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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.