You’re the director of a Netflix show, shooting in 4K, viewing video on a gorgeous 4K HDR monitor. But you’re still tethered to the camera by cables because you don’t have 4K wireless. Or you’re watching wireless video when the camera is unleashed on Steadicam or gimbals—but it’s HD video, not 4K. You bellow, “When is Teradek going to build a 4K video wireless Bolt?”
Here it is. Teradek introduced the Bolt 4K Wireless video transmitter/receiver system at NAB 2019. Bolt 4K transmits zero delay, uncompressed, 4K HDR video. And, Bolt 4K has improved signal robustness with increased range, and can transmit to up to 6 receivers simultaneously with no performance loss. Bolt 4K also includes Bluetooth for fast, effortless pairing, and added functionality via an iOS app.z
Initially, there will be two models of the Bolt 4K wireless video system: Bolt 4K 750XT with 750′ line of sight transmission range and Bolt 4K 1500XT with 1500′ line of sight range. The transmitter has 12G SDI and HDMI 2.0 inputs. The receiver has 12G SDI and HDMI 2.0 outputs.
The new Bolt 4K has a totally new generation of patented Amimon video modem technology inside. This new chipset and redesigned RF circuitry supports HDR video with resolutions up to 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 60 fps via the 5GHz frequency band.
Greg Smokler from Teradek Cine Products volunteered to answer some questions in the sleep-deprived days before NAB.
Up to now on set or location, if you wanted to view 4K on a big monitor (or small), you had to run cables. Will the picture quality with Bolt 4K be as good?
The picture quality will be excellent. It also has improved robustness that will keep the video link engaged even as the signal quality degrades over distance or with interference.
What 4K monitors do you suggest for Directors and DITs on set to work with Bolt 4K?
Currently we recommend the Sony X310 monitor for reference-grade 4K video.
OK, I’m a focus puller. What small (7-15 inch) 4K monitors can I use as a focus-puller?
We’re on it, stay tuned. Currently there are no great options for a compact 4K monitor. However, the Bolt 4K will be able to downcovert to HD on the receiver, so existing monitors can be used. Additionally, if you’re only transmitting HD over the Bolt 4K, the image quality and signal robustness is greatly improved over the existing generation of Bolts.
Is the Bolt 4K bigger and heavier than current Bolts?
The new Teradek Bolt 4K transmitter is a bit larger than the existing Bolt HD Transmitter. It is almost exactly the area of a Anton/Bauer battery plate. For this reason, we designed it to be able to pass battery power through and have male and female battery plates mounted on it so it can be placed on the back of the camera.
Approximate cost and availability?
Bolt 4K will be priced above the current Teradek HD products. Shipping is expected in June 2019.
Will Focus Pullers, DPs and Directors really see a difference?
Detail Matters. It gives you the ability to truly see a high-resolution video image in great nuanced detail. You get 10-bit 4:2:2 HDR capability with the ability to apply 4K LUTs in the receiver output. There’s improved robustness. Technically, Bolt 4K has 8 times better signal integrity and twice the amount of fine detail. This is a quantum leap forward. You will see improved 4K images even as the distance from transmitter to receiver increases; previously, as you got further away, the picture would just drop out. For HD transmission with this system, you get better detail and color.
Full 4K 10-bit HDR wireless video will be welcome for productions demanding these specs. The ease of use and convenience makes it compelling and simple to adopt. No more quad link or short BNC runs. In the beginning, the immediate market probably will be the Director and DIT, because they can demand it. And then Focus Pullers and everyone else on set will want it.
Reprinted from Film and Digital Times April 2019 Edition #92-93