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Old August 22nd, 2010, 07:39 AM   #1
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What are the advantages of an SDI field monitor over HDMI?

I'm seeing inexpensive field monitors with HDMI and expensive ones with SDI and the occasional one with both. For those who use them in the field and studio, what are the reasons to go SDI over HDMI? TIA
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 12:11 PM   #2
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A lot of pro cameras have SDI but not HDMI. There are converters that will let you go either way, though.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 09:05 PM   #3
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I see Marshall has a monitor with some focus assist and a waveform. Is the waveform in the monitor more useful than say the EX1R built-in waveform?
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 02:18 AM   #4
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HD-SDI is a much more rugged locking connector (BNC vs the awkward HDMI) and the signal holds up better over a long run. Most HD-SDI monitors have loop-through so you can daisy-chain the signal. It's more rare to see HDMI loopthrough--at least we are starting to see HDMI splitters.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 07:33 AM   #5
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Les,

Waveform scope is very different from histogram. It shows the values from left to right corresponding to your screen. It is easier to check exposure evenness across a green screen for example. It also is more detailed, it helps you figure out how to fix your lighting.

I think the histogram in cameras is fantastic trend. But a scope is a better tool, in my opinion.

I also think SDI is more rugged by far than HDMI. You can easily make your own cables any length you need, the connectors lock in as Charles pointed out. And the loop through is pretty much standard. It is a pro connector and standard (or set of standards), HDMI is consumer and cheaper to license I believe that is why it is more widely used. Like RCA connector versus BNC, which is the standard on all pro gear. I wish there was no HDMI only SDI, then it would cost less. Also TC is standard in SDI, I think it is not always in HDMI if ever, someone here can probably expand on that.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 04:43 PM   #6
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I believe that you can only get scopes via a video signal over SDI (composite maybe as well) but not HDMI. Any of those external monitors with both HDMI, SDI and Scopes will always say that SDI is needed to enable the scopes.

As Olof said, I haven't seen TC embedded in HDMI.

Furthermore, SDI has a single connection unlike HDMI's type A, B and C.

But, if all you need is a larger LCD for checking focus and the camera has HDMI, then save money and get the HDMI LCD. But some cameras with both HDMI and HD-SDI like the EX1r, they can only output via one at a time. So, using an on-camera HDMI LCD then prevents using a larger HD-SDI monitor unless you run a SDI cable to the larger monitor and then a SDI to HDMI converter to the on-camera LCD, which sorta makes the HDMI/SDI cost difference irrelevant.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 05:48 PM   #7
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Good information here. Above and beyond the EX1R's LCD features, my use for the monitor is primarily for exposure assist and VJ. Focus assist is icing as teh EX1R peaking is very nice. False Color and pixel to pixel in the monitor should complement the EX1R histogram nicely. I always go for BNC whenever I can. Plus, daisy-chaining SDI solves the mutually exclusive output "feature" of the EX1R and is on the Must-Have list. Not sure about the SmallHD DP6, IKAN, or Manhatten products but I know the Marshalls are made in USA so they are a no brainer. Thanks again.
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Old August 27th, 2010, 08:43 PM   #8
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Sony PVM-740 mon displays waveform from HDMI. We use it with EX1R, intended application to loop SDI-HD through the Sony into AJA IO Express for ProRes 4:2:2 capture for chroma key. The times I will find it useful is the peaking and 1:1 for critical focus when I'm on a riser 25m from talent at corporate conferences in dark auditorium.
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Old September 8th, 2010, 09:25 AM   #9
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Would love to find a schematic or project plan to build a converter. They really seem overpriced.

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Old September 8th, 2010, 08:45 PM   #10
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EPILOG: Based on the guidance given here, I purchased the Marshall LCD70XP 7" with SDI. After putting right angle BNC connectors that swivel on the Marshall and the EX1R, the cable loops nicely across the tripod with minimal strain on either camera or display. This is especially nice when the camera is moved as my monitor mount is on the tripod. The swivels adjust and the cable stays nicely limp.

Another nice feature of the marshall is that the power supply uses a XLR 4-pin connector that, like the BNC, is a nice sturdy (won't fall out) connection. Further, the power supply's XLR female is right angle and the display's XLR male can be rotated 90" so the right angle of the power cable can go up or down depending on your rig.

The display itself and it's false colors has revolutionized my focus and exposure abilities. For me, works well with the small and less bulky 6" Ikan Israeli arm coming off a simple super clamp. YMMV
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Old September 19th, 2010, 12:08 PM   #11
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In terms of the ruggedness of SDI connectors vs HDMI connectors, that would only be true of the opposite end of the cable that attaches to my Sony MW-EX1. The tiny little flimsy SDI connector on the camera is a joke. Around the size of mini USB.

John
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