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.

Networking Basics for Cube from Teradek on Vimeo.

This lesson describes the difference between ad hoc and infrastructure networking and why a network device cannot broadcast like a radio.

Cube network discovery on OS X using Bonjour in Safari from Teradek on Vimeo.

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.

View Live Streaming Video Using VLC on OS X from Teradek on Vimeo.

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

Steadicam torture – Cube Beta testing footage (HD) from Teradek on Vimeo.

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.

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Comments

  1. Kyo says:

    Streaming is great idea, but safe side still record local and Wifi after….

    if can use ipad to control the cam is even better :)

    1. pbloom says:

      you always record locally too..this is just for viewing..

  2. T.King says:

    Been following this on Jag35, be interesting to see developments down the road that would eliminate latency and perhaps prove worth while for remote follow focus work.

  3. XSportSeeker says:

    And I thought I was the only one trying to figure out a way to use an iPad as an external monitor… nice to hear from others on this subject, specially from you Philip!
    But the whole setup is still a bit convoluted for me.
    I’m actually considering an HP TouchSmart or something like that.
    Would be nice if I could get something smaller and cheaper though… tablet would be ideal. Not only I’d have other uses for it, but it’s also small and relatively cheap for all the functionalities it would give me.

  4. DaveD says:

    Hey Phillip; Thanks for pulling this Cube info all together into one post. I’ve been doing as much research as possible into this, and found Teradek’s website to be lacking in concrete workflow type answers. When I emailed them, they were super responsive and very helpful. I’m awaiting delivery of an HDSDI version that I hope will be a great solution to wireless producer feed from both my HDX900 and my HPX500. I’ve been saying since I got my iPad that if anyone would develop a wireless video feed app, I’d pay $1000 for it. So I’ll actually pay twice that…

    Guess I’ll be learning more about networking and VLC stuff than I ever expected to… will try to repost here when I actually get it up and working on set. Thanks again for taking the time to blog your experiences. You’ve been a fantastic resource as I jumped into my first 5D MKII shoot last month. In LONDON, no less. Sorry to jump the pond and poach work, but you seem to spend as much time in the US as the UK so turnabout’s fair play, no?

    1. pbloom says:

      Its surprisingly easy to set up, even a muppet like me can do it!

    2. bronzetitan says:

      Hi, I was wondering if you got this yet and your impressions? Looking into this for our setup also and wanted some on-set opinions. Thanks.

  5. Ben Briceno says:

    Teredek should of put an output on it to communicate with start/stop of a View Factor Powered Cage or RED One… Would of been sweet to control start and stop from computer or iPad!

  6. Paintedsheep says:

    Dang…nice hotel room! How much was that per night?
    Oh, the gadget thingee is cool too.

    1. pbloom says:

      that will be reception!

  7. Is that the Tokina 11-16 I see on the 5D there!?

    1. pbloom says:

      yes, at 15mm it does not vignette…

  8. Also, not sure if I’ve got a firmware weirdness but I’ve never had a delay outputting to the LCD-70XP through firewire on the 5D, it’s always instantaneous. I know other people have had all sorts of issues with this but my picture stays the same size, press record and nothing untoward happens at all. Just got a brand new 5D and will test this out, but it’s never been a problem… strange.

    1. pbloom says:

      wow…you are a lucky man…i want to see that camera!

    2. editman says:

      Since there are no FW output only HDMI, AV and USB to display a picture could it be you are running the signal to a laptop via USB or using the compsoite AV output? It’s only the HDMI that drops to a lower resolution when you hit record.

  9. Phillip Gibb says:

    nice, now if I could just find something other than a laptop that can convert the signal back into HDMI, I’ll have a great wireless solution to feed live footage to a TV

  10. Laww Media says:

    Great stuff.

    Can the Canons feed a clean output for recording live?

    With out all the info and white box?

    Great invention for directors preview and wireless follow focus.

    1. pbloom says:

      nope…afraid not!! that would be too simple wouldn’t it? ;)

      1. shaunbless says:

        phill lets start a get rid of the white box campaign and also fix function when hdmi connect lcd turns off we can do a tweet a day to bring the box away !!!!

  11. Jon Chema says:

    Impressive…how reliable is this thing? I’d be worried about the feed cutting out during a take. Not huge deal but might piss off a director

    1. pbloom says:

      rock solid as far as i saw

      1. Jon Chema says:

        Great…for the price it seems like a killer deal!

  12. olli collins says:

    I VLC player for my ipad today so i’m sure that will work plays all video formats and streaming protocols.

  13. “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:”

    Is this true? The folks over at Zacuto have been telling me that the signal, when down converted, can no longer pass through the black magic or AJA HDMI to SDI converters. On larger shoots I have been sub-renting 1D’s and 7D’s because of that info… Is there a converter that I can purchase that will turn the down-converted signal from my 5D into SDI? Even with a delay I would buy one tomorrow…

  14. Michael says:

    Philip,
    In my profession my videos are very time sensitive, do think we are close to having a piece of equipment this small that can send my footage miles instead of feet? For example feeding my footage across town to a studio?

    Thanks!

    AmericanDSLR.com
    -J. Michael

    Planning another round of meet ups in LA?

    1. pbloom says:

      you can send it down the internet but you don’t get the full quality the upload bandwidth would need to be very high..No plans to come to LA at all again right now…things always change though

  15. Peter Nielsen says:

    Hey Philip, love the site and easy to understand user information. doing a lot of work on the 5D and EX3 as a DIT/ VT guy in South Africa. I was wondering if you could send the HDMI signal from the 5D through a Blackmagic/ Aja HDMI to SDI signal box and then through the Cube? And would this increase latency?

    Seems a bit much to purchase a cube for each input, I’d rather split the HDMI signal from a 5D to SDI and still have the option for a 5″ monitor for the operator and a wireless signal from the cube for VT?

    And then still have a simple setup for normal broadcast camera SDI outputs.

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      you could but it would be cumbersome…

  16. May seem a silly question but what res are you shooting on the RED?

    Does the cube size down 4K to the appropriate transmittable format or do you have to shoot in HD?

    If you wanted to use the whole sensor and shoot 4K would that work?

  17. Brant says:

    Hi Philip. What was the range and performance without a router, just from the cube to laptop, for instance?

  18. Jamie Kehoe says:

    Can you record the footage without the on screen display so you get a clean recorded H.264 video at the end of it? This would be fantastic for capturing sports to a compressed format for instant delivery.