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Bob Cole
monitor for HD
on Dec 16, 2007 at 3:40:20 am

I've been evaluating monitors for HD location shooting. I don't want much: light weight, big image, cheap, durable, great quality.

I'm usually working alone or with one assistant, but I'd still like as big an image as I can get. I don't want an 8" monitor that costs a fortune -- I'd prefer 17-26". There are both Panasonics (BT-LH2600 and BT-LH1700) and Sonys (Luma) now in that range.

Does anybody have some good recommendations for HD monitors which take well to travelling? I've noticed that the Panasonic LCDs are available with hard and Portabrace cases so somebody must be taking them on the road. I just want whatever I get to be as durable as my old Sony 8055Q.

Bob C

MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
Kona LHe
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Sony HDV M25U
HD-Connect MI
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Tim Kolb
Re: monitor for HD
on Dec 17, 2007 at 2:30:38 pm

Hi Bob,

Well, cheap, high resolution, large screen size...pick any two but "cheap" (and durable is not an eligible replacement).

About the best overall mix I've seen so far is the JVC 24" LCD, which runs in the $5K USD neighborhood.

CRTs are very difficult to use for focus as even an HD CRT has a resolution limitation that is well inside 1920 horizontally...

LCDs are hard to use outdoors without a black velvet tent...and they aren't particularly easy to handle once you get to the minimum size to handle 1920 across (HP's 23" is currently the smallest panel to do this as far as I know), Panasonic's 1700 is a WXGA panel which is a 1280x768 raster...good for the 1280x720 crowd, but the scaling with 1080 material will probably drive you nuts in the field for focus evaluation.

LCDs in the field will most often require a generator or enough batteries that you may require a haz mat permit to hall them...

I guess at this point, the Sony Luma monitors that I've used have been of a quality that made me wonder who at Sony decided it was OK to put their logo on them...ugh. I've not seen the new "broadcast CRT replacement" LCD, but the buzz from those who have seems like "more of the same."

You also have to look at what you'll be outputting to the monitor. With HDV2, HDSDI would be best for an LCD as all the pixels will be there and the camera's output will scale the 1440x1080 image to 1920 and the square pixels on the LCD will look correct.

If you want to feed analog component, I'd certainly stay away from any basic LCD displays such as Dell, HP, etc as the analog>digital conversion done by the panel is not very good in my experience. I'm not sure how good the analog input is on the JVC panel, but I'd suspect it would be better than any consumer display.

Analog component signals would usually look better on a CRT, but I'd also use some sort of peaking setting on the camera's viewfinder to completely dial in focus...and high-end CRTs are not only expensive, they're heavy beasts that need calibration frequently when being bounced around.

The ultimate answer is of course....there is no ultimate answer.

:-)







TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
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http://www.focalpress.com
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Bob Cole
Poll: How do you monitor your HD in field?
on Dec 19, 2007 at 2:45:59 am

Thanks Tim. I agree it's a very tough thing to figure out.

But since it's the common wisdom that you should use a monitor to ensure accurate focus when you shoot HD, I would like to ask the HD shooters out there, "What do you use?"

I suspect a lot of people would say, "I SHOULD use a field monitor, but..."

Personally, I'm waiting for the roll-up HD-pixel-mapping monitor that you can store in your gel case and use as a heating pad if your back hurts on the drive back home. Dishwasher-safe too!

BC

MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
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HD-Connect MI
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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Poll: How do you monitor your HD in field?
on Dec 19, 2007 at 5:36:07 am

[Bob Cole] "it's the common wisdom that you should use a monitor to ensure accurate focus when you shoot HD, I would like to ask the HD shooters out there, "What do you use?""

We use the tried-and-true old-school method that has served Hollywood well for a century and continues to do so...

A tape measure.

Keson and Lufkin tape measures are pretty much the "industry standard." There's nothing more low tech, cheaper, or accurate (providing of course your lenses are accurate... most high-end cine primes are spot on, but the engraving on cheap lenses can be quite a bit off so it's important to test them). Just remember that you measure from the subject to the film plane (or sensor plane), not to the front of the lens. Most all film cameras (and high-end lens converters) will have an engraved line showing the film plane, and often a hook for the tape measure. With video cameras you have to more-or-less guess, but you can do so pretty accurately.


T2

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Todd Terry
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Tim Kolb
Re: Poll: How do you monitor your HD in field?
on Jan 29, 2008 at 3:59:09 pm

[Bob Cole] "I suspect a lot of people would say, "I SHOULD use a field monitor, but...""

Boy...in my experience, you hit it on the head there...

There are many who get some sort of LCD field monitor like others have talked about in this thread. There is quite a range of performance across all the options...

Scopebox is a well-conceived piece of software for the Mac, but the biggest restriction in Scopebox -and- On Location is the inability to take anything for an input other than FireWire.

As soon as someone comes up with an HDSDI input for a laptop, there will be lots of new possibilities...

TimK,
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Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Bruce Alan Greene
Re: monitor for HD
on Dec 19, 2007 at 7:18:27 pm

Hi Bob,

I use a Panasonic 17" LCD with my Varicam.

I think it's a good choice but I have had custom made a hard case that holds the monitor and has a bale that attaches to the case and mounts the monitor on a baby sized light stand. This is to both protect the monitor and allow it to be mounted on a stand and pan and tilt for viewing angle. I've also constructed a viewing hood out of corrugated black plastic that fits nicely onto the case. I've also mounted a baby light spud on a piece of plywood to use the monitor on a table top as well. And this whole case fits into it's own shipping case too. Be warned that the screen can easily be damaged. I sometimes velcro a sheet of plexi over the screen to protect it from sloppy crew members and directors who love to touch the screen! And keep a sand bag on that monitor stand also.

The monitor itself gives a pretty good image, though the blacks (as usual with LCD) can be a little bit milky looking when viewed in a very dark room. Color accuracy is pretty good, but not perfect. I feel it's good enough though to tweak colors in the field, especially if post color grading will be done as well. There is also a basic waveform monitor built in which can come in handy.

This monitor has connections for almost every video interface with the exception of DVI/HDMI. Audio over HDSDI is an optional board.

The monitor is quite good for judging focus, even when fed 1080 SDI (sony f-900) for example. In fact, it shows focus better for 1080 than a 24" sony hd crt even though it's a 720p native display. SD images look quite good as well when sent over SDI. Composite video is pretty mushy though.

And lastly, the monitor will work on DC power. Mine will work for a couple hours powered off a dionic 90 type battery (must supply your own battery cradle and 4 pin power cable though).

Hope this helps with your choice.

-bruce

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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Bob Cole
Thanks, and Scopebox on laptop?
on Dec 20, 2007 at 1:58:17 pm

Thanks. I spent a lot of time looking at that same monitor and was very impressed.

But I am having a hard time visualizing what you're saying here:

[Bruce Alan Greene] "I have had custom made a hard case that holds the monitor and has a bale that attaches to the case and mounts the monitor on a baby sized light stand."

Has anybody tried using a laptop? I've used what is now called Adobe On Location on a PC, but I just learned about something that looks even better, though the HD version is a bit pricey: Scopebox, which runs on the MacBook. Here's the link:

http://www.divergentmedia.com/scopebox/index.html

Bob C




MacPro 2 x 3GHz dualcore; 10 GB 667MHz
Kona LHe
Sony HDV Z1
Sony HDV M25U
HD-Connect MI
Betacam UVW1800
DVCPro AJ-D650


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bruce alan greene
Re: Thanks, and Scopebox on laptop?
on Dec 20, 2007 at 7:33:04 pm

[Bob Cole] "But I am having a hard time visualizing what you're saying here:

[Bruce Alan Greene] "I have had custom made a hard case that holds the monitor and has a bale that attaches to the case and mounts the monitor on a baby sized light stand." "


A picture would be worth a thousands words, but I'll try it in fewer words.

I removed the table stand from my monitor and placed the monitor in a foam cushion which in turn is fitted into an "anvil" style equipment case. The case of course is open so that you can view the monitor and there is a large hole in the back to access the inputs etc. The top of the case has a carrying handle. On the outer sides of the case, there is a bale to mount the whole assembly onto a lighting stand. The bale is similar in concept to the "u" shaped bracket that holds movie lights on light stands.

I also checked out the website for the computer scope and it looks like you'll need a camera that has firewire output to use with it, or you'll need a desktop computer and HD capture card. This set-up should yield accurate scopes, but not really accurate color. It does not yet work with HDV, so it looks like it will only work with mini-dv cameras and panasonic HD cameras with firewire outputs.

Varicam/Steadicam Owner
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.brucealangreene.com


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