Wireless Field Monitor Hacks Becoming Popular with Indie Filmmakers

Wireless HDMI and Portable Batteries equal Mobility

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

If you’re like me, you like to spend time seeing how indie filmmakers create DIY gear that will enable them to do the same work for a few hundred bucks, vs. someone else renting a ‘name-brand’ piece of gear for just a day on the same price. And lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of shooters are building wireless LCD field monitors, which enable them to move around the set and still be able to see what the camera sees. What’s the secret? A wireless HDMI system, and a simple smart phone battery charger.

Making videos on a budget means that you don’t get to sit back in “video village” like some major studio Directors do, and direct your videos from afar. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own sweet wireless monitor to observe the camera perspective from! In this video, we’ll show you the best options for making your own wireless monitor – on a budget – so you can use it on your next production. – Corridor-Digital.com

The two top systems I’ve come across have been created by both Corridor Digital‘s Sam and Niko, and filmmaker Tom Antos. And both are wrapped around an LCD Field monitor like a Lilliput and a Nyrius Pro wireless HDMI transmitter and receiver.  Here’s a breakdown of the two:

Built around a Lilliput Field Monitor and a Nyrius Pro Wireless HDMI setup, the Corridor Digital rig is powered by a set of USB and laptop batteries to drive the Nyrius Pro Wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver set and then wrapped inside a CPM Monitor rig. Sam and Niko chose to splice in power connectors using Airsoft connectors. They’re huge Airsoft fans and have a ton of spare parts, so this makes sense.

The Wireless HDMI system, was primarily designed to drive projectors that are mounted up in the ceiling, where you don’t have the ability to run cable or don’t want to make holes in your walls in order to get the cables to the projector above. The range is between 30 feet through walls and 60 feet line of sight. This gives the director and anyone else looking a tremendous flexibility moving around set. And the cool part is that it broadcasts in full 1080p HD video at 60 fps with almost no latency.

“You can actually pull focus with this wireless monitor,” says Niko, “which makes it a very valuable tool to have.”

Niko says it’s super light, portable and easy to use. And the battery life of the monitor is about 4 hours and the monitor is two days. “I kinda over did it on the monitor, but whatever,” Niko says. Total cost of the Corridor Build is between $300-500 depending on the monitor and parts you go with.

If you want to have a video for your director or clients without having to drag long and messy video cables then you should get a wireless video system. You can buy a system like that for a few thousand dollars or you can make your own for less than $300 dollars. In this video I show you how I built one. – Tom Antos

The Tom Antos Version is a bit more compact and doesn’t require you to wire it together with special connectors and splicing wire. Antos uses the same Lilliput Monitor, but powers it with a pair of Jackery USB portable chargers. One is the Jackery Bar, with a 5600mAh Charger and the second is the same Jackery Giant 12000 mAh Portable Battery we talked about a few days ago in powering your GoPro and DSLR. The key is the 5v 3A USB slots. Then you get the same Nyrius Pro Wireless HDMI transceiver.

But Antos says that since the Pro version is $250 for a 50′ range, you can actually get the Nyrius Aries Prime for about $180 and have a more limited 20′ range. But really, if you’re in it for a few hundred bucks, an extra $70 isn’t going to make a difference. So I’d shoot the wad and get the most out of it. Battery life ranges from two hours with the 1100 mAh and four hours for the 10000mAh version. Antos actually prefers the smaller battery setup because it’s lighter and more compact and he just buys multiple batteries to swap out.

Antos’ version is
$262 – with weaker transmitter
$332 – with more powerful transmitter
$372 – with more powerful transmitter and bigger batteries

The only other thing both versions need are the USB to DC power connectors and any needed HDMI to MiniHDMI adapters, and plenty of velcro to stick it all together.  I like the Antos version because 1) it’s cheaper and b) because I don’t have to splice wire and then wrap it with connectors or electrical tape. That’s a lot less clean looking than the Antos model. And it makes a great weekend project which will make your on set running and running a lot more flexible and will make you look a lot more high tech and professional on set. What do you guys think? Would you build one?

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About doddle 16507 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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