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Letterbox with Mini Converters

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Patrick Sproule
Letterbox with Mini Converters
on Apr 10, 2012 at 6:49:31 am

Hi Folks, we use quite a few BMD Mini convertor products with our HD OB truck (as well as a Compact Videohub router). The truck is full HD SDI with embedded audio and we run this to all external feeds etc over either copper or fibre and simply use a mini convertor at the end to present the formats required. Works a treat 99% of the time.

At several recent concerts we have been asked to feed a trailer mounted LED screen that is unfortunately both analog and 4:3 aspect ratio. When we run the truck in HD we simply tell the SDI to Analog mini convertor to down-convert to SD analog in 4:3 Letterbox. But the last two gigs we ran the whole truck in SD anamorphic (client requirement for speedy post production) and it was here that we discovered that when you feed either a mini convertor or an up/down/cross convertor SD SDI Anamorphic you cant select Letterbox 4:3 as an output. Well, you can but it does not do it. We had a dig around the processor in the LED screen but it doesn't have a setting either. I'm trying to configure a way to letterbox an AUX out of our Snell Kahuna vision mixer but it doesn't really want to play ball either as it's only the baby 1ME version.

So we're stuck with tall skinny people it seems.... Anyone have any suggestions?

Another couple of interesting things - we have a couple of SDI to HDMI mini convertors which get caught in an infinite firmware upgrade loop with the latest version of the Mac control software. Every time you plug one in it wants to upgrade and wont let you operate it's functions until you do. But when you power cycle again upon completion it wants to upgrade again. And be careful running long copper runs to remote screens. SDI is still prone to earth loop problems - learnt the hard way when the earth potential difference was enough to destroy a router output (Codan router). Use fibre or an SDI isolator. But you knew that :) And when down-converting from 1080i HDSDI to Composite using a mini-convertor the resulting output is fairly horrible - quite noisy. Use component wherever possible.

Cheers - Pat.


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