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


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Old December 2nd, 2003, 12:50 PM   #1
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LCD monitors

This discussion on using CRT monitors on DV productions sounds like a contradiction to me. CRTs are heavy, drain a lot of battery and are difficult to place during shooting.

Even if Sony CRT monitors have been the only ones I have used until now on my Beta jobs, I think it's time to move onto something more practical.

What about LCD types? The ones I could see, like a 7" model from Panasonic and some Boland types, look like interesting candidates for quality LCD monitoring.

Has anyone monitored a video project with a proper LCD brand?

Boland types are not easy to find and I don't know if anyone heard of them. They are not cheap either, as their highest quality types are priced close to Sony's PVM-8045Q.

The question is how reliable LCD can be, both in viewing quality and reliability. Perhaps trying an LCD side by side with a CRT may bring some light there on image precision.

In my opinion this is an area that deserves looking into. There's very little information anywhere about it.


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Old December 2nd, 2003, 02:38 PM   #2
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[Carlos: I calved and moved your post to create a new thread here, since it is actually a completely new topic and not related to "Photo Management".]

Yes, I routinely use a Panasonic 7" LCD monitor rather than my Sony 8045Q. Honestly, I can't say that they're competely equivalent. The LCD does not have quite the same properties as the Sony. But it's certainly close enough to make the Panasonic a very practical, and far more convenient, alternative. Mine has been Nebtek'ed to enable it to use Canon BP series batteries...a very convenient power option.
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Old December 2nd, 2003, 04:31 PM   #3
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Carlos,

I'll second Ken's comments. I took his recommendation a few months back and purchased the Pany. Took a bit of soul searching to drop that kind of cash on a LCD but it has shown to be well worth it. In my case, I fabricated a mount that fits on a Anton Bauer Ultra Light II mount. It provides the 12vdc so I only have on cable to connect to the cam. I especially appreciate that it will display my cams native 16x9 image. My thoughts are that future proofing gear investments means buying gear that is 16x9 compatible.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 11:28 AM   #4
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I am quite glad Ken and Rob are happy with their Pana LCD monitor.

Actually I saw one at a recent Argentina equipment show, and it worked stunningly well.

How much did you pay for it, Rob? It's $520 from B&H.

Now it maye a question of seeing how to better set them up.

A protective hood of some kind seems like a must.

I am still waiting for more information on the Boland, as they have a very extense line of LCD monitors. They are probably quite good to get away with the prices they are asking.

Can you describe your mount, Rob?


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Old December 3rd, 2003, 12:11 PM   #5
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Carlos:

My feelings are this: there's no question that CRT monitors have all of the negatives you listed. However, there are no LCD's or equivalent technology on the market that can provide as reliable a reference. If you use your LCD for framing purposes, then certainly units like the Panasonic are an excellent match for a DV camera. If your intention is to compete visually with a higher-end medium such as HD or film, intend to do a film-out of your project, or have it projected at festivals, it is probably still adviseable to work with a solid broadcast CRT to be able to judge the nuances of exposure and lighting.

Basically, CRT=what you see is what you get. LCD=what you see may be similar to what you get, depending on the angle you are looking at the screen, and the color isn't really accurate (so should I use the 1/4 CTO or the 1/2 CTO on that backlight? Hard to tell the difference on that LCD) etc etc.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 12:56 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Charles Papert :
My feelings are this: there's no question that CRT monitors have all of the negatives you listed. However, there are no LCD's or equivalent technology on the market that can provide as reliable a reference. -->>>

A reference is as good as its user. Why not make an LCD into a reliable reference? What do we need? Perhaps cheaper LCD screen coming on DV cameras are unreliable, but I am not too sure other types qualify like that.

Is there any electronics engineer reading this that may suggest a reason why LCD can not compete with CRT? Three-cannon TV projectors have been displaced by LCD types, and they were CRT too. So I am not too sure we can not get to a working formula here. Maybe just a way to look at things in a different light.

<<<--If you use your LCD for framing purposes, then certainly units like the Panasonic are an excellent match for a DV camera. If your intention is to compete visually with a higher-end medium such as HD or film, intend to do a film-out of your project, or have it projected at festivals, it is probably still adviseable to work with a solid broadcast CRT to be able to judge the nuances of exposure and lighting.-->>>

Maybe that's why I am getting more and more convinced that if you are going to work for more demanding mediums like HD or video for film, and still keep things light and practical, we should go back to reliable tools like meters. There's no better way to judge nuances.

<<<--Basically, CRT=what you see is what you get. LCD=what you see may be similar to what you get, depending on the angle you are looking at the screen, and the color isn't really accurate (so should I use the 1/4 CTO or the 1/2 CTO on that backlight? Hard to tell the difference on that LCD) etc etc. -->>>

Let's get one thing right: an LCD screen (and a CRT too probably) should be used with a hood. All the time. It will also protect it from the sun or strong lights. So the angle would always be the same: straight ahead. Why color won't be accurate? We are talking quality separate LCDs here, not camera types.

This is getting very interesting. Please list any other etc. you can think of. It's helping me think, at least enough to see how we look at things. Sometimes what we think is a closed concept isn't really so, it's just a way to look at things.

Video makes you think in a different way, and you do because it has a lot of advantages.

I am not asking anyone to degrade quality or settle for less, just try to see if we can see things in a new fashion.


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Old December 3rd, 2003, 01:35 PM   #7
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Generally I like the idea of using LCD's as well. But I think the biggest problem has to do with the viewing angle, as Charles mentions. The brightness and contrast can really vary considerably by just moving your head a couple inches. It's important to standardize your viewing angle and try to stick with it. This is tough, since I find it a reflex action to just move my head a little if I think the image is too dark or too light. The newer screens are better, but I've yet to see one without some degree of this problem.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 01:43 PM   #8
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A question for Ken and Rob:

Do you use hoods on your Pana LCD screens?

Do they force you to view them in just one angle?

What happens when you change angles? How do you work around this?



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Old December 3rd, 2003, 01:59 PM   #9
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The angle issue is interesting. Without resorting to throwing a large piece of black fabric over your head and the monitor to create a blackout condition, the next best thing is an angled shade that reflects black back into the face of the monitor. The straight shades that make a "tunnel" are, in my opinion, close to worthless in that you end up looking at a reflection of yourself peering into the end of the tunnel, plus whatever sky is visible around you. Alternatively you can throw that black over your head again, but that's a pain. And as we are pointing out here, LCD's change depending on the angle you look at them, and often they are not optimized to be seen from an angle such as a Hoodman would provide.

I have no doubt that an LCD-type technology will prevail over CRT's within 10 years , but right now I think it's a waiting game.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 02:30 PM   #10
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Carlos

When working out of direct sunlight, I've seen no need for a shade/hood on the LCD. Admittedly, I'm not using it as an absolute for color/contrast/brightness. If I were shooting a feature/documentary and a CRT monitor was practical, I would choose it over the LCD for reasons already mentioned above.

I've used it because:
1. Light, portable and mounts right on top of my cam. Because it's on the cam, my angle of view to the screen is usually pretty consistant. It's great to verify shots and give you a warm feeling that you won't be spending hours in post (but perhaps some time) adjusting for bad exposure. When I'm hand held and moving, it moves with me.
2. I shoot live sports from press boxes. Looking through a viewfinder for hours with the cam on a tripod gets old fast PLUS it's a mighty small image to follow the ball in. The LCD makes it much easier.
3. Since I usually work alone, I already haul enough stuff to the shoot, adding a 20lb monitor with it's additional requirements for power is not appealing.

You asked about the mount I use. It's basically a UL2 Head that has been flipped. It's attached to the LCD by velcro (LOVE that stuff) and powered by the cam battery. This system will only work on cams that have 12 VDC or greater batteries.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 03:58 PM   #11
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i will also be looking at the crt lcd thing this one has caught my eye...

http://www.panasonic.com/PBDS/subcat/Products/displays_monitors/f_bt-ls1400.html
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 04:03 PM   #12
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As Charles noted, LCDs can be a bit angle-sensitive. But, at least to my eyes, 7" Panasonic seems less subject to viewing angle distortion than on-camera LCD's such as those on the GL2 or DVX100. It's also quite bright (as Rob notes) and features an automatic control that modulates the brightness according to the ambient lighting conditions.

I do have, and occasionally use, a Hoodman hood that was specifically designed for the Panasonic. Since the front panel of the monitor is a matte finish you don't get the mirror effect with this straight-view hood that you would with, say, a Sony CRT monitor.

For making critical color and exposure judgements on-set nothing today really beats a good, well-calibrated CRT monitor. But that Panasonic sure comes reasonably close, particularly for the under $10mil budget project <g>.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 04:35 PM   #13
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LCDs simply don't have the contrast of a CRT. Very important when trying to set your lighting up.

As far as sports?
LCDs are great since all the color issues are handled by the support crew and the tech director, unless I'm mistaken.
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Old December 3rd, 2003, 04:59 PM   #14
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I operate a Sony/Panavision CineAlta camera mounted on a pedestal for the UPN show, "Rock Me Baby," and I am so frustrated by the problems with the hi def lcd monitors that I am in the process of getting a black and white crt monitor from Panavision for a test. In my work, in the heat of battle, you simply do not have the opportunity to adjust the angle of the lcd to your height all the time. Having had years of experience working with black and white crt's in standard definition television, I was sorely disappointed with the color lcd's. It will be unfortunate to lose the color image in this instance, but I find focusing to be far too difficult with the lcd. However, I will admit that I do not expect all the operators to follow my lead if I use the black and white on a regular basis. But I bet more than a few of them will be interested in my findings using the b&W.

On my other show, "The George Lopez Show,'' we work film style with dollies and camera assistants, and I will not be trading in my color lcd, since I have the aid of my excellent assistant.

I would never use an lcd in the field for critical exposure and lighting decisions. Strictly for framing and "in the ballpark" color balance.

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Old December 3rd, 2003, 05:34 PM   #15
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LCD vs CRT

I have a sony PVM14m4u as my second monitor on my desktop computer and an LCD 15 inch flatscreen monitor as my primary (monitor 1).

I use the lcd for computer applications and the sony for ANY sort of video output. The LCD looks great for computer applications, very clean and sharp as compared to the sony for computer applications.

BUT for video, there is no comparison, for any application other than framing your shot (which an LCD works great for) a high quality CRT will blow the LCD away in every WAY, SHAPE or FORM (other than the WEIGHT, SHAPE ,and FORM).

This thing weighs like 80 lbs and is the size of a college refrigerator (not to mention costs about 1,500 bucks) but is does have blue gun, underscan, h/v delay, 16:9, rgb in, component in, sdi in, line rgb, external sync, aperature control, bright, contrast, chroma, phase, volume, programmable chroma, phase, color temp, color setup, d65, d93, adjustable gain, bias, range, automatic color correction, 358 trap, yadda yadda yadda.

And would require a 600 lb marine battery to run in the field for more than a few minutes. For less than a 5 (add as many as zeros as required) dollar budget, some CRTs are only for the big guns like Charles :)

Just my silly 2 cents
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