Monitoring: On-Board

DP4 4.3" LCD Field Monitor
Mfr. Site

Comments:  This is the PERFECT little monitor to put on your MōVI handles, or on your HDSLRS.   The color is excellent, and the size and weight simply can’t be beat.  Peaking etc certainly help as well.   The real secret?  This monitor has a mini-USB port that can be used to charge your wireless transmitters which is a HUGE deal.  I use two Canon LPE6 batteries and power this monitor and my Paralynx for quite awhile…

Description (from small HD): The DP4 has been designed to function from the ground-up as a standalone 4.3” field monitor.  It accepts HDMI signals up to 1080p and displays them on a 800×480 resolution screen.  It also has an HDMI output, and can act as a loop-through for the HDMI signal.

  AC7 7" LCD Field Monitor (SDI)
Mfr. Site

Comments:  I’ve become a big fan of the SmallHD Monitors – and this is the perfect size, weight and price for most people out there.    I highly recommend you look at the DP7 in terms of features as it takes things to the next level.  But for those looking for a great image, and great features they will find most of what they need in this monitor.

Description (from small HD): Even with OLED as its bigger brother, the LCD in our AC7 series has nothing to be ashamed of. Sporting an 8-bit, IPS, LED-backlit display it is a marked improvement over our DP6 in nearly every respect. Each AC7 ships with native 1280×800 resolution so you don’t have to worry about your built-in on-camera LCD telling you your shot is in focus when it is in fact, not. The SDI version comes with an SDI input and output and loop-through functionality.

  DP7-PRO 7.7" OLED Field Monitor (SDI)
Mfr. Site

Comments:  Easily one of the best monitors on the market period.   The quality of color – stunning.  Close to what you get from very high end monitors.   The LUT support (which allows you to shoot in Canon Log or on an Alexa in C-log as well and still get punchy colors for client to see is fantastic!)  This is the perfect monitor and its only limitation is its relatively high price relative to less feature-rich monitors.   It IS worth EVERY penny and has so much potential in terms of future features/update given the way it has been designed.  You can even record an image to the SD card and overlay it to match a frame at a later time – this is just one of many industry-leading features that makes this monitor a cross between a monitor and reminds me of my iPad mini… 

  

Description (from small HD): OLED or “Organic LED” is a unique display technology that does not require a backlight to produce a viewable image (unlike LCD.) Instead, it uses tiny LEDs to make up its red, blue, and green pixels—all which generate the light on their own. As demonstrated, this means that the “black” areas of the screen are truly black (because the pixels are literally producing no light), rather than the dim glow we’re used to seeing on the “black” area of an LCD display as it tries to stop the backlight from leaking through. The benefit of this is higher contrast, higher color reproduction (gamut), and lower power consumption—overall, a much more attractive and accurate image.

V-LCD56MD B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: Basically – the LCD on the back of your HDDSLR is simply not a professional solution for monitoring your video.   I typically travel to any job with 2-4 Marshall monitors – for use onboard the cameras, for the 1st AC’s use (focus puller) to pull focus from and also so that the client can monitor our progress.These monitors do several key things:1. On the most basic level – they allow you to view the video you are shooting – from any angle that is convenient – either on camera or at a great distance (when the camera is on a JIB or mounted remotely for example.)    As you well know the HDDSLR’s LCD is not well positioned for video shooting – it cannot swivel and has limited resolution.  The monitors come in both HDMI in and HDSDI in configurations – and some offer the option to do both with user swappable inputs.  If you’re going to go straight from the Canon HDDSLRs into the monitor – you’ll want to use the HDMI input.  But if you’re going to get into multiple monitor setups and with other professional video wireless transmitters and connections – you’ll default to the HDSDI models with the use of a BlackMagic (see bottom of this page for details) HDMI to HDSDI converter. Some monitors also display scopes – which is the video equivalent of a histogram – as all still photographers know: this feature is INCREDIBLY important and worth its weight in gold.  There is one general rule with ANY monitor in the world (under $10K-$20k) and that is to NEVER trust your eyes.  Always use the the scopes/waveforms/histograms to judge exposure, color, highlight and shadows.  No matter how expensive your reference monitor is – you can and may be fooled by the ambient light level and color you are in – so knowing how to read these mathematical displays is an invaluable skill.

Description (from Marshall Electronics): The Marshall Electronics V-LCD56MD 5.6" HDMI On-Camera Monitor is a 1280 x 800 high-resolution camera-top panel, equipped with IPS technology and an adjustable LED backlight, featuring 300 nit brightness, a 500:1 contrast, an icon-driven operating system, and advanced versions of many familiar features, (and a not-so-familiar feature: DSLR Ratio Adjustment). Connections are on the rear panel and consist of an HDMI input and an HDMI output (and a micro USB port), with the input giving you 8 channels of de-embedded stereo audio. You can monitor the audio on-screen on a dual-bar Waveform display and with headphones via a stereo headphone output. The front panel has 14 buttons four of which are user configurable with 32 possible uses. For mounting, a 1/4"-20 screw-hole is available on every side of the monitor.

V-LCD70XHB-HDIPT (7") B&H Mfr. Site

Comment: This monitor is the first Marshall that allows you to loop through to an additional HDMI monitor (or as many as you want).  It is also a "High Bright" monitor which makes a significant difference when used outdoors.  This is extremely helpful in that it allows multiple people (Director, DP, AC’s, etc.) to monitor or work off of a live image at the same time.  This eliminates the need for a convertor box, and makes setting up a video village much easier.  It also has been updated to correctly interpret the camera’s output signal during record mode, and adjusts the image to fill the monitor screen.  The Marshalls also have quite a few bells and whistles – all of which can be accessed through the easy to navigate menus – or with the touch of a button – the Marshalls have 4 programmable function buttons:a. The monitor can show false colors – so you can judge skin exposure, blown-out highlights and crushed blacks – "by the numbers" if you will – or in this case "by the colors."  Therefore on a bright sunny day – you don’t need to trust your eyes and are less likely to be fooled. b. you can flip the monitor for when you mount it upside down – with the touch of a button. c. you can freeze a frame into memory – a snapshot if you will – to show someone at a later time or to use as a reference. d. Peak Filter – this helps you critically focus. e. A variety of markers – from a center marker, to different aspect ratios and TV-safe. f. you can see each of the RGB fields one at a time and B&W g. Pixel-to-pixel magnification – ergo you can see the full 720p signal coming out of the camera. h. you can use a variety of batteries – from small sony batteries all the way up to Anton Bauer batteries.

Description (from Marshall Electronics): The V-LCD70XHB-HDIPT is a high brightness monitor with integrated HDMI loop-through. This highly-desired feature allows the camera operator to pass-through the HDMI video input from the V-LCD70XHB-HDIPT to another monitor for a client, director or crew/talent member to view on-location. This handy "all-in-one" solution bypasses the need for HDMI splitters, additional power sources and other requirements necessary to split the signal.

V-LCD70XHB-3GSDI (7") B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: This monitor is the same monitor as above – but for HDSDI connections (NO HDMI.)  It is also a "High Bright" monitor which makes a significant difference when used outdoors.  This is extremely helpful in that it allows multiple people (Director, DP, AC’s, etc.) to monitor or work off of a live image at the same time.  This eliminates the need for a convertor box, and makes setting up a video village much easier.  It also has been updated to correctly interpret the camera’s output signal during record mode, and adjusts the image to fill the monitor screen.  The Marshalls also have quite a few bells and whistles – all of which can be accessed through the easy to navigate menus – or with the touch of a button – the Marshalls have 4 programmable function buttons:a. The monitor can show false colors – so you can judge skin exposure, blown-out highlights and crushed blacks – "by the numbers" if you will – or in this case "by the colors."  Therefore on a bright sunny day – you don’t need to trust your eyes and are less likely to be fooled. b. you can flip the monitor for when you mount it upside down – with the touch of a button. c. you can freeze a frame into memory – a snapshot if you will – to show someone at a later time or to use as a reference. d. Peak Filter – this helps you critically focus. e. A variety of markers – from a center marker, to different aspect ratios and TV-safe. f. you can see each of the RGB fields one at a time and B&W g. Pixel-to-pixel magnification – ergo you can see the full 720p signal coming out of the camera. h. you can use a variety of batteries – from small sony batteries all the way up to Anton Bauer batteries.

Description (from Marshall Electronics): The V-LCD70XHB-3GSDI is a portable monitor that is a perfect solution for video professionals shooting outdoors or in bright lighting conditions. Don’t be fooled by higher screen resolution or larger-sized monitors. Our picture performance, feature set, customer service, and experience is why the industry’s leading videographers and camera operators prefer Marshall over the competition. Our product is designed, engineered, and assembled in the USA.

Samurai Blade 5" B&H Mfr. Site

Comments:  This is a SECRET weapon.  Why?  Basically all DSLRs heavily compress your video.  The C-Series and other cameras that record internally do as well. That video is hard to process due to the compression when you use most video editing software.   This unit takes a clean signal from any of these cameras and DOESN’T compress it – instead it goes straight to ProRes 422 or AVID DNxHD.  This is very similar to the Atomos Ninja but with quite a few upgraded features such as a much larger monitor, scopes and waveform, as well as HDSDI inputs.

Description: The Atomos Samurai Blade 5" SDI Monitor & Recorder features a 1280 x 720 resolution monitoring display, substantially better than that of the original Samurai’s. Like the original, Blade can record up to 1080/30p/60i resolution directly from your camera’s sensor to an HDD or SSD in Apple’s ProRes or Avid’s DNxHD edit-ready codecs. Color precision records at a high 10-bit, even from an 8-bit sensor, and color sampling at 4:2:2. Recording an 8-bit signal in 10-bit won’t increase the quality of the signal but will let you work with the signal in post-production as if it’s 10-bit, meaning you can add effects and not see jagged lines and other artifacts. Being able to record direct from the sensor lets you bypass your camera’s compression and instead have the first compression be in an edit-ready codec. Generally, the less compressions, the less image degradation. Blade has an SDI input for ingesting from a camera and an SDI loop-output for simultaneously looping out the camera signal to a large SDI monitor up to 300 ft away. You can also ingest by HDMI through an optional Atomos SDI to HDMI converter. Blade supports all cameras for monitoring, even 4K and 5K cameras like RED’s Epic and ARRI’s Alexa, and can successfully record 1080/30p/60i from most cameras.

Mini Convertor HDMI to SDI B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: This has become an essential piece of kit – HDMI simply isn’t the way to go when you get into more complex systems – HDSDI is – therefore this box solves that problem and can be powered via AC power or with an Anton Bauer batter on a battery plate w/ P-Tap adapter – or by the Viewfactor cage as well with a Lemo cable.  

See this unit in use in the video below at the 2:27 Mark:

Description (from BlackMagic Design): Mini Converter HDMI to SDI is ideal for converting from HDMI devices to SDI video with the choice to embed SDI audio from HDMI, AES/EBU or balanced analog audio inputs. Now you can add SDI outputs to cameras with HDMI connections, or if your computer supports HDMI compatibility via DVI to HDMI adapters, then you can add SDI outputs to computers. Also features a built in hardware down converter to connect HDMI video to SD-SDI equipment.