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Marshall Goes Rugged with HDMI Conversion – by Tim Holtermann

Shane Hurlbut, ASC evaluates the shot via the HP Dreamcolor Monitor with Key Grip Dave Knudson.

Shane Hurlbut, ASC evaluates the shot via the HP Dreamcolor Monitor with Key Grip Dave Knudson.

In a previous blog entry, Shane talked about the Canon 5D MKII and how it integrates with the Video Village. Here we are months later with some new tools (well, one in particular) that will finally help take the pain out of getting video from the camera to an external monitor or Video Village. Even when you are shooting without a Video Village, you more than likely will have some external monitoring solution setup to allow other members on the crew to see output from the camera or watch playback. Even if it’s a single external monitor, this tool will help.

Let me introduce you to the Marshall Orchid OR-XDI, a compact battery powered HDMI to 3G-SDI / 3G-SDI to HDMI converter. For those of you who have struggled with the Blackmagic or AJA converter boxes, this will be a huge relief. Especially on location where these types of boxes tend to fail, fall apart on you or burn you to death from their heat (after all they were meant to sit on your desk or in a climate controlled room).

Marshall Orchid OR-XDI, HDMI to 3G-SDI / 3G-SDI to HDMI cross converter with battery adapter.

Marshall Orchid OR-XDI, HDMI to 3G-SDI / 3G-SDI to HDMI cross converter with battery adapter.

Unlike other converter boxes, the Marshall Orchid OR-XDI was designed to be rugged and portable.  The Orchid can be ordered with a variety of small battery adapters (as shown above) or an optional 4 pin XLR 12V DC power adaptor (shown below) which can then plug into a variety of power sources such as a D-Tap to an Anton Bauer battery. An AC power supply is also included.

Another nice function is when there is not a signal going to the Orchid, it generates color bars which can be used to calibrate your monitor if needed.

Caption: Marshall Orchid OR-XDI cross converter with optional 4 pin XLR 12V DC power adapter.

Caption: Marshall Orchid OR-XDI cross converter with optional 4 pin XLR 12V DC power adapter.

Ok, so we have this rugged little converter box, which will convert from HDMI to 3G-SDI or take a 3G-SDI output from a camera and send it to a HDMI monitor while also feeding the 3G-SDI to other areas and equipment. Sounds pretty good. Now let’s get an idea of what we can do with it.

Scenario 1:

We have a camera (DSLR in this case) setup in a rig with the mini-HDMI output of the camera going to the HDMI input of the small onboard portable monitor (Marshall V-LCD70XHB-HDMIPT in this case) but we also need to get the signal from the camera to another monitor for the director to view. What are our options? We could put an HDMI splitter before we feed the Marshall monitor or use the HDMI out loop-through this particular Marshall monitor offers, but in either case, that means running long HDMI cables, which is very problematic and external HDMI splitters tend to be very unreliable.  To complicate things further the external monitor we are using for the director is the 24” Marshall V-R241-IMD-HDSDI,which has a HD-SDI input.

Marshall V-LCD70XHB-HDMIPT and Marshall Orchid OR-XDI mounted on camera rig.

Marshall V-LCD70XHB-HDMIPT and Marshall Orchid OR-XDI mounted on camera rig.

HDMI loop-through on Marshall V-LCD70XHB-HDMIPT Monitor

HDMI loop-through on Marshall V-LCD70XHB-HDMIPT Monitor

Solution: We will mount the Marshall Orchid on our camera rig and feed the HDMI input of the Orchid from the HDMI loop-through output of the onboard Marshall monitor. This will enable us to use the more durable and reliable 3G-SDI BNC cables and plug directly into the back of the Marshall V-R241-IMD-HDSDI external monitor without any further conversion or adapters. Problem Solved.

Marshall V-R241-IMD-HDSDI Monitor in the field.

Marshall V-R241-IMD-HDSDI Monitor in the field.

HD-SDI inputs on the Marshall V-R241-IMD-HDSDI Monitor

HD-SDI inputs on the Marshall V-R241-IMD-HDSDI Monitor

Also keep in mind that if we needed to add another external monitor, we could simply run another 3G-SDI cable, or if our on board monitor happened to have an SDI input instead of HDMI, we could feed the HDMI input of the Orchid from the camera directly, then run one 3G-SDI from the Orchid to the onboard monitor and another 3G-SDI to our external monitor. The flexibility is just amazing.

Scenario 2:

Just like in Scenario 1, we have a camera (DSLR in this case) setup in a rig with the mini-HDMI output of the camera going to the HDMI input of the small onboard portable monitor (Marshall V-LCD70XHB-HDMIPT in this case) but we also need to get the signal from the camera to another monitor for the director to view. However, this time the external monitor is the HP Dreamcolor, which only has an HDMI input.

HP Dreamcolor Monitor in the field.

HP Dreamcolor Monitor in the field.

The ideal solution would be to configure everything the same as in Scenario 1, but add a 2nd Marshall Orchid converter and mount it to the back of the HP Dreamcolor (as shown below).

Marshall Orchid OR-XDI mounted to the rear of the HP Dreamcolor Monitor.

Marshall Orchid OR-XDI mounted to the rear of the HP Dreamcolor Monitor.

We now take the 3G-SDI cable from the output of the Orchid on the camera rig and feed it to the 3G-SDI input of the Orchid mounted to the HP Dreamcolor. Finally, we take the HDMI output of the Orchid into the HDMI input of the HP Dreamcolor. Another configuration scenario solved!

If we don’t have the luxury of having a 2nd Marshall Orchid available, then we would need to live with the less than ideal solution of running a long HDMI cable from the camera rig Orchid directly to the HD Dreamcolor.  Budget will always be a factor, but the ideal solution is having two of these Marshall Orchid converters on hand, as this would allow us to manage almost any scenario imaginable.

The bottom line is that SDI is preferred and the industry standard, not a home electronics cable.  The Marshall Orchid OR-XDI is rugged, lightweight and a much needed cross converter with excellent features that gives you maximum flexibility when it comes to managing your external video feeds.

Author: Tim

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19 Comments

  1. Good piece of equipment. What’s your solution for having both the small on board monitor and an EVF, as well as a line out to video village?

    Post a Reply
    • If this was ever necessary, I would assume the only solution is an HDMI splitter.. One HDMI input to the EVF, and the other to the Orchid.

      Post a Reply
      • Hi Chris, Depending on the EVF you are using, you can actually use the HDMI loop through to get to the Orchid. Currently our EVF does offer this feature, so we usually go into the EVF, then loop through to the Orchid or secondary on board monitor if needed.

        Post a Reply
  2. Scenario 3: Teradek Cube (Encorder+Decorder). No cables. Problem solved.
    p.s. Not advertising here, just bought it a week ago)

    Post a Reply
    • Alex, Hi Alex, not very happy with Teradex cube. Delay is crippling for focus. Works 30-40% of the time. Great if you are in a studio. Not user friendly at all on how I roll out. But thanks for the input.

      Post a Reply
      • Teradek’s Cube does have latency issues. They say 1/8- to 1/2-second. It’s premise is cool, though.

        Thanks for the heads-up on Marshall’s solution. It’s the last bit that is missing from my kit.

        Post a Reply
      • My scenario with Teradek is this: 7D+ HDMI Splitter, 1st split goes to an external monitor (SmallHD in my case) for focus puller and cameraman, 2nd is for Teradek (for director/client/agency).
        I agree that it’s not very user friendly if you are not a system admin and do not know anything about wifi configurations.
        Shane, when you said that it works 30-40% what where the issues?

        Post a Reply
        • Alex, Running around corners, handshaking. At the pace that I work at it, the Cube never seems to keep up. I love the idea of it and I could have never pulled of the Prudential commercial without it, but I would rather be wired or go standard def.

          Post a Reply
  3. I have a different solution from a ruige monitor ,not advertising that has both an HDMI Splitter and HDMI to HDSDI convertor, both of them work at the same time. I use the HDMI splitter for the camera Man and the Focus Puller and the HDSDI for the Director/Client.

    Post a Reply
    • Ramy, copy that. We use TV logic that do the same as well, but I feel for people systems that have already purchased on-board monitors and they want to keep as current, this is a cheap rugged solution.

      Post a Reply
  4. do i have to use this kind of marshall mointor that have have HDMI loop , can i use another model that have 1 hdmi port

    Post a Reply
    • bassem maher, yes, you would just have to have a HDMI Splitter if you don’t have a loop thru.

      Post a Reply
  5. Hi Shane, I took a look at the ORCHID’s Owner’s manual. It seems like I could use its HDMI in/out as loop-through while feeding video village at the same time over HDSDI. Am I right?

    How does it behave with 5D’s resolution switching on start/stop of recording? Big delay?

    Post a Reply
    • Kevin Schmidt, yes it will work like that. Delay is not bad at all. Resolution seems great.

      Post a Reply
  6. My economical solution to all the video headache was
    5D/7D to HDMI Mini- HDMI cable to Small HD DP4EVF(EVF) to HDMI-HDMI cable to TV Logic(Assistant’s Monitor) to BNC cable to Video Village(well, Blackmagic HDLink Pro taking HD-SDI Signal and then via Display Port to an affordable but reasonable monitor).

    To answer Mr. Kevin Schmitt’s question(though not about Marshall Orchid), HDMI when you hit record, does have a delay… about a second or so. Seems like the more HDMI connection you have, the longer the delay becomes.

    TV logic is a very good monitor… DSLR Record scale is little off, how ever. They have to do a firmware update to solve this problem, also add a peaking function… focus assist function, to most focus pullers, are not so helpful I noticed. Overall it’s made rock solid and performs well with a long battery life(4 hours or so on 1x Canon LP-E6). Small HD DP6 is more use friendly I feel, but TV Logic has HDMI-SDI loop through feature, and this has been very helpful.

    Small HD DP4 is almost perfect with a good battery life(5 hours or so on 1x Canon LP-E6) … still firmware needs to keep being updated as it does freezes occasionally.

    Blackmagic HDLink Pro is useful for those who use Technicolor Cinestyle LUT(which it seems to create more visible noise though you might gain little more latitude… a stop at most) as you can load LUT to it and have people at vide village watch pre-graded image instead of very flat Cinestyle image.

    DLSR set up can be much pricier than many think, and many of us already have spent thousands after buying the first camera body… whatever you can come up with to make your shoot easier that your wallet allows should do(like most things in life). After all, these things don’t necessarily affect what you are shooting.

    Post a Reply
    • Sho1, thank you for your answer. We have been through all kinds of HDMI solutions and I can confirm that HDMI connection delay problem. I’m talking about a 4–5 second delay to video village in some situation, which is really annoying.
      That delay is mainly caused by a HDMI splitter sitting right after the camera in the cable run. On 7D I don’t really need to worry about it, as it’s not switching HDMI resolution as 5D does.

      Post a Reply
  7. Hey Tim,

    Nice article!. And good comments also i`ve got one question wich monitor would you recommend for Focusing Assistant, I was thinking on a Marshall Orchid, But i heard there where better options for the same price.
    Thank You

    Post a Reply
    • Nat, I would go with the New DP-7 from SmallHD, it is very sharp and looks spectacular.

      Post a Reply

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