Teradek Clip First Impressions

Discussion in 'Video Assist & Video Accessories' started by Steve Maller, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I finally got the Clip in the air. Here’s my thoughts.

    First of all, I McGyver’d the Clip onto my FF 2-axis gimbal with the GH3 on board. I disabled the Radians and locked the gimbal down, as the HDMI cabling was super fragile, and I didn’t want to risk breaking the Clip, the cable or (gasp) the GH3’s HDMI port. I need to find a good cable solution (HDMI mini to HDMI micro) before I fly it again. I suspended the Clip on the gimbal with its antennae pointing down. I powered it directly with a 3S LiPo using a custom cable I made with a Deans connector.

    I followed the instructions to configure a Rocket M5 and matching high-gain antenna as a wireless network. I used a Retina iPad (first gen Retina model) with the Teradek app in AP mode. We tested infrastructure mode in my studio, but didn’t test it on the Cinestar.
    • I flew a couple flights at a local field. The second flight is shown in its entirety from this camera aimed at the iPad.
    • The first flight was almost 8 minutes, the second was 6 minutes. During this time, we saw consistent clear images. There was one moment (shown in the video below) where the Clip seemed to lose its connection, but after my friend dismissed an error message, it re-connected.
    • The claim of 4 frames of latency was never observed. Once I got in the air, it appeared we were near 1 second most of the time, and there were noticeable pauses every few seconds.
    • The choice of HDMI micro connector
    • The video quality was quite beautiful. It was fun to see real HD from the copter!
    I wonder if the iPad 3 has enough “oomph” to run the Clip’s software-based decoder. The old software guy in me has a strong sense that the iPad was having a hard time keeping up, and that a newer iPad with more CPU would do better. But I don’t have one, and don’t plan to buy one right now. Even a Retina Mini would have considerably better performance, although the smaller screen would be less practical, especially outdoors.

    I would strongly encourage Teradek to port their software decoder to the Mac and/or Windows so that one could use HDMI mirroring or other technologies to free up the HD signal on the ground. I also think I’ll get an HDMI adapter for the iPad, as that may be a cheap way to get the signal into a switcher a projector, or some other place.

    So, in conclusion, I am impressed at what Teradek has done. It’s clearly a gamble for them, as it’s an order of magnitude less expensive than their awesome high-end products. I think it’s got great potential, and I’m looking forward to playing some more with it.
    QuickTime Player-snap001.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Drew Kachurak likes this.
  2. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    One more note:
    With respect to range, my GPX files are enclosed above, but I got as far as about 280 meters away. Ironically, the only full signal drop I experienced was just 30-40 meters away from the Rocket.
     
  3. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I flew it behind some trees, too, and there was no signal loss.
     
  4. Brad McGiveron

    Brad McGiveron Active Member

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    Thanks for the review Steve, I was considering getting one of these for an ultra light trekking/hiking setup.
     
  5. Michael Gailing

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    Steve,

    Great review. Thanks for this.

    The lag should not have been there and seeing almost one second in latency is not common in our tests. I've already passed your information up to some of our test engineers to see if they had any recommendations to bring it back down to around 4 frames. BTW, which frequency/channel were you on? Also, what video quality setting did you have?
     
  6. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Michael,
    I followed the instructions that are posted in this video. I left all the iPad app settings at their defaults.

     
  7. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Steve what other equipment were you using besides the Clip and the iPad? Sounds like you may have had other items like the Ubiquiti but you don't mention that in the post above.
     
  8. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Sorry, you’re right.
    I have a Ubiquiti RocketM5 with the Ubiquiti AMO-5G10 5GHz AirMax Dual Omni 10dBi Wifi Antenna, and I had it powered with the included PoE (power over ethernet) adapter running off of an inverter plugged into my car’s 12V outlet. I affixed the Rocket to the top of a light stand about 7 feet off the ground about 6 feet from my car.
    QuickTime Player-snap001.jpg QuickTime Player-snap002.jpg
     
  9. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    I am really surprised that you had any latency issues with that setup given that you were nearly always line of site.
     
  10. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Me, too. I am curious as to whether it’s the iPad that I have, that maybe you need more horsepower than the 3rd gen iPad can put out.
     
  11. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Ahh, interesting. Just saw this table on the Teradek website. Apparently I’m right...the iPad 3 retina can’t do HD after all. :(
    Safari-snap001.jpg
     
  12. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Shouldn't make that much difference. What may be causing more of the issue is the total amount of RFI noise in the air where you were flying. ATC radar, ASR radar, landing approach systems, Airborne weather radar, lots of high radiation sources close by. Try it at your house.
     
  13. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Good idea. I’ll also try changing the video resolution. Although I have to say, I am disappointed with the lack of 720P support on the iPad 3. I guess I should have noticed that before taking the plunge... :mad:
     
  14. Michael Gailing

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    The iPad 3 can do HD, but as you had guessed before, it doesn't quite have the oomph to keep the latency down (hence why we recommend against it and why you saw all that hiccuping). We're still working on ways to make this more efficient so older models can support HD decoding.

    However, even at 480p, the video quality is impressive on iPads.
     
  15. Drew Kachurak

    Drew Kachurak Member

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    Thanks for your review Steve - We've had quite the snow up here and haven't had a chance to get out and play. Need it to warm up a little first!
     
  16. Drew Kachurak

    Drew Kachurak Member

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    Steve - any luck on a more flexible HDMI cable? We flew the Clip this weekend and found that the Teradek HDMI cable is definitely not flexible or long enough. Hyperthin cables are great but they don't make a Micro to Mini HDMI cable (for a GH3).

    We tested the Clip on the iPad Air and had significant improvements in both distance and quality of video against the iPad 3.

    Still want to try it with the HDMI dongle and a large display.
     
  17. Guilherme Barbosa

    Guilherme Barbosa Distributor

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    Hi Steve are the clips coming with the PoE adapter now? Not sure if you remember me ... The guy from Brasil that were in your Office just before clip hit the market... I saw the PoE but it was under evaluation... I have 2 units how can i get the PoE for them .... Thanks
     
  18. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    The Clip doesn’t come with any PoE capability. The Rocket m5 has PoE.
     
  19. Guilherme Barbosa

    Guilherme Barbosa Distributor

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    Hi Steve could you let me know how you connected the ubiquiti to clip? Found the video from teradeck.... buy this mean we will need ubqt rocket in the ground as well...the real deal was to fly a bullet m5 with the clip. One you take out ofits case it is very light and can connect a patch antena
     
  20. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Guilherme,
    I think you misunderstand the way the Clip works.
    Here’s what I did:
    1. The Clip has a Micro HDMI input (Type D) which connects to the HDMI output of your camera on the copter. In my case, a Panasonic GH3. Finding a Type C to Type D HDMI cable is difficult (especially with a 90° on the ‘C’ end for the camera), so I had to use a couple of adapters. And you also need a very flexible HDMI cable so that the gimbal can move freely.
    2. The Clip requires 6-15V DC. I power it with a 1200 mAh 3S LiPo, and that works fine. It seems to use very little power.
    3. That’s all you need on the copter.
    4. On the ground, you can use only an iPad or iPhone with the TeraClip app. The Clip makes its own wifi network in “AP” mode, but the range (and maybe overall performance) is limited.
    5. Alternately, you can create a wifi network with a separate router, and the Clip and iOS can join that in “Infrastructure” mode. For this, I’m using the Ubiquiti Rocket M5 and the Ubiquiti AMO-5G10 5GHz AirMax Dual Omni 10dBi Wifi Antenna to create a network. This combo requires power in the field, and that’s the part that uses PoE (Power over Ethernet). I just run a small AC inverter in the 12V plug in my car, and then run a 10m ethernet cable to the router.
    I hope that makes more sense. :)
     

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