As I have mentioned before in a previous publish, just lately I used to be a 2nd AC (amongst different things) on a low-budget indie function film, which just wrapped days ago. One of many key items of package we had on set was the Teradek Bolt 500 LT, which gave us a chance to provide the director and focus puller a wi-fi stay video sign from my Canon C300 Mark II, which we used to shoot the film.
In this submit, I will do my greatest to provide you an correct abstract of my experience with the Teradek Bolt 500 LT in a short and to the purpose hands-on assessment. However first, some background on the film and its fashion and how it influenced our determination to go together with the Teradek system.
We shot the movie in Three weeks in a small town in Southwest Bulgaria; before we commenced principal images, we had every week and a half of pre-production. This included location scouting and a couple of days the place we examined the digital camera by rehearsing a number of the tougher movements that some scenes would require – i.e. some lengthy takes of filming in a automotive, then getting out of the automotive and following the primary actor for some time.
The director was a very good pal of mine, and this was to be his first function film. We had worked earlier than on a couple of shorts films and had quite a few discussions previous to starting principal images as to how he needed the film to feel and appear. He needed a more documentary strategy/cinema verite strategy, which meant each shot can be handheld.
Naturally, as far as digital camera selection – all three of us (me, the director, and the DP) shortly leaned in the direction of the Canon C300 Mark II; in any case it was not solely a digital camera that I already owned, which meant we might be saving money on a digital camera rental, nevertheless it was additionally on the “approved for Netflix” listing and had a proven monitor report of high-end documentary filming.
The movie was shot in 4K (4096 x 2169) DCI in 24fps using Canon Log 3/Cinema Gamut within the inner 10bit 422 XF-AVC codec onto Sandisk Extreme CFast 2.zero cards.
I set up the digital camera to output 1080p/24 by way of the MON SDI output (with a monitoring LUT) to the SmallHD FOCUS Bolt RX monitor that our focus puller used and the director’s monitor, which was principally our video village comprised of a Blackmagic Design Video Assist 4K, which acquired the sign from the digital camera by way of the Teradek Bolt 500 LT receiver mounted on prime all encased in a Picket Digital camera Directors Monitor cage.
Because of the handheld/documentary fashion of filming, we knew we might have really long takes – some exceeding 7-Eight minutes, which meant that the digital camera can be shifting fast and we would have liked to have a dependable approach of transmitting the video sign to the director’s monitor and the 1st AC monitor.
Therefore why we selected to go together with the Teradek Bolt 500 LT – it had each a compact transmitter, which allowed us to rig it in numerous configurations on the C300 II to accomodate getting in and out of automobiles with out the antennas or transmitter getting caught in the doors or aspect of the automotive, and an honest 500 ft vary for a secure video feed.
The Teradek Bolt 500 LT is the extra budget-friendly version of the Bolt 500 XT (minus the guide frequency choice and 5Ghz spectrum analyzer among other things), that ticked all the packing containers for us – a 3G-SDI output, compact and lightweight type factor, low energy consumption, and the transmission range that we would have liked.
Months before we head out to Japanese Europe to shoot, we thought-about different price range wi-fi choices from different corporations, however at the end of the day, I didn’t need to danger it and settled on what is actually the business commonplace package for on-set wi-fi video transmission – Teradek.
Teradek Bolt 500 LT 3G-SDI Wireless Options
- Transmits as much as 500 ft (150 meters) Line of Sight
- Supports up to 1080p/60 Resolution
- Backwards Suitable with Choose Techniques
- Suitable with:
- 3G-SDI Enter and Output
- Zero Delay
- Dual, Adjustable Antennas
- 2.4 & 5.8 GHz Noise Rejection
- AES 128bit Sign Encryption
- Transmits to up to 4 Receivers
- Worth: $1791 at B&H
Setup, TX and RX Pairing
I am not a 2nd AC by trade, not by a stretch. And although I’ve carried out the job on a couple of music videos and brief movies, this was my first function movie as a 2nd AC. With 20+ crew each day, a really skilled 1st AD, an skilled DP and a veteran Production Supervisor, plus probably the most recognisable young actors from the most important TV drama in the country in entrance of the digital camera, this production was legit and the most important one I’ve ever been on.
Naturally, I was nervous as hell on DAY 1, and simply needed to ensure I didn’t f*ck up – my essential aim was for all of the package I was responsible to work as it ought to and to assist my DP with the digital camera rig and in addition rigging some lights.
Fortunately, within the few days of pre-pro we had, I tested the Teradek package to ensure I knew what I used to be doing on set. Thoughts you, this was the primary time I had used this specific Teradek package – previous to this shoot a couple of years again, I had used a Paralinx Arrow, I consider it was referred to as – an HDMI transmitter/receiver set, which worked like a appeal with the Sony A7s I had for a short time, a while ago.
For sure, mounting the receiver, transmitter, setup and pairing both was an easy course of even I might do without studying any instructions. I opted to mount the Teradek transmitter by way of a short common magic arm to one of the aspect 1/Four 20″ threaded holes on the aspect of the Canon C300 mark II prime handle, on the AC aspect (proper aspect of digital camera) so this manner I can have fast entry to adjust the transmitter sideways when the DP (who also operated the digital camera) was going in and out of automobiles. The transmitter has a 1/Four 20″ hole on the underside as well as a couple of M3 mounting factors, so mounting options are plentiful and may be tailored to your particular wants.
The Bolt 500 LT receiver was mounted on the highest of the Picket Digital camera cage and related by way of 3G-SDI cable to Blackmagic Video Help 7-inch monitor, which was our director’s monitor. The cool thing concerning the Teradek Bolt 500 LT system is that it may possibly transmit to a total of Four receivers at a time.
Since we already used the LT RX on the director’s monitor, the main target puller used the SmallHD FOCUS Bolt RX, which has its own Teradek receiver built-in, which was super nice because it saved me operating one other cable from the RX to the monitor and in addition powering the RX separately. The SmallHD FOCUS BOLT RX is all one unit, so you simply pop-in a Sony NP-F type battery on the back, pair the receiver and you’re good to go.
Having a single transmitter and getting sign to 2 separate screens wirelessly was an enormous plus.
And talking of pairing – that’s very easy too. Even for somebody like me, who is new to utilizing a Teradek system. The interface on the transmitter is admittedly simple; you get Four indicator LEDs, a 3G-SDI input, a 3G-SDI output and a 2-pin LEMO-style energy connector on one aspect, and an ON/OFF change, a reset change, as well as a USB port on the other aspect.
Pairing the Teradek Bolt 500 LT RX and TX was simple and it requires the following steps.
- Mount the TX on the aspect of the digital camera
- Run the included D-tap to Lemo power cable and get energy from the HawkWoods V-mount battery bracket
- Connect the MON SDI output of the digital camera to the 3G-SDI enter of the TX
- Mount the RX on the aspect, back or above the monitor/cage – however ensure not to impede the antennas and to maintain them and all the time the receiver mounted vertically
- Connect the RX to a monitor with a 3G-SDI input by way of the provided SDI cable
- Entry the RX menu by way of the aspect joystick
- Choose the suitable geographical area – EUROPE, US, and so forth.
- Go to the Pairing menu and provoke the TX/RX pairing course of.
- On the TX use a paper clip to softly press the Reset button for 2 seconds, which makes the TX discoverable by the RX
- You’ll see the LINK LED blink and then go strong blue, which suggests you might have transmission
Should you also need to additionally PAIR with a SmallHD FOCUS BOLT or equal monitor with a inbuilt RX, then:
- From the touchscreen – swipe from left to proper to access the Settings
- Go to INPUT menu – choose Wireless mode (it will mechanically un-tick HDMI)
- Select applicable region the place you’re based mostly
- On the TX use a paper clip to gently press the recessed Reset button for 2 seconds, which makes the TX discoverable by the RX
- Go to PAIR menu and it finds the TX, choose PAIR
- After a couple of seconds (10-30 seconds) you’ll get a pairing affirmation
- Make sure the LINK standing LED on the TX is strong and confirm that the feed is approaching the SmallHD FOCUS Bolt monitor
Necessary notice about pairing Bolt 500 LT TX, RX and SmallHD Focus BOLT – be sure to have access to a 3G SDI monitor and use the same regional settings – US, EUROPE and so on. throughout all units!
I needed to see if I can initially pair the SmallHD FOCUS BOLT, which has a inbuilt RX, with the BOLT 500 LT TX with out connecting the RX to a separate 3G-SDI monitor.
Once I chosen the EUROPE area in the FOCUS BOLT menu, I couldn’t get it to pair with the TX. This was as a result of the Bolt 500 LT TX and RX have been previously set to the US area. This is necessary for regulated 5GHz frequencies, and until all three units – the Bolt 500 LT TX, the RX and the SmallHD FOCUS BOLT have been all set to the identical area – no pairing was occurring. Is sensible, but if you don’t have a 3G-SDI monitor to examine the region of the Bolt 500 LT TX/RX, you gained’t know what region your TX/RX are on.
Quickly I came upon, that I have to have an SDI succesful monitor to access the menu on the separate RX but in these days before earlier than prep, we had not picked-up but our Director’s Monitor (a 7-inch Blackmagic Video Assist 4K) from an area rental house, which made pairing the TX a bit of a challenge; I solely had a small, off model HDMI 5-inch on digital camera monitor with me, which was not going to work with this setup.
Once we received our SDI monitor, all was fantastic – I obtained into the RX menu, modified the regional settings to EUROPE, after which using the PAIR menu by way of the joystick on the aspect of the RX, paired the TX and the RX. Then, all I had to do was also pair the SmallHD Focus BOLT, which was a breeze because of its intuitive touch display menu, which you’ll be able to see in the video evaluation above. (Humorous factor was that it additionally worked once I set all units to a US area, but then flipped it to the compliant European region, since I needed to be compliant and to ensure I didn’t run into any frequencies issues on set).
The Bolt 500 LT comes with a 2-pin LEMO to D-Faucet power cable and its personal 3G-SDI cable to get the feed from the digital camera.
We used a Hawk-woods V-mount battery plate with a complete of 5x D-tap outputs for powering accessories, which came in actually useful. Considered one of D-Faucet outputs was mounted on the highest of the plate, and 4x on the back of the plate – one went to energy the digital camera, the 2nd output to the Teradek Bolt 500 LT transmitter by way of the provided cable, and we additionally used a 3rd D-tap to energy the Teradek RT mind, which drove the lens motor (I will publish a separate assessment of the Teradek RT in the upcoming days).
Regardless of the digital camera you’re utilizing, whether an ARRI, RED, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, or Blackmagic Design, the Teradek Bolt 500 LT is tremendous straightforward to power – as long as you’ve gotten a D-tap output either from the battery itself – my CoreSWX PowerBase EDGE has a few D-taps out, or from the V-mount or Gold mount distributor plate, you’ll be able to supply juice to the Bolt 500 LT transmitter.
One various option to power the Teradek Bolt 500 LT transmitter (as was my backup plan, in case the V-lock plate or any of the V-mount batteries with built-in D-tap outputs rapidly went kaput) was to make use of a special D-Tap to DC Barrel connector cable I ordered from a 3rd celebration cable specialist online and get power from the Blind Spot Power Junkie, which uses Sony NP-F batteries. The Energy Junkie is nifty little battery adapter that you should use to power compact equipment, your mirrorless digital camera, motion digital camera, and/or a smartphone.
All in all, energy was by no means a problem – the transmitter takes anyplace from 6.8V to 17Volts and resulting from its low energy consumption, I’d never even observed it in a 12 hour capturing day. I have not measured actual consumption, but as far as I can recall, we had a total of 4x IDX DUO C98 lightweight V-mount batteries (98Wh) and we not often used more than Three in any given day to power the digital camera rig and all its equipment – the Teradek RT lens motors, brain, and Bolt 500 LT wi-fi video transmitter.
Range & Wireless Signal
The Teradek Bolt 500 LT is rated at 500 ft line of sight. For my part, and experience up to now with the unit, this can be a respectable vary for a low-budget function, brief film, music video, and or business. Until you’re performing some loopy stunts, explosions or the shoot requires difficult action scenes, where the 1st AC, director, shopper, and all very important personnel must be as distant from the scene as attainable, then you have to choose out fo the 1000 ft and the 3000 ft versions, however for many productions operating on a finances 500 ft will do.
In my case, we had a number of scenes where the digital camera follows the primary character goes right into a stay membership (with rigorously planted extras, and precise membership goers during regular working membership hours, i.e. 2am within the morning) climbs to a VIP part by means of a slender staircase, all while the music is blasting and our minimalist crew of the DP (who was also operating), was navigating a sea of not-so-sober membership patrons.
Naturally, we had the video village and our 1st AC nested in a small (lounge-like) area close to to the doorway of the club (the place it was the safest, and the prospect of someone bumping into our strategically placed C-stand, all in all minimal). And while I don’t have permission to point out you footage of this scene – so simple as it sounds on paper – a guy walks by means of a crowd after which goes up some stairs – this scene was really arduous to execute.
This was one of many few situations the place we had the signal minimize out and in to the Teradek receiver – understandably, although we have been in vary (we have been about 60-70 meters), the digital camera was following the primary character, which meant the sign needed to journey by way of a couple of walls and was intermittent. The answer was to take the director’s monitor off the C-stand and use the provided SmallHD neck strap, and have the director handhold the cage and monitor, which he did more often than not anyway, and in addition position him near the primary club room entrance – this manner he had line of sight for the majority of the shot. Once we did that, no problems.
One different occasion, where we had to organize our administrators monitor and position our focus puller closer to the action was have been we shot in a small flat, the place the blocking of the scene required the first AC to be outdoors within the hallway of the constructing entrance, which cause a sign drop (understandably, because the signal had to travel by way of 3-Four thick concrete walls). So long as we had somewhat of a line of sight, the Teradek was bulletproof.
As I stated before, vary was never a problem, and neither was sign loss. Anytime we shot interiors and in addition a crowded membership (where we filmed a number of occasions) I dreaded the potential for dropping sign to the administrators monitor and even worse – the the SmallHD Focus Bolt our focus puller was using, but alas, aside from the odd VHS-like “tracking” artefacts, and the aforementioned tough walk-and-follow membership scene, capturing interiors was by no means an issue.
To my pleasant surprise, even in automobiles it held up in visitors following a automotive from a distance (the director being in the car following the automotive by which the motion occurs).
In a short summary, without repeating myself too much – the Teradek Bolt 500 LT was a tank! It labored everyday, and it never lost sign, until we have been in a state of affairs the place a line of sight was inconceivable, or we exceeded its vary, which was very rare. At over 100 meters, the range is enough for the kind of production I was on – a low price range function movie.
It’s not too “hungry” and although it gets fairly scorching, it was very reliable even on long 12+ hours days typically for over three weeks. So long as you will have line of sight between the TX and RX, and you’re within range – you’re good.
I assume there’s a cause why you see Teradek’s on just about ever set that should ship a signal wirelessly today.
If there have been some cons, or fairly limitations – they’d be that I wanted there was some kind of a tiny LED display on the aspect of the RX so to enter the pairing and regional menu with out the need for a SDI monitor when you’re also transmitting to a SmallHD Focus BOLT for as properly.
Nevertheless, that is the price range LT line that’s meant to offer a no-frills reliable wireless sign with out the “bells and whistles” of the higher tiered Teradek’s as a way to hold the fee low.
A bit more compact RX would also be useful and perhaps a further 1/Four 20 mounting level on the aspect of the receiver can be nice, but at this point I’m simply nitpicking.
If I might summarize my experience in a sentence – it might be sound something like this: I now know why the Teradek wireless techniques are an business normal. Now I just have to start out saving to get myself a set, because the assessment pattern went again to Teradek.
Big because of Teradek for letting me evaluation their awesome Bolt 500 LT 3G-SDI wi-fi TX/RX system.
You’ll want to discover the Teradek Bolt 500 LT, XT and the remainder of the Teradek Bolt family over on their official web site here. For these of you interested by choosing up a Bolt 500 LT wireless system on your next manufacturing, do use the affiliate links under.