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    Building a DIY wireless directors monitor / client monitor
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    Hey guys,

    I usually rent directors monitors when i need them but back in Dec / Jan i decided to bite the bullet and have a go at building my own using a combination of parts i had laying around and also new parts on a (fairly) low budget...

    I just wrote this article & would be keen to know your thoughts or if you think i could make it better?

    https://cameramanadelaide.com.au/bui...ctors-monitor/

    Cheers

    Paul

    Nyrius_directors_monitor1.jpg


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    #2
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    Nice!

    I built something along these lines a few years back. After early experiences with the Nyrius brand (the original version of the stick which was very similar to the original Paralinx Arrow), I was pretty unenthused with the range. I see this is a later model but without external antennas, there are going to be range issues. If at some point you look to upgrade, I highly recommend the Amimon Connex Mini, especially if you can get a used set for cheap which show up on eBay from time to time (still quite a bit more than the Nyrius, but much less than units with similar range). This was built for the drone market so the transmitter is very small and light, and it uses the same chipset as the Teradek 3000. Transmission is always affected by environment but I have yet to see these fail at the distances you are discussing--they are nominally rated for 1600 ft line of sight (3300 with the larger Fusion receiver). Camera Motion Research makes some great accessories including small clip-on batteries for the transmitter.

    Regarding that mass of cable--you should be able to chop down that P-tap to USB splitter cable without much fuss. Depending on how it was built it will have either two or four wires in it and it's just a matter of splicing the matching color wires together again. Electrical tape will do it if you aren't a solderer, or the newer heat shrink butt splice connectors are great for this. Same goes for the dummy battery to D-tap cable, if you are planning on keeping it dedicated to that rig. It always feel better not to have a chunky mass of cables!

    Finally, one thing I have found useful is a small quick release plate assembly at the bottom mated to a female baby pin receiver, so I can pop it onto a stand when available.

    Below are pix of my build which is abour 4 years old now. The monitor is a 9" Marshall, not a high-brightness model unfortunately. I am often sending a quad signal so I needed a larger display than a 7". Outside I use a vintage diagonal Hoodman left over from the tube monitor days, the one from the Sony 8040 fits this perfectly (ahh, the days when an 8" display weighed 17 lbs)!

    The blue box is a master power switch wired into the gold mount plate so I can turn off the receiver with the monitor. I should probably replace this with a sleeker 3D printed box at some point. At least I replaced the handwritten label with a p-touch!

    IMG_4014 (1).jpg

    IMG_4015 (1).jpg
    Last edited by CharlesPapert; 03-19-2020 at 05:55 AM.
    Charles Papert
    charlespapert.com


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    nice article (and hello from Adelaide)


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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPapert View Post
    Nice!

    I built something along these lines a few years back. After early experiences with the Nyrius brand (the original version of the stick which was very similar to the original Paralinx Arrow), I was pretty unenthused with the range. I see this is a later model but without external antennas, there are going to be range issues. If at some point you look to upgrade, I highly recommend the Amimon Connex Mini, especially if you can get a used set for cheap which show up on eBay from time to time (still quite a bit more than the Nyrius, but much less than units with similar range). This was built for the drone market so the transmitter is very small and light, and it uses the same chipset as the Teradek 3000. Transmission is always affected by environment but I have yet to see these fail at the distances you are discussing--they are nominally rated for 1600 ft line of sight (3300 with the larger Fusion receiver). Camera Motion Research makes some great accessories including small clip-on batteries for the transmitter.

    Regarding that mass of cable--you should be able to chop down that P-tap to USB splitter cable without much fuss. Depending on how it was built it will have either two or four wires in it and it's just a matter of splicing the matching color wires together again. Electrical tape will do it if you aren't a solderer, or the newer heat shrink butt splice connectors are great for this. Same goes for the dummy battery to D-tap cable, if you are planning on keeping it dedicated to that rig. It always feel better not to have a chunky mass of cables!

    Finally, one thing I have found useful is a small quick release plate assembly at the bottom mated to a female baby pin receiver, so I can pop it onto a stand when available.

    Below are pix of my build which is abour 4 years old now. The monitor is a 9" Marshall, not a high-brightness model unfortunately. I am often sending a quad signal so I needed a larger display than a 7". Outside I use a vintage diagonal Hoodman left over from the tube monitor days, the one from the Sony 8040 fits this perfectly (ahh, the days when an 8" display weighed 17 lbs)!

    The blue box is a master power switch wired into the gold mount plate so I can turn off the receiver with the monitor. I should probably replace this with a sleeker 3D printed box at some point. At least I replaced the handwritten label with a p-touch!
    I'm really coming around to the connex system! Is no audio ever an issue for monitoring/playback?


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    Quote Originally Posted by rob norton View Post
    I'm really coming around to the connex system! Is no audio ever an issue for monitoring/playback?
    Not in the world I inhabit, where there is always a sound person providing comteks. Have never missed having it as a result. Even with systems that can transmit audio, I can't remember using it. I can see where for a smaller operation it might be an issue though!

    Some of the 3D printed rehousings I've done for various applications: this one converts the dodgy micro-HDMI and JST power connector to full size HDMI and 5.5mm plug (to make it compatible with the receiver):

    connexminirehouse1.jpgconnexminirehouse3.jpg

    These mate SDI converters with the Mini system to use as a standard transmitter (not as bulky as they look!)

    connexmini.jpg

    Here with an old Boxx Meridien high gain antenna for a 1:2 system:

    connexacam.jpg
    Charles Papert
    charlespapert.com


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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesPapert View Post
    Not in the world I inhabit, where there is always a sound person providing comteks. Have never missed having it as a result. Even with systems that can transmit audio, I can't remember using it. I can see where for a smaller operation it might be an issue though!

    Some of the 3D printed rehousings I've done for various applications: this one converts the dodgy micro-HDMI and JST power connector to full size HDMI and 5.5mm plug (to make it compatible with the receiver):

    connexminirehouse1.jpgconnexminirehouse3.jpg

    These mate SDI converters with the Mini system to use as a standard transmitter (not as bulky as they look!)

    connexmini.jpg

    Here with an old Boxx Meridien high gain antenna for a 1:2 system:

    connexacam.jpg
    Thanks. Seems like multiple people monitoring/reviewing audio should be a clear line in the sand for bringing in a dedicated sound person anyway. I think I’ll invest once the drought is over - tiny footprint, better range than bolt xt 500, cheaper price, just need to keep connections in mind when rigging, which you’d need to do anyway!


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    As I mentioned earlier, used ones pop up on eBay all the time sometimes very cheaply. And also, check out Camera Motion Research as they have some good inexpensive solutions for power, cabling and mounting the Connex line. They have a rehouse of their own for the transmitter-- they went larger footprint but flatter than the route I went.
    Charles Papert
    charlespapert.com


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    I built mine out at the end of '18/beginning of '19 with my (no longer often used, but still beautiful) Panasonic BT-LH910.

    Teradek 500 XT with Anton Bauer battery bracket mounts(pass-through power for Gold Mount, power tap to receivers/transmitters)
    Panasonic BT-LH 910
    Camera Motion Research handles
    Porta-Brace monitor cover with integrated sun hood.

    This is a fairly neat and streamlined package. Even though it is heavy, because of the size and build-quality of the actual monitor. So many wireless directors monitors, with the exception of the newer fully integrated smallHD models, are a hot mess with the 'erector set' handles & cages and plate-of-spaghettti cable mess. With mine, the receiver locks directly to the battery plate and the battery goes on the back of that. Unfortunately with the 500XT series, the plates do not pass power THROUGH the receivers and transmitters, so you do have to run a power tap cable from the power tap to the Rx or Tx, but you just use a short one and then use a small coiled BNC with right angles into the monitor and it still stays neat and clean. The CMR handles are also very clean and streamlined, unlike some of the ones from Wooden Camera, etc. Plus it's nice to support a local(to my state) company.

    1.jpg
    3.jpg
    4.jpg
    5.jpg


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    Quote Originally Posted by Run&Gun View Post
    I built mine out at the end of '18/beginning of '19 with my (no longer often used, but still beautiful) Panasonic BT-LH910.
    Nice setup! I agree on the CMR handles--the one advantage Wooden Camera has is the erector set aspect, comes with more parts and thus more possibilities. I did end up changing out the foam handle covers after the picture I posted above was taken! So far the next set has not split, although this monitor gets much less use these days.

    Which segues me to what I do provide directors with now! Because most of my work is in episodic TV, we have the traditional video village setup with 17" monitors but on most sets there is also a set of "minis", which is 7" monitors generally mounted side by side in an extended width cage for A and B camera. These almost always live on a c-stand or rolling stand because that setup (with wireless receiver for each monitor) is pretty heavy and unwieldy to handhold, and there is rarely a need to do so.

    A couple of years ago while in prep on a network show I asked the producing director what was missing for his creature comforts on set. He said, I don't have anywhere to put my stuff (jacket, laptop bag etc). The village cart tends to double as battery charging station and there isn't any real estate available there. He also said that he preferred not to sit at village which is always a certain distance away from the action, that he usually sits at the minis on set with the script supervisor. The not-so-secret aspect of all this is that TV directors often prefer not to be sitting with the writer/producers as that can over-encourage the noting process...

    So I started to re-think the minis. The footprint of a rolling stand is in the 3x3 range which is big enough for a vertical magliner cart. Starting with one of those, I added a file cabinet for the director's storage needs, plus a shelf with a pullout laptop tray. Rounding it out with power strip and plenty of USB ports for chargers, 3 cupholders and an LED gooseneck lamp. I use a Sumo 19 as the monitor, and wirelessly feed it with a quad signal from my own cart (same signal I send to the handheld monitor above, and a 32" vanities monitor we set up for other crewmembers). In quad mode the image size is slightly larger than what they would be seeing on dual 7" minis, and of course when we go single camera they get the benefit of the full size image. I can also feed a reference image into the quad if director needs to see a previous setup. And it is daylight viewable so they don't need a tent outside.

    The backside shows the 9" handheld monitor shown in previous post perched on a baby pin for storage--if director needs to get closer to the action, they can just grab it and go. The coil of cables is a stinger and BNC used on that show by the script supervisor who would ingest video into her software to take frame grabs.

    directorscart1.jpgdirectorscart2.jpg
    Charles Papert
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    Quote Originally Posted by Run&Gun View Post
    I built mine out at the end of '18/beginning of '19 with my (no longer often used, but still beautiful) Panasonic BT-LH910.

    Teradek 500 XT with Anton Bauer battery bracket mounts(pass-through power for Gold Mount, power tap to receivers/transmitters)
    Panasonic BT-LH 910
    Camera Motion Research handles
    Porta-Brace monitor cover with integrated sun hood.

    This is a fairly neat and streamlined package. Even though it is heavy, because of the size and build-quality of the actual monitor. So many wireless directors monitors, with the exception of the newer fully integrated smallHD models, are a hot mess with the 'erector set' handles & cages and plate-of-spaghettti cable mess. With mine, the receiver locks directly to the battery plate and the battery goes on the back of that. Unfortunately with the 500XT series, the plates do not pass power THROUGH the receivers and transmitters, so you do have to run a power tap cable from the power tap to the Rx or Tx, but you just use a short one and then use a small coiled BNC with right angles into the monitor and it still stays neat and clean. The CMR handles are also very clean and streamlined, unlike some of the ones from Wooden Camera, etc. Plus it's nice to support a local(to my state) company.
    Looks good! @run&gun, I know you already own a bolt but do you think you could use an amimom connex mini system (with SDI mod/add on) in the same way without issue in your area of production?

    Charles, this is from a post you made on the steadicam forum: "Having two units in close proximity seems to be a little problematic. I have the antennaes the prescribed 4-5 feet apart on a mast but they still seem to fight with each other a little. Good news is that like the latest Teradeks, if signal is lost is will quickly restore, much faster than the previous generation."

    Would you say even though you'll experience lost signals (which are quickly restored), the same issue would occur with other wireless systems too? In other words, it's more in the category of something you live with vs. something that could've been avoided by spending more money? Specifically I'm speaking of mini vs. bolt 500 xt. I don't have experience with multiple wireless systems so please forgive my ignorance.

    Also, the cart set up looks awesome. Great thinking about the original stand's footprint as the area you have to work with then taking advantage of all that vertical space. A similar inovativ build would've cost thousands..


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