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Wireless video revisited


JonG
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Technology has certainly made things cheaper and more available to all. You can buy what is essentially a 788T for under a grand. Every Tom, Dick and Harry has their own budget wireless microphone system available, and people, for whatever reason are accepting blatant rip-off merchandise with open arms. 

 

But where are we with wireless video transmission? I still strongly dislike running cables to my monitors from video village, and on some fast paced shows that I’ve done recently, it just simply wasn’t possible to get a feed. Has anyone tried any new wireless video products to get monitor feeds? Browsing eBay and Amazon, I see a lot of new items for less than the price of better known systems, just curious to see if anyone has ventured to try any of them? Or have you seen the camera dept using a cheaper newer system?

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As a freelance CamOp and 1st AC who has used virtually every wireless system between $5k - $15K in the last 10 years my recommendation is Vaxis, specifically their newer Storm series. Without a doubt the most reliable system I have used. I have never understood the glorification of Teradek. There have been countless times where Teradeks are solid at 300 feet or a thousand feet away and then inexplicably cut out. Far worse, are the times when their 1000 or 3000 cuts out within 15 feet. Their channel selection process is a mess and rarely alleviates any drop out issues (maybe this was improved in their most recent model?). For commercials I am often expected to pull on 6K, 50mm/85mm, EVERYTHING wide open at T1.5 on softer/vintage glass so I eventually bit the bullet and bought my own Storm 1000+. It doesn't carry the same weight as Teradek and some companies and DPs are skeptical when I mention it, but by the end of a shoot they are normally convinced. It simply works. Rock solid. 

 

-Mark

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5 hours ago, JonG said:

But where are we with wireless video transmission? I still strongly dislike running cables to my monitors from video village, and on some fast paced shows that I’ve done recently, it just simply wasn’t possible to get a feed. Has anyone tried any new wireless video products to get monitor feeds? Browsing eBay and Amazon, I see a lot of new items for less than the price of better known systems, just curious to see if anyone has ventured to try any of them? Or have you seen the camera dept using a cheaper newer system?

 

This is super super low priced from China:


And someone else had good success with it, myself? Not so much... haven't got it to work yet. :-/ 😞
Maybe I should give it another go and see if I can make it happen. 
 

5 hours ago, Mungo said:

Teradek 500 simply works. Butter it's expensive and you can only use a max  of 2 or 3 at one place.

So you possibly get into troubles with the people from video village. 


If you're a close follower of the discussions over on reduser then you might have notice a bit of a scandal with Teradeck vs the competition recently and them getting shut down. 

Certainly there is a case which could be made and argued that in the USA at least then Teradeck's legal strangehold with early patents has lead to the the community being held back from being able to have the best wireless video possible. 

 

But just in the last year or so the tide seems to be turning, with many new entrants popping up. 

1 hour ago, yophoto91 said:

As a freelance CamOp and 1st AC who has used virtually every wireless system between $5k - $15K in the last 10 years my recommendation is Vaxis, specifically their newer Storm series. Without a doubt the most reliable system I have used. I have never understood the glorification of Teradek. There have been countless times where Teradeks are solid at 300 feet or a thousand feet away and then inexplicably cut out. Far worse, are the times when their 1000 or 3000 cuts out within 15 feet. Their channel selection process is a mess and rarely alleviates any drop out issues (maybe this was improved in their most recent model?). For commercials I am often expected to pull on 6K, 50mm/85mm, EVERYTHING wide open at T1.5 on softer/vintage glass so I eventually bit the bullet and bought my own Storm 1000+. It doesn't carry the same weight as Teradek and some companies and DPs are skeptical when I mention it, but by the end of a shoot they are normally convinced. It simply works. Rock solid. 

 


Yup, Vaxis seems to be the top competitor I hear mentioned the most often as well.

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14 hours ago, yophoto91 said:

As a freelance CamOp and 1st AC who has used virtually every wireless system between $5k - $15K in the last 10 years my recommendation is Vaxis, specifically their newer Storm series. Without a doubt the most reliable system I have used. I have never understood the glorification of Teradek. There have been countless times where Teradeks are solid at 300 feet or a thousand feet away and then inexplicably cut out. Far worse, are the times when their 1000 or 3000 cuts out within 15 feet. Their channel selection process is a mess and rarely alleviates any drop out issues (maybe this was improved in their most recent model?). For commercials I am often expected to pull on 6K, 50mm/85mm, EVERYTHING wide open at T1.5 on softer/vintage glass so I eventually bit the bullet and bought my own Storm 1000+. It doesn't carry the same weight as Teradek and some companies and DPs are skeptical when I mention it, but by the end of a shoot they are normally convinced. It simply works. Rock solid. 

 

-Mark

 

I don’t put a lot of stock into buzzword products. When Teradek came out, every AC I asked “what frequencies does this operate on” couldn’t answer that question. A testament to their own professionalism in my opinion. What I did know is that as soon as every production had wireless follow focus + VV feeds, the camera dept was using technology that they didn’t understand and couldn’t care less to understand, despite the fact that they were stepping on my toes. My wireless deeds no longer worked, and it became a problem of my own abilities, rather than a problem introduced by people who didn’t know any better creating other problems. However, the best part is always watching people scratch their heads when they can’t figure out why one of their devices doesn’t work. People who have zero knowledge of how wireless technology works shouldn’t be using it, but you can’t stop a tidal wave of idiots pouring out of film schools. 

 

The Vaxis products look interesting. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of products using license free frequencies, mainly because it means that anyone can come along and step on my frequencies. There is always someone around who is going to do it and make you the bad guy out of the situation.  My 2.4gHz experience is a good testament to that. Nobody knows that they are supposed to coordinate frequencies with sound anymore, so we just get pushed aside. I’m also interested in something using longer wavelengths if it exists. 

 

Any other solutions out there?

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  • 1 year later...

https://www.amazon.com/Accsoon-Transmitter-Wireless-Transmission-Incredibly/dp/B07Y8W3MC7/ref=sr_1_3?crid=15WJ9080VFSGS&dchild=1&keywords=accsoon+cineeye&qid=1592321372&sprefix=Accsoon%2Caps%2C200&sr=8-3

You guys will laugh, but I've been using the Accsoon CineEye for almost a year. It's cheap and the output is surprisingly decent. It's built really nicely for cheap Chinese. Downsides are that the internal battery is soon depleted (I used hook and loop fastener to fasten a small Anker candy bar battery to the rear of it and it goes all day now, no problem), the range is limited to about 200-300 feet line of site and less with walls or glass in between, and it's HDMI only, not SDI and it doesn't transmit audio, video only. It's far from a Teradek or the others mentioned here but it's so cheap as to almost be free and it actually works.

All of those limitations aside, the plus side is, it's 5G, so you don't need a receiver and a monitor, you can use up to four phones or tablets at once so your director, producer, ad agency person, scripty, boom op, whoever, can download the Accsoon app on their phones to see what's happening. I rigged up a spare iPad Mini I had laying around, fastened another Anker battery to the rear of it, attached a Hoodman and it becomes my director monitor for sit down interviews, works great.

It's not as good as a Teradek, Vaxis or Hollyland, but it's almost free and is surprisingly good for the money. For $200.00, it's worth ordering one off of Amazon and TRYING it in your situation to see what it does. If you need something better, return it, then you will know. I shoot a lot of BTS and EPK content and these clients won't give me budget for a Teradek or a good system so I bought this really so my producer could see what my camera was seeing when I was in tight places in set and there was literally no room for her to be on set but she wanted to see what I was shooting. 

I also use it to get a tap from video village when I am sound mixing. It's insanely handy. I've used when shooting with a camera mounted overhead on a jib, camera mounted up high in a corner. The unit is small and light enough to fit onto a hot shoe on a mirrorless camera or you can Velcro it to an arm or Mafer clamp close by. Really a useful and amazing tool IMHO. Not a high end pro tool but how else are you going to get usable wireless for $200.00? It does have too much latency to pull focus from but that's to be expected and all camera HDMI outputs have varying latency anyway. 

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I too have the Accsoon system, but it streams to idevices when I want my picture on my monitor. But I use it to send tue picture to my boom-op who can see it on his watch. Range however is usually terrible. 
 

I refuse to pay the kind of money a Teradek system demands just to watch a video feed. So instead I bought a IDX CW 3

 

https://idxtek.com/products/cw-3

 

Price is much better and range and picture is by far good enough for me. And it uses the Lectro type screw on power connector, so I had all the cables already. 

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

I too have the Accsoon system, but it streams to idevices when I want my picture on my monitor. But I use it to send tue picture to my boom-op who can see it on his watch. Range however is usually terrible. 
 

I refuse to pay the kind of money a Teradek system demands just to watch a video feed. So instead I bought a IDX CW 3

 

https://idxtek.com/products/cw-3

 

Price is much better and range and picture is by far good enough for me. And it uses the Lectro type screw on power connector, so I had all the cables already. 


Thanks for sharing that Constantin, I have not seen nor heard of that one. The specs look pretty good. What are you using for a monitor? High brightness or just a regular monitor? Do you work outdoor much?

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:


Yes, this. I have both the Accsson and IDX transmitters there. Video ops are usually accommodating as it means they don’t have to worry about my video feed anymore

Have you tested the range limits on the IDX?

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Last week I picked up a Linksys RE9000 AC3000 wireless repeater.. I emailed the Cineyes peeps to ask if repeaters worked and they said yes.. So, rolled the dice and got one.. Happy to say it was an absolute breeze to setup and just testing at home it made a substantial improvement in range without adding any latency... I could test this by getting close enough for one tablet to be connected direct to Cineyes and the other tablet to the Repeater and noticed no difference... For the most part the latency is not huge for me, I got to use it before the shutdown and really just need to see who's talking.. I also use the Decimator DMON-QUAD to pack up to 4 inputs to 1 feed...once money going again will probably pickup a used Ipad Mini or Ipad to step in for Samsung Tablet... The S4 Wifi not the greatest..

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4 hours ago, Dan Brockett said:


Thanks for sharing that Constantin, I have not seen nor heard of that one. The specs look pretty good. What are you using for a monitor? High brightness or just a regular monitor? Do you work outdoor much?


No, I use a regular monitor, which is the Blackmagic Duo. They’re fine for me, usually bright enough, although in really bright sunlight perhaps not enough. At that point though, I cannot read my shiny iPad anymore at all. 

I work maybe 50-60% outdoors. But I am always on location, hardly ever in a studio. 
 

4 hours ago, BAB414 said:

Have you tested the range limits on the IDX?


No, just by using them. Range is decent. Not as good as Teradek for sure, but much better than the Accsoon. They have more expensive systems, too, which may improve range as well, but I don’t know. I am usually not too far away from video village so it’s rarely an issue. 

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Thanks guys. Rodpaul I think our last two posts got deleted so I'll ask again...

 

Can anyone fill me in on wifi vs regular(?) RF when it comes to digital video? Pros and cons of each? Are they actually different in any meaningful way that affects performance (other than the fact that some receiving devices already have wifi built-in)?

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I’m no expert on how Terradeck works, except it works well - someone usually sets it up, not me. Eagle Eye has its own WiFi network with a selection of channels to use. The advantage is that on smaller jobs you don’t need the Terradeck receiver, power, and powered monitor, and the iPad image is excellent and they usually run all day. I haven’t tested the latency, so can’t comment. Not much to lose on a small well made unit for $150.

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the only wifi video that i have personal experience with is when working with a qtake operator on set.  the operator acts as a "gatekeeper" and has to grant you permission and a password to log in to their wifi video stream. after you log in the first time, the system should recognize you on subsequent log ins unless they have had to reboot the system.  i use it when it is a nuisance to run cables to the dit cart or the qtake cart.  the latency is such that you can't use the image to anticipate cues.  as mentioned, always helpful to know who is speaking (or the size of the frame). i use an older ipad pro 10.5 for viewing.  i can toggle between cameras in landscape orientation to have a large image.  when the ipad is in portrait, i can stack two camera views, one over the other, to give the equivalent viewing area of (2) 7" monitors

 

there has been some buzz about using the qtake  for video and audio  monitoring on the floor, after this covid19 hiatus.  this would be in lieu of handing out individual ifb receivers.  my concern is producers unplugging their buds from their ipad  to make a phone call,  and causing feedback on set if they forget replug. the qtake system is iOS only 

 

any additional wifi devices chew up valuable 2.4 bandwidth, which just increases the likelihood of performance failure.  i stopped using zax erx ifb units once boosters and polling didn't cut it anymore. this was especially true when on a set with devices that use spread spectrum propagation on 2.4.  

 

 

 

 

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I use the Cineeye all the time for doc shoots, so I can see the frame on my phone mounted on the bag.

Happy DPs are noticing the difference cause I rarely get my boom in frame anymore, even when they quickly change from tight to wide or difficult shots. Also for them to change stuff in the picture and not having to run back to cam to check. So they allow me to mount it on cam.

But on the samsung tablet, connection has been very unstable, I am also looking for a more stable alternative thats affordable.

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No experience with it, but this popped up in my feed recently – It looks to be a cross between the Cineeye and a mid level HDMI/SDI transmitter/receiver combo.

 

$650 puts it decidedly in the low mid range and would provide a solid longer range link to the cart as well as a shorter range wifi signal to people on set.

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1507628-REG/hollyland_mars_400s_mars_400s_sdi_hdmi_wireless.html

 

image.png

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18 minutes ago, Shastapete said:

No experience with it, but this popped up in my feed recently – It looks to be a cross between the Cineeye and a mid level HDMI/SDI transmitter/receiver combo.

 

$650 puts it decidedly in the low mid range and would provide a solid longer range link to the cart as well as a shorter range wifi signal to people on set.

 

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1507628-REG/hollyland_mars_400s_mars_400s_sdi_hdmi_wireless.html

 

image.png

This looks like a great budget option. Reading the reviews and Q&A on B&H, it seems like the main downsides to these are frame rate rounding (if your monitor doesn't support certain rates), potentially noticeable fan noise, and a <0.1 second delay which is not a deal breaker, but I would go nuts looking at slightly off-sync feeds all day.

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