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Thread: Spark - compatible cameras?

  1. #1
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    Spark - compatible cameras?

    I have found that the Spark does not fully ‘understand’ all cameras hdmi output. Canon XC-10 and the Spark shake hands ok and put out full HD. With Canon XA-10 I get no more than 720x576. With Canon XF200 I can get 1280x720, if I put 1280x720 in record-settings and 1920x1080 in hdmi output. Full HD in both settings, will give 720x576…
    I have read somewhere about ‘shy’ hdmi and that this can be the issue.

    As I am looking into new cameras, I would appreciate that you users of the Spark, could share your experiences of your cameras.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    It has been my experience that any camera where you can set the output format has had no problems getting the video format I want with the HDMI Spark. Some cameras will communicate with it and depending on the list of formats the Spark sends and what the camera can support might cause only certain output resolutions. For example, I have a Canon Vixia HF R200, a consumer level video camera, that will only work in standard def on the Spark, because once connected to an HDMI source it is completely automatic and doesn't allow me to choose anything.

    My professional JVC HM200 camera allows me to set the resolution I want independent of what it is connected too, with it I can get 1920x1080 or 1280x720 at whatever frame rate I choose.
    Kane Peterson
    Solutions Architect
    NewTek, Inc.

  3. #3
    Senior Integrated Production Specialist
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    The problem here is specific to certain Canon cameras. The basic problem is that they only support two video modes on HDMI output: 1080i and 480p (4:3). The Spark itself handles EDID negotiation with the camera and says “I prefer progressive” which is what we want. The Spark basically says “great, I do 480p which is progressive” and Spark responds that this is supported … and so this camera falls down to 480p as the negotiated format which is 4:3 and SD.
    Zane Condren
    Senior Integrated Production Specialist

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    Thanks for your replies! So it would be "safe" to buy a camera from any other brand than Canon, as long as it has a possibility to adjust HDMI-output in settings?

  5. #5
    Yes, I'd see if you can check out the camera at a dealer first. Then you can see if it has configurable HDMI output settings, most professional cameras do.
    Kane Peterson
    Solutions Architect
    NewTek, Inc.

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    I had the same issue for my blackmagic BMMSC cam. The only working format is 1080p24, others like 60p 50i are not working. I used to post this question in the forums and no useful feedback to fix it. So the deployment of NDI had to be held until we find the solution.

  7. #7
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    I had this same issue with my Sparks and my Canon Vixia HFG20 cameras. I did find a band-aid solution though - if you run the camera's output through the HDMI loop on a Blackmagic HDMI/SDI converter (in my case, one of their newer bidirectional ones) and then into the Spark, the Spark will see a 1080p output from the camera and everything is fine. The converter I guess takes care of the handshake properly. I have to imagine something like a Dr. HDMI would also work. So not ideal to add another piece of hardware, but for less than $100 it's worth trying, especially in my case since I already had 3 of the Canons I wanted to use.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tflynn View Post
    I had this same issue with my Sparks and my Canon Vixia HFG20 cameras. I did find a band-aid solution though - if you run the camera's output through the HDMI loop on a Blackmagic HDMI/SDI converter (in my case, one of their newer bidirectional ones) and then into the Spark, the Spark will see a 1080p output from the camera and everything is fine. The converter I guess takes care of the handshake properly. I have to imagine something like a Dr. HDMI would also work. So not ideal to add another piece of hardware, but for less than $100 it's worth trying, especially in my case since I already had 3 of the Canons I wanted to use.
    Thank you so much for this tip tflynn. I was able to get my Canon XA10 to work. Under a vMix input it shows as 1080 59.94. The native output of the camera is 60i. The Blackmagic adapter I bought is a Blackmagic Design Micro Converter BiDirectional SDI/HDMI ($65 on Amazon) . I hooked the camera to the input of the BM and the Spark to the output of the BM as suggested. Also, my consumer JCV GZ-EX310 works as well.

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    Why not a firmware fix?

    Quote Originally Posted by boris9831 View Post
    Thank you so much for this tip tflynn. I was able to get my Canon XA10 to work. Under a vMix input it shows as 1080 59.94. The native output of the camera is 60i. The Blackmagic adapter I bought is a Blackmagic Design Micro Converter BiDirectional SDI/HDMI ($65 on Amazon) . I hooked the camera to the input of the BM and the Spark to the output of the BM as suggested. Also, my consumer JCV GZ-EX310 works as well.
    As BM can fix a proper handshake, I hereby ask Newtek for a little firmware update to fix the same. Please!

  10. #10
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    It would appear that after this period of time there is no solution at the New Tek end for this Canon problem. The Canon video camera range is very popular at the consumer/prosumer level and whether it's Canon or New Tek it would be good to have a fix.
    Having siad that outside of buying BM converters, does anybody have any suggestions for good cheap, probably second hand cameras with mic inputs and audio level control that will work with the Connect Sparks.
    Certailny not in any position to spend $2000+ just to get a camera that works with the Spark.

  11. #11
    NewTek System Integrator PIZAZZ's Avatar
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    Sony X70 cameras work perfectly with Sparks.
    Jef Kethley
    PIZAZZ
    www.pizazz.com

    Using:
    All models of TriCasters + 3Play, IPSeries
    Panasonic UB300 4k cams
    Tactical Fiber/converters, SDI2NDI converters, NDI-Viewfinder, and NDI2HDMI

  12. #12
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    After personal experience this last weekend, for anyone with GoPro's or Canon cameras, the FMUser FBE200 box will accept HDMI 1080i and de-interlace it to 1080p, with none of the problems the Sparks are having in this issue.

    If you can use rtsp instead of NDI for the stream you need to do with a Canon camera, this is an option for you until the Sparks firmware is fixed to accept the Interlaced HD vision - the FBE200 also has line level analog input and is available in a WiFi version.

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