sexy as through the post but will work fine in most situations.

Edited by Chris Callarman, 31 May 2012 - 12:37 PM.

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#3 Josiah Sjostrom

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 12:41 PM

If you don't want to permanently modify your sled you can simply run an HDMI cable from the front of your stage (under the lens) straight to the monitor. It's not as sexy as through the post but will work fine in most situations.


Yeah, I have done that. Just a bit of a pain if you end up spinning it too far. Thanks for the suggestion
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#4 Afton Grant

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 01:34 PM

HDMI cable is a right pain in the ass. 4 shielded, twisted pairs. 7 other conductors for misc duties. All of which have to be near exactly (I'm talking within thousandths of an inch) the same length to avoid signal sync issues. I consider myself pretty good at dealing with cables and solder, but I wouldn't even touch this one.

You could run a pre-made cable down the center post like in the video. This will probably hinder, if not prohibit, the post's ability to telescope. I suppose you could leave a bunch of slack at the bottom of the rig and feed it in and out as necessary, though I see this being a pain in the ass too.

I just rewired my pilot to have PRO compatible connectors at the top and both HD and SD running down the post. I decided if I ever really do need HDMI, I'll just run an external cable. Not a huge deal.
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#5 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 01:42 PM

Second to what Afton has said. Use an external HDMI cable. Tiffen's HDMI Pilot will substitute a non-telescoping aluminum post...I've not seen it but I bet they run a pre-built HDMI cable down this non-telescoping post.
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#6 Alan Rencher

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:47 PM

Have you thought about upgrading to an HD-SDI Monitor, and then just using a Black Magic HDMI to HD-SDI Converter?
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#7 Josiah Sjostrom

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:14 PM

Have you thought about upgrading to an HD-SDI Monitor, and then just using a Black Magic HDMI to HD-SDI Converter?


Considered it, although I'd hate to dump a bunch of money into a new monitor and converter that I otherwise have no need for - only to discover that it has the same problem as an HDMI to composite/component converter. Which I assume would be the case.

I'd really like to get HDMI going through the post. Still tinkering with it, and I think I'm actually making some progress. I'll keep you all posted.

Thanks!
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#8 Afton Grant

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:39 PM

There are monitors out there that do both HDMI and HDSDI. If you're hoping for something with the most compatibility, you'll see HD-SDI far more frequently than HDMI only... I guess unless you're certain you'll only ever use one type of camera.

I've looked into it myself and HDMI through the post seems like it would cause more problems than it would solve. There's nothing wrong at all with running an external line. If you run it down the front of the rig, it should never get in the way of your operating. HDMI as a technology will need to change before it is viable inside the post.
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#9 Alan Rencher

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 07:54 PM

Have you thought about upgrading to an HD-SDI Monitor, and then just using a Black Magic HDMI to HD-SDI Converter?


Considered it, although I'd hate to dump a bunch of money into a new monitor and converter that I otherwise have no need for - only to discover that it has the same problem as an HDMI to composite/component converter. Which I assume would be the case.

I'd really like to get HDMI going through the post. Still tinkering with it, and I think I'm actually making some progress. I'll keep you all posted.

Thanks!


I don't think that upgrading to a better monitor would be a waste. In fact, I would figure it would be quite the opposite. You might have a more versatile rig without having to gut it, and you will have a better monitor to use on projects or rent out. Why don't you go to a rental house and demo something, or rent it for a shoot; test it out. If you're in LA, I might be able to help you out: hdpioneers.com. We have HD-SDI monitors and Black Magic converters. Bring in your rig.
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#10 James Davis

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 10:36 AM

upgrading to a HD-SDI monitor a waste?

I would never go back since I upgraded, easier viewing, clearer picture, less crap needed to mount onto the rig/camera when dealing with cameras that can only output HD.

it's only going to benefit you.
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#11 Josiah Sjostrom

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 05:56 PM

Have you thought about upgrading to an HD-SDI Monitor, and then just using a Black Magic HDMI to HD-SDI Converter?


Considered it, although I'd hate to dump a bunch of money into a new monitor and converter that I otherwise have no need for - only to discover that it has the same problem as an HDMI to composite/component converter. Which I assume would be the case.

I'd really like to get HDMI going through the post. Still tinkering with it, and I think I'm actually making some progress. I'll keep you all posted.

Thanks!


I don't think that upgrading to a better monitor would be a waste. In fact, I would figure it would be quite the opposite. You might have a more versatile rig without having to gut it, and you will have a better monitor to use on projects or rent out. Why don't you go to a rental house and demo something, or rent it for a shoot; test it out. If you're in LA, I might be able to help you out: hdpioneers.com. We have HD-SDI monitors and Black Magic converters. Bring in your rig.


I didn't say it'd be a waste, I simply don't currently have a use for it - and if I was going to fork out some cash, there are higher priorities on my to-get-list. The current monitor I use has in and out for HDMI as well as BNC in and outs for component and composite. I'm very happy with the monitor and it's software and I have all the connections I need for the cameras I currently use. If/when I end up using a camera with an HD-SDI option - I will certainly get another monitor. At the moment it would simply be paying extra for technology that I don't use.

Thanks for offering to help me trying out converters and such. But I'm actually in Rockford, IL, miles from civilized rental houses ;-) Have to drive in to Chicago for anything decent.
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#12 Josiah Sjostrom

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 06:15 PM

I was able to successfully disassemble and reassemble the stage.

It certainly took me a while to figure it out. Couldn't find any schematics, or really anything out there regarding a disassemble. Nonetheless, what goes together must somehow come apart - the only factor to consider is the size of your hammer ;) JK.

Although the gentleman from the video above was kind enough to post a link to a few pictures in his video description, I still didn't want to grind anything down if possible. Having removed the stage, and the cross bar at the bottom, I was able to feed the HDMI-mini end up the shaft. Now, I have it all reassembled and it is working quite well. The only problem I encountered (as expected) is that the thickness of the cable makes collapsing the post a bit fiddlesome. Monster Cable has come out with their "SuperThin" line of HDMI cables, and I have one of those ordered. Once that arrives and I've installed it I'll be sure to post the result and see if it is an improvement.

Thank you all for your suggestions!

I will at some point post some pictures regarding my experience with this modification, in case anyone else was interested in attempting the same thing.
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#13 Mark Baluk

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 06:49 PM

i think this is a little big to fit into the post, but has anyone used coiled HDMI cables before? http://www.black-box...-HDMI-Cable/All

Would be worth a look (if its worth it to have hdmi for yourself)
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#14 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 08:26 PM

Didn't there used to be a rental house in Madison?
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#15 Josiah Sjostrom

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 09:35 PM

i think this is a little big to fit into the post, but has anyone used coiled HDMI cables before? http://www.black-box...-HDMI-Cable/All

Would be worth a look (if its worth it to have hdmi for yourself)


Hmm, interesting. Yeah, I'd be interested to know the coil diameter - might be feasible. Would certainly help with collapsing if it did fit.
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