TV-BAY
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Video monitoring essentials by Den Lennie A s a DP the video monitor you work with is one of the most important tools on set. I began my career in 1994 shooting television news for Reuters on Betacam SP and it was very rare that I’d get to use a monitor on location. As my career evolved I started shooting more considered pieces and used Sony 9” tube monitors all flight cased up. I shot the ITV travel show “Wish You Were Here…?” for 2 years and we used to lug that 9” around the world with us just so we could playback the rushes in the evening. HD video monitors are such an important tool in film making. For me having a solid and reliable method of accurately seeing focus and exposure is what can make the difference in your confidence on a shoot. Working with large sensor cameras In almost all cases the camera manufacturers built in screens are reasonably ok for framing but none of them are really good enough for critical focus. That’s why I rarely shoot without an external HD monitor when working with DSLR’s and large sensor cameras. I first came across Marshall monitors at NAB in 2004 when they introduced a super bright monitor that could be used in bright daylight. For a while there was a real push towards 5.6” and 7” monitors for on board monitoring when users realised they needed more clarity and resolution when shooting with large sensors. But I’ve recently been working with a 9” on camera monitor from Marshall and it’s been quite an eye opener. The real estate you can achieve with the V-LCD90MD 9” is significant with a screen resolution of 1280x768 the clarity of the image is stunning. It’s the only monitor I’ve used that shows me exactly what I’m getting and when I get the footage back into the edit suite it looks exactly as I imagined it would! What’s more the 9” LCD High Brightness monitor of today is lightweight and slender compared to the old tube monitors we used to cart around. Flexibility I find myself increasing shooting across multiple formats as these days I don’t think you can realistically only shoot on one format or even single out one manufacturer. This also means having to switch between HD-SDI and HDMI as an output connection depending on what camera system you are shooting on with monitors having one or the other input. The new Marshall V-LCD90MD has a clever multiple I/O option allowing you to add whatever module best suits your shooting set up. For example if your camera has only got HDMI out you can take that HDMI feed into the Marshall and then split that signal out to dual HD-SDI for looping into other on set monitors. So as the DP you can be monitoring and making critical lighting and exposure decisions while the clients and other crew can be working off a separate external monitor fed by HD-SDI. Alternatively if you need an HD-SDI input to your monitor you can simply swap out the module on the rear of the monitor and use the SDI I/O unit. Simple and effective. Waveform monitor There are a number of tools that I have come to depend on when assessing a monitor’s performance on set. After resolution then my exposure measurement is top of the As camera formats have evolved and become smaller the need for reliable video monitoring has become more crucial and none more so than in the DSLR video world. Love or hate DSLR’s they have transformed how content is acquired and triggered major camera manufacturers to develop large sensor camcorders so we are now flooded with options. Big sensors are great, but they do throw up some interesting challenges. Focus and exposure have to be spot on if you want your footage to really sing. 50 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BAY071NOV12.indd 50 06/11/2012 18:33