do I need a production monitor when shooting SD with the hvx200? at
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Old March 26th, 2007, 10:40 AM   #1
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do I need a production monitor when shooting SD with the hvx200?

I've done a lot of reading about the hvx200 in relation to the built-in lcd and realize that for HD shooting, you really need an external monitor to check focus, etc.

We're not going to be shooting in HD just yet, so we're wondering if the need for the external monitor is still there when just shooting in SD?

We'd likely go the route of the 7" Marshall LCD, but have also looked at the 17" Panasonic which has gotten great reviews.

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Old March 26th, 2007, 01:41 PM   #2
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I'd say let your priorities make your decision. If your budget and business model can allow for it then a production monitor is a very useful tool. Robert Lane and others have already gone to the trouble of testing monitors for the HVX so you can find info on specific models.

Is it mandatory? No. Barry Green has a great section in the HVX book on good focusing practices without the aid of a monitor. I shoot plenty of footage without a monitor. I prefer to have one if I can, but sometimes it isn't practical.
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Old March 26th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #3
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The notion that you *must* use an external monitor for critical focus on the HVX200 is a myth.

You can very easily use the "Focus Assist" and "EVF Detail" features in concert with each other to easily achieve proper focus using either the flip-out LCD or EVF. The caveat however, is that it's not as-easy as using an external monitor with good resolution, so in a sense, you can consider using an external a "luxury-option", but certainly not a must-have.

Having said that, the pros for using an external are: You'd get a large high-res screen to easily see the entire frame; more than one person can look at the external without getting in the way of the cam operator/shooter; it's easier to get sense of a scene's "feel" when you can see it on a larger monitor.

The cons for having an external are: The cost (the Panasonic monitor I use costs almost as much as the HVX itself); the added weight and bulk being added to the camera rig; having to deal with another piece of equipment needed power or batts; you absolutely need a Hoodman-type hood over any external to prevent screen glare and washout; people always want to look over your shoulder when you've got an external, which can get annoying when you're busy concentrating on your shot.

As far as which monitor to use; pick the one that fits your budget. The Panny BT-LH900 is my personal fav for everything that's critical about having an external, but it's pricey. The Marshall VR-7 series are nice but they're not 100% reliable; I had 3 units fail on me in less than 3 months of use each. Varizoom is marketing a SWIT and there are a few others on the horizon in the sub-$1000 market but don't expect them to be sharp or color accurate.

One last thought: if you ever plan to use any 35mm lens adapters then that would be the time to invest in an external monitor; acheiving critical focus with the built-in LCD or EVF is much more difficult when using any lens adapter system.
Robert Lane
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Old March 27th, 2007, 11:57 PM   #4
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The overwhelming reason to have a reliable external monitor for SD or even HD is for color. Neither the viewfinder nor the flip out on any camera anywhere are any more than general guides to the exposure level and color of your actual footage.

If you're shooting SD, get yourself a traditional 8" (or it 9") Sony 8045 or its equivilent. In HD it will also be a reliable guide to color though not much use for focusing.
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