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What Makes a Good Monitor?


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#1 invalid username

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 02:38 PM

Excuse my ignorance for this question, I'm sure many of you will think this question is a bit stupid. But I'm trying to make a shift from hand-held recreational filming to "playing with the big boys", and the monitor is one thing I just can't understand.

I was talking to a company that sells equipment for pro rigs, and the monitor they suggested I use was 7" and cost about $3000 (I consider that a lot). So I asked if they had anything less expensive, thinking maybe this was for the Hollywood pros only, but the rep said that any cheaper and I'd start to see a rapid decrease in quality.

Now I bough an 8" monitor for my car last year, and it cost about $70. Obviously a person can't use something THAT cheap for a pro rig, but I can't understand how something can go from $70 to $3000 while still serving the same perpouse.

So my question to you guys, some who may own one of thse $3000 screens, what makes them so much more expensive than a regular monitor? What qualities do they have that you can't get on something for say $400 (what I personally would be willing to spend on a monitor)?

Sorry again for my ignorance, but I simply can't comprehend the price. Everything else on a rig I can understand the difference between cheap and expensive, but not the monitor.
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#2 invalid username

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 02:51 PM

Sorry, after looking for a while at different monitors out there, I'm going to revise the $400 I am willing to spend to $1000. Not that it matters, I'm not looking for any direct suggestions. I just realized how weird I must look asking for a good $400 monitor.
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#3 Tomas Riuka

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 04:26 PM

there is a very good section of this forum 'monitors', suggest you read it... once you in 'pro' level, nothing is cheap for sure... and you pay for features, build quality, reliability, versatility etc. you get what you pay for, basically...
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#4 Charles Papert

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 05:16 PM

[quote name='Alexander Kolb' date='31 August 2010 - 12:38 PM' timestamp='1283283528' post='59080']

Now I bough an 8" monitor for my car last year, and it cost about $70. Obviously a person can't use something THAT cheap for a pro rig, but I can't understand how something can go from $70 to $3000 while still serving the same purpose.
[/quote

Exactly the point, it DOESN"T serve the same purpose. Your car monitor is not mission-critical to your being able to drive the car (otherwise it might be an issue when direct sunlight blasts out the panel and makes it unviewable). A Steadicam monitor is, however, mission-critical to being able to drive the Steadicam. Consider that you have the rig rotated 45 degrees away from you and tilted down; the sun hits the monitor at an oblique angle and you can't see anything in it. The director is yelling at you because you are cutting off the head of the actor lying on the floor and you have no way of knowing this. That constitutes a car crash, in my book.

Even the most expensive LCD's ($8000, that price will probably give you a heart attack) are still not as viewable in direct sunlight as the best of the CRT green screens.

The other factors Tomas listed, and his advice to read through the section should help. Make sure to check out the one on the Monitor Shootout.
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#5 invalid username

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 06:09 PM

Thanks for the answers! I've looked at a few monitors and see what you mean about quality, features, and especially outdoor functionality.

This also prompted me with two new questions:

1. What is this digital level system? Is it a single dimension, or both horizontal and vertical indication? And is it comparable to an actual bubble level, or is it more like an aircraft's attitude indicator?

2. Why does the LCD screen remain dominant if a CRT would yield better outdoor results? Obviously it's bigger and more colour-accurate, but even in outdoor shoots I've watched, they always use an LCD.

Thanks again for all the help, I'm really liking this forum.
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#6 Charles Papert

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 07:26 PM

There are still quite a few operators who use green screens exclusively because of their viewability. If you really want sticker shock, check out the PRO and XCS price lists for their monitors...

Most levels are similar to an electronic version of a bubble level but with enhanced options. Some offer displays similar to an aircraft.

Of the important features that are only available in high-end LCD's (and even then generally only the ones designed for Steadicam use), I'd put image scaling and dual adjustable framelines high on the list.
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#7 Christopher T. Paul- SOC

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 07:10 AM

Another thing you want to look at is NIT levels- which essentially translates into brightness & daylight viewing ability.

Here's transvideo's website page with all of their monitors- check out the NIT levels. http://www.transvide...ducts/index.htm

I remember getting a quote of about $8,000 for the one I was interested in- but again- look through the forum for the Great Monitor SHootout- held in both LA & in NY.

The XCS goes for something like $15,000+ I believe. But has been an industry standard for over a decade with good reason. You can find them used for $10,000 or so.

CP
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#8 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 10:43 AM

The Flyer monitor is basically a beefed-up SD consumer monitor, with increased NITs (500). Better sunlight brightness than any other consumer-grade monitor I've encountered; pretty good outdoor visibility but when the direct sun hits the screen, forget it! Also the Flyer monitor has no framelines, no tally, no level, no features found on the big rig monitors. Plastic case.

Marshall makes a roughly-$1000 6.5" HD monitor that has professional features, connectors and build quality, preset framelines, and a tranflective coating that fared very well in the Daylight Monitor Shootouts. I highly recommend reading the thread. It lacks higher-end features but gets good grades as an entry-level/backup monitor built to pro standards.

The video DSLR prosumer crowd loves Lilliput (a big Chinese monitor manufacturer that sells cheap monitors under their own brand and also OEM's). What makes them interesting is that they just came out with a $200 7", "high-brightness" 450 NIT HD monitor with HDMI, RGB and Composite (BNC) inputs. For another $200 they will add a transflective coating. Junk? By high-end pro standards, sure. But intriguing, especially for a newbie thinking of an incremental upgrade to a Pilot or Flyer setup.
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#9 RonBaldwin

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 05:29 PM

it is a bit shocking going from a TB-6 to a Nebtek. I recently bought one and have been playing with it a little on a series I am on -- can't see much in the sun. It did pretty well in the shoot out like the Marshall but on the set in a real world situation it had me screaming for one of Charles' yokes and a hood (and a greenscreen!)

rb
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#10 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 07:23 PM

Not going to give up my greenscreen for a long LONG time. LCD's just can't cut it
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#11 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 10:50 PM

[quote name='Mark Schlicher SOC' timestamp='1284824627' post='59631']
The Flyer monitor is basically a beefed-up SD consumer monitor, with increased NITs (500). Better sunlight brightness than any other consumer-grade monitor I've encountered; pretty good outdoor visibility but when the direct sun hits the screen, forget it! Also the Flyer monitor has no framelines, no tally, no level, no features found on the big rig monitors. Plastic case.

Marshall makes a roughly-$1000 6.5" HD monitor that has professional features, connectors and build quality, preset framelines, and a tranflective coating that fared very well in the Daylight Monitor Shootouts. I highly recommend reading the thread. It lacks higher-end features but gets good grades as an entry-level/backup monitor built to pro standards.

The video DSLR prosumer crowd loves Lilliput (a big Chinese monitor manufacturer that sells cheap monitors under their own brand and also OEM's). What makes them interesting is that they just came out with a $200 7", "high-brightness" 450 NIT HD monitor with HDMI, RGB and Composite (BNC) inputs. For another $200 they will add a transflective coating. Junk? By high-end pro standards, sure. But intriguing, especially for a newbie thinking of an incremental upgrade to a Pilot or Flyer setup.
[/quote

I've seen a link for this monitor. How do you get them to add the transreflective coating?
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#12 Jens Piotrowski SOC

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 10:58 PM

"How do you get them to add the transreflective coating?"

it's not a coating....


The essential component for a transflective LCD is the transflector, a polymer sheet that is reflecting and transmitting at the same time.

technology explained:

http://en.wikipedia....crystal_display
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#13 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 11:49 AM

I called the number on the US website www.lilliputweb.com and asked whether they could do it. I had the impression that they do the modification her in the States, but that is just an impression. I gather there are cheap ways to modify the monitor (less effective) and better ways. Didn't pursue what process they use. After all, it's a $200 monitor. Just for grins I did order one of the monitors without the modification and I expect it any day.
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#14 William Demeritt

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 12:33 PM

Since I started, I had operated off an HD UltraBrite2 monitor. Now, I fly a PRO2 with the PRO monitor, and I must say I absolutely LOVE the green screen monitor. I get a lot of questions and comments: "Why do you have the green monitor?", "Why don't you have an LCD?", or my favorite "It's only standard def? So it's not compatible with the RED?" (I prefer to think the RED isn't compatible with it, Decimator fixes that problem).

I have to say, the PRO monitor new has a huge price shock. Further, it eats through my batteries like mad. However, I have absolutely fallen for operating off it. The image is compact, so I need not scan a huge surface area, checking corners and watching for other elements. In full daylight, I can still see the image without additional shading.

I guess what makes a good monitor for me is versatility, battery life, image size (how big of a screen do I really need?), brightness, how it interacts with my sled (balancing and operating, both off the monitor and functioning as an element of my sled).
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#15 Peter Sheppard

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 12:22 AM

Hi William,
Just interested, when you say "a compact size monitor" what size do you like. I'm using a 7inch LCD now which I feel is nice, but just interested in what other operators like. I'm toying with the idea of getting the Marshall 6.5' but because it's only 4:3 am scared it'll be too small.
Cheers,
Shep.
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