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


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Old July 24th, 2002, 10:59 AM   #1
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Field monitors, any advice?

I thought I could do without a field monitor but I just can't bring myself to trust the image that I see in my little viewfinder. Does anyone use their LCD monitors for setting color and such? They sure look handy, small, portable. The price is pretty attractive too when I compared a battery powered portable color monitor to them. I haven't found one for less than $700. Any suggestions? I'm still a newbie.
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Old July 24th, 2002, 04:20 PM   #2
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I'm told LCD monitor are liars, and shouldn't be used for anything other than framing. . .perhaps letting your director see your shot.

I know they have television sized monitors, possibly fairly low quality, but they're NTSC and use cathode ray tubes, for around $300. The only problem with these is that you have to plug them in. The ones that accept battery packs are $800-1000.
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Old July 24th, 2002, 09:34 PM   #3
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Go to www.dvfreak.com/buyersguide.htm

When you see the pic of the field monitor, click it. That'll take you to the product website. Video Mag gave this monitor top honours a couple issues back.
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Old July 25th, 2002, 08:29 AM   #4
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hi,
just wanted to confuse you (sony can do you know)
sony has LMD-650 6,5" LCD field monitor, price is approx 2600$, and still you can't control color balance thru it. seems that LCD technology does'nt allow color-calibrated monitors.
rgrds, Margus
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Old July 25th, 2002, 09:07 AM   #5
 
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Becky,

First, field monitors, for this shooter, are simply too expensive and out of range for my pocketbook. Second, this forced me to shoot several tests and learn how to trust the "little viewfinder." So far, after almost three years, I haven't had any surprises.

I came to video from film when you never saw the results of your shooting until hours--sometimes days--later!
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Old July 25th, 2002, 12:23 PM   #6
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If we're talking about the XL1s, can I have some of your viewfinder trusting tips?
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Old July 25th, 2002, 12:49 PM   #7
 
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Josh,

I'll send it to you in an e-mail. I have a tendency to ramble, and besides it'll take up less bandwidth that way.
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Old July 25th, 2002, 08:59 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Good Dog : Josh,

I'll send it to you in an e-mail. I have a tendency to ramble, and besides it'll take up less bandwidth that way. -->>>

We'd probably all be interested in hearing them, post away!
If you only want to send e-mail, count me in on that too if you could.
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Old July 26th, 2002, 05:00 AM   #9
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Jay, please keep the talking in here so that everyone can learn
and read. That is what this place is for! The bandwidth is here
to read. So please post it here.

Thank you.
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Old July 26th, 2002, 06:52 AM   #10
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Thanks!

Hey, I appreciate all of your help! I too would like to read your tips Josh. The great thing about the xl1s is that it's so portable, it would be nice if canon would include an LCD monitor in the package, but then it wouldn't be as light weight. I wouldn't want to sacrifice any of the other features to make room for it. I tried out the sony pd 150 before ordering my canon, the monitor was handy. I'll check out the websites mentioned. I've been testing my color viewfinder with various settings and am starting to trust it a bit more. I have run into a few situations where I need to frame my shots w/o looking at the viewfinder. Why can't I just win the lottery, then I can buy all of the toys?

Becky
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Old July 26th, 2002, 07:21 AM   #11
 
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Okay, here it is... but first, let me say my methods are NOT all that "technical" or "scientific." So please don't fault me on that.

You do need an NTSC monitor to REALLY know what you've got. That's where I started. I bought a low-end NTSC monitor by Sony (about $800 for a 13" model). Using my NLE program, I generated the SMPTE Color Bars and made sure the monitor was properly adjusted (I don't have and can't afford a
waveform monitor) using a method that requires gel filters for viewing the Color Bars (I can't afford the monitor with the Blue Gun Only option, either). So I used a sample swatch pack of blue Rosco filters. (Visit ttp://www.greatdv.com/video/smptebars.htm for an explanation on how this is done.)

Once that was done, I went outside and shot a series of images making written notes describing the scene with its range of highlights to shadows. As I shot, I also made mental notes as to how it "looked" in the viewfinder. Based on my experience, I have come to the conclusion that it's best to expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may. Most
audience members are willing to accept black shadows without detail. However, there is nothing more distracting than a glaring white shape void of any detail. The human eye automatically goes to the brightest part of any scene. If there's nothing there, that certainly isn't what you want the audience focus their attention! Once in a blue moon it is unavoidable, but in such cases, try everything you can to minimize the burned out area's size. Of course, under studio conditions, and even some field conditions, you can fill the shadows with fill light from either a lamp or bounce card. By the same token, that's not always an option, either, and depending on the situation, as in on-the-fly documentary shoots.

Anyway, as I looked in the viewfinder, the highlights were taken care of by adjusting the zebra pattern (mine is set at 100 IRS, the high-end broadcast standard). Then I studied the shadow areas and how much or how little detail I saw in the viewfinder and made notes. Then, back in post, I compared my notes, both written and mental, with what I saw on the monitor I had adjusted eariler.

With each shooting session, I kept making minor adjustments in exposure, especially paying close attention to the zebra pattern, and going back and forth from the field to post and studying the differences. It takes time, but it boils down to training your eye see what the viewfinder shows, being able to translate that to what the monitor will show and do this in your mind's eye. Ansel Adams referred to this as "pre-visualizing."

When in college, I was an art student. Drawing, we learned, was actually a matter of eye/hand coordination. The reason most people can't draw is because they aren't really "thinking" or "pre-visualizing." They look at the object and say, 'Oh, it's a chair,' and proceed to put on paper what they THINK it looks like. They haven't been trained to "really look" at it and train their hand to draw what the eye is seeing in reality. I think the same is true in our situation or in any visual art form--training the eye.

I was taught cinematography, years a go, by an older gentleman who was able to light a set and determine exposure by eye. This came only after years of experience. I haven't reached that level yet, and may never. But I have come to trust my viewfinder!

Hope this helps, even a little.
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Old July 26th, 2002, 10:31 AM   #12
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Thanks very much for sharing that Jay, good piece. I still need
a lot of eye training myself. Have been planning on looking around
for a monitor in my edit suite so that I know what things look
like.... Thanks again!
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Old July 26th, 2002, 11:45 AM   #13
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Jay, I got the e-mail as well. Definitely some good ideas and useful experience. Thanks!
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Old July 26th, 2002, 02:36 PM   #14
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Thanks!!!!

Your info was very helpful! I too am operating on a limited budget. Your info on zebra pattern gives me a little more to go on as well. I haven't been using the zebra because it's so distracting but I had better learn how to use it. I think I'll go with the portability of an LCD and learn to adjust according to that and my xl1s stock color viewfinder. Thanks so much for taking the time to help us all!!! Does anyone have a recommendation for a decent (but affordable) monitor for my edit suite?
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Old July 26th, 2002, 02:55 PM   #15
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This might make interesting reading for you. http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=2655 I personally use Sony monitors for both field and studio use. However, the JVC that Bill mentions has great specs and an even better price. If I was starting out, I'd look very hard at the JVC. In your particular cas eI would also ask what your local station is using. That's why your going Avid, right? So it might help to go with the same brand monitor starting out.

Jeff
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