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Old July 21st, 2004, 12:32 PM   #1
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Commodore Monitors- the really poor man's NTSC monitor

I have one of those monitors lying around work and they're neat. You can make or buy a Svideo -> 2RCA (male male) adapter cable to hook up one of these through Y/C or luma/chroma (same deal as S-video). With this kind of connection the image I believe is sharper and the image definitely does not have chroma crawl. The sharpness I have not tested carefully but the Commodore is noticeably sharper than a large Sony Trinitron monitor that I have also played with. The Y/C input may also have greater color accuracy- I don't know how to check this.

The monitor has hue, saturation, brightness and contrast controls for manual calibration. It does not have blue gun or sharpness controls. Some/most/many/all consumer TVs have sharpness controls.

How does it compare to a NTSC monitor?
I really don't know because I don't have one to play with. The monitor I have is old so it has serious gamma curve problems. Using the ramp generator is vegas (it makes a grayscale ramp), the whites look blown out.

No idea about color accuracy. Flesh tones look ok.

It does not have underscan, 16:9/4:3, or PAL/NTSC switching like a real NTSC monitor would.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW (example picture and ebay auction- $20 currently)

For the $50 or whatever you pay for one of these monitors, it's an interesting monitor to get. I doubt it's close to a NTSC monitor (color accuracy-wise), but at its price point it should be a good deal. If you need just any monitor to edit, this is a neat monitor.

2- Making the S-video to RCA adapter:
If you can solder, then solder a cable.

If you don't have the equipment for soldering, then you can temporarily hotwire yourself a cable. You need to cut a S-video and RCA cable in two. Inside the S-video cable, there are 2 shields and 2 signal wires. Each shield and signal goes to each RCA cable (which is just 1 pair of signal and shield).

Use scotch tape or any other kind of not-so-sticky transparent tape and tape together the wires onto a business card or something else that's rigid. This is fairly easy to do. Remember to keep the shields seperate from the signal wires. You will need a cutting tool to strip off the plastic around the wires.

3- To calibrate the monitor, you'll need a blue gel/filter. There should be other posts on this.

4- One step up would be to get an industrial-level monitor for ~$300.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 01:17 PM   #2
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I have an old Commodore color monitor that came from a garage sale for just a few bucks. But it has handy RCA jacks on the front, the yellow one being a plain old composite video jack (no need for an adapter).

It's marked "MODEL 1702" on front.

The picture's not bad, but the resolution appears to be lower than your average consumer TV. I wouldn't use it for anything serious, but it's nice to have for a (literally) rainy day.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 01:37 PM   #3
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I don't see where these monitors do anything for the editor. I've used them and we still have one laying around the studio out at the school. But they just aren't even close to a NTSC monitor.

I think a cheap television is probably better.

But for about $250 you can get a Panasonic industrial monitor that is pretty good. S-Videe, composite video and a bit of control over picture quality.

These are good enough that we use them as camera and preview monitors and for our G-4 NLE stations at the school. Only the studio program monitor is a real (expensive) NTSC broadcast monitor.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 02:09 PM   #4
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Robert, the monitor is definitely sharper when you use the Y/C inputs. It doesn't cost much to hotwire/solder an adapter cable.

The Commodore monitor I am playing with says "video monitor model 1702". With the composite input, I can't see the video grain/crap in the original DV footage. With the luma/chroma input it clearly sticks out.

2- Mike: You're probably right that an industrial monitor would be a better idea.
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Old July 21st, 2004, 02:47 PM   #5
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"With the composite input, I can't see the video grain/crap in the original DV footage. With the luma/chroma input it clearly sticks out."

Interesting to know.

Mike Rhemus--no, you'd never use one of these for post, but they do make an sufficiently-inexpensive-so-as-to-be-expendable substitute for a pro CRT production monitor. Use them in conditions where you wouldn't otherwise take your more valued gear--rainy shoots, dusty desert shoots, and so on. The handles on the sides make them highly portable, unlike most consumer TV sets.
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Old July 24th, 2004, 09:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
I don't see where these monitors do anything for the editor. I've used them and we still have one laying around the studio out at the school. But they just aren't even close to a NTSC monitor.
Mike- I think you're right.

Looking at the Commodore monitor again, I notice it makes deep blacks turn blue on this particular monitor.
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Old July 25th, 2004, 12:15 PM   #7
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Robert,

I take my Sony Field Monitor anyplace I'll take my cameras. Same for the portable Leader Waveform monitor. Both have Portabrace cases and seem to handle the conditions quite well.

Certainly the monitors handle dusty better than my cameras and the cameras cost far more than the monitors. So I think that the price/risk ratio is in favor of taking the monitors and insuring that the damage to the cameras got me the best possible footage.

But anything may be better than nothing. I'd still probably go for a $100 AC/DC televison (as I did in the beginning).
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