Using my laptop for external monitor at

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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old July 11th, 2003, 11:47 PM   #1
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Using my laptop for external monitor

Hey guys,
I need to know if there is a way to use my laptop (powerbook 1ghz FCP) to monitor my camera while shooting (real time). If not, what is a cheap way to monitor externally while shooting? Thanks,
Josh M.
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Old July 12th, 2003, 01:01 AM   #2
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Josh . . interesting.

Couple opf questions . .

1 - Why are you trying to achieve this?

2 - WHat have you tried already?

. . . I know I did this when I first researched my beloved XM2. I took my Dell Laptop to the cammie shoppe. I make a firewire link to one of my NLE capture functions. It works. I can Pause and I can Record - no problem. BUT, if I "Lock" the cammie the firewire link - of course - is closed down and the Genreic CamCorder #3 - that's what MS sees and names my XM2 as - vanishes off the screen.

I also did a test for you & I just now, and used this "MS Genreic CamCorder #3 " title in the MS software. Same thing happens.

Noiw, my follow up questions are these:

3 - Are you really sure you wish to carry around a laptop to get just an image - and I might say - even when it is large enough to see is of questionable quality?

4 - Have you considered a "larger" lcd than the XM2? Yup Ex££sive!

5 - This comes back to No.1 above - why?

To really answer your question - Yes, we can do this on a laptop. Is there an inexpensive way of doing this - relativeness nothwithstanding=how deep ARE your pockets, I'd like to know as well. I've often thought of mucking about with one of those timy b/w or colour TVs - yeah? I have the MA300 adaptor. I was thinking I could use the BNC connector for the VIDEO IN/OUT as an option.

Y'know what? Unless you are wishing others to see the Recording going on - is it just that you wish to have a bigger picture? Some people have eyesight problems - is this the case?

. . . hmmmm interesting post Josh.

Got me thinking of other ways now - thanks for the posting . . .

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Old July 12th, 2003, 01:18 AM   #3
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You should be able to run the firewire into the computer and use the capture preview. I don't know if that is possible on FCP, because I use Vegas on my PC laptop. I can do a full frame (720x480) preview of what is coming into the firewire port.
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Old July 12th, 2003, 01:33 AM   #4
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As Joe underlined what I said - it is possible. I too use Vegas 4.0c. Of course the "refresh" rate of your laptop will be another issue you need to consider - you may end up with more of a hindering "solution", rather than adding a valuable alternative to the exsisting LCD and eyepiece. But, and this is a big but, what really are you trying to achieve?

I've just done a search here, regarding external monitors, what is evident is that the BNC connector wire - a small cord that came with my XM2 kit - will provide a video stream to an external monitor VIA the MA300. And what was also noted was why this couldn't have been "engineered-in" through the hotshoe too. Good point. Anyway, if I was going down this route I'd probably plumb for a monitor that:

1 - Would be bigger than the exsisting LCD

2 - Would have the option to Black and WHite. WHy B&W? Well, the colour side of the LCD isn't, IMHO, that great. Having the extra option of being able to see "high" contrast in B&W would assist my focussing - yeah?

Has this been of any help?

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Old July 12th, 2003, 05:25 PM   #5
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Here's the best cheapest solution-

get a cheap portable DVD player that has an EXTERNAL VIDEO INPUT.

Some do, some don't. I found a MINTEK at Best Buy for about $325, 7" WIDESCREEN display.

This allows you to actually see your widescreen 16:9 video in the correct aspect ratio unlike your LCD.

You can get an extra battery from Mintek as well for another $100.

It is also necessary if you have your camera on a boom or crane and its 10 feet from your nose.

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Old July 14th, 2003, 12:29 AM   #6
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What if you are shooting in 4:3? Will it be distorted?

Scott Silverman
Shining Star Digital Video Productions
Bay Area, CA
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Old July 14th, 2003, 06:23 AM   #7
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Scott: it shouldn't be, because some DVD's are 4:3 as well

If you connect your firewire camera and startup your favorite
capture application you should see the signal the camera is
"recording/seeing". So yes, it should work.

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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Old July 14th, 2003, 07:53 AM   #8
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16:9 video *should* have a signal embedded in it which tells a monitor/tv that it's anamorphic. However in practice this may not always be the case. I'd want to test any specific setup before assuming anything.

Neil, that's a good idea, I didn't know any of the DVD players accepted video input. What Mintek model do you have? I had a look on their website, and according to their specs, none of their players accept video input (however the specs are not very detailed... doesn't list the LCD resolution either). Does yours take s-video input or only RCA?

B&H lists a 7" 16:9 TV/monitor for about $250 which might give you about the same thing if you only want a monitor. I've never seen one of these, has anyone else?

The resolution of the LCD is 960x234 (224,000 pixels). As a point of reference, that's pretty similar to the resolution of many camcorder LCD screens (the GL-2 and PD-150 have 200,000, the TRV-950 and PDX-10 have 246,000). Since the DV frame is 480 lines high, obviously you're only seeing every other scan line (or an average of the two maybe).
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Old July 14th, 2003, 08:29 AM   #9
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But... when monitoring using a laptop and FCP you get the added benefit of the waveform monitor. Something I've found to be very useful in identifying hot spots and keeping the overall image exposed at about 70.

However, I have not found this setup to be useful for focus purposes, but it does work to answer your question.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 05:36 AM   #10
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which portables have audio/video in/out

The Toshiba portable DVD player, with 7" wide screen has audio/video IN and out and is a great unit. I would recommend staying away from the mintek portables...good luck with yours. I found out when I returned mine 11 months later (it died) that they (Best Buy) got tons of returns of Mintek portables that died after 6 to 10 months. Good thing I had the extended warranty on it (which I don't usually buy). The Toshiba is a much better unit, and as it happens, also has a battery that lasts an hour longer than the Mintek.
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