Here’s a list of cameras considered in this guide along with the connectors:
Note: This list does not claim to be accurate or complete. For a complete and correct list, please refer to the materials provided by the manufacturer.
One of the big surprises is the fact that even though HDMI and HD-SDI are the solid standards, one finds most manufacturers using proprietary connectors, usually BNC for various other duties, like TC (Timecode), LANC (Control), Ethernet, SYNC/GENLOCK, etc. Sony PMW-F3 is probably the ‘winner’, with so many options that one wonders whether all of them have been used at all.
We will look at audio options later. In this chapter, we’ll look at:
- Adapters1 and Cables for video – HD-SDI, HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort
- Vision Mixers/Production Switchers
- LANC and Remote Control
- TC Devices
- Sync/Genlock Devices
1I will look at file-based converters (hardware transcoders) in the chapter on Streaming later.
Video Adapters and Cables
A video adapter isn’t a dumb device. It has the unenviable task of converting one format to another, and must serve many signal characteristics. It’s not easy building a universal adapter, simply because camera manufacturers don’t play ball. Luckily, some manufacturers see these issues as challenges.
Note: Between HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI-D, a signal might not need conversion. More often than not, signals don’t change, so a ‘dumb’ adapter will do. What decides this is the hardware at both ends.
Important: Don’t forget that many consumer-grade standards have both male and female versions, which are sometimes mixed up by hardware vendors for only reasons they know. Keep this in mind. Once you’ve gone through the trouble of all this ‘adaptation’, you’ll begin to appreciate the simplicity and ruggedness of the BNC system.
HD-SDI/3G-SDI – HDMI
From HD-SDI to HDMI, try the Blackmagic Design Mini Converter, SDI to HDMI.
From HDMI to HD-SDI, try the Blackmagic Design HDMI to SDI Mini Converter.
Both of these also handles 3G-SDI, which is an important feature to have.
For HD-SDI and HDMI cables, check out Monster Cables.
HDMI – DVI-D*
Important: HDMI has many types of connectors, and it might be necessary to find an adapter for an adapter, if you can’t get a direct connection. I’m giving examples of adapters as cables and otherwise, only for reference.
If you’re looking for an cable-adapter, try the Monster Ultra Series THX HDMI-to-DVI Cable.
For just the adapter version, try the Monster Cable Dvi-Hdmi Sl Mkii Adapter.
HD-SDI – DVI-D*
From HD-SDI to DVI-D, try the AJA HDP2 HD-SDI/SDI to DVI-D and Audio Converter.
From DVI-D to HD-SDI, try the Blackmagic Design HDLEXT-DVI DVI Extender.
*Note: Some monitors are DVI-I and not DVI-D. D stands for digital and I stands for Integrated, which means Analog+Digital, which means you can connect DVI-D to DVI-I, but you might need an adapter.
HDMI – DisplayPort
DisplayPort, like HDMI, has different connectors, so be careful when choosing your adapter.
For the cable-adapter version, try the Digital Life Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI Cable.
For the adapter version, try the Monster Digital Life Display Port to HDMI Adapter.
HD-SDI – DisplayPort
I couldn’t find any. Luckily, most devices that come with DisplayPort also supports either HDMI or DVI so we’re not too badly off. Is there any option? Yes. This one –
For HD-SDI, 3G-SDI, HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI all rolled into one, take a look at the Blackmagic Design HDLink Pro 3D.
What’s the ideal cable length?
Trick question. There isn’t one. But if you are getting a cable, I recommend getting at least 6 feet of it.
For all kinds of cables, including ‘mini-XXX to XXX’ and other connector types, check out Monster Cables.
In the next part we’ll look at the rest of the items in our list, one by one.