ON-SET MONITORS GE AR .
built in. The 12G SDIs (£707 for the five-inch, £894 for the seven-inch) lend the ability to handle signals at up to 60fps in resolutions around 4K. Although, there are more economic 3G options (£450 and £622). To get back to monitoring, the 12G versions crucially have the HDR appellation and a lot more brightness. Around 2500 nits is enough to blow through the sunshine on a bright day, whereas the 3G versions are a more conventional 300; the brighter options also add DCI-P3 colour. REFERENCE DISPLAYS Meanwhile, SmallHD – now part of Vitec’s empire – has stayed out of the dogfight. It has concentrated instead on tough construction and some of the most comprehensive software seen on a monitor. The company’s page-based interface won fans quickly. Now, there’s remote camera control, cable-
like Imax. There’s no SDI input without the add-on AtomX SDI module, and the £1678 price tag (including UK VAT) is a fraction steep, but it’s hard to argue with the capability. Similar benefits apply to Blackmagic and its Video Assist series, which Fujifilm has recently linked with Blackmagic Raw recording. This is on the staggeringly capable GFX100 – a 100-megapixel medium format camera, aimed at the sort of people who demand the absolute best of everything. No, the Video Assist probably won’t be able to take all the nearly-12K of that sensor’s native width, given practical limits in the camera, but the GFX100 – despite its stills-centric genesis – is already capable of some very credible pictures. Blackmagic’s Video Assist range is available in five- and seven-inch versions, all with SDI and HDMI
TOUGH COOKIE SmallHD pride
themselves on the Cine 13’s (above) colour reproduction; Blackmagic Video Assist 12G HDR (below)
HDR practicalities A lot of highly-portable on- set monitors advertise HDR performance, with brightness exceeding 1000 nits. That’s pushing ten times the brightness of a 100-nit standard display (though domestic TVs are routinely brighter). It’s almost a cliché to point out, though, that HDR is about contrast more than it’s about brightness. Effectively all high-brightness displays will be TFT LCDs with a black level higher, and thus contrast lower, than we’d ideally prefer. Very often, on-camera HDR displays are leveraged simply for high brightness, the better to punch through sunlight and keep things visible. That approach throws calibration and accuracy to the wind, but keeps the picture visible for the operator. Even if they had an ideal black level, though, in the variable environment of a film set it’s very difficult to guarantee what any monitor will look like, subjectively, to the fallible human eye. Move that eye quickly between a bright, sunlit exterior and a darkened studio and all bets are off.
49. OCTOBER 2021
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