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Old April 20th, 2002, 08:44 PM   #1
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What type of Monitor to buy?

As an interactive multimedia developer, I found that more and more of my projects included the use of full motion video. Instead of continuing to rent equipment, I have just purchased an XL1S which I love. Also got a Matrox 2500 card with Premier 6.1 for editing, some lighting gear, and an AT830 lavalier microphone for interviews.

I very soon realized that I need a field monitor for shoots, as the onboard viewfinder is just not good enough for color balance, focus, framing shots etc. From an economical point of view I would also like to use that monitor while editing, rather than buy another one.

From what I can see it looks like the SONY 8" monitor range (8040, 8045 Q etc) would be a good choice. However, I really don't know.

I would appreciate advice on what monitors I should consider for both field work and for editing. Should I go for a monitor with maximum lines of resolution? The 8045Q has 450 lines, wheras the 8042 has only 250 - is that really significant in both situations?

Is there a better alternative to the SONY range?

Someone suggested I should just buy a nice Sony TV to use with my edit suite, and buy a used 8020 for field work.

Any advice and suggestions would be appreciated.

Many thanks,

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Old April 20th, 2002, 09:36 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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Whatever you do, don't go to a TV store and buy a television. All standard definition consumer televisions--even the big ones--resolve only about 200 lines. Since you want an XL1's picture to fully resolve on your production monitor (for focus checking, lighting, and composition), you're going to need a good field monitor that resolves 500 lines. You could go with a TFT LCD (very lightweight), but if you're serious about your production work, nothing compares to a CRT.

It sounds like you want the perfect balance between affordability, portability, ease of use, and resolution. I recommend you get on eBay and do some searching for a surplus (or good condition used) SONY SSM-14N1U. This series of 13" color CRT monitors was made by SONY for medical/dental use, but they're one of the best kept secrets of high-level prosumer video production. You won't pay more than $300 for the monitor, it's fairly rugged and has side handles for transport, and it has 500 lines of resolution. It's also got a built-in speaker, so you can hear a single channel of audio out of it if need be. They auto-detect whether the incoming signal is NTSC, PAL, or SECAM. They have built-in menus that allow you to adjust loudspeaker volume, contrast, brightness, chroma, phase, and you can store a single user-defined settings or restore to factory settings whenever you choose. On the back, they have both S-Video and BNC (composite) inputs and outputs.

Also buy a good long Monster brand S-Video cable to go along with it, so you can put the best quality video into it from your XL1.

I have two of these monitors--one as my studio monitor and one for location work. They fit the budget and they're highly satisfactory.

If you go to the $1000+ level, you can buy a monitor with virtually identical features, but with a few more items of interest to video production folks--more image-tinkering capability or component ins/outs. But it's a big jump in price for features that the prosumer will never use.
All the best,
Robert K S

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Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 20th, 2002, 10:04 PM   #3
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If your only going to have only one monitor it's a tough call. A 13'' monitor is the ideal size for studio work, editing etc. For field use where size, weight and power consumption are all a factor the 8'' is a better choice. So, how to decide? Will you do more shooting or editing? How remote are your locations? Is AC always available? If I had to pick just one I would probably get the higher res 8'' and get it professionaly calibrated so that I was sure my judgements were accurate. Sony makes the best 8'' field monitors in my opinion.

Jeff Donald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 22nd, 2002, 04:39 PM   #4
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monitor dilemma's

I'm in the same boat- I really want the 8045q as the cheaper units make critical focus tougher to judge (I've rented the JVC910 and Sony 8041 and didn't feel entirely happy with either for field picture evaluation) and My JVC TMS1400 weighs 40 lbs-so it aint't going anywhere. I want to retire the JVC as it won't do 16x9. Been using YC to the NSTC monitor and then on to a JVC 27"tv. I've been considering running YC signal to a Sony 8045q and the tv for bigger images. It is nice to see footage near the size it'll be viewed.
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