I just bought the new Blackmagic design SDI 6G to HDMI mini converter for $185 USD and was excited to finally get my hands on this! Thanks to HD Source (Toronto, Canada) for getting this to me very fast! I’m going to highlight 5 great uses for this marvel of a little box:
The obvious use here is converting from SDI to HDMI which can be useful for taking SDI from your camera out and using it to support many HDMI based devices such as wireless transmitters, projectors, TV’s, and monitors. As the name implies it is 6G so it fully supports 4K SDI video and can convert to 4K HDMI or even downscale to HD if required, and that’s pretty neat.
Another real neat thing is that it can be used to support many legacy HDMI devices that do not have any 24PsF capability. As it relates to Sony FS5/FS7/F5/F55 this would be especially useful when the base frequency of the camera set to 23.98fps or 24fps as the signal over HDMI on Sony cameras are 24PsF and in a many cases not found to be compatible with many HDMI based devices. So instead you could use the SDI out from the camera connected to the mini converter and then feed any HDMI monitor, TV, projector, etc. you want – even that old 8 year old relic.
Applying 3D LUTs to SDI
Cameras like the FS7, F5 and F55 have the ability apply built-in 3D LUTs and user loadable high quality x33 3D LUTs when you are recording slog in CineEI mode but one problem is that as soon as you switch the camera to S&Q mode the 3D LUT function is no longer possible. For onset previewing and monitoring for others working on the set (possibly including the client) this presents an issue once you leave your base frame rate. It’s also an issue when playing slog clips back from the camera. Also the ability to use 3D LUTs only exist in CineEI mode – so if you shoot in Custom mode using an slog gamma curve there is no ability apply 3D LUTs in-camera.
The mini converter will allow you to load up to two 33 point 3D LUTs into the device which can be used to overcome these issues on the Sony cameras mentioned but the mini converter can be used with any camera that does not have the ability to add 3D LUTs while monitoring or playing back images.
This is also a great solution for the Sony FS5 on two fronts
This is also a great solution for the Sony FS5 on two fronts; while the FS5 has an internal option called “gamma assist” which applies a type of “look/LUT” to the image, it only applies it to the view finder image not the SDI port (or I never figured out if it can) so with the mini converter you can easily apply a 3D LUT to your FS5 camera output and run it to an external client monitor if desired. Another use specific to the FS5 would be for creating a sort of pseudo-CineEI mode. You could load a few exposure compensated 3d LUTS, for example -1 stop and -2 stop into the mini converter so that if you intend to overexpose your image to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of the camera, everyone else previewing the monitor can at least look at a “normal” image rather than watching over exposed slog footage. Can’t emphasize how useful this is.
See my other post to download free -1 and -2 LC709 and LC709A exposure compensated 3d LUTS here -> http://www.hingsberg.com/2018/02/exposure-compensated-3d-luts/
In the studio
In the studio the mini converter is an excellent way to add a 3d LUT to your chain going from an SDI board on your computer to a monitor with an HDMI input – for example if you want to add a large screen HD or 4K TV screen to your editing or coloring suite or even just a higher-end color accurate prosumer monitor. The mini converter can then be used to accurately calibrate these devices for critical color work or even if you just want to monitor the video accurately bypassing the OS color management system.
This is great because it means instead of buying an expensive decklink board you can get one of the cheaper SDI output boards and just add the mini converter 6G SDI to HDMI in the chain. Brilliant and again very exciting as a low-cost but professional way to add accuracy to the studio!
HDMI extender using SDI cable
If you combine the 6G SDI to HDMI mini converter with BMD’s other converter, the HDMI to SDI 6G ($145 USD), you can actually use both boxes together to extend and HDMI output to an HDMI input by laying SDI coax cable in-between which can be run hundreds of feet without any serious quality issues.
Analog and AES audio
The mini converter can be used to embed analog or AES audio into the chain which can be useful for combining SDI video and audio from a source and sending to an HDMI device, and also the opposite if used with the HDMI to SDI mini converter.
That wraps up highlighting 5 great uses for the mini converter but for sure there are plenty more. Here’s a block diagram of the device to get a picture view of how it works and what it does:
For more information on Blackmagic Design mini converters visit their website -> https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/ca/products/miniconverters