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COMMENT On-camera monitors for today… And tomorrow Answers provided by Paul Isaacs, Sound Devices 1) Why is monitoring so important for productions? 3) What are the basic requirements of a suitable on-camera monitor? Image quality is a central concern for users of any video product, so monitoring should be one of the foremost considerations for cinematographers and videographers. Along similar lines, the ability of consumer televisions and a range of personal devices to display increasingly better imagery has led to higher expectations of quality. Image resolution is fundamental to any video monitor, and therefore one of the most important considerations. The size of the display and its pixel density are also critical. Additional key elements to consider are the tools essential to monitoring video. Basic functions should include tools that help with focus, exposure, color balance and framing. Also, any good monitor should feature false colors, zebras, peaking, zooming, frame guides, Look Up Tables (known as LUTs) and various scopes—histogram, waveform and vector scope. A new customer base of content creators, along with consumers of that content, have discovered just how important quality is when it comes to video products. Companies that make professional products are now seeing the emergence of a market partly driven by the need for affordable solutions for users relatively new to creating quality video, as well as for the expanding online broadcast and streaming market. 2) How have monitoring needs changed to keep pace with the evolution of production cameras? The video production market has moved toward cameras that are more accessible and powerful, with much smaller footprints. The industry as a whole has matured from a linear world of fi lm- and tape-based capture to fi le-based, non-linear digital capture. With this evolution, the need for more compact devices, with quicker, more effi cient and cost-effective monitoring capabilities that can capture higher resolutions, such as 4K, has become paramount. Just as cameras have become lighter and more portable, without sacrifi cing features, so too must monitors, especially those mounted on cameras and used in fi eld productions. The cost of monitoring products should also refl ect the dramatically lower prices of acquisition devices, such as DSLRs and the latest generations of lower-priced professional cameras. 40 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 102 JUNE 2015 For on-camera applications, it is also important to evaluate weight, robustness, battery consumption, angle of view and sunlight readability. Any great monitor must also feature a responsive and simple- to-use interface to meet the demands of fast-paced productions. With lighting variations and actors constantly moving between marks, a focus puller or camera operator must be able to react quickly to capture the shot effectively. Finally, modern monitors must have a price point that refl ects today’s lower-priced cameras. 4) Why is having recording abilities within the monitor so important, and how does 4K play into this? For decades, those working in the video production industry understood the benefi t of having quick access to a day’s work. Not that long ago, they also discovered the benefi ts of using SDI video feeds to monitor work visually, often with immediacy. Among other benefi ts, this allows them to catch mistakes, such as, for example, when a boom mic falls too low into a shot. Just as the introduction of HD in the fi lm business was an opportunity for the video-assist crew, the current increase in picture quality associated with 4K demands more from operators, which presents its own set of challenges.