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Video Monitors and Media Players for field or studio use (all display technologies).


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Old October 23rd, 2003, 05:29 PM   #1
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LCD monitor

Hi

I am looking for a LCD monitor to use with me on location.
I have been looking on the net and I see alot of TFT and STN monitors.
What do these two things mean? I take it that the TFT is better

thanks
Scott
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 07:23 PM   #2
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I bought one of those cheap LCD monitors from Markertek a couple of years ago--about $300 bucks. It was really rotten. Works OK in a dark room, but even under normal room daylight was rotten. So spend some money and get a good one if you must have LCD. Or if you just want a little something for reference, like if your camera is up on a jib and you can't see the viewfinder and don't want to take a big monitor, go to Radio Shack and spend 75 bucks or so for one of their little AA battery powered TVs. Much better than the cheap "pro" LCD that I got.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 08:52 PM   #3
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Hi Bill

What LCD monitor did you buy? Curious.
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Old October 24th, 2003, 09:12 AM   #4
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I can't remember the name of it, but it's always prominently advertised in their catalog. It's in a little bag with battery and charger. About a 5" screen. I bought it for two purposes--one, when traveling light to be able to see playback other than through the camera viewfinder, and two, to use when the camera was up high on the jib, or in doing jib and dolly shots when it was difficult or impossible to see through the viewfinder. It wasn't worth a damn for either of those things. So I went to Radio Shack and spent about 75 bucks on a little LCD TV with about a 3" screen. I picked it as the brightest one they had. Works great for my purposes, and you can see the screen even outside. Obviously it's not a real monitor and you can't use it for judging color or exposure, but I couldn't do that with the "pro" one either. So, my recommendation is be prepared to spend a lot of money to get a decent LCD monitor or buy a cheapo TV from Radio Shack.
By the way, if anybody wants to buy the one I don't like, I'll sell it cheap--but not to anybody I know personally, heheh.
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Old October 24th, 2003, 09:10 PM   #5
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I use the Nebtek-modified 7" Panasonic TC-7WMS1 monitor http://www.panasonic.com/PBDS/subcat..._tc-7wms1.html which is branded as a NEBTEK NEB70XL http://www.nebtek.com/lcdmon.html

Since I use it all the time, it is safely housed in a KATA LCM-1 http://www.kata-bags.com/Item.asp?pi...d=1&ProdLine=1

The back of the LCM-1 is made of shock resistant neoprene, which I do like. When the NEB70XL is in this case, it works perfectly and there's still enough room in the back to store some batteries, ball-head swivel mount and cables. This case rocks anbd has served me well all around the US in many different applications and it still looks geat, weather-proof too.

Added plus is that it accurately resolves 16:9 (this monitor is 4:3 or 16:9 capable) and it has a nice loud audio speaker.

This monitor is manufactured by Panasonic and it is the best looking LCD screen under $1000. I still rely on my SONY PVM-8045Q portable CRT field monitor for anything critical. But I always have the NEB70XL close by and ready to go or I will utilize it as a personal feed for the Director.

- don
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Old October 24th, 2003, 10:43 PM   #6
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STN stands for "supertwist nematic" display. Generally, STN monitors do not have a very wide viewing angle. That is, you have to view them nearly head-on in order to see the displayed image clearly. The further off-axis you view the image, the dimmer and softer the image is.

TFT stands for "thin-film transistor". TFT panels are now the most common monitors for notebook and flat-panel PC displays (and the 21-inch and below flat-panel TVs that are now becoming popular..)

TFT displays have a much wider viewing angle as well as having a overall sharper and brighter image. (but not in sunlight still...)

A cool new technology that is out is called "transflective" (or transreflective) TFTs. These new displays can be transmissive (lit from the back) and reflective (front lit) simultaneously, making them beautifully viewable outdoors in full sunlight.

I have yet to see any LCD video monitors that use transflective displays, but it will be very cool when they do.

Hope that helps,

-Phil
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Old October 24th, 2003, 10:55 PM   #7
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The Nebtek looks pretty cool but that just seems like a lot of money considering the resolution. I got a Sony SDMV72W 16:9 monitor several months ago and really like it. It's a 17" 16:9 widescreen HDTV (1280x768) monitor with s-video, component and VGA inputs. Very bright, 500:1 contrast ratio. Unfortunately you need an AC adaptor power brick for it. The adaptor says it puts out 16.5 V 3.03 A, have been meaning to look for alternate power sources. I wonder if one of those flat batteries designed to sit under a laptop might work? I paid around $750 but have seen the black version advertised for $550 at J&R. Also makes a nice computer monitor.

Now you could also find a used iBook somewhere for well under $1000 and put BTV Pro on it. That would give you a 12" LCD monitor you can connect via firewire to your camera. It shows the full frame and lets you set the aspect ratio to anything you want: 4:3, 16:9, 2.35:1, etc.
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Old October 25th, 2003, 08:31 AM   #8
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>>>>The Nebtek looks pretty cool but that just seems like a lot of money considering the resolution.

- The Nebtek-modified Panasonic TC-7WMS1 (NEB70XL) has significantly more resolution than the smaller 5" Nebteks, which are not made by Panasonic. Once you actually see an image resolved on the NEB70XL in person, you will understand this. $700 is not expensive at all for a battery-powered location field *NTSC* monitor such as the NEB70XL. Especially if you are shooting multiple setups and moving about.

>>>>I got a Sony SDMV72W 16:9 monitor several months ago and really like it. It's a 17" 16:9 widescreen HDTV (1280x768) monitor with s-video, component and VGA inputs. Very bright, 500:1 contrast ratio. Unfortunately you need an AC adaptor power brick for it. The adaptor says it puts out 16.5 V 3.03 A, have been meaning to look for alternate power sources.

- Nice! I'm sure that will work well in a static theatre environment, but that would probably pose problems in the field. It will inevitably slow down a field production and it is probably not something that you would want to hand to the director to hold in his/ her hands as a personal quality check monitor as they move around on the set.

>>>>Now you could also find a used iBook somewhere for well under $1000 and put BTV Pro on it. That would give you a 12" LCD monitor you can connect via firewire to your camera.

- But that still is not an *NTSC* monitor. Handy yes, for certain applications if you are looking to be resourceful, but again it would be useable mostly for framing. You really want to monitor your footage in an NTSC color space anyways. I agree that not everyone can afford to do that, so the iBook solution may prove usefull for certain stuff.

>>>>It shows the full frame and lets you set the aspect ratio to anything you want: 4:3, 16:9, 2.35:1, etc.

- The Panasonic TC-7WMS1 has 16:9 mode as well. It looks excellent and it also has an electronically interpolated 16:9 Justification Mode for when you want to fill the entire screen side-to-side with standard 4:3 footage (can be neat sometimes but looks a little stretched). Having 2.35:1 capability is nice, but who is actually shooting in 2.35:1??? That is a widescreen aspect ratio for film production. If you are shooting a 2.35:1 aspect ratio film, you know you would have a budget to allow for the proper monitor such as a Transvideo CineMonitor. The iBook is not nearly as bright as the NEB70XL.

If you are need a quality monitor to use on location, then you should stick to using monitors designed for that from the get go. I would not recommend that a camera person consider using a homemade solution in the field, especially on a professional production. Producers and directors do not like to see funky equipment on the set, they expect to see the defacto standard tools that have been proven to work flawlessly. All that has to happen is for that funky piece of equipment to fail just once and bust a shot - that is the easiest way to insure that you will not be asked to return to the set.

That being said, my NEB70XL was cheap! considering the fact that it has paid for itself over and over again. Anytime I pull out my NEB70XL in its' KATA case and hand it to a producer or director, their expression is always "hey cool, thanks!". That in itself is worth its weight in gold. A solid investment to add value to your services.

Sure, I would love to see more resolution in a small handheld LCD field monitor, but those have simply been cost prohibitive for most people as of yet. Sure, I too wish that video gear was more affordable. My next monitor is probably going to be the Transvideo CineMonitor III http://www.transvideointl.com/pages/...monitorIII.htm, which I will probably use the way I am using my NEB70XL now. I would much rather own an Astro DM-3000 at this point, but most shooters rent that puppy when they need it.

- don
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Old October 25th, 2003, 10:12 AM   #9
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Don,

I can't really argue with any of your points, you make a good case for the Nebtek in your situation. I was really just trying to point out a few options which people might not have thought of. In spite of all this, I generally just make do with the BW viewfinder and flip out LCD screen on my PDX-10 because I don't want to carry around extra stuff and like to setup quickly. It's a compromise at best, but with some experience you get an idea of what to expect based on the image on the little LCD screen. I primarily use a PDX-10, and it really has a very good LCD screen, with 246,400 pixels (1120x220).

I realize this is no substitute for a real NTSC monitor, but I seem to be getting by so far. Like so many other things, one has to compromise and find the best mix of equipment based on our needs and resources. I'm sure I would be happy with the Panasonic/Nebtek solution if I wanted to spend that kind of money.

But beyond that, I have the luxury of not needing to impress anyone with my equipment. I just do this stuff for myself, and am the first to admit that I still have a lot to learn! :-)
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Old October 25th, 2003, 02:23 PM   #10
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Don,
I've asked this question in here before and nobody knew. In the specifications for the TC-7WMS1 it gives the pixel resolution as 234 vertical x 480 horizontal x 3. What does that mean? I'm assuming the times three is for RGB, so does that mean it really has a resolution of 336,960? The reason I ask is because I don't want to buy an LCD until I'm certain that I can manually focus with it.
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