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Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?

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Carl WerdineCheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 11, 2013 at 12:36:04 pm

I realize this is probably a fairly tedious question and may have been asked here and on other forums, there seems to be a bit of a jungle of random solutions out there but I haven't been able to make heads or tails of them.

The situation is as follows:

I work at a venue where we document bands and performances using a 3 cam set-up where every cam has an operator and the three streams are mixed live. At the moment the set-up is SD as the mixer is an old Sony console. We have started upgrading to HD but with fairly low level consumer cams. They have a composite out but even though the signal after going through the mixer is slightly better than from the SD cams we used before, it is simply sub-par compared to having a HD signal. I have been looking into replacing the mixer for a Blackmagic switch. They have both SDI and HDMI in/out so we could work with HDMI but the connectors are dodgy for semi daily use (and operated in a lot of the cases by less disciplined enthusiasts) so I worry they might break. Also the maximum length that HDMI cables come in is a very big obstacle. HD-SDI is for me the way to go. So now the obstacle is finding a camera that has HD-SDI output but falls within our budget, which is vanishingly small. CCTV solutions aren't really an option as we do need some manner of control, like zoom functions, manual exposure control and white balance that can be adjusted directly on the cam. Also auto-focus is a big plus. So basically the minimal functions of any random camcorder but as cheap as possible but with decent low light performance and HD-SDI out.

If there are any thoughts on this it would be highly appreciated, my thanks in advance.


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Bill BrunerRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 12, 2013 at 2:11:10 pm

Hi Carl - to get all the features you want, you will probably have to buy used - and the cameras will likely be over $2000 each.

The least expensive camcorders I could find with HD-SDI out were this $2275 Canon XL H1 and this $2288 Canon XH G1 on eBay.

The Panasonic AG-AF100 also has HD-SDI, but they start at $2489 body-only on eBay. Micro 4/3 power zoom lenses are not that expensive, but they're not free either.

The Canon XF105 is the next step up, but the least expensive used unit I can find is $2675 from Adorama.

Sorry I couldn't find any options below $2000, but I hope this was helpful. Good luck with your project!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution


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Carl WerdineRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 12, 2013 at 8:30:16 pm

Thanks Bill,

I haven't found much beyond those either. I knew I was asking for something that most probably doesn't exist, but surprises are just that, and they do arise. Thanks for looking into it and answering.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 13, 2013 at 2:46:24 pm

What your cameras do in this venue is typically referred to as IMAG; "Image magnification". You might want to ask IMAG questions in the Live and Stage forum. My two cents on your problem is, have you considered HD over CAT5 ethernet from the cams to the switcher, using baluns and a converter, since HDMI in the length you want isn't in your budget?


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Carl WerdineRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 14, 2013 at 1:00:31 am

Hi Mark,

I'm not sure if IMAG is what we do at our venue. Is a three cam setup, operated by 3 camera operators, and a live video editor IMAG? I'm foggy on the terminology, there may be a language gap here since I'm a non English speaker.

The option you speak of, using CAT5 is an interesting one, one I hadn't thought of, mainly as I have no experience using CAT5 as a data transfer in this way. I suppose I would have to convert the datastream from an HDMI connector to a CAT5 cable and then to a switch that takes 3 to 4 CAT5 cables (or convert yet again to a more mixer/switch friendly format). I'm not aware of any mixers/switchers with witch one could do live editing but I haven't looked yet either as I hadn't explored using CAT5 yet. It would still leave open the problem of having camera's with HDMI connectors that are fairly sensitive to breakage.

I'm not sure this really simplifies the setup but I will look into it. Thanks for the suggestion.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 14, 2013 at 2:10:54 am

http://www.markertek.com/CATV-Headend-Interface/CAT-5-Transmission-Systems/...

Cheaper than running HDMI cabling, was my main point.


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Carl WerdineRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 14, 2013 at 11:16:50 am

Looks quite interesting for other projects in much larger rooms I am involved with as well. So even though this may not be quite the solution for this particular venue, I may well be able to use it for another. Thanks!


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Gary HazenRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 15, 2013 at 5:52:14 pm

Be aware that video over CAT 5 will have latency issues. For iMag this is a dealbreaker. I think you should continue to look for SDI options.


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Carl WerdineRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 17, 2013 at 1:21:07 am

Oh thanks for the heads up, that really is a deal breaker. I'll look into that.


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Brent DunnRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 15, 2013 at 2:39:52 pm

You can find used Sony EX-1's for around $3000. They are great cameras for live concerts.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro
with Final Cut Studio Adobe CS6 Production






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Carl WerdineRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 17, 2013 at 1:24:05 am

Yes great cams and good prices, this particular venue can't afford 3 of those though. I realize I am asking for something that doesn't exist, I did do my homework, but I am simply hoping someone knows something that has been hidden from all of us. Thanks for all the suggestions though.


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Bob SlenkerRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 20, 2013 at 9:27:40 pm

Sounds like you may need some prosumer-grade HD cams with HDMI-out and use a $250 HDMI>SDI mini-converter on the output of each cam. Then, running HD-SDI cabling to the switcher.
I too am in the market for the cheapest HD cams I can find with HD-SDI out as I anticipate my university's athletics dept wanting to upgrade to HD soon. It seems $3000 is about the bottom in terms of price. I really like my Panasonic HPX170 cams that I have in our campus TV Studio. Got those for about $3300 each. Not sure our athletics dept wants to spend that much though.



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Jeff PuleraRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 30, 2013 at 9:34:49 pm

Hi Carl,

IMAG is IMage MAGnification, in other words sending the video to large projection screens, but I didn't get that from your post. You're just live mixing right?

The new Canon XA25 will be shipping mid-June at around $2700 and I think is the least-expensive new camera with HD-SDI output.

I'm currently working with a client at a concert venue that is using baluns and CAT5 and there is definitely a latency issue, video is several frames late getting to the mixer.

Baluns are used in pairs - one at the camera converts to Cat 5, and back to video at the other end. My customer is using Component (Red, Green, Blue) baluns. No such thing as a video mixer with CAT5 inputs.

HD-SDI is a good solution up to 100m, or more if you put a repeater in line to restore the signal.

Thanks

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Mark SuszkoRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on May 30, 2013 at 10:52:43 pm

But doesn't an SDI repeater also add some latency?


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Carl WerdineRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Jun 3, 2013 at 1:12:08 am

Hi Jeff,

yes it is simply for making a live mix of concerts held at the venue. The way it is done now is by having three consumer grade HD-cameras and taking their composite out to an old Sony mixer. The idea was to upgrade at some point to a switcher like the Blackmagic Atem series using HDMI. HDMI cable length becomes an issue then. Not in all cases, but in enough for it to become bothersome. I also dislike using HDMI as the connectors are not secure and will break easily, specially as the cameras will not always be handled by experienced users. 100 m for SDI is more than enough for our purposes. Good to know about the CAT5 latency issue, as we have enough latency issues as it is with the preview monitors we use so the operators can keep an eye on the mix (they are too close to the stage for ASL communication to be useful).

Thanks!


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Chris GardinerRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Jun 21, 2013 at 2:28:27 am

I agree with Jeff. The XA25 is fantastic in low light as well. I use XA10s to film bands all the time.

http://YouTube.com/thepurplegar

As soon as the xa25 hits my local store, I'll be buying one.


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Naveen PanchalRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Sep 18, 2013 at 5:23:06 am

Hi Carl

I have almost a similar situation where by I dont have resources to directly go for a costly camera with SDI out. So I just wanted to know how did it go for you.
We do Live streaming of some events in SD & now we want to switch over to HD, though gradually as per the resources at our disposal. I have a simple consumer Sony HD camcoder which has a MINI HDMI out port. So my plan is to use a Mini HDMI to FUll size HDMI converter cable & then feed it to Battery Converter HDMI to SDI from Blackmagic design & finally to my encoder which accepts SDI input.
Do you think it will work? Did you use the same type of solution or something else.


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Carl WerdineRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Sep 18, 2013 at 10:08:03 am

Hi Naveen,

I have made no major progress to be honest. In the case of the music venue, it has been a very tough year, so there is little finance to invest. If there will be an investment I think we will probably go for a Blackmagic ATEM Switch and then use the HDMI out from the cameras. Either we build the switch into the stage so we win cable length (the switch can be controlled with a PC over Cat5) or maybe we build a repeater in the stage.

The last option I have seen done at a newly build recording/rehearsal studio for bands in London. Funnily enough it was one of my colleagues who came up with that set-up, without him knowing I had envisioned the same set-up for our main gig.

In another case where we still use older cameras we use the firewire from the cameras going into two PCI cards with two inputs each and a software switcher called BoinXTV.
Here the idea is also to at some point go the HD switch route, but also here we lack the funds as we would have to upgrade 3 cameras to HD ones.

So yeah, I think in your case you are on the right way. Provided no consumer/prosumer camera with SDI is released any time soon, which seems likely.

I did use CAT5 the other day to span a very long distance to feed a beamer, and there was no delay, but I haven't tried this with HD yet.

Good luck!


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Naveen PanchalRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Sep 18, 2013 at 10:18:43 am

Hi Carl
Thanks for taking out time to update me on the development. Well I think provided the lack of funds even you seem to be on the right track. So lets hope the best with our experiments.

Good luck to you.
Naveen


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Gary CrabtreeRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Jan 25, 2015 at 8:20:29 pm

I read with great interest about the HD-SDI converter from my HDMI port on my camera. Will it work with my Sony FS100? I've got a job next week so I either have to order the converter or order the Sony EX1. Before I suggest the converter to the client I'd like to know if anyone has tried it and what were the results? Before I try to save the client or maybe me, $500 bucks on the EX1 week rental will a $50 converter really work?
Does anyone know anything about the Paneling PL-S009 Mini HDMI to SDI Converter adapter with Embedded Audio? It is one that can be shipped overnight.
It is a three camera, live performance shoot with two other EX1. Will the three cameras edit together? Especially with a converter?


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Larry AronsonRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Oct 2, 2013 at 8:20:32 pm

Although not under $2,000 -- here is one option that is just under $$2,300:

http://bestpricephoto.com/h/product_info.php/canon-xa25-professional-hd-cam...

Am thinking of these cameras for myself!

Larry A.


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Steve ArmouraeRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Jan 14, 2015 at 9:38:19 pm

I realise this thread was started a while ago. But as there are fast advances in the industry, there is now the Blackmagic Studio Camera

Steve Armourae - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2100778/resume?ref_=nm_ov_res


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Joshua MartinezRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Jan 21, 2015 at 11:10:56 pm

Steve,

I am currently in this predicament as well: The Canon XA25 or the Blackmagic Design Studio HD Camera. The only caveat i see with the Design Studio HD camera is the fact that you have buy a lens. So what you think is a cheap camera turns out to be quiet expensive once you start to add the extra things you need.

This setup is going to be for my church so what do you think? I am leaning more towards the XA25 because of course it has the SDI output and does not require an extra lens.


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Drew LahatRe: Cheapest camcorders with HD-SDI out for music event space, any thoughts?
by on Feb 3, 2016 at 5:51:38 am

As of Feb. 2016, the bar is at $2,000 and you have three options: the aforementioned Canon X25, JVC GY-HM200, and Sony X70. All at $2,000, and pretty darn good cameras for that price point.

I think Cat5 baluns are a horrible idea for this application; they're bulky, not meant for moving situations, and there's nothing about Ethernet connections that's very sturdy, especially if you have roving cameras. At this day and age I'm not even talking about analog signals, I think that's utterly out of the question, and digital HD video over Cat5E (let alone Cat5!) can be very unreliable. This is all from personal experience, selling Geffen, Kramer or Extron adapters to customers a few years back and having to deal with complaints and problems.

So stick with BNC cables and HD-SDI.

What IS a very viable option to you is today's new ultra-cheap HDMI-to-HDSDI adapters. The Chinese have "cracked the code" and you can find a bunch of those on Amazon for $40 apiece (yes, they're all the same product with different labels slapped on it...). And they work! I just ran the exact setup you described - filming concerts on a (very?) low budget - and had a couple of those on hand. They did the job without an issue. Those cheaper adapters used to be limited on the type of signals they could handle (anything besides 1080i and 720p60 was iffy), but they got much better so basically if your video switcher can handle the HD format these adapters will, too.

So here's an HD-SDI camera for $170: you buy a $130 HD handycam, slap the SDI adapter, and voila! Your switch already takes SDI so you're all set from there. Of course you can use any camera with an HDMI out.


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