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Video I/O hardware box recommendations?

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Chris Ratledge
Video I/O hardware box recommendations?
on Sep 4, 2010 at 3:26:03 pm

Greetings,

I need to pick up a new piece of I/O hardware, and Kona3 is beyond my budget. Curious for feedback concerning the following items among the throngs here. All are PCI-card based breakout boxes that I'll be using with my MacPro, but could also use with MBP with Expresscard Adapter. Additional interest in use as on-set video assist playback I/O. (Currently only the AJA IOexpress is supported by Qtake, which I may look into in the future)

1) MOTU HDX-SDI. I like the price point of this unit but it's kind of an unknown to me. Curious if anyone has experience with it. Has more I/O options than the AJA unit

2) AJA Io Express. Only has SDI input, no analog video input, but is currently supported by Qtake software.

3) Blackmagic Design Multibridge Pro 2. Seems really robust and powerful, with x4 PCI host card instead of single-lane alternatives in this list.

4) Matrox MXO2 LE with MAX. I REALLY like the capability of MAX technology to help with speedy h.264 encodes of footage for web/iPod/etc. dailies. I've read the review here on the COW, but wonder how it compares to the Elgato Turbo 264 HD USB stick for hardware-accelerated transcodes?

Primarily working with RED ONE footage on set, what have been your experiences, pros and cons, horror stories, etc with these items if applicable? What has your experience been with codec compatibility, as I've had trouble finding concrete info on supported codecs and formats, esp. for BMD's stuff.

I appreciate everyone's input, thanks.

(I plan to post this in several spots to try to get as much info as possible, I need to make this purchase ASAP, also on REDuser.net, limited responses there.)


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Bob Zelin
Re: Video I/O hardware box recommendations?
on Sep 6, 2010 at 6:16:46 pm

replies below. Do you think that people here will discuss Matrox and AJA on the Blackmagic forum ?


Greetings,

I need to pick up a new piece of I/O hardware, and Kona3 is beyond my budget.

REPLY - you are a professional video assist on RED shoots. Don't you charge at lease $400 a day for video assist with your gear ? You will make back all your money in 3 days. Have you ever heard of investing in your career ?


Curious for feedback concerning the following items among the throngs here. All are PCI-card based breakout boxes that I'll be using with my MacPro, but could also use with MBP with Expresscard Adapter.

Reply - this is crazy. The better products for you are on cards. You have a cart for your video assist. If you need to do RED playback, you will ultimately need a RED Rocket card for Video assist with RED, and this is $5000. It will go into a Mobile Rocket (Maxx Digital) for your Mac Book Pro, or directly into your cart in your MAC Pro. The better solution for you is the MAC Pro with a card, like this Blackmagic card -

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/decklinkhdextreme/



2) AJA Io Express. Only has SDI input, no analog video input, but is currently supported by Qtake software.

REPLY - you are working with RED, why do you need analog video input ? You are working with files. Whose camera has an analog video output on it today ? If you get the Decklink HD Extreme, it will do what you want. Another card alternative is the AJA Kona LHi.


Primarily working with RED ONE footage on set, what have been your experiences, pros and cons, horror stories, etc with these items if applicable? What has your experience been with codec compatibility, as I've had trouble finding concrete info on supported codecs and formats, esp. for BMD's stuff.

REPLY - to transcode your RED Files, you will use assorted products from RED (like RedCine-X) or Clipfinder to transcode your files to ProRes, etc. This has got nothing to do with AJA or Blackmagic or Matrox. To playout these files in close to real time, you will need a $5000 RED Rocket card.

My suggestion to you is to go out with a video assist that is working on a RED shoot, and VOLUNTEER FOR FREE for that day, to see what he is using, and see his workflow. The expense of the Blackmagic, AJA or MOTU product is the least of your worries, and the least of your expense.

Bob Zelin


Bob Zelin



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Chris Ratledge
Re: Video I/O hardware box recommendations?
on Sep 6, 2010 at 7:51:13 pm

Do you think that people here will discuss Matrox and AJA on the Blackmagic forum ?
Sure, but if they don't, they don't. I see no problem with my asking the way I did. If I'm wrong then I'm only out the time to post, and no worse off than when getting hardly any responses elsewhere as well. It's not like I'm asking radio questions in a camera forum.

Don't you charge at lease $400 a day for video assist with your gear ? You will make back all your money in 3 days. Have you ever heard of investing in your career ?
I charge what I can realistically get out of people in order to (try) to keep working. My situation is nowhere NEAR as simple as this statement. Doubt anyone’s is.

Many film cameras I encounter on set still have analog video tap output, not to mention analog wireless video transmission when it rarely happens. The “primarily working with RED” part of my question was mistakenly left in without further explanation due to the copy-and-paste to multiple locations.

If a MacPro goes down beyond repair on location, I’m SOL with a PCI card-only solution for video assist I/O and all I’ve got left is a MBP for backup. That being said the price point of the DeckLink Card is a lot more attractive than a KONA 3.

My suggestion to you is to go out with a video assist that is working on a RED shoot, and VOLUNTEER FOR FREE for that day, to see what he is using, and see his workflow.
Sure, that sounds good! I’ll ask to shadow someone with whom I’ll be competing for work, and somehow get them to explain all their gear and workflow to me when my observations leave more questions. I’ll have endless freelancers waiting to train their competition in no time!


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Bob Zelin
Re: Video I/O hardware box recommendations?
on Sep 6, 2010 at 9:02:06 pm

Chris responds to my comment -
My suggestion to you is to go out with a video assist that is working on a RED shoot, and VOLUNTEER FOR FREE for that day, to see what he is using, and see his workflow.
Sure, that sounds good! I’ll ask to shadow someone with whom I’ll be competing for work, and somehow get them to explain all their gear and workflow to me when my observations leave more questions. I’ll have endless freelancers waiting to train their competition in no time!

REPLY -
I copy my competition ALL THE TIME. (hey, so does Blackmagic !).
I ask EVERYONE (without embarassment) what they are doing. I have asked EditShare what they are doing, I just asked Studio Network Solutions what chassis they are using for their shared storage solution. Why can't you go onto a set, introduce yourself to the video assist, and say "hey, so what capture box are you using". I was a video assist with Panavision cameras from 1980 - 1981, and I did exactly this. If you are in the business, you ALWAYS run into your competition (who are just other freelancers). EVERYONE talks about what gear they are using. Every DP discusses what monitors they are using on set. What is the secret - people LIKE to talk about this stuff.

I just had questions about Digital Delivery. I called the local cable company, asked for the guy that was doing it, asked if I could come in to talk with him, and he invited me over, and we spent 30 minutes discussing what HE was doing, and what they expected for digital delivery.


The multibridge Pro does not connect to a laptop via FW800, like the
I/O HD or AJA I/O Express. The I/O Express does not offer analog composite input for your videotap camera, but Blackmagic DOES sell very nice ANALOG to DIGITAL converters that will readily convert a STABLE analog composite signal to SD-SDI which can be put into the I/O Express.

I am the wrong guy to be asking about the Matrox line. You can't even download their drivers from their website unless you are a registered owner. What's the secret ?

If you are on a lot of RED shoots, you will ultimately need to get a RedRocket card, which will require the Mobile Rocket from Maxx Digital if you want to run it on a laptop.

No one ever said it was cheap to do all this stuff. Not even if you buy Blackmagic products.

Bob Zelin



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