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vertical "ghost" lines on Cinetronic 2/XCS sled combo


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#1 brooksrobinson

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 03:21 AM

I’m having an issue with the Cinetronic 2 monitor on my XCS sled and I wonder if anyone else using this monitor/sled combo has run into the same thing, and if so, what the possible fix might be.

 

I have an XCS Ultimate 1 with a Cinetronic 2 monitor.  I’ve been running the image out of an Alexa into a Decimator 2 downconverter to take advantage of the XCS’s terrific built in SD level.  The problem I’m having is strange vertical “ghost” lines.  Initially, there was a vertical line that traveled side to side across the screen with the motion of the level sensor.  There was also a fainter vertical line that stayed in the middle of the screen with the center level marker.  When contacted, Chris at Cintetronic suggested that I turn down the level brightness in the sled.  This did the trick, and the traveling vertical line went away.

 

What I was left with however is less annoying, but still not right, and I need to find an answer.  I have faint, evenly-spaced vertical lines that appear across the monitor from side to side.   They don’t move, and appear to greater or lesser extent depending on lighting conditions on set.  The lines appear whether the level is turned on or off.  This is obviously distracting when scanning the image for camera/mic shadows, and certainly doesn’t inspire confidence in the DP when he comes to look over my shoulder at what I’m lining up as we set the shot.

 

Does anyone else use this combination of gear with similar results?  I like the monitor, but can’t have this happen on a professional set.  Now that my show has ended, I need to use the time before my next one to find a solution or move on to something that works.  Thanks in advance.

 

Brooks Robinson


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#2 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 04:53 AM

I've used the same setup until the Cinetronic level came out recently without any issues.


Did you try both of your Gen2 monitors with the same result? Or Did you try another lcd monitor with the same setup?
Have you changed out the cables and do you power the Decimator of the sled or camera?

I would recommend powering the Decimator of the sled, it provides clean power.
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#3 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 05:05 AM

One more test I would do:

use the 2nd BNC composite input on the Gen2 instead and feed the SD signal thru the HD video line in the Ultimate 1 to circumvent the Ultimate electronics. If the lines are still there it's the monitor or the Decimator, but not the Ultimate.

Try a second Decimator to confirm.
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#4 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 10:54 AM

Brooks, you are welcome to come over and use my Alexa to troubleshoot your issue. I also have a decimator, cinetronic gen2, digital level etc.

 

If you are down converting, why bother using an HD LCD monitor and not a green screen? Did that for a while till I got my first HD monitor. I'd rather look at an HD image and affix a bubble level to the monitor. That's what I did for a few years until the Cinetronic level came out.


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#5 Benjamin Treplin

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 11:58 AM

Just checked the same setup with a test pattern generator. PDL brightness max. No ghosting or lines.


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#6 brooksrobinson

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 12:15 PM

I bought both of my Cinetronic 2’s just prior to starting the show I’ve just completed.  They didn’t arrive in time for me to take to the prep, so I was forced to get familiar with them on the fly.  My show did very little steadicam, and since we didn’t have a dedicated 3rd body that stayed on the rig (ridiculous), testing things proved quite challenging if not impossible.

 

Jens – I did not try either my back-up Decimator (the main one was always powered through the sled) or my second Cinetronic 2 monitor.  I didn’t think about it, and time was always of the essence on set.  There was an occasion early in the season where I used one of my old SD Transvideo Cinemonitor 3A’s for a scene, and there was no sign of the lines.  Prior to receiving the Cinetronic monitors in September, I’ve never seen lines like these using an Alexa with the XCS.

 

Benjamin – Thank you very much for taking time out of your day to do the test.  I really appreciate it.

 

Doc – Thank you for the offer!  I’m going to try and sort this out without putting anyone out, but I appreciate it very much. 

 

I use an HD monitor with a SD signal because I recently purchased $10,000 worth of HD monitors which everyone was raving about.  The Cinetronic level wasn’t available at the time of the monitor purchase, and several other operators on the forum had commented on using an SD signal to utilize the XCS digital level, which I’ve grown accustom to using.  This was an acceptable temporary solution for me until either the Cinetronic or XCS levels were released.  I was okay with the SD signal in the short-term, as the monitor is bright and viewable, which was my main reason for the purchase.

 

I want to know if the problem I’m having is inherent in the Cinetronic 2 monitor when using the XCS sled before I commit to spending thousands of more dollars on a level from the same company, or if I need to make a change altogether, and pick up a monitor for both of my sleds that is more compatible with the equipment I’m using.  The vertical lines are a deal-breaker, and I need to find a way of eliminating them or selling the monitors in lieu of something that works.

 

I’ve heard from both manufacturers and neither one is sure of what is going on although there is speculation both ways.  I intend to do some testing in the next few days, but I was hoping to get a sense from the community if this was an isolated incident (just me getting boned) or if the problem was more wide-spread.

 

Thank you for any help.

 

Brooks


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#7 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 02:40 PM

I don't think its a common issue. Try your back up monitor. It might be a bad part or board.
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#8 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 03:36 PM

Brooks,

 

I use a PRO 3HD (with XCS center post and gimbal) and a Cinetronic 2 monitor.  I, too, am using a Decimator (ver 1) downconverter so I can use my XCS level (just received my Cinetronic level, but I need to update my monitor's firmware for it to work).  For the most part, my image has been fairly clean although on occasion I get a bit of noise.  It seems to come from the Decimator as wiggling its cables or cycling the power usually gets rid of it; moreover, when I switch the Cinetronic to HD (and thus no level) the noise goes away.  Have you looked at it in HD just for testing purposes?

 

Take good care.


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#9 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 04:35 PM

Sounds to me like the Decimator is the source of the problem. Some kind of phase issue maybe. Without a systematic test it will be hard to pinpoint. Start at either end and start swapping components and cables to see if it goes away. Again no hassle for me if you want to use my gear for testing.


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#10 chris bangma

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 07:10 PM

You might also want to check the termination settings on the PDL.  You can sometimes get ghosting if the signal is not properly terminated.  The termination settings are discussed in the PDL manual.


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#11 Richard James Lewis

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 07:29 PM

Hey Chris.

Can you please reply to my emails.

Best,

Rick.


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#12 thomas-english

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 02:17 PM

I've gone through 5 decimators in 4 years. Try swapping that out first.
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#13 brooksrobinson

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 01:01 PM

Thanks to all that took the time to respond to my Cinetronic 2 question. I wanted to respond when I knew more definitively about the problem and the solution in case anyone else runs into this in the future.

Doc Karman was kind enough to donate several hours of his time and his Alexa to help me sort it out on Tuesday. We tested both of my monitors side by side, along with Doc’s Cinetronic 2, both of my Decimators, and every possible scenario we could think of (HD signal vs. SD, running video signal through the sled vs. running video signal straight to the monitor without the sled, power through the sled vs. power directly to the monitor, etc., etc., etc.).

What we found was my main Cinetronic 2 showed faint vertical lines across the face of the monitor in every possible scenario, but that neither my back-up Cinetronic 2, nor Doc’s did under any tested situation.

I took both of my monitors to Chris at Cinetronic yesterday (both got a firmware update) armed with the knowledge of our testing. Chris fired my main monitor up and didn’t see the lines. He left it plugged in, and after a while, the lines appeared. Chris observed that the problem tends to reveal itself when the monitor has been powered up for a while, and is heat related (apparently heat from the monitor) - even when working in environments that aren’t inherently hot – like Doc’s office or the Cinetronic office. I’m sure Chris will chime in if I’m not getting this straight or am leaving something out.

Chris said that the screen of the monitor was bad, and that only 6 of the over 200 he’s shipped have shown similar or related symptoms – perhaps a bad batch. He will be swapping out my screen for a new one when he receives a shipment in the next day or two, and I am very pleased with the end result.

Thanks again to all that offered advice or help, and especially Doc, who went out of his way to help with his time and equipment. This forum is filled good people who truly know their craft, and it is wonderful when we are able to go out of our way to help someone in need. Thanks to all for making it work.

Brooks
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#14 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 07:05 PM

Thanks for the shout out and glad you sorted this out.


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