With the dawn of smartphones and tablets, more and more content creators are looking for new creative ways to implement smart devices into their daily workflow. An excellent example in that regard refers to wireless video systems. Typically, when it comes to increasing the number of the available outputs of such a setup to multiple monitors, additional costly receiver units are required to get the job done.
Fortunately, there are new innovative products such as the Crystal-800 Long Distance Wireless Video System by Came-TV that allow users to instantly turn their smartphone or tablet into a wireless field monitor at no additional cost. In fact, the Crystal-800 receiver creates its own WiFi SSID that you can connect to from an iOS Device which takes the connectivity capabilities of the combo to a whole new level. A prototype of the system was recently reviewed by Emm of CheesyCam who shares his insights on the topic in the video below.
The Crystal-800 Wireless Video System is a two-piece transmitter/receiver unit that enables you to transmit the video output of your camera and view it wirelessly on an external monitor, via the receiver unit. The receiver unit plugs into the camera using a Type B Micro HDMI input, whereas the receiver outputs video using full-sized HDMI output.
In addition to viewing the transmitted image with the receiver output, the Crystal-800 system allows users to monitor a live feed from the camera using the Came-TV’s iOS application. All you need to do is download the app, connect to the WiFi network of the Crystal-800 system, and you’re all up and running.
To power up the Crystal-800, both the transmitter and receiver provide several power input options. For starters, Sony L-series are supported in addition to utilizing a DC-Input or D-Tap Power Input if required.
To save power on the receiver, filmmakers have adjustable power setting options as well. This means that if you are standing very far from the transmitter, you’ll be able to increase power for the best performance. Likewise, if you are relatively close to the receiver, you can reduce the power output of the system to save energy.
According to Emm, the wireless video system works surprisingly well, despite its relatively affordable price tag of $700. With a maximum transmission range of 800m, you can get pretty far from the transmitter unit without significant lag time. Of course, you should keep in mind that the maximum range will drop exponentially when shooting in environments with thick walls and heavy signal interference.
While the CAME-TV Crystal-800 wireless video kit does impress, it still possesses some obvious limitations. For instance, neither the receiver or iOS app has any special monitoring tools, such as vectorscopes, waveforms, or frame guides. Additionally, the system lacks other professional features such as SDI In/Out support, plus there is a rather noticeable latency that may be a real deal breaker for some users.
Furthermore, the maximum output of the receiver is 1080p HD at 60 frames per second. There is also internal frame rate conversion that happens in real-time, meaning that if you’re shooting at 24 frames per second, the output will still be 30 frames per second, which seems to be the minimum supported frame rate output you can get.
CAME-TV Crystal-800 Wireless Video System Highlights
Nevertheless, the CAME-TV Crystal-800 seems to be a compelling buy for those creative professionals working on a budget who are also in need of a flexible, expansion-ready wireless video system for their film production needs.
While the unit may have its quirks and disadvantages, the fact that you’re getting full 1080p HD out wirelessly at a price of $700 is still an appealing bargain IMHO, especially for the sole purpose of monitoring footage from a distance.