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Meet the teradek Bolt 4K

With all the great technological strides in Teradek’s 4th Gen lineup, 4K wireless video is only the cherry on top.

Wireless Video Tech for the 2020s

Throughout the last decade, one of the most noticeable developments in camera and display technology has been the steady increase in resolution and bit-depth capabilities. Recording options like 6K and 8K are rapidly becoming commonplace, and even DSLR style video cameras are adopting 10-bit 4:2:2 color as the new internal standard. Teradek’s new Bolt 4K line of transmitters and receivers do much more than just attempt to catch up with the latest, craziest camera stats, though. These devices represent some significant leaps in ease-of-use from previous generations, with features and capabilities that make Teradek’s 4th Gen by far the best option for wireless video, even if you’re only using them in 1080p.

User-Friendly New Features

Each transmitter and receiver in the 4th Gen lineup is now equipped with not only a menu screen, but also Bluetooth, and is fully controllable via Teradek’s free app. In the app you can see all of your available devices, pair them, rename them, change settings, even see exactly how far apart your devices are from each other, all via your smartphone. (As a bonus: if you’re using Teradek lens control motors, you can even use your phone as a wireless handset!) Pair times have also been greatly reduced, now down to just a few seconds.

Range & Cross-Compatibility

The Bolt 4K series features range increases of 50% or greater from their predecessors. From 500ft to 750ft, from 1000ft to 1500ft, and from 3000ft to a whopping 5000ft of zero-latency 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 video transmission when using the 4K Max devices and Panel Antenna. And while in previous generations you could only pair a transmitter and receiver of matching models (500 to 500, 1000 to 1000, etc.), you can now pair any of the Bolt 4K devices to each other. Of course, the range of each device has its own maximum capability, but for example, if you were transmitting camera signal from a Bolt 4K Max TX you could have a Producer with a Max RX receiver up to 5000ft away, an AC with a 750, and a Director with a 1500 - all from a single transmission source. Or, you could first send wireless video from the camera to a DIT, and have them adjusting color in real time with the added flexibility of 10-bit 4:2:2 color information.

Why Bother With 4K Monitoring?

As cinematographers know, in terms of visible image quality, resolution has diminishing returns past a certain point, especially if the resolution of the monitor on which you’re viewing is lower than the video itself. With that in mind, I would bet you’re thinking, “why do I need wireless 4K video on set?” In many cases, you’d be right! A couple things to note though: (1) All of the other new features are enough in and of themselves for you to notice a significant improvement over previous generations, even if you choose not to use the maximum resolution settings; and (2), there are certain ways in which the 4K could come in handy, even if your monitors are only 1080p. For critical focus work, it could be useful to be able to zoom in on the image without losing “crispness” to see if you’re really nailing that focus pull. Or, if you’re a DP who has adopted the high-res workflow of shooting wide so that you can potentially reframe in post, you can now see those alternative compositions on any of your displays without significant loss of image quality.