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Moving from HDMI to SDI

SDI cables Converting video signal setup w7100 HDMI BMD Decimator Blackmagic

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#1 mindopera

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Posted 13 July 2016 - 11:24 AM

I wanted to share with the group that I am sending HDMI video signals from my WO Servers as SDI signals to a switcher or router as on onsite operator.  I know many of you may have done this already and I'm hoping you will share what kind of issues you've run into or maybe better ways to accomplish this, but it's been such a game changer for me I felt like it was worth sharing and discussing.

 

I'm now converting the HDMI video signals from the WO server to SDI and sending the SDI signal to the switcher or router.  I have been using BMD micro HDMI to SDI converters (www.blackmagicdesign.com) and sending one side of the SDI to the switcher and the other side to a Decimator Multi-viewer, DMON-16SL (www.decimator.com).  I'm in Amsterdam now running 8 channels (see diagram and photos below) of video, 4 main and 4 backup using only one monitor for viewing the signals.  I also have a Program and OpMon feed on the  The key for me is using AMD W7100 or higher video cards.

I have been testing this scenario over the last 3 months with very great success.

 

Here are the benefits as I see it.

  • Shorter set up time.
  • No EDID issues when using the W7100 video card
  • Fewer monitors (I'm to one monitor in Amsterdam)
  • Fewer cables
  • Fewer power strips
  • BMD micro converters use USB power, so only one or two multi USB chargers take the place of multiple wall wart. (see photo below)
  • I bring my own well maintained cables for my system.
  • Can easily put most setups in my suitcase (minus servers) for travel.
  • Relying more on equipment I bring and maintain.
  • Most equipment (multi-viewer, cables and converters) are inexpensive, so it is now part of my onsite kit and not rented.
  • Fewer connections means less issues and less time troubleshooting.

I know this doesn't fit every scenario and I will continue testing and learning, but I believe that this is how I will setup in the future, because it's a game changer for on onsite corporate work and lets me concentrate on content not technical challenges.  Please share your experiences or comments.

MediaFlow_Amsterdam_v2.png

 Conversion%20setup-2.jpg

 

Amsterdam%20Setup-1.jpg



#2 marklian

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 09:27 AM

Hi there,

Very nice setup you got there. We also recently started going with HD-SDI as its was less issues with longer runs. Like the fact that the BM Mini converters are so cheap and have 2 x SDI out which mean you don't have to add in another DA/Router to get your previews working. 

Good to know someone else out there going the SDI route.  :)



#3 zackboyd

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 03:54 PM

From my experience this is great if you're able to stay 30p on SDI. If you need to drop to 2997 and/or interlaced, the blackmagics come up a little short. I like IPro-IIs but they get expensive. My colleagues like the decimator cross-converters, but I haven't used them myself. I also know a watchout programmer that found an extron HDMI>SDI that he liked.

 

Looks good - love the 6:1.



#4 mindopera

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 04:33 PM

Thanks for the reply. For this simple set up it took only 45 minutes to set it up versus the 2 1/2 hours it use to take. Being onsite is always rife with issues, so if I can eliminate most of them on my side, I can help others or start working on the timeline. In the DVI scenario I'm spending a lot of time with cable, EDID and splitter issues. Not to mention all the challenges with multiple monitors and space.
Have you run into any issues connecting to switchers? I'm mainly interfacing with Spyder x20.

#5 marklian

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Posted 22 July 2016 - 07:13 AM

The SDI issue that you probably will face is Level A and Level B which will cause the signal not to be recognized if the levels are mismatch.

 

The micro BM and Teranex fortunately supports both. The older Mini will only do Level B which when used with certain switchers will not be able to work properly. Spyder x20 Barco E2 accepts both. This spec is sometimes hidden and a pain to find out what it is.



#6 mindopera

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 08:12 PM

Hi Mark, I always have a conversation with the video engineer before assuming my equipment will always play well with others, so I will make sure and ask if that is an issue with SDI video rates and other switchers we might use.

Thanks for the input. 



#7 Martin Pfeifer

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 03:24 PM

This is all ok up to a resolution of 1920 x 1080 px. At the moment there are still no chipsets (semtech.com) that work in 10-bit depth for higher resolutions such as UHD or 4k. LYNXTechnik AG is developing a so called greenMachine series of converters callisto, titan a.s.o.

 

Martin
www.pfeifer-media.de



#8 Bluetonesblue

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Posted 02 August 2016 - 09:55 PM

We also go with an all SDI path for our setups. In our case, we have been using DAC-70's as our HDMI -> SDI converter, but we have recently started using the BM micro converters for other things, and will probably go that route in our racks in the near future. 

 

I like your use of the Decimator MV for yourself... nice simple solution.

 

We use an E2 based system, (instead of the dreaded Spyder!) and it's always been reliable for us. Our WO's are used as Background sources and our other client PPTs/16x9 videos/IMAGs PIPed with the E2.



#9 mindopera

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Posted 03 August 2016 - 04:49 PM

Hi Bluetoneblue, thanks for your response. I recently went through an E2 switcher with some major challenges. I always try and send a scematic like the one above to the video engineer. The drawing showed my set up with several blended areas and I believed I was going through a Spyder switcher. In fact the engineer never looked at my scematic and the switcher was an E2. All my video was created as video proxies to span several WO servers and when I got onsite I was told that I had to redo all of my content without any blends because the E2 wasn't capable of overlapping video. I also didn't have sync cards so by butting and not blending, my content had noticable sync tearing at the seams. It was a mess and a lot of sleepless nights.

My question to you is, did I have to remove the blends and do you use sync cards when using the E2? Also are there any other issues when going through an E2 that I should be aware of?
Thanks again

#10 mitreklov

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 11:04 PM

We use these cheap Chinese HDMI - SDI units with great success. They pass everything from 576i to 1080P (level A only). Power off USB. Of the 75+ that we have our rental stock I think we've only ever had one failure.

Added bonus is that they strip HDCP too.

 

http://www.gearbest.com/cables-connectors/pp_211793.html 

 

@$28 what's not to like.



#11 jfk

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 05:31 PM

http://www.gearbest.com/cables-connectors/pp_211793.html 
 
@$28 what's not to like.

That link does not work for me???

#12 Thomas Leong

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 07:50 PM

That link does not work for me???

 

Think it is this one -

http://www.gearbest.com/cables-connectors-c_11308/6.html

 

...else from the gearbest.com, look for

Computers & Networking > Computer Peripherals> Cables & Connectors and its at the bottom of Page 6.



#13 Bluetonesblue

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 09:42 PM

Hi Bluetoneblue, thanks for your response. I recently went through an E2 switcher with some major challenges. I always try and send a scematic like the one above to the video engineer. The drawing showed my set up with several blended areas and I believed I was going through a Spyder switcher. In fact the engineer never looked at my scematic and the switcher was an E2. All my video was created as video proxies to span several WO servers and when I got onsite I was told that I had to redo all of my content without any blends because the E2 wasn't capable of overlapping video. I also didn't have sync cards so by butting and not blending, my content had noticable sync tearing at the seams. It was a mess and a lot of sleepless nights.

My question to you is, did I have to remove the blends and do you use sync cards when using the E2? Also are there any other issues when going through an E2 that I should be aware of?
Thanks again

 

Hello mindopera.

 

I don't see how the schematic you offered could have been a challenge for any competent operator. Simple and to the point. the fact that he didn't read it and respond ahead of time that you needed to do things differently, or come to a mid-point for each, that's not right.

 

I can understand an operator wanting to have control over the blend regions himself, especially if he's doing any PIPing, or other effects over your output, he would definitely need control. (I think that a Spyder or an E2 has better blending control then you get in WO, with most projectors having even better control... but that's for another topic.) 

 

If he did the outputs as individual outputs, instead of a single "screen destination," then you could have done your blending and all would be fine. Otherwise, when he brings your inputs in, he has to put them in as individual layers, each with hard edges, that won't understand your blending areas. (They don't accept the inputs as an "alpha-edged" input, if that makes sense.)

 

A simple router would be a far better choice for your needs, since the ins and outs don't interact with each other.

 

As far as my setup is concerned, I do my WO outputs as "Background" inputs to the E2. I edge-butt the WO displays across one Background, then I don't have to use any Layers in the E2. :D

So, whenever I'm sending only WO content, I just "Remove All" layers and run my WO content. When that's done and I need to place 16x9 PPTs, or 16x9 videos, or Demo machines; I put them in a PIP over the WO. This uses each to their strengths. (And, as mentioned earlier, I use the projectors to do the blending, so again... each to their strength.)

 

I am intending on get Sync cards for my WO system, but have only occasionally had issues with tearing, and that was usually because I tried to spread a wide video across too many outputs. By splitting them up I've always been fine. Since the outputs are edge-butted, then edge-butted videos locked to the edges of each Display output, works great!

 

I also have the whole system racked together, with the Prod machine and Primary and BU Display machines, UPS, and the E2, with all the networking and the like, all in one. Pop a couple covers, jack in a few keyboards and mice, gimme a little power, and I'm off to the races! :D

 

Good luck!

 

Kevin Lawson

Bluetonesblue



#14 mindopera

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 08:02 PM

Kevin, thanks for the detailed response.  I'm not a video engineer, more of a content provider, but fortunately I was raised by an electronic engineer, so I know a lot about the theories and very little about how switching equipment practically works, so I rely on good communication and knowledgeable of people like yourself to help me not make any serious mistakes.  I did feel like it was an operator that didn't know enough about their equipment and left it up to me to fix the situation.  Now my policy includes a look at the schematic while speaking directly to the switcher operator.  

David



#15 Sydney

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Posted 14 September 2016 - 10:11 PM

Have you tried installing with a BMD HDMI to SDI converter at both ends of the signal path?

 

In other words:

 

WO server W7100 card > DP to HDMI active converter > BMD HDMI to SDI converter > long SDI cable run >BMD SDI to HDMI converter > HDMI to display.

 

Does this hold up?



#16 LukeMc

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Posted 16 September 2016 - 03:24 AM

Hi Sydney,

 

It really depends on the display machine. 

 

I have used this method with varying degrees of success. 

 

If you have full control over EDID, HDCP and all resolution and refresh rate settings then it works like a charm. EDID management has sorted most of my issues with this method.

 

Luke



#17 Martin Pfeifer

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 07:08 PM

A good choice of devices for moving from HDMI to SDI are the http://green-machine.com/callisto, titan and europa.

 

Martin



#18 Claude.Rivet

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 04:43 PM

I have been working in HDSDI for quite some time now and here are my observations:

 

1-BMD and typical video suite brand are cheap but they break easily, have flimsy power supplies and rarely do 1920x1080 60p, the BMD ones even when rated 3G are a good example. They are not easy to stack and secure cables in.

 

2-Theatrix X-Vision are currently the best show ready converters there are, reclocking on loop out, clear leds diagnostic (you know if the cables are in, if there is HDCP, if the signal reach, etc.), rock solid, seriously, rock solid, thread for installing c-clamps to rig on trusses, magnetized top and bottom for easy solid stacking, daisy-chainable powercons, screw on HDMI ports. Using RG7 cables we are doing solid 1920x1080 60p over 300', and using an xvision we can extend it another 300' because it reclocks and do it well. I have tried many many tools and these are the best converters, bar none and they are barely more expensive than BMDs.

 

3- Many video mixers work in i not p and many do not support 60Hz, they support 59,94. This is a problem with computers and projectors as they natively are 60Hz, as such make sure you use 60p mixers, they exist and are not necessarily more expensive.

 

4-Frame locking or at the very least genlocking becomes very important as slight timing differences will lead to tearing in your blends, no converters to date include frame locking so making sure you are locked before getting in make sure only the converters could add slight delays, in my experience they don't.

 

5-Time your signal, many people assume HDSDI is digital and do not need timing but it is a wrong assumption, often top or left raster lines do not appear, most of the time a simple auto-setup or auto-centering depending on how it's called is required on the projector, if it doesn't solve the issue it is a sure sign you are at the very limit of your transport, lower you resolution, go in i or use lower refresh rate.

 

If you use live inputs (cameras) DO NOT use any converters that include scalers (DAC70 and the like), you will delay your signal unevenly accross unit and have tears in your blend, huge delay in IMAG. Use the dumbest signal converters, as soon as you process you delay, as soon as you delay you have issues.

 

That being said, HDSDI is the way to go for cheap and long transport, it is solid and will let you use video gear rather than multiformat mixers and when 12G arrives we will be very happy we went that route.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: SDI, cables, Converting, video signal, setup, w7100, HDMI, BMD, Decimator, Blackmagic