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Downconverter questions for Red One & Steadicam


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#1 David Michael Rivera

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 09:48 AM

Hey everyone.

I've got a couple of questions to any Steadi-Ops that have worked with the Red camera. The Red only has HD-SDI out (not composite NTSC outs) and I will need to convert the output to work on my 3A.

Here are my questions:

1) What do you find are the best downcoverters you are using on your rigs? Aja seems to be the only via (and affordable) choice. Black Magic makes a unit that seems like it will work even better for steadicam (it has 12v in... instead of Aja's 5v in and is $500US cheaper) but they haven't shipped any units yet (supposed to this month and I have a shoot this July 1st).

2) If you are using an Aja, how are you powering it and what type of connections/inverter set-ups are you using? Pics would be fantastic!

3) Do you know of anyone that rents/sells any other lightweight and portable downconverters (especially if they work directly with the Red... since the camera has mini-HD-sdi connections instead of the standard size)?

Any help would be amazing.

Thanks.
David
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#2 Afton Grant

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 10:15 AM

The Aja will take 5 to 18VDC. This means you can power it off of any 12V source on your sled. On the setup I'm using, Brant Fagan modified the Aja power cable to have a 4pin male XLR end. This allows me to use any one of the many cables I have that plug into a 12V source on my sled and end in a 4 pin female XLR. Where to rent? Almost anywhere that rents HD equipment. All Reds I've seen either have the Mini-BNC to BNC adapter cable, or the Element Technica breakout box. You should have a good discussion with the appropriate people about the camera package. Much of this stuff is likely to be included anyway, but it's your responsibility to make sure of it.
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#3 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 10:18 AM

Hi David:

Whether its the best or not I don't know but I'm currently on a RED project and am using a borrowed AJA HD10MD3 that is running off my rig at 12-15v; it works just fine. As to renting an AJA, I have only had bad experiences renting them; they've never worked property for me usually due to a weak powering connectors and lots of rental wear and tear. The loaner I'm using belongs to another operator and is in great condition so it works fine. {I don't think he has added any kind of voltage regulator inside to drop the voltage to 5v.

What I did to power the AJA was have Terry West make a 3 pin small LEMO to AB 4-way PTAP. This lets me run the Bartech and the AJA off the accessory power out on the nose box of my sled. This little 4-way distro box is very handy. FWIW, my rig is a Clipper 24. Terry will know what you need for your rig.

I'm powering the RED from my rig via cables made by Terry as well; he has the connectors and wiring diagrams, plus he does nice work.

The RED we are using has a breakout box on the side that converts the RED connectors to regular BNCs so we can get out to the downconverter and we can also run the RED LCD on the smart side of the camera for the AC and DP.

Send me your email address and I'll see if the Stills photographer will shoot a few close-ups today I can send you.
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#4 Afton Grant

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 10:42 AM

The RED we are using has a breakout box on the side that converts the RED connectors to regular BNCs so we can get out to the downconverter and we can also run the RED LCD on the smart side of the camera for the AC and DP.


Don't know what you've found, Robert, but that Red LCD is next to useless. A 60 degree viewing angle (50 vertical!), are you serious? That's the 5" one, by the way. We've mounted it up a couple times for non-Steadi stuff, but then I watch them monkey around with it to be in the right position for them to view during each shot.
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#5 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:15 PM

Don't know what you've found, Robert, but that Red LCD is next to useless. A 60 degree viewing angle (50 vertical!), are you serious?....We've mounted it up a couple times for non-Steadi stuff, but then I watch them monkey around with it to be in the right position for them to view during each shot.


Hey Afton! I'm using my sled monitor for operating and transmit to my handheld LCD and video village for viewing during the shot. They don't try to watch the 5" during my shots but they do use it afterward to review a take, manage the camera settings, watch the histogram etc.. About the only hassle the monitor is for me is that they of course reposition it to review and never get it back to the same position but it's a minor tweak to rebalance.

The RED I'm flying is a much more Steadi friendly version than the beast you were on. We only use the primes on Steadi, power the rig from my sled and they have a seemingly endless supply of CF cards so I don't have to fly the drive and battery. We're using the dovetail plate to my dovetail plate and an ARRI mattebox; it's not so bad... except that it's 108 degs in the shade here in Phoenix and both camera and crew are overheating; we had two heatstrokes on-set two days ago.
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#6 Adam Coop

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 12:26 PM

Hi

I use a downconverter from Redbyte Designs called the 'HD2SD'. It is quite small 4"x3.4"x1" and runs on 12v DC. See the specs below. In the UK the price has come down to around £655, which is cheaper than anything else i've seen, and it is really nicely put together too. It is bright red admittedly, but that might fit in nicely with your RED colour scheme :-)

Specs:

Auto detects HD formats and has selectable 625i/50 or 525i/59.94 outputs

- HD to SD down-conversion


- Low latency, single input field delay


- Full 10-bit data path and multipoint interpolation


- 8 channels of audio passed as 20 or 24-bit


- Selectable analog video from YPbPr / RGB / CVBS & YC


- 16 times over-sampling for SD output


- Safe action and title graticule generator


- 32 video test patterns, including 4 moving and 4 static zoneplates


- Tone / Broken tone audio generator


- Dolby E? Transparent


- External Dipswitch configuration


- Locking DC power socket



Link to a UK supplier: http://www.onevideo....ter-p-1024.html

Cheers

Adam
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#7 David Michael Rivera

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 03:39 PM

Thanks to everyone. Anytime I need guidance or advice I know I can always rely on my Steadi-comrades!

I also found out that Black Magic has a mini converter that is $495.00, runs on 12v, and is small as well. They start shipping this month... so I may pick one up and report back on it.

If not, the Aja may be the one I go with.

Thanks again everyone.
David
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#8 Alexandre Bouchard

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 08:38 AM

I've talked to BlackMagic and the HD-SD mini converter doesn't downconvert.
So, it just convert from digital to analog:

- SD-SDI -> composite/component
- HD-SDI -> SD-SDI.

No HD-SDI -> composite.

The AJA HD10MD3 is the way to go.

Alex

Thanks to everyone. Anytime I need guidance or advice I know I can always rely on my Steadi-comrades!

I also found out that Black Magic has a mini converter that is $495.00, runs on 12v, and is small as well. They start shipping this month... so I may pick one up and report back on it.

If not, the Aja may be the one I go with.

Thanks again everyone.
David


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#9 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 12:13 PM

The AJA HD10MD3 is the way to go.


The HD10MD3 worked fine for me. Keep in mind that the RED has "non-standard" connectors for I/O. The RED we were using had a breakout box on the side thankfully so I didn't have to build yet another set of specialty cables.
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#10 Lars Erik

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 10:42 AM

The Aja will take 5 to 18VDC. This means you can power it off of any 12V source on your sled. On the setup I'm using, Brant Fagan modified the Aja power cable to have a 4pin male XLR end. This allows me to use any one of the many cables I have that plug into a 12V source on my sled and end in a 4 pin female XLR. Where to rent? Almost anywhere that rents HD equipment. All Reds I've seen either have the Mini-BNC to BNC adapter cable, or the Element Technica breakout box. You should have a good discussion with the appropriate people about the camera package. Much of this stuff is likely to be included anyway, but it's your responsibility to make sure of it.


Hi,

regarding the power cable. Can you use the original power cable that comes w/ the AJA, the AJA DWP Power Supply, and just solder a D-tap onto this? Will this work?

Sorry if I seem ignorant here, but after reading that Brant modified the power cable, I just wanted to make sure I won't blow the damn thing up!

LE
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#11 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 11:21 AM

regarding the power cable. Can you use the original power cable that comes w/ the AJA, the AJA DWP Power Supply, and just solder a D-tap onto this? Will this work?


Hi Lars, the weakness in their power cable / connector is the connector on the back of the AJA itself. So while you could put a D-tap on the end of the AJA cable, you've still got the issue of the weak connector on the chassis of the AJA and the end of the power cable that plugs into that.

Steve Fracol has his hardwired with a D-tap and cable going straight inside the AJA but I don't know if he did it or had someone else do it.

I'd really like to see some photos of what Alec Jarnagin did with his by having the AJA connector on the chassis replaced with a Lemo chassis mount that provides power and video. Not sure if that is video out or video in. Alec... when you have a moment can you post a photo or two?

Thanks
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#12 Erik Brul

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 12:16 PM

What I did to power the AJA was have Terry West make a 3 pin small LEMO to AB 4-way PTAP. This lets me run the Bartech and the AJA off the accessory power out on the nose box of my sled. This little 4-way distro box is very handy. FWIW, my rig is a Clipper 24. Terry will know what you need for your rig.

I'm powering the RED from my rig via cables made by Terry as well; he has the connectors and wiring diagrams, plus he does nice work.

The RED we are using has a breakout box on the side that converts the RED connectors to regular BNCs so we can get out to the downconverter and we can also run the RED LCD on the smart side of the camera for the AC and DP.

Send me your email address and I'll see if the Stills photographer will shoot a few close-ups today I can send you.


Hey Robert,

You mentioned in your reply about 'little 4-way distro box' , you mean powerbox right ? Do you have any pictures of this, i like a box for myself ?

Thanks, Erik
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#13 Charles Papert

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 03:37 PM

http://www.bhphotovi...rTap_Multi.html

Very handy to own if you shoot HD (and who doesn't these days). Many times a camera shows up with all of the possible power outlets in use and this sucker saves the day.
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#14 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 01:29 AM

You mentioned in your reply about 'little 4-way distro box' , you mean powerbox right ? Do you have any pictures of this, i like a box for myself ?


The one Charles posted is exactly what I'm referring to except I think Terry West made mine.... very handy indeed!
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