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Teradek 2000 performance question


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#1 brooksrobinson

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 10:00 PM

I am wondering if anyone has any on-set experience with the new Teradek Bolt 2000. I really like the size/weight, the price-point, the fact that Teradek is in the LA area, and the promised transmitted distance, though I hope to not be doing 2000 moves anytime soon. I have read through all of the threads on the forum, but there have not been any new postings in the past month or so. I am wondering who has purchased one, and what their day to day experience on set has been like thus-far. I am in the market, and I want to make sure I do my homework on this.

Specifically, are there any idiosyncrasies or issues with it that I should be aware? I feel confident in its abilities line of site, but how well does it hold up on a standard set, and when shooting through walls? Are there any delays or problems syncing between the TX and RX? Does it work well with all HD cameras and formats? Can you power the RX through an AC adapter, or does it need to run off of an Anton Bauer or V-lock battery? How is the customer service at Teradek? Are there any other questions I should be asking?

I am mostly looking to hear if there is a good reason to buy it, and conversely, if there is a good reason to stay away at this point. Please feel free to email me off-forum if need be. Thanks in advance.

Brooks Robinson
brooksontheroad@pacbell.net
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#2 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 10:28 AM

Hi Brooks,

 

Thanks for your PM and I'll go ahead and answer here.  Most know Teradek is a strategic partner of the Stabilizer Workshops just to get that out there but let me also be clear that I pay full price for my Teradek just the same as everyone else. They support my workshops with loaner equipment and in turn I test new and existing products for them and provide feedback.

 

My first 2000 was a pre-production model back in Dec - Jan.  It performed very well in tough RF environments like CES but it was such early firmware there was a challenge at times at CES that if it lost the signal it would take some time to acquire it and lock again.  Once acquired the range and signal quality is exceptional.  Teradek has since addressed that issue in all the currently shipping units and any others who experience it. It really is a rare occurrence that someone would be in a location like CES where there's so much RF from so many sources that almost any TX/RX overloads.  You won't see this issue on-set or stages in a normal production environment.

 

Line of site and through walls is no problem within reason. I've written long posts here on the characteristics of RF if you care to go back and find them. I don't think you'll be disappointed in the obstructed path performance of the 2000 but you can't be careless about it either.  Sometimes just moving the RX unit / antennas a few feet makes all the difference in the world.  I do not find the 2000 to be particularly finicky at all.  Pretty much set it and forget it.  It's not like you'll be overly challenged or frustrated.  You'll be very pleased.

 

Teradek has been very responsive in every service situation but I have not had many problems to require service.  Michael Gailing and team are 100% proactive on many social media fronts as well as here in the forum.  They listen, learn and act on what they see and hear from all of us in a timely manner.

 

We run off the sled and ABs but you could run it off AC adapters if you wanted to.

 

Something else to consider is that Teradek is now a division of Vitec who owns Anton Bauer, Sachtler and dozens of other reputable brands we all know and love.  The fact that Vitec saw them worthy of of their business philosophy speaks volumes; they would not dilute the brand(s) unless they thought Teradek had a solid foundation and future.  It also means they have the financial backing to continue develop and support of new and existing products.  They can weather a storm if needed and keep the business on-course.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Robert


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#3 brooksrobinson

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 11:32 AM

Thank you Robert for the helpful information. Two more questions: how do you affix the transmitter to the camera when doing steadicam? Is it possible to use Velcro and mount it to the side of the camera body, or does the heat melt away the sticky back Velcro and force you to do something else? Personally, I was hoping to use the XCS lollipop bracket to mount the transmitter vertically to my dovetail plate so that it was always at the top of the camera (in high-mode) or sled (when in low-mode), but since the bracket relies on Velcro, I wanted to double check.

Along those lines; if I was using the 2000 directly on the camera (Alexa) when going hand-held, ideally, how would I mount the TX? Would using Velcro to mount directly to the camera body work, or would it get too hot for the Velcro, or more importantly, for the camera body? Is there a bracket I would be better off using instead? If so, where would I find that bracket?

The other question is about powering the TX. I am assuming you can power it through the camera (like an Alexa) with the right cable. I am also assuming you can have a cable made to power it through the 4 pin Lemo in the upper platform (J-Box) of an XCS sled. Since you own an XCS sled in addition to your Pro, I was wondering if you had gone this route and knew for sure that it worked. I cannot imagine there could be a problem doing this, but I thought I would check.

Thanks again for your help.

Brooks
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#4 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 11:59 AM

The mounting options on the PRO 2000 are better than the PRO due to it's all metal construction. I personally recommend that you always mount as high, free and clear as you possibly can primarily for a good strong unobstructed TX but also for heat management. The 2000 is not overly hot but I'm a little old school in that heat is never the best option for electronic components. I'm also a stickler for not having a bunch of extraneous kit strapped to and hanging off my sled or camera; whether its excess cabling, monitors or AKS I strive for a clean solid build to avoid potential for vibration.  I have a variety of misc adapters and brackets for mounting and may have a custom bracket milled eventually.

 

Yes you can power via a capable auxiliary power port and from the sled exactly as you described.  I have Lemo based cabling for the XCS and the PRO sleds plus PTAP cables.

 

When I added the PRO sled something I did was have a few connectors on both the XCS and the PRO changed out so that everything would be 100% compatible.  For instance there were some aux power hermaphrodite connectors and three pin Lemo and four pins so now I have all of that the same which ultimately saved me >20 cables if you include backups.  Sorry for the tangent.

 

Robert


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#5 Tim Moynihan

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 08:25 PM

Hi Robert, Brooks... Just wanted to chime in here as well...I've just finished a run of 5.8GHz Panel antennas for either the Bolt Pro 2K or the Boxx Meridian.  I was down in Irvine with the guys at Teradek a few weeks ago testing the antenna and range with the Bolt Pro 2K and we were able to get 2700' line of sight (800m +).  We didn't do much interior testing for various reasons but I have done tests here in Vancouver and have gotten very good results through 2 and 3 walls.    (I bought 2 Bolt Pro 2Ks)

 

If you are interested in looking and/or buying the antenna you can visit www.rocksteadipictures.com and follow links to the antenna pages. 

Also, I am offering 10% off for forum members OR shipping to Canada or the USA.

 

Best,

 

Tim Moynihan

Rock Steadi Pictures Inc.

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#6 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:06 AM

Thank you Tim,

 

Was your 2700' with stock antennas or your panels?

 

Robert


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#7 Tim Moynihan

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 01:38 PM

Robert, that was with my Panel Antenna...

 

Tim


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#8 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 02:40 PM

Brooks,

 

Both the Bolt Pro and Bolt 2k TX will mount via either a 1/4 20 threaded hole on the bottom of the units. You can use a small Noga arm to then attach to the camera via either a 3/6 16 or 1/4 20 mounting point. Also they provide a 1/4 20 thumbscrew to pass through the units and attach to the same on the camera. 

 

If you want to go with Velcro one trick I use (and always used with the ultra hot Modulus) is to cut a small rectangle of corrugated chloroplast, the stuff the lightweight eyebrows are made from, put some velcro on that, and zip tie it through the corrugated center to the transmitter in 2 places.

 

Good luck. I will report on the 2000 experience in a few weeks.

 

Tim, Flat panel antennae sounds intriguing. Although hopefully the stock antennae array will work. Trying to carry less stuff.


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#9 Charles Papert

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 08:38 PM

Tim, is the panel you are making similar to the one Boxx sells? Just wondering if you have anything different going on gain, orientation, mounting etc. Also wondering the same about the Paralinx one.


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#10 Dan Kanes

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 12:35 AM

Charles,

 

Happy to showcase the Paralinx ARRAY (™) to you next week… Just let me know!

 

Best,

 

Dan


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#11 brooksrobinson

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 01:40 AM

Today I had the camera prep for an upcoming feature I will be starting shortly. After I got the Alexa set up and balanced on my rig, I decided to test out the range of my new Teradek Bolt 2000 that I picked up yesterday at Band Pro. We set up the receiver, along with a monitor in prep room 3 at Panavision Woodland Hills. From there, we mounted my steadicam with the Alexa and Bolt 2000 (mounted at the top of the rig with both antennas pointed straight up) to my cart and pushed it around Panavision in a large S pattern to see how well the signal held up filming through walls. All measurements shown below and on my sadly inadequate diagram were measured with a Hilti. The terrible map is obviously not to scale, and I apologize for my lack of cartography skills.

1) From the receiver, (located about 10 feet into the room and mounted on a C-stand with all 5 antenna pointing straight up) we pushed the cart about 10 feet out the door to the hallway.
2) We turned right, and walked 57 feet to the end of the hallway - so far so good.
3) We turned left, and walked through a doorway into what becomes the main prep room at Panavision. I walked 35 feet past the doorway to get to roughly the center of the south end of the main prep room floor. From here, it was shooting through several doorways, walls, and rooms and definitely NOT line of sight.
4) We then walked 135 feet across the prep room floor, where the transmitter was shooting through at least one thick wall for a small portion of the run, and multiple walls for the majority. There were no glitches in the picture at any point during this portion.
5) We turned to the right, and proceeded 49 feet to the end of the hallway. I knew the signal would cut out at this point, but it held fast without any dropout.
6) We turned right and headed 135 feet down the long parallel hallway now shooting through multiple walls and rooms with thick walls, while being a considerable distance from the receiver. I kept waiting for the voice on the other end of the phone to tell me they had lost picture but they did not.
7) When we reached the end of the long hallway, we turned to the left and started walking towards the reception desk and front door.
8) We got all the way to the reception desk before the signal finally dropped out. I forgot to measure the distance between the final turn (7) and the reception desk where we lost signal, but the distance directly behind me to the far wall (number 2 on my poorly drawn diagram) was 131 feet.

I consider this to be a pretty amazing test of the Bolt 2000. It far exceeded my expectations, and shot through multiple walls without a break-up of any kind until the very end when it was a LONG ways away from the RX through many walls. I was expecting some impressive line of sight range, as seen in several Teradek demo videos online, but the receiver was never anywhere near the transmitter, and the two were only within sight of each other for the first 10 feet of the test. This test certainly was not scientific in its approach (obviously), but it did show me that this new unit is capable of some pretty impressive feats especially given its small size and price-point. I am curious to see how it holds up day to day over the course of a tough film, but after watching it in action today, I was quite impressed, and pleased with my purchase.

Attached Files


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#12 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 09:39 AM

Nice job Brooks! Well done!

 

You are one very thorough guy!

 

Robert


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#13 Alan Rencher

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 11:52 AM

Brooks, was that with the default antennas?


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#14 brooksrobinson

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 02:37 PM

Alan, the test yesterday was performed using the stock 5 antennae that come with the Bolt 2000 RX. It was used just as it came out of the Pelican Case it was shipped in. I did indeed also pick up the new flat panel high-gain antennae from Paralinx that I will discuss more when I've had the opportunity to test in various on-set environments:

http://www.paralinx..../paralinx-array

I purchased the Paralinx flat panel high-gain antennae as a way of increasing the range of my Bolt 2000 transmitter/receiver if need be, and I am excited to try it out extensively when I have more time to spend with it. Wireless can be tricky, and the more solutions I can offer on the set, the better I come across, especially when my name is written in P-Touch on the side of the units.

Brooks
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#15 Sanjay Sami

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 09:30 PM

Lawrence - I like your idea of the chloroplast and zip ties. I will try that for sure, although I use a 1/4-20 to 5/8-16 adaptor into the Alexa handle right now. 

I bought the Teradek Bolt Pro, but kind of wish I had waited and got the 2000. 

The Pro works fine though.


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