Location test equipment



What to look for….
Size
Rugged
Fast switch on time
Light weight
Multiple applications from one unit
Daylight readable display
Long Battery life
Sound monitoring as well as video
Mountings (when you need both hands!)
A number of years ago Hamlet gave itself the impossible task of developing the world’s first 3G, HD and SD capable, video and audio measurement and monitoring instrument that would provide, particularly location users, a wealth of functionality and be held and operated in one hand.
The new instrument would need to provide waveforms, vectors, audio bar graphs, measurement cursors, a range of error detection, decoding of both all embedded channels and AES/EBU audio with a selection of ballistics, audio standard display graticules and to include an external reference and four year warranty - these were prerequisites. This was thought to be an impossible task - but fortunately the talented engineers in our in-house design team were up to the challenge.

Since then we have answered the requests of our users by providing an even smaller more compact version – the MicroFlex with its range of option modules to suit the pocket (£) of users needs. With its speed of operation from switch, ease of operation and uncluttered, clear precise real CRT like trace displays, it’s ideal for operational and engineering environments alike, providing functionality not found on other devices in the field.
The enclosure is small, solid and rugged, milled out of a solid piece of aluminum alloy, this sturdy case houses all the electronics, LCD, speaker, I/O ports and control panel. The unique design determined on the basis of user feedback – comfortable to hold in the hand, solid and capable of withstanding substantial shock. With the addition of mounting holes it can be conveniently put on top of cameras – it’s the camera mans friend and the broadcast engineers companion.

For operations outside the studio anything that can reduce weight is a winner, being able to survive the rigors of 100 degrees in the desert another plus.
Where crane shots are made the MicroFlex comes into its own enabling the exposure setting to be set spot on. It also works at 500 feet below sea level. Users are very impressed that it survives the knocks and abuse of location shooting and airline travel and is noted for being one of the few pieces of HD kit that can be worked straight out of the box! The low weight of the MicroFlex reduces shipping costs and it’s cheaper than any other battery powered professional waveform vectorscope units on the market today.
The waveform vector display is bright and easily viewable in sunlight. An alarm function uses an audible warning that is programmable among other things for illegal luminance values. The waveform display can be selected easily for horizontal and vertical time-base ranges. With eight sets of display settings memorised it’s easy to recall those regularly needed modes or just use the ergonomic front panel buttons.
Internal NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) power the unit for around four hours; long enough for a days shoot if you are using it for checking exposure and occasional monitoring. Hamlet provided a mains adapter to power the unit or it may be driven from a camera battery, but with careful management the internal batteries will last all day.
A useful feature is HFT™ 'Hands Free Timing™' that automatically switches between internal and external syncs to easily identify timing errors. Some user comments follow:
“Grovelling round the back of OB trucks can often be a cold and daunting task but with the addition of the MicroFlex in my pocket, my task is made easier knowing with absolute accuracy I can confirm quality up to 3G - an imperative. The fast switch on time, ease of operation and clear displays are a plus”.
“Although the MicroFlex might be more versatile mounted on top of the camera, for the series of shoots I recently did, a documentary, pop promo and aerial heli shoot and all without focus pullers, I wouldn't have bolted it to the camera anyway”.
“For field operations the features that include an audio monitor and picture monitor, audio monitor displays channels in bar graph form and a mini jack enables stereo monitoring. it is indeed versatile in that it can enable directors to monitor sound as well as the picture in an extremely compact enclosure”.
“As one would expect from Hamlet, the instrument does what it says on the box. It is a waveform and vectorscope with handy features and many modular plug in options - I was using the multi standard/frame rate HD/SD option without the test signal generator or EYE function”.
"During an LA helicopter shoot using an HD gyro camera the MicroFlex display was easy to see in the cockpit and simply plugged into the existing 'rat's nest' of cables and plugs and being self powered did not risk overloading the aircraft power supply. Although I regularly use a small monitor with in picture waveform built in during air shoots, for quality work the in-picture waveforms leaves a lot to be desired, not least they obscure a portion of the image. But the resolution of the flexiscope is far superior, so a separate waveform is the smart solution".
“At London HD pop video we need quite a few 'freestyle' steadicam shots. It was a breeze to replay and check the steadicam shots from the camera, monitoring framing and focus on a CRT and have full confidence in exposure by referring to the MicroFlex. If a steadicam operator wants to remove the viewfinder to help with weight and balance then the MicroFlex can be a time saver as it is handy enough to quickly plug into a camera for a quick check”.
To round this handy instrument off, a carry case with strap and pouches for option modules is available to keep everything safe and sound.

Tags: iss037 | hamlet | test and measurment | flexiscope | 3g | hd | sd | monitoring | handheld | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

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