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There are several good reasons why you need a field monitor for video, especially if you are making serious videos or video work for profit. You may already have an external monitor on your camera rig to supplement the small rear viewscreen on most of the mirrorless and DSLR cameras used for high-resolution video. What we’re looking at today is a field monitor for video, separate from the camera rig.
What are the advantages of a field monitor, an external monitor for video? There are several, so I’ll list a few of the benefits and advantages for using a large field monitor in addition to what you’re already doing. I’ll also show you a large field monitor I found for my own productions.
Atlas AX17 17” 4K Monitor
This is a native 4K monitor from Ikan, a video accessory manufacturer and retailer of high-end equipment for professional and other serious videographers and cinematographers. The Atlas AX17 is very large and is bright, clear, and easy to see in all lighting conditions.
The display can be full screen, split side by side, or split 4 ways as a quad view. There are options to rack mount the field monitor or attach it to a light stand or some other type of mounting. In a rack mount, you can easily pair it with any other equipment, such as wireless video receivers, audio or video recorders, DMS controls, or other items for professional video productions.
It has very good color and is very sharp, which fits in well with the advantages of a field monitor for video that I’ll list below.
You See Everything Better
This is one of the biggest reasons for using an external monitor of any kind. It’s not just the focusing that is improved, but with a much larger screen on an external monitor for video, you will quickly grasp any changes that you need to make in focus, composition, camera placement, or subject posing.
Other Crew Can See Clearly
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Working on a large scale video production, you likely have more than a one man show going on. In addition to the cameraman, others can benefit from a large, clear view of what’s being filmed, including the director, focus pullers, lighting techs, makeup artists, continuity assistant, sound engineers, and other production assistants. Being able to see what is going on can ease up and speed up everyone’s workflow.
Easy To See Frames
You may be shooting in a different format such as 4:3, 16:9, 1.85:1, 2.39:1, or an older classic format like 1.375:1 format. On a smaller viewscreen, you might have an overlay of the format, but it is quite a bit more visible on an external monitor.
Clear View In Bright Ambient Light
Camera viewscreens can be very difficult to see in bright ambient light. A larger external monitor with a deep sunshade will show the view of what’s filming clearly with great contrast.
See Shutter Speed Effects
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When you change shutter speeds in video, you can inadvertently add odd motion effects to the finished video. It isn't always easy to tell what motion effect is coming through when viewing on a small screen. The large screen size of a professional production field monitor will show these very well.
Custom Color Profiles
Shooting with a custom color profile is pretty standard for many professional videographers, but the camera viewscreen generally won’t show you the results of a custom profile, a field monitor is able to let you see these custom profiles as you shoot.
Access To Other Features
Other features such as false color monitoring, anamorphic un-squeezing, flicker detection, underscanning, peak monitoring, and other things aren’t even options on smaller viewscreens, but a large field monitor often has features we didn’t even consider before but which make professional video production go more smoothly.
Do You Need a Field Monitor?
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Professional videographers and cameramen working with large crews will find that a large external monitor for video will give you access to beneficial features and make everything easier to see for everyone working on the project.