First Look at the HPvideo 1007HD
by Neal Norton
Wireless HD is becoming an important part of many productions using digital cinema cameras. For Steadicam and handheld camera work having a cable dragging along from the camera can be liability. Vehicle rigs and cable rigs also benefit from a wireless solution. For many years the <$3,000 Modulus 3000/2000 and then the Dynawave transmitters have been the most common product for SD wireless. The Canatrans is a slightly more expensive option that many people use for SD.
For HD there are robust and reliable microwave transmitters and receivers but they are too expensive for all but the biggest budget production. At this time there are few HD wireless solutions at a sub $10,000 price.
I have used the Transvideo HD transmitter for an extended period on a film in Germany and it performed well but it is not available in the US at this time and I was a little put off by the relatively large size of the transmitter. I have used the Camwave on occasion and it has been a disappointment as the range was very limited and it frequently dropped the signal even at close range. The Boxx Meridian is the current go-to product and it has a good reputation. I have used the Meridian a few times and it has worked well. At more than $15,000 the Meridian is a pricey unit and it also has a fairly large transmitter with 4 large (and I’m told fragile) antennas.
The new $7,700 HP-1007HD built by Hamlet Pertshikyan sounded like a good new option in wireless HD. The transmitter is small – slightly larger in size than the dynawave or Modulus 3000 transmitter. And a very nice touch is that the HP-1007 uses the same connector for power as the Modulus/Dynawave – so those old cables will not need to be replaced. The receiver is a solid portable LCD monitor with two plastic antennas sticking out the top and 2 SDI OUT BNC connectors and an HDMI connection on the back. There is a standard 4pin xlr power in on the back along with a user selectable battery plate – I chose the Anton Bauer mount.
Gulf Camera has taken delivery on an HP-1007 and here is what showed up at the door:
The HP-1007HD handheld monitor receiver and transmitter system arrived in a Pelican case nicely packed and ready to go to work. I looked everything over and it seemed pretty straightforward so I pulled an Alexa off the shelf and put up a lens and battery and switched everything on.
I attached an Anton Bauer dionics 90 to the monitor/receiver and switched it on. It took about 10 seconds for the image to appear on the monitor. It looked great – very sharp and stable – so far so good. Then I decided to take a walk around the house and see how far I could get from the camera before losing signal. Hamlet had told me to expect 150’ line of sight and that the signal would work through drywall but not concrete. I walked from my workshop and made it about 40’ feet and around two walls before the monitor went blank. Not too bad but it does seem that even drywall can pose a challenge to this system. I then walked out the house and found that even with concrete block walls I could maintain an image within about 40’ from the camera sitting on my desk.
So what about the 150’ line of sight? I put together an F3 on a Pro Steadicam sled and rigged the HP-1007 on an aluminum mast on top the camera to give it every chance to succeed in the 150’ challenge.
I then marched out to the 150’ mark and sure enough, the picture remained rock solid.
At 150’ the picture looks just as good as at 5’ from the camera – cool.
I then pushed past 150’ and made it as far as I could from the camera in my back yard and the image stayed locked in and sharp as a tack. Really cool! Almost 200’ and the HP1007 is hanging in nicely. When I moved behind the trunk of a large oak tree the screen went blank. Back out from behind the tree and the signal came right back.
I then walked around to the front of the house and put the concrete walls between the camera and the receiver. The signal stayed stable at 75’ and around the corner of the house. At about 80’ around the corner and the screen went black. I then walked into the house and went from room to room. Even with the concrete walls the signal remained for much of the house. When I put 2 walls between me and the camera the signal dropped out.
Over all the HP1007 did as well or better than what Hamlet told me to expect. Both the transmitter and the receiver/monitor are solid and seem to be very well put together. The operation is simple and requires little or no expertise to get up and running.
One complaint – the monitor/receiver has no threaded holes anywhere on the frame surrounding the unit – there really needs to be some way to solidly attach the unit to a stand or magic arm and a few tapped holes on the frame would be a good addition to the unit. I spoke with Hamlet about this and he is making up a new run of frames and they will have tapped holes for attach points.
Hamlet also has plans to sell high gain antennas for the receiver that he thinks will extend the range of the system beyond its current limits.
I will be taking the HP-1007HD onto a working set in the next few days. It will be interesting to see how the new HD transmitter and receiver work in a production environment.