Ever since shooting the first season of “Dag” (comedy-drama tv-show, now in its third season) I`ve been looking for a solution to get rid of the BNC cable. Its always getting tangeled and getting stuck somewhere. Its really not that reliable (they easily “break”), and they can even damage the camera, when people trip the cable. I know a AC, whose job it is to often setup the BNC cables to video village, who dreamt of tangeled cables strangeling him. No joke! I got Teradeks Cube a while back, and it was a mixed experience. On paper it had lots of cool functions, but it failed its most important task: It was not an alternative to cables. It introduced lag, and was quite messy to setup properly.
Enter Paralinx Arrow.
First attempt, a bit akward position for the Arrow, but it worked.
I first heard of Paralinx on Twitter, and was immediately amazed over its claims. Close to zero delay latency, 300 ft range with and uncompressed HD video signal inc. sound! We were shooting season 3 of “Dag” at the time, and I decided it would be a great place for this kind of equipment to get tested. We are shooting two cameras (c300), one camera beeing remotely pulled focus on, while I pull my own focus on the B-cam. I got the kit through Abelcine online, and had it up and running on set in the matter of minutes after recieving the package. And thats one important factor. Easy setup. There is really nothing to setup. HDMI in, and HDMI out. The two issues you have, are 1: How to power your transmitter&receiver and 2: Is HDMI enough for your workflow?
During our early tests, we were very impressed with picture quality and latency. Our focus puller, perhaps Norways most experienced, was very surprised, especially since the kit costs 1200$. “I can pull focus on this thing” he said enthusiastically, and our AC got hope of one day, soon, he might be able to get rid of the cables for good.
In january of this year, me and fellow DOP Pål Bugge Haagenrud were gearing up to another major TV-show. This time an episodic tv-crimedrama on Norways biggest commercial channel. Its a behemoth, with around 100 shooting days and a lot of location work. On-set speed was going to be vital, and we wanted to follow up on our Paralinx commitment. They announced an upgrade plan for current owners, allowing us to get up to four recievers pr. transmitter. This was perfect timing, as our director on this new show wanted a handeheld setup he could use behind the camera, away from the village. We decided on upgrading our entire on-set videovillage setup:
Its early days for wireless HD video in this pricerange, and we accept that everything has not been tested fully. We are now in our fourth shooting week, with 9 hour days, and we have experienced very little “downtime” due to the Paralinx Arrows. Still, we are not getting anywhere near 100m (320feet). The most we have had is perhaps 60m, with free line of sight. That being said, we are in close contact with Paralinx on this, and we have had better results already, by spacing the two recievers on the village further apart then the 10 cm we had from the start. Also, Norway has a lot of heavy snow and cold conditions right now, and this might also impact range. Range never decreases latency, which is nice. Range can however impact video quality. If we are getting interference or are pushing the range, you get subtle noise on your video feed. Our focus puller finds that this can make it harder to get the focus right.
The Paralinx placed safely into the Shield. Note: Point the tip of the Arrow towards the reciever. Its directional!
Because of the need to use our Panasonic proxy recorders, we had to convert to SDI at some point. The FSI monitors accepts the HDMI with a HDMI-DVI adapter, but it doesnt loop it through. So, the converters output one feed directly to the FSI monitors, and one feed to the recorders. We have checked the latency difference using timecode, and with the converters directly through to the monitors is aprox 2 frames. With the added processing of the Panasonic recorders, its 5-6 frames. So, we always monitor from the converter directly, to minimize lag. It works great
We have now “spaced” our recievers with two Dedolight stands. The soundguys get our videofeed from our FSI monitors. They are using cables though.. 🙂
Our handheld directors monitor, built from a consumer DSLR rig, before we got the second AC7. DP6 on top. Lightwheight, two-camera, wireless monitoring. Amazing.