Teradek has long been the premiere name in on-set wireless video transfer. The company has a very thorough lineup: the Bolt 3000, Bolt 2000, Bolt 1000, Bolt 300, and now the cheaper and more powerful Bolt 500.

Luckily for end users, the model numbers aren't meaningless; they refer to the useable working distance you can expect to achieve using the transmitter. Earlier this year, Teradek refreshed the Bolt 3000 and 1000 transmitters with a host of new features, including rapid reconnect for shorter drop-outs, a smaller form factor, and even 3D LUT integration for adjusting the image preview. However, the cheapest of the refreshed Bolts was still $5,000, leaving the lonely Bolt 300 down there for the independent filmmaker, with its sub-$2,000 budget-friendly price that also happened to lack the attractive new features.

It's the lightest transmitter ever created by Teradek, coming in at only 217 grams.

Teradek has fixed that with the newly released Bolt 500, which brings those features to a less expensive, shorter range transmitter. Coming in at a release price under $3,000, it has all of the features of the Bolt 3000 except for the 20mhz frequency range. Like the new Bolt 1000 and the rest of the traditional bolt line, the 500 sticks to the 40mhz. It's also the lightest transmitter ever created by Teradek, coming in at only 217 grams. Using the USB 3.0 Grab engine, you can plug your receiver straight into a computer for direct capturing (and save the new for capture cards). Additionally, the Bolt transmitter can function as an HDMI-to-SDI converter to help with on-set rigging.

Bolt-hdmi-sdi-conversion_3343d68d-23d6-4c35-97be-184ff0641faa_2048x2048HDMI to SDI Cross ConversionCredit: Teradek

Particularly exciting is the 3D LUT integration in the transmitter, which allows you to dial in custom preview looks to specific signal paths. For instance, you might be using one Bolt 3000 to get the image from a picture car to the DIT cart without a LUT; you might be using another Bolt 500 to get from the DIT cart to the director's monitor, which they are carrying with them. Of course, you want a 3D preview LUT there to give the director a good sense of what the final results might be. While obviously many monitors allow LUT preview, some still don't, and the more video systems that allow LUT integration, the better—provided the end user is conscious of the effect it's having on the image.

Teradek has also released a new receiver, the Sidekick II, compatible with the Bolt 3000, 1000, and the new 500. The Sidekick II is compact, coming in at only 288 grams, and can work as a test pattern generator to facilitate easy field monitor calibration.

Teradek is helping to promote the launch of the Bolt 500, Sidekick II, and all its products with a week-long Black Friday sale on the site. While most of the sale is on older stock, it does provide a discount on Sidekick receivers when purchased with the Bolt transmitter.

Tech specs for the Bolt 500

  • 1080p60
  • 3G-SDI & HDMI
  • 217g
  • USB3 Grab Engine for Live Ingest
  • Metadata Transmission Support
  • Range up to 500ft 
  • 28% smaller than previous models
  • Realtime cross conversion
  • 3D LUT integration
  • Bold Identity Color Plates

Tech specs for the Sidekick II

  • 288 grams
  • 1080p video over SDI output
  • Works with Bolt 3000, 1000, 500
  • 2 pin power connector, 7-17volt DC
  • Test pattern generator
  • 25.0x85.5x114.0mm