Live HD Inputs & Configuration for HD

  • I'm trying to input live HD on an upcoming project and I'm spec'ing out a good run machine that would work best with Isadora. I was unable to find any solid documentation about live HD other than on this page on the old forum. It seems that someone was able to do it using Blackmagic's PCIe card? Does anyone know anything more about this? I'm shooting for four HDMI inputs to four (VGA / DVI / HDMI) outputs, with keyed green screen pre-recorded HD footage -- so a lot is going on! We will probably stick to 720p because of the interpolation factor.

    My other question is about SSDs. I was running tests to see which drives handle read / write faster and obviously SSD is worlds ahead of 5400 or 7200 drives. However, I noticed that as soon as Isadora started interpolating that 720p footage (rotation, keystone, video sync) it worked faster on the 7200 drive and SSD became quite choppy with the playback. Someone mentioned that it might be due to the type of threading that a normal drive has -- but in theory -- Izzy should run faster on a SSD, correct? Does it make a difference as to which drive the OS is on vs. which drive the patch is on? Both drives are in a Mac Pro. 
    Last question is about HD Cameras w/ HDMI outputs. Has anyone had success with the GoPro and Isadora? I'm considering that or security camers that have HDMI outs @ 1080p. Using a GoPro Hero 2 w/ its abilities for wireless live HDMI streaming is pretty awesome but want to see if anyone has tried it and had any success! A lot of possibilities...

  • I and several other on this forum have used HDMI as an input. I have used up to 1080p on mac and PC with few problems. However this was a single input. 4HD ins and outs is a pretty serious task. I would suggest using 4 computers for a few reasons (although this does have its limitations). Decompressing 4 streams of HD is heavy work so if you want to do anything with the footage then you may run into trouble (if you can get it all coming in at good frame rates anyway). Next are your inputs, there is a blackmagic capture card that has 4 SDI inputs- they will show as separate inputs but they are SDI- You will need to convert from HDMI first (although this is not so bad, you can have high quality flexible SDI cable much easier than HDMI or messing with extenders from cameras). These converters are not so cheap, nor is the capture card. The new mac mini has a single thunderbolt port and an HDMI out, you dont get a control screen but you can have an HD output and input on a machine and control them remotely, the capture box is about 200 and has HDMI ready to go.

    As for the go pro, I am not sure of all of the models but the HDMI output is not a standard video resolution on the one I have, it outputs cut down HD (960x540), which although most consumer gear (eg a cheap LCD TV) will display it, capture devices are set to recognise proper video standards only, so they cannot see the cutdown output as it is not scaled on board. As for the wifi backpack, it does not do what you think it does (if I understand your post). -Form the website;

    Wi-Fi Remote:

    • Control up to 50 cameras a time, 600’ / 180m range
    • Full camera control: On/Off, Mode, Shutter, and Settings
    • Attachment strap, key ring, and charging cable included
    • Wearable & Waterproof to 10’/3m

    GoPro App + Smartphone or Tablet (Coming Soon)

    • Control your GoPro(s) with your smartphone or tablet
    • Live preview & playback of videos & photos from your GoPro(s)
    • Wi-Fi transfer* footage from your GoPro to your smartphone or tablet and share with friends
    • Live stream your smartphone as a hotspot

    Live Streaming + Sharing Directly from Your GoPro (Coming Soon)

    Live stream video or share photos and videos directly to the web from your GoPro, wherever you have a network connection (coming soon).

    If it does eventually get the capability of a high quality wifi ip camera, it will have a big delay and be very CPU hungry re-assebling and unpacking frames from a wifi connection.


  • Thanks for all the info, Fred! 

    In an ideal world, you'd go Camera X Out --> X Cable --> [X to SDI Converter box]( --> SDI Cable --> [SDI Capture Card]( 
    Do we know if those outs on that Blackmagic Quad card are 1-to-1 or does the computer recognize them as four separate (controllable) outputs? 
    Also: Have you watched the activity monitor when you're working with live HD to see how intensive it is on the computer's processors, RAM and hard drives? Effecting it vs. leaving it alone? 
    What are your thoughts on going the [Thunderbolt]( route? This has 3 in / 3 out + Breakout cable. More flexible for sure and isn't tied to a single machine. Also has the ability to work with 2K and SD. Same cost as the Quad!
    Bummer about the GoPro cutting down, but if you're working with a converter box it doesn't really matter, right? 
    Would be so so rad if you'd be able to get a live, real-time, wifi, HD camera... someday!!! =)
    Thanks again for answering my questions. 

  • Has anyone gone the Tricaster route? Seems like it would take a ton of weight off of the CPU and is a pretty flexible solution. Would love to see it run through Thunderbolt instead of USB though... Would work with a less powerful computer, so maybe the cost would even out?

  • Izzy Guru

    We have a tricaster at work. And then it died.... Pointless story. Sorry!

  • After looking through tons of different options, I think we will likely go this route:

    **Each Channel = Camera --> Composite RGB or HDMI --> **[Blackmagic Intensity]( **--> Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 --> Computer --> IZZY --> Whatever Output**
    This is the cheapest and I think the simplest option post-cost-of-Machines and cameras. Link 1-4 computers together that all have a one or two cameras plugged in to an Intensity PCIe card or hub. Cost is

  • I am sure the thunderbolt capture device you linked to will only allow for one active input at once, you get to choose the format (SDI, HDMI, component). The second SDI is for taking in 2K material with a dual link SDI connection.

    As for using 2 of these on a machine you will only get one on a mac mini as these devices do not have a thunderbolt pass through so they will have to be the last thing in your thunderbolt chain. Unless you go with the quad and use sdi you will be limited to one input per machine. I have heard stories of people with custom rigs using more than one blackmagic card but this is not supported and probably not worth the risk unless you are ready for some serious testing. Also dealing with multiple live HD inputs is not an easy task for any computer so make sure if you want to try you can test it out before you buy, it may well not be up to what you want it to do.
    The tricaster is a pretty amazing machine but it will not work as you want, it is more of a mixer and production system replacement, getting 4 cameras to 4 screens will not really be possible as it uses virtual inputs and outputs. However if there was money for it I would always prefer a dedicated hardware solution. The blackmagi ATEM 2me will come closer, it has 6 SDI aux outputs along with the much more flexible main output. It may be worth looking into. I use the 1me and it is an amazing unit.

  • What if you are working with a device that has more than one Thunderbolt input? ;)

    The plan would be to test Performance with 1 live HD capture and go to town with it -- if it works out well -- then buy a second interface. 
    The ATEM looks great but you'd still need a capture device for it to talk to Izzy ... unless you go USB 3.0 but that has its own set of limitations. Right? 

  • Yes, the ATEM could be a hardware only solution, it will allow you to feed to beamers but with little or no manipulation except for on the main output. I have only one PC with USB3 and have not had any luck getting the USB3 in, although apparently it will show up as a decklink capture device and may be available to other programs, my issue is I often run the unit from a mac and the firmware is a different level to the one I need for the PC.

    If you are using a mac with 2 thunderbolt ports you may or may not get 2 inputs working, however unless you have the latest macbook pro retina (that has 2 thunderbolt ports and an HDMI port) you will not have any way to connect to a beamer if you use both thunderbolt ports. Again, like using multiple blackmagic capture cards it may work but it is not a supported configuration. 
    Although the newest macbook pros do have USB3 blackmagic USB3 products are still windows 7 only, and they are very picky about their motherboards and controllers,
    "USB 3.0\. Requires an x58 based motherboard with onboard USB 3.0, or a USB 3.0 PCI Express card and an x58 or P55 series motherboard. "
    Anyway, if you start with a single blackmagic capture unit you will for sure be impressed with the results, getting your four output setup will be the net challenge, even though it is more expensive, sticking to supported configurations will make your life easier and leave more power in your system.
    Out of curiosity what beamers or screens are you using?

  • I will be testing all sorts of configs but, yes, one of them will be the MBPr.

    I can also output via the HDMI or get a USB3 to DVI adapter (anyone had success with those?)-- but right now I'm hoping to just push the FX and inputs to the limit and figure out how to output as possible. 
    Starting with a 1x1 config is a good starting to point. It might be good to input all feeds via a MBPr and output through MPs, for example. 
    Some beamers we're working with: Sanyo XF-46N, Barco CLM-HD8, BenQ MP776ST some random Canon and Mistus as well as some LCDs (3D and reg HD). 
    Right now we are trying to see "what's possible" with HD technology integrated into Isadora -- from single feed FX to 3 live feeds in 3D across 6 projectors! Experimentation!

  • Let us know how you go. BTW only the barco beamer is actually HD, the Sanyo and the BenQ are 1024x768 native, there is little point driving these over their native resolution, it can actually give worse results and you will not get any better quality. Even if you chose to run SD inputs, using the blackmagic gear with either HDMI or SDI will give you a very impressive image even over a large projection area, as well as giving you a fair bit more power left over in your system.

    Out of curiosity what is the "MP" part of this 
    "It might be good to input all feeds via a MBPr and output through MPs" ?

  • Yeah man! The HD is testing also for our HD LCD TVs and is for the future! So even though rez doesn't matter on most of our beamers (@ 1024) testing it a higher rez on our LCDs is important for us.

    One thing we are looking at developing is an Izzy station with live HD cameras and a HD TV rotated 90 degrees. A 'mirror' interactive installation on a mac mini if only one output, but might be doing multiple mirrors -- so trying to figure out what's the best way to do it. One Mac Pro with a quad card and max'd ram and SSDs or a Master and some slaves. Or 1-to-1 chained over LAN. It seems like HD is a new frontier for Izzy so it seems we need to try alllllll the options and the MBPr as the soul machine or the Master machine seems like a good starting point. 
    MP stands for Mac Pro ! !
  • Tech Staff

    I'm in the process of doing some testing this week.

    Canon T3i
    Blackmagic Intensity Extreme
    Thunderbolt Display + 2.5 Ghz i5 Mac Mini (base stock model)
    Isadora picks up a full 1080p image from the T3i + Intensity. The image quality is _fantastic_ and I'm holding a steady 28-30 fps. However, it's covered with focus boxes and details, which you have to crop out.
    The _eventual_ plan is to build around a 2.7 Ghz 16 GB rMPB, capturing from a Blackmagic Cinema Camera (a colleague of mine has one on order -- can't wait to test it!). I'm wondering if a triplehead will accept a HDMI=>DVI signal from the reMPB? 
    I'm working in the space until Friday, any suggestions as to things I should be watching out for or trying? I'm a *relative* newbie with Izzy, so I'm not sure if I might have mucked up the settings and I'm somehow getting away with murder here: for some reason 1080p video pre-recorded on the T3i imported into Isadora and played through the Movie Player stutters along at 10 fps...

  • @mc_monte -- dude been wondering about going from a D-SLR --> Intensity --> Izzy. Glad to hear it works. Wondering about getting rid of those boxes... you can't remove them with the display button on the T3i? Did you need to run EOS Utility to grab the video? Alternatively, you may be able to remove them with Magic Lantern -- an add-on to the Canon firmware. It isn't officially supported, so be warned, BUT it's supposed to be great. Removes the time limit per recording, for example. Triplehead --- you want to input through the HDMI from a camera and output through the 3H2G?1080p footage -- if you're just running that it should be fine (esp. w/ no fx). Make sure you're using photo-jpeg! See what the frame rate is when you run it in quicktime (using an FPS monitor like atMonitor) whatever it tells you there, sans effects and with photo-jpeg, should run the same FPS in Izzy. If it doesn't -- you've probably got a messed up pref (or a bad GPU / low RAM)! Good luck.

  • Tech Staff

    You can remove the information, but the white, rectangular focus box stays no matter what. However, the T3i's controls let you move the position of the focus box, so you can stuff it into the corner of the frame (as opposed to having it sitting in the middle of the shot). This way you can easily use the Crop actor to clip it out in Isadora (obviously, you lose part of the image though -- you're basically reduced to 720p if you do this). I did not need to use EOS utility -- the Intensity just sees the video input from the HDMI output on the T3i. I'm aware of Magic Lantern, but hesitant -- from what I understand it will cause a crop of the footage anyways, so my workaround seems to fit the bill fine for now. Beyond that, it was pretty much plug & play after I installed the Blackmagic drivers.

    Regarding the Triplehead, I'm wondering if you can do this:
    Retine MacBook Pro (ultimate configuration): HDMI port => Triplehead => Beamer #1, Beamer #2, Beamer #3
    Doing so would leave both the Thunderbolt ports open for additional displays or capture devices.
    As for my footage, I'll fiddle with it in the morning. I will try running the footage into photoJPEG and see what happens. My mini isn't particularly powerful, but it's a temporary machine.

  • I see no reason why a 3H2G wouldn't work! I'm assuming that a standard edition 3H2G can go HDMI port out --> HDMI --> VGA adapter --> Triplehead --> Beamer x 3. I just got the MBPr today and am planning to test it out within the next day or so. I'll let you know how it goes here!

    Good luck getting Izzy to up the FPS! Should work once you encode -- otherwise something else is probably going on. 

  • HDMI has no analogue information, the HDMI to VGA adaptor will not work, you will have to use a thunderbolt port. Also HDMI is a video standard, I would be very surprised if it lets you get anything above 1920x1080, but let us know how you go. Magic lantern is a great upgrade and works a treat, well worth it, if you dont like it just boot without the magic lantern card in. Generally the live output of the cheaper DSLRs is pretty low resolution, it is always cut down and scaled.

    I have been using the canon HV series of cameras, they are pretty ood quality and very cheap and reliable. You get reasonable control and manual settings and a live low latency full frame HDMI out.

  • Don't be afraid of the Magic Lantern!  It works really well, and allows very detailed control over all settings, and is super easy to bypass, and despite the official warnings, there aren't any reports of it damaging anybody's camera who weren't damaging it in some other way (leaving it on for hours and hours... with the auto-off disabled)

     But is summarily gets rid of that foolish white square.

  • @Ipearse my only colleague who tried it ended up with a fried SDHC card. I want to try it, as well, but am worried about just that! Anyone else have that experience?

  • Also curious about Latency w/ live HD 1x1 in Izzy. What have people experienced?