In Other News: Prompters, I/O + converters20 February 2011
iPad, iPhone and Android prompters
Datavideo’s new TP-200 prompter for Apple’s iPad is a rail-mounted system that can fit a wide range of cameras. It includes camera and tripod support rails, hood and beam splitter glass, but can also be fitted under the lens for use with retro-reflective light rings.
It comes with software for £330, including a wired controller that lets you control the prompting speed from up to three metres.
It can be fitted in both landscape and portrait modes with mirrored or standard text alignments. The iPrompt Pro software can also drive external displays using standard VGA or Composite video cables available for the iPad. The rig is also designed to accommodate Datavideo’s £375 DN-60 solid-state CF card recorder, which can capture AVI, .mov or MXF files, or M2T files for HDV camcorders. It currently connects by FireWire, but there will probably be an HD-SDI version by IBC.
The new TP-100 Smartphone Prompter is similar to its old iPrompter, but can be used with a wider range of on-lens mounts, and includes the wired remote. It currently works with the iPhone, but an Android app will be launched at NAB. It costs £275.
BeachTek HD DSLR audio adapters
BeachTek now has two audio boxes for HD DSLRs that take XLR inputs, allow you to adjust levels, and route the result to the DSLR’s mini-jack input.
The BeachTek DXA-5DA (pictured top) is a passive adapter, which doesn’t have phantom power – you would use it with self-powered condenser microphones or wireless receivers, or as an interface to an audio mixer.
It has two inputs and a level meter, while a "unique AGC Disable feature controls the wild swings of the Auto Gain Control that plague most cameras." This reduces noise during quiet moments so that you can record cleaner audio. It fits under the camera or can be mounted to a tripod. It is powered by one 9-volt battery and costs about £290.
There is also the BeachTek DXA-SLR, with phantom power. It is similar, but without the little LCD meter display.
It has Good/Peak signal indicators that show the ideal input levels at a glance, plus the AGC Disable feature. You can also monitor the playback audio from the camera. It costs about £350.
Also potentially useful is BeachTek’s MultiMount 5D ($89), which provides four horizontal cold shoes and one vertical shoe for mounting microphones, wireless receiver, lights, etc. on your DSLR or camcorder.
It is made of polycarbonate with metal shoe inserts and has threaded 1/4-inch/20 holes on all shoes for added flexibility.
It also has a rubber mounting foot with locking plate for mechanical shock isolation, but that may not be advisable for use with heavier devices, which is why it also comes with a replacement foot that provides a firmer mount.
Speedy Sonnet Qio card reader
The Sonnet Technologies‘ Qio media reader/writer was on show in the UK for the first time at BVE 2011. Qio allows users to transfer files to edit stations or RAID storage many times faster than with USB 2.0 or FireWire devices.
Qio connects to workstations through a PCI Express bus interface allowing high-speed transfers with aggregate bandwidth of up to 210 MB per second and supports Sony SxS, Panasonic P2, Compact Flash, SD(HC) and SDXC cards. It has two slots for each card format (SDHC shares with SxS) and can transfer data from two cards simultaneously.
It will improve transfer speeds for camera users who need to back up on location, as one single device can import files from up to six cards at a time.
"Sometimes it takes a practical device such as Qio to make the most out of breakthrough technologies. There’s no doubt that tapeless recording and file-based editing are revolutionary, but there’s an irritating bottleneck – getting data from the cameras to the editor quickly and safely. Qio is a really elegant solution," claimed Allan Leonardsen, Director of Holdan, its UK distributor.
Card data can also be transferred directly onto a RAID storage unit, using Qio’s eSATA controller. Its four eSATA ports enable users to connect two Sonnet Fusion F2 portable RAID units, four Sonnet Fusion D400QR5 4-drive RAID 5 systems, or any other drive with an eSATA interface. This allows backing up to large-scale secure storage instead of laptops.
Qio also functions as a PCI Express bus expansion system, giving an instant upgrade to laptops. Its SxS and P2 slots accept ExpressCard/34 adapters and CardBus cards, respectively, enabling users to expand their system with WiFi, FireWire, USB or Gigabit Ethernet.
It measures 15×15.7×3.1cm and is compatible with external battery packs with an XLR 4-pin power connector. It is Mac only, with a PC version to follow, and lists at £725.
Teranex Mini 3-in-1 compact converter
The new three-in-one Teranex Mini compact up/down/cross converter and SD standards converter made its UK debut last week at BVE 2011.
It "is an outstandingly high quality and versatile format and standards converter," claimed James Thomas, Director of Engineering at Preco, its UK distributor. "An ultra-compact integrated version of the three-separate-chassis system we showed last year, the Mini is ideal for applications such as real-time SD/HD ingest to file-based editing and playout systems. It provides full proc-amp controls, handles eight channels of embedded digital audio and can be operated and updated via browser-compatible software. Features include smart 4:3/16:9 aspect-ratio conversion, PixelMotion de-interlaced format conversion, multi-directional diagonal filtering, temporal recursive noise reduction and per-pixel video/film detection to ensure correct output cadence."
It is very small (127x29x216mm) with front panel controls, and can perform real-time SD to HD and HD to SD format conversion between a wide variety of video standards ranging from 480i/59.94 and 576i/50 SD to 1080i/50, 1080i/59.94 and 1080sf/23.98.
Rear-panel connections include one BNC 10-bit SD/HD-SDI 1.485Gbps input with embedded audio, one BNC SD/HD-SDI active-loop output and two BNC SD/HD-SDI 10-bit 1.485Gbps outputs with embedded audio.
Precise adjustment of video settings such as gain, black level, hue, saturation, detail enhancement and sharpness, as well as input/output settings, audio settings, and numerous advanced features, can all be performed via supplied IP-based software.