A Guide to Portable Wireless Video Transmission Systems

4Share

Monitoring your video production is always a challenge when you need multiple eyes on the shot to get it right, and there are a lot of eyes—between the Director, DP, AD, focus puller, producer, continuity, and plenty of other departments. Not every production can afford a video village setup or multiple wired setups, especially with low-budget or run-and-gun productions. When the shots are complex and the camera or cameras are far away or in motion, it becomes impossible to wire-in everyone. The latest and greatest solution, especially for lower-budget productions, is wireless video transmission.

However, with a wireless video transmission revolution fully underway, it can be difficult to wade through all the options for what you need—especially regarding price. Luckily, there are many new options out there for productions on a budget, such as the Hollyland Mars 400 and 400S wireless transmission systems.

Hollyland Mars 400 Dual HDMI Wireless Video Transmission System
Hollyland Mars 400 Dual HDMI Wireless Video Transmission System

Most wireless transmission systems on the market right now support up to 1080p60 input and transmission, and many support HDR workflows, which will suit your visual needs and the requirements of most portable monitors. Most productions don't need higher than 1080p to monitor, so systems like the Mars 400 can fit right into your setup. The Mars 400 transmitter features HDMI input up to 1080p60, and the receiver has two HDMI outputs for monitors, computers, or switches. The 400S transmitter expands on the 400 with SDI and HDMI inputs that support up to 1080p24 and features both SDI and HDMI outputs on the receiver, providing compatibility with more cameras and receiving endpoints.

Another consideration is how many monitors you need to transmit to on set. Many professional transmitters have the capability to transmit to multiple receivers simultaneously, such as the Mars 400/400S transmitter that supports transmission to up to two receivers. The Mars 400/400S system goes even further, allowing you to transmit to up to four smartphone screens over Wi-Fi using their HollyView app, allowing you to add receivers without adding the expense.

When manufacturers advertise their transmission distance, it's often in maximum line-of-sight distance as part of the product name, but you want to make sure that is the case or if it means maximum overall. The Mars 400/400S, for example, transmits up to 400' line-of-sight, which means without obstacles in between. Though, because all wireless transmission systems use the free 5 GHz band, finding a clear channel can pose a challenge with interference, so it helps to be able to scan frequencies for the clearest signal. Some systems need to utilize an external scanner to find the strongest signals, and some systems like the Mars 400/400S have a channel scanner built in.

It helps to be prepared with every battery and wired power option that you can when you're on a shoot, since every manufacturer has its own power requirements for their units. This means that some transmitter/receiver pairs may have different battery requirements due to size and power requirements, some sets may use the same battery, and some may also or only support wired power from a D-Tap or other DC source using barrel, LEMO-type, or even proprietary power inputs. For example, the Mars 400 and 400S models feature built-in Sony L-series battery plates to power the transmitter and receiver to keep you fully mobile, or they can be powered using a DC power adapter.

Mounting the transmitter and receiver securely can become a concern when the transmitter and receiver are mobile, so it's important to secure your investment. Most units will feature a 1/4"-20 mounting threads as the Mars 400/400S models do, and some include 3/8"-16 standard threads to mount on a director's cage, follow focus rig, or extension arm. Be sure to keep an eye on size, weight, and mounting type to match your rig setup.

Now that you've got the basic overview of the Mars 400 and 400S, and what to consider for portable wireless video transmission systems, check out all your choices on the B&H Photo website or go to online chat for expert advice from a Sales Associate.

4 Comments

I just checked and the ikan Blitz Lite 300 HDMI Wireless Video Transmitter and Receiver System is 100% Identical to the packaging! So you caught the concept...!

Thanks again,

Todd P.

Buffalo, NY

I love the fact that I'm not the only one blown away by what you can do with technology these days.  I was fortunate to get in on the very end of our local school system adding a Jumbotron to their new "Turf Complex".  I was able, 4 years ago, to convince them to run two dual Fiber Runs to the Scoreboard.  For finical reasons we were stuck with 25' HDMI cables between the Fiber send and the camera.  In or second year we did add HDMI over Cat 5e but what a mess to handle during live events.  One company I saw not mentioned was Hollyland Mars 300 Dual HDMI Wireless Video Transmitter & Receiver Set.  It was sub $450 + a "Sony L" series battery on the camera end, Wow true Wireless HDMI (Which although not 3G SDI it works fine) live video (I'm sure there is some delay but from a 50' Screen & back to the field you just can't catch it).  Great article, very informative and well thought out, thank you...

Todd P.

Buffalo, NY

I'd like to buy a set of these to use on my Steadycam while filming events however I have a couple of questions: #1- Are they good and reliable enough for live-event-multi-camera-switching (indoor events/concerts)? #02- Which tally-light system do you reccommand in a 3-7 cameras-switching-live-event-productions? Thx.

Hi Alberto - 

The products featured above are professional grade, designed for reliable, critical professional applications. Please contact us directly for help selecting a tally light system:  askbh@bandh.com

Close

Close

Close