Decoding with VU003B > ESG3

I am sharing my experience decoding different formats with VU003B and ESG3.


  • Modules above are powered by LZX capsule.
  • Sync is distributed as indicated from VU003B to FKG3 and ESG3.
  • 6’ RCA to BNC cables deliver component output from ESG3 to Flanders BM211 component input.

Canon XF105 as External Input and Sync Source:

Reference, Video Output Signals by Terminal for XF105 via Canon Support:

  • VU003B decodes NTSC via Canon XF105 Component Output, (ESG3, NTSC):

  • VU003B decodes 720p60 via Canon XF105 Component Output, (ESG3, 720p5994):

(Note: ESG3 timing does not correspond with timing indicated by Canon. @rempesm and @a_digital_index believe this drop frame timing discrepancy arises from peculiarities of prosumer video devices and documentation.)

  • VU003B decodes 1080i60 via Canon XF105 Component Output, (ESG3, 1080i5994):


AJA Ki Pro Rack as External Input and Sync Source:

  • VU003B decodes NTSC via AJA Ki Pro Rack, Sync Generator Component Output, (ESG3, NTSC):

  • VU003B decodes 720p50 via AJA Ki Pro Rack, Sync Generator Component Output, (ESG, 720p50):

  • VU003B decodes 720p60 via AJA Ki Pro Rack, Sync Generator Component Output, (ESG, 720p60)


Configurations with unexpected output:

(Note, compatibility of test signal with monitor confirmed by appreciating bars directly from AJA Ki Pro Rack component output. Unexpected outputs were isolated to VU003B/ESG3 system.)

  • 1080p24

  • 1080p25

  • 1080p2997


TLDR: On this day 14OCT22, in my studio, using the configuration detailed above, I was able to successfully decode and output video in the following formats: NTSC, 720p50, 720p60, 1080i60. I was unable at this time to decode and output 1080p24, 1080p25, or 1080p2997.

PS. I am hoping to connect with other users who may have specific knowledge about this signal flow.

17 Likes

Amazing. Thank you for doing this! :pray:t3:

2 Likes

Thank you for your time and the share on this info.

1 Like

Hey, the optimal sync signal flow is

Decoder → Encoder / Sync Generator → All other modules

I have the VU003B and the ESG3, and this is what works for me. But I am only dealing with 1080i59.

I’ve had good results with ESG3 and VU003B at 1080p, i, and 720p.

Note that “30fps” in the broadcast industry in the US has historically meant 29.97, with no real 30fps formats (since pre-NTSC) until computer graphics (and then phones, etc) and video formats started to overlap. So it’s possible the Canon is calling 29.97 “30”

This is not the same as drop frame time code, which is just an optional way of counting frames so that the hours measure correctly when shooting a non-integer frame rate.

3 Likes

Next step would be a low profile buffered RCA sync distribution busboard so you can run your sync source out in parallel to all sync inputs instead of series.

Decoder → RCA Sync Busboard → Sync Gen / Encoder
RCA Sync Busboard → parallel connection to other modules

Probably overkill in most systems but could be helpful in debugging sync chains or if you swap modules around often.

Good point. I will end up with several separate Eurorack enclosures that need sync. Daisy-chaining sync through all of them could be an issue, especially since I’ve got a mix of hardware manufacturers… it’s not all Gen3.

Any analog HD video distribution amplifier will serve the purpose of parallel sync distribution. I have a bunch of Extron 19" rackmount DAs that I’ve mounted backward in the rack, so the BNCs are all facing forward. This has worked well in my initial experiments with raster manipulation, sending the same video signal to sync and video processing. This turned out to be necessary because Bridge apparently strips out negative voltages? It didn’t work for sync distribution.

1 Like

Blackmagic Design Mini Converter Sync Generator (CONVMSYNC) https://a.co/d/cXpJXt9

Maybe even something like this.

That’s fine if all of your video sources are going through time base correctors, and you don’t mind the one frame delay. In that case the TBCs and the modular rig can all genlock to the free running sync generator.

But if you want to genlock the modular rig directly to an external video source like a camera or switcher, a free running sync generator isn’t going to help. You need to duplicate that video source with a DA and use it as both sync and video signal.

Visual Cortex and ESG3 (via 03B) present KPR generating bars.


Notes:

  • Sync distributed left to right and top to bottom in signal flow.
  • Devices power cycled in order above when changing configuration or format.
  • Horizontal offset, appreciated on left edge of frame, interacts with keying and filtering.

  • KPR Genlocks to AJA GEN10
  • 03B decodes KPR
  • KPR > 03B > ESG > Monitor


  • KPR Genlocks to ESG
  • 03B decodes KPR
  • KPR > 03B > ESG > Monitor


@a_digital_index suggested I test AJA FS1’s timing adjustments to address horizontal offset.

  • ESG Genlocks to Source via 03B
  • KPR > FS1 > 03B > ESG

In the video above, I demonstrate upstream FS1 Output Timing H. and Analog Fine adjustment. After recording, I tested downstream FS1 and adjustment of same parameters. The horizontal offset is present in both cases.

PS. I am hoping to connect with other users who may have specific knowledge about this signal flow.

4 Likes

Thank you for this breakdown. This is valuable information and very much appreciated…. hopefully will prevent others from having to deal with hours worth of troubleshooting.

I can confirm having the same issue and a complete nightmare trying to calibrate this ESG via the contrast/brightness trimmers. Once I get it dialed in to seems to drift back out again very soon after….

Why does my visual cortex look better than my Esg3? ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Oh yeah, thanks so much @Bastien for Vu003b!! I can kinda work now thanks to your wonderful and timely development on vu003b. Much appreciated!

1 Like

ESG3 (via 03B) presents Source Y via KPR.
& Visual Cortex presents Source Y via KPR.


Notes:

  • 1v processing single color channel only.
  • Capture is Y Output only.
  • ESG achieves inversion via front panel switch in upward position.
  • VC achieves inversion via front panel switch in upward position.

PS. I am hoping to connect with other users who may have specific knowledge about this signal flow.

2 Likes

Are you using the same length cables between Keychain > VC as you are between Keychain > ESG3?

Yes! I am using the same 6" Shielded Polar Noise patch cables in each presentation.

1 Like

Regarding horizontal offset introduced by delay. This is why pro analog video gear always has an H-phase adjustment. Maybe that’s too complex for a modular setup. Certainly it was a major issue with both the Sandin IP and the Hearne EAB Videolab II … there was almost ALWAYS a horrible bar on the left where horizontal blanking got too wide, and then was treated as a signal by subsequent modules/devices. So just inverting a picture meant you got a white stripe on the left, free of charge.

And yes, I have seen this issue with my LZX ecosystem rig, but I was psychologically prepared for it. I do wish ESG3 had a tweak adjustment for horizontal timing. As it is, we are probably going to have to be content with adjusting horizontal position / scaling / cropping with an external switcher, or else fixing it in post as I have always been forced to do.

However, everything will change with TBC2. With TBC2 as the sync source, we may see a huge improvement. I’m really hoping that will correct the ESG3 external sync failures I’m still seeing. In any event, TBC2 → ESG3 will be the best-tested configuration, and if users experience a major issue there, I’m sure the response to correct it will be swift.

Also, TBC2 will have position and scaling controls that may address the issue.

1 Like

The source is 1080i5994. I am surprised that source via ESG (1080i5994) is softer in character than source downscaled to NTSC via Visual Cortex.

I think this difference in character can be appreciated when generating bars, recollected below:

1 Like

Have you compared it to NTSC out from the ESG3, out of curiosity?

And here is that comparison with bars recollected from this post.

2 Likes