Diagram and pack for your next gig with H2R Gear

In this video, we go through an introduction to using H2R Gear for wire diagramming, packing and preparing for your video production jobs.

By John Barker • 22 Sep 2022

In this video, we go through an introduction to using H2R Gear for wire diagramming, packing and preparing for your video production jobs.

Give it a try → h2rgear.com


Every time I make a video and show off a gear plan like this, I get the same question and the comments, “What is that tool that you’re using?” Well, it’s time to finally introduce you properly to H2R Gear.

So this is H2R Gear, an app that I have been developing for a few years now, and it lets you build a wire diagram of your video production gear, or audio production gear to help your team plan, pack, and prepare for your next gig. Just to stress it one more time, this is my own tool, so prepare yourself for lots of self-promotion in this video. Otherwise, I still think it’s going to be a useful tool for your setup. So here we go.I’m over on h2rgear.com and I’m going to skip the setting up of an account. For the purposes of this video, I’m just going to log into my own account and we’ll be inside of H2R Gear, and I can take a look at all the plans that I’ve made, a bunch of random ones, a bunch of things for clients. I tend to use this for consultancy jobs where I want to explain equipment, or for freelance jobs where I want to pack equipment. There’s a few different use cases for sure.If I head into this demo plan here which will come free with your account, we can take a look at what the app actually does. So it’s like a place to throw in equipment, draw cables, and then move things around and generate packlists, PNGs, exports, all sorts of stuff for your equipment planning.

Let’s go a bit further though, and set up a new plan. I’m thinking about setting up a really simple version of my ATEM SDI setup. So I’ll just call it that ATEM SDI Setup here. Create that plan and I’ll get myself a blank slate to start from.

First thing you probably want to do is add some gear, and in my case I’m going to add my ATEM SDI actually. Do a quick search on my Gear section here to see that I have an ATEM SDI PRO ISO. And what you’ll find is all the inputs are in the top and the outputs are at the bottom. So for example, this ATEM SDI PRO ISO has four SDI inputs. It’s got a USB, it’s got microphone one and two, and then on the output side it has SDI, SDI, and then Ethernet or Network. And some of these inputs and outputs might be things that you would consider actually outputs and inputs, but we can come later to how to edit this item so it works for your use case as well.

I’ll add this to my gear plan here by clicking the add button. And what you’ll see is it’s added to my gear plan and I have my ATEM SDI PRO ISO. I’m probably going to add a few more things and that’s where I can take a look at the Community library here. For example, I might want to add an SDI Monitor. I’ll just type in SDI Monitor, some suggestions pop up, but I can search for the SDI Monitor. In my case, a monitor with one input will work just fine. So I will add that, and then I can bring that down to the bottom and simply draw a cable from the output of the ATEM to the input of the monitor. So there you go. I have my first cable set up and everything is looking good so far.

We can add one more piece of gear here. A SDI camera would probably be a good thing to add. I’ll just do a search for SDI camera, see what comes up. Here’s a pretty generic one that has SDI output. It also has HDMI output which we might not need, but maybe I’ll choose this one instead. It’s just a camera with SDI output. So add that to my gear plan, move it above, and then I can draw a cable from the camera into the ATEM. So I’ve got myself a pretty simple setup here, and I can use some keyboard shortcuts like this Command-C, Command-V on my Mac here to create a copy of that. I can Command-C and Command-V again, so now I have three cameras, and then I’ll just draw three cables from three cameras into my ATEM SDI PRO ISO.Typically, when I’m doing a job, I bring a laptop with me for graphics, so let’s add that as well. I’m going to choose the add gear section here, and I’ll actually jump into this quick builder option which lets me build an item of my own choice. I’m typing in laptop there. It can be an Apple laptop since I tend to use Apple quite a lot for these sorts of things. Category, I can choose computer. I’ll just leave the colors as they are. And then for the inputs and outputs, I really care about outputs right now. It has a HDMI output on the laptop, so that’ll be just fine for my use case. And I can add that to the plan. And I have my little laptop here and it’s ready to be connected to my ATEM SDI PRO ISO.What you’ll find now is whenever I try to draw a cable between the laptop and the ATEM, it’s not going to work. You can’t connect HDMI to SDI by default. You need some sort of conversion. So here it’s telling me there’s a connection issue here. You can’t do that. So I head back into the add gear section. Go into my Community library, and I know that there’s plenty of HDMI to SDI converters in there. I’ll choose this SDI 3G one. I’m sure it’ll do just fine. And I know there’s a few options in here. This one looks good enough for my use case. I’ll bring that up above my ATEM, and I can connect that all together.

What I do know though is this has two SDI outputs, but I don’t need both of those right now. I can always edit this item by right clicking on it and clicking on edit. From here, maybe I can make some changes. For example, I only want one output. I’m going to change the name of it a little bit just to make it a bit shorter and smaller.

And then typically these SDI converters from Blackmagic that I use are this gray color. So maybe I can choose something along the lines out there, and that’ll work just fine, and hit done. What you’ll see is those updates are made to that item, and I can draw the cables now as I want to, from there to there, and there to there. So I have a pretty small setup ready to go for my next job. I’m going to pack all of this equipment together, and in that case, I will want some packlist.

Well, the beauty of doing all this through the tool means that you can have a packlist ready to go. If I head down to the bottom here into my Packlist section, you can see that I already have my packlist ready to go. In fact, I have my ATEM, my monitor, my three cameras, my laptop and my converter as well. And it’s also calculated the cables, so I have a HDMI cable and five SDI cables that I need to pack as well. What’s really neat is I can just click through each of these and then I can consider them packed as I go along. I’m saying everything so far is packed there, and then whenever I pack the cables, I’ll click on those. And finally, I have everything packed. It says a 100% packed and I’m good to go.We can customize things even further on the plans by going back out to the settings and taking a look at some cable colors. So here I am in the settings area and I have all of the cables that are supported by H2R Gear. You can see things like etherCON, fiber, you have a bunch of audio like XLR, mini jack, et cetera, et cetera. And what I can do in here is I can customize the color. So for example if you tend not to use greens SDISs in your setup, but you typically have purple ones, which I’ve just bought some of, and HDMI, typically those are black cables. I know they’re boring, but it’s the standard color of a HDMI cable these days it would seem.

So now you can see I have black HDMI and purple SDIs. If I head back over into my plan, you can see now that I have my new cable colors in here, which is quite nice for your own use cases. Maybe these are the colors you use for all of your cables and therefore it works a lot better for your use case.

There’s also this section where you can add all of the gear that you currently own. So for example, I have lots of different ATEMs and all that good stuff. Some of these are just things I’ve added to the tool for demo use cases, but I can add them all in here and I can do that by either adding them from the Gear Community library. So anyone who uses the tool is able to add gear items to the Community library, and that really helps the rest of us go a bit faster when we’re building plans quickly.

Or I could build my own piece of gear. So something we saw a little bit earlier there, but here’s a dedicated builder so I can build a complex piece of equipment like a big SDI matrix or even just a simple little camera, create that here and then add it to my gear. And that way, I can use it in future plans or I can make it public and let other people in the community use it as well.

What you’ve seen so far is all available for free in the app. You can have two active plans, you can have all the cable colors, you can add items, all that good stuff. It’s free, ready to use, so you can sign up for an account and use that just fine. But if you want to go a bit further for the pro features, then we have a few of those as well.If you upgrade to a paid plan, you can do something called like adding zones here. So I can zone off certain areas to say this is the video section, for example, and then I can do another one for audio with adding another zone in here. I can recolor it to whatever color I want it to be, just to make it a bit clear as well. I can also share plans and read-only mode. So for example this plan right here, I’ll set it up that anyone with a link can view it. And then if I copy this URL, paste it into my browser in incognito mode, you can see here that I can read this plan, take a look at what the person’s up to, but of course I can’t make any changes to it. I’m just reading it right now. Let’s close that again.

And then a really nice feature to have is the export functionality. So for example, I can choose a nice big 5x quality. I can do a transplant background and I can export it as a PNG. And once that downloads, I can open up that PNG and you can see here a nice quality PNG with no background color behind here. I can drop that into a PowerPoint, into a document, into whatever I use to talk with my team about the gear we’re using.And one other nice paid feature is this Patchlist option, so I can see where all my cables patch to. So for example, I have a HDMI cable here that goes out of my laptop and into my HDMI to SDI converter. You can follow along with this whenever you’re rigging your equipment so you keep everything in order, or you can export it as CSV and bring it into another tool if you wish.

I feel like we just scratched the surface on the features available in H2R store gear right now. But if you have any thoughts on things that should be added, do let me know in the comments below as I’m always interested to make it better and better. Thanks so much for watching and I’ll see you in the next video. Bye-bye.