I have been dreaming of the day we can use our ipads and iphones to view live images from cameras being used on productions. That ipad screen is perfect for use as a monitor, but so far we can’t…but…
Teradek, a company based out of Irvine California have come out with a damn impressive product. I saw it in action for the first time at the Santa Monica meet up and was blown away by it.
I saw it on top of a 5DmkII, not the ideal camera for this as I will explain later, and used in conjunction with a Macbook pro. The Cube was mounted on the hot shoe of the Canon, powered by the D-Tap of a Switronix Powerbase 70 and plugged into the HDMI of the Canon. Now, as we know the Canon has the annoying habit of turning the LCD off as soon as an HDMI lead is plugged in, a real pain. What I use in these cases is the JAG35 HDMI powered splitter and my Marshall monitor. I wish there was a way of the LCD screen staying on but currently that is not possible. Anyway, I digress…
The Cube creates an ad-hoc wifi signal that the computer simply connects to by selecting it in the wifi selection of your computer and through “Bonjour” and using the free piece of software called VLC player you can view 1080i, 720p or 480p video streamed wirelessly to your laptop. Now the quality can be varied depending on how good you need it to be. There is also a delay, not a long one, it can be changed but around 100 milliseconds is about as good as it gets right now. Pretty fast! You access all the settings through the web browser and can save them as presets.
So this morning I met with the guys who make it at my hotel and we tested it out. We mounted the cube onto my 5Dmk2 and we tested the range. It worked through walls and from a good 200+ feet away and that’s just using the ad-hoc network between the cube and my Macbook Pro. If we had an Aiport Extreme or something helping it we could go much further away and up the bitrate. You can also record the stream in VLC player to play it back. Really impressive stuff.
It also works via an Ethernet port for much more stability of course…
Now the cool thing is when you get this plugged into a router and set it up so it is no longer adhoc then everyone on set can dial into it…
It does also work with an iphone and ipad via Safari but there is a substantial lag….what is needed is for the soon to come VLC player for iphone/ ipad to support streaming otherwise Teradek will bring out their own proprietary software that will do this so the delay will be tiny like the laptop…they are also working on their own software for the computer too so you can make log notes etc for the recording. ALSO, with the right upload speed it could mean you could stream what is coming off set to someone not on the location, in fact they could be anywhere.
It’s all very cool I have to say. It comes in two flavours. The SDI version and the HDMI version. We tested it out with the RED one too and it was superb and of course it doesn’t kill your on camera monitoring like it does with the Canons…
The biggest issues with the 5DmkII (and the T2i) is when you hit record the resolution drops to 480p which causes issues here, a big old delay for things to sync up. With my Blackmagic HDMI-SDi box it takes around 7 seconds to re-sync, here it means about 10-12 seconds. With the 7D and the 1Dmkiv there is no re-sync issues as the output stays 1080i once you hit record.
I can see this being a really useful thing for me on larger productions when I need lots of people to have video. Price point wise it’s $1600 for the HDMI version and $2100 for the HD-SDI version. Obviously this is a professional tool and a really well implemented one at that.
This lesson describes the difference between ad hoc and infrastructure networking and why a network device cannot broadcast like a radio.
This tutorial illustrates how to create an ad-hoc network connection to Cube over WiFi with Apple’s Airport, and how to use Bonjour in Safari to access Cube’s web user interface.
Instructions for viewing live streaming video on the Cube:
1. Connect with Bonjour
2. Logon to WebUI
3. Copy link to stream
4. Open VLC. Click File – Open Network
5. Past link to stream in URL box, click Open
A long and boring movie for a reason – 3 long & uncut scenes showing Cube’s stability while streaming 720p HD video from 250ft+ away, recorded on a Laptop using a $150 Linksys Wireless N router. 2 Scenes are outdoors, one inside an office building. In all of them, scenes include dramatic movement, and Cube performs brilliantly.
PIP is from Canon 5DMkII recorded to CF, main video window is Cube’s stream recorded on a Laptop.
For the interview afterwards, check out http://vimeo.com/14705740.
This is the full version is available, the movie was also reduced in resolution to make it suitable for slower network connections: http://vimeo.com/14757706.