Tag Archives: LCD monitor

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armor2_5d3_specification

Varavon's latest Armor II Camera Cage takes a bold unique approach to mounting your video accessories. Around the cage system and top handle are a total of four (4) 15mm Clamps allowing you more options to attach a variety of accessories. Often mounting to a 15mm Rod is better than a variable friction arm that may spin loose from a 1/4" threaded mount, and then there is the benefits of speed assembling and disassembling rigs when using 15mm clamps.

The Varavon Armor II offers an anti-twist base when the camera is installed, HDMI and Audio Cable Locks, and an HDMI Cable Pinch. The Top handle provides several 1/4" threaded mounting points, a cold shoe mount, and (2) 15mm rod clamps. Around the cage you'll also find more than a dozen 1/4" and 3/8" threaded mounts.

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Includes an HDMI adapter, Leather Handstrap, (1) 15mm Carbon Rod, and Chest Pad to be used as a shoulder stock for stability. The new Armor II cages will be available for select Canon, Panasonic, Sony, and Samsung cameras found at Varavon's website (click here).

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find-price-button Varavon Armor II Camera Cage Systems Designed with 15mm Rod Clamps

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A few DSLR Video cameras output a 1080i signal from the HDMI port for previewing, but the moment you hit record, the HDMI out drops down to 480 SD. Maybe the camera doesn't have enough processing power, or maybe there's some type of conspiracy going on. Either way, most LCD monitors will blank out for a second as it needs to detect the new video feed. A few monitors over the years have added certain features to prevent this, and you just need to find the right mode. In this video i'll show you how it's done on the MustHD M-501 HDMI LCD Monitor.

So if you are shopping for a monitor, and you happen to have a camera (mostly Canon) that drops the HDMI resolution when you hit record, make sure the monitor has a feature like this to prevent those types of drop outs. Hopefully this has been helpful.

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If you're working (or planning to work) with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera #BMPC you may quickly realize the LCD screen can be very difficult to work with outdoors. Other cameras may not be as bad, but can still use a little help blocking out ambient light.

One quick down and dirty way to block glare is to simply attach one of these inexpensive folding LCD Sunhoods. The design was originally used for flip out LCD screens on your Panasonic GH3, Canon 60D, T4i, C100, etc. The sunhood attaches via two simple straps stretch over your LCD (or BMPC camera body). It's not a perfect solution, but it's better than nothing. Starting at around $10 dollars, these sunhoods are available from 3"-4.5", and if you're specifically looking to use one with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema, you will need the 3.5" size (found here).

BlackMagic Pocket Cinema BMPC Sunhood Shade LCD View Finder
find-price-button 3" / 3.5" / 4" / 4.5" LCD Sunhood

Your basic sunhood will assist with directional glare, but won't completely block out all incoming light. It also will not serve as a second point of contact for added stability - what LCD ViewFinders are popular for. There are literally dozens of great LCD Viewfinder products on the market, many that you've already seen through this blog so I won't go too much into detail here. If you have a specific camera in question, just leave me a comment.

Now while a few companies like Zacuto and Kamerar have announced LCD View Finder loupes that attach to the back of the BMPC, they are not available just yet.

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Kamerar MagView LCD View Finder

Another option available now are EVFs (electronic view finders). The benefits to working with an EVF outside of blocking bright light, is that screen can be relocated to a more ergonomic position on a Shoulder Rig, or can articulate to offer better shooting angles when mounted on a Cage system for example. Depending on the EVF, many can also offer additional overlays such as Focus Peaking, False Color, Zebras, and other waveforms to help you with focusing and judging exposure.

Some of the more popular EVFs that range from $600.00-$1000.00 on the market are the Zacuto EVF, SmallHD DP4, and Cineroid EVF (available in different models).

Zacuto EVF
Zacuto EVF
SmallHD DP4 EVF
SmallHD DP4 EVF
Cineroid EVF
Cineroid EVF

If you're looking for uber budget, you've probably heard about the most affordable Seetec (a.k.a Feelworld) 3.5" HDMI EVF starting at just $250 (found here). Now before you decide to dive in to this unit, there's a few things you need to know. This lower end EVF CANNOT DISPLAY THE SIGNAL from a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera #BMPC due to it's uncompressed 10bit 4:2:2 HDMI output.

The more affordable EVF systems are typically just HDMI, so this same information will apply to the larger BlackMagic Cinema Camera #BMCC. If you purchase an SDI to HDMI converter, you can use many of the more affordable HDMI EVFs, but not the Seetec version. In fact one person complained about how a cheap SDI to HDMI converter did not work with the BlackMagic Cinema Camera, but didn't realize it was really his monitor that didn't work. He didn't rule out the monitor because it worked with other cameras. In summary the SDI to HDMI converter was working properly, but the HDMI monitor they chose did not work with the feed.

Hopefully this bit of information will save you guys the pain of making a purchase only to find out it doesn't work. If you want an EVF for the BMPC, you'll need to at least look at the other high end displays. As far as a cheaper EVF for other cameras, YouTube member Shawn Barner provides a nice 26 minute detailed run through of this Seetec product.

For other mirror-less and DSLR cameras like the Canon, Nikon, Panasonic GH3, Sony, etc, the Seetec can really help if you're on a budget. Over the last year, several people have been using this EVF successfully. While not quite at the level of the more professional EVF systems, this EVF is still a great start for those who need a small lightweight portable screen to shade from the bright glaring sun, and to relocate a video feed to a more ergonomic placement on a shoulder rig. Available via eBay around $250 US (click here).

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find-price-button 3.5" Seetec HDMI EVF Electronic View Finder

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Here's a few tips some of you may want to prepare for so that you can begin shooting with your brand new BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera the day it arrives.

#1 - Get a damn fast SDHC or SDXC card. None of the cards that work flawlessly on my Canon DSLRs were even detected. The few speedy cards I was able to grab from local retailers just ended up with dropped frames. We're just talking ProRes here, imagine when RAW is unlocked. Tomorrow I should receive a couple of Sandisk Extreme Pro cards (recommended in the user manual) for my weekend project.

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find-price-button Sandisk Extreme Pro SD Media Card

#2 - Keep in mind you cannot format SD cards from the camera itself. If you show up at a shoot with a full SD Card, there's no way to delete the files. Keep a laptop with SD card reader handy to format to exFAT and delete any old projects. Don't think you can just pop it into your other camera to delete. The HFS+ or exFAT file system isn't recognized in most other cameras.

#3 - The LCD screen on this camera (not touch screen) may not be suffice for working outdoors. If you plan to use a monitor or EVF, you need a rare micro HDMI cable (d type). I already have plans to use my Cineroid Retina EVF

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find-price-button Cineroid Retina EVF LCD Viewfinder

#4 - The battery drains very quickly on this pocket camera. These batteries are the same for the Nikon J1, inexpensive, but you still need an optional charging station so you don't keep your camera tethered. The other option is an external 12V power source for very long projects where swapping batteries could be a problem.

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find-price-button EN-EL20 Battery / Charger

#5 - Even my small Panasonic 12-35mm F/2.8 or 35-100mm F/2.8 Micro Four Thirds lenses fit too snugly on the camera if I have my 501PL plate mounted underneath. Lens adapters will be worse, so you'll need a platform, rig, cage, or something to raise the body up if you're planning to use popular Fluid Heads. I'm using the Fhugen GH3 cage right now since it's the smallest cage in my arsenal (no battery door access).

Rokinon Lens BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera
There's room to slide the plate back and forth, but other lens combinations may not be so forgiving

#6 - Expect no audio meters from the camera itself. I think at this point the easiest method is to just work an external recorder.

Finally just a quick note on using an HDMI recorder. I'm not sure if this will yield any difference in quality, but if there is no degradation, an HDMI recorder could be a cheaper solution for storage media, solves limitations on long projects, and is a fast way to hand off video files to your editor. The Atomos Ninja 2, one of the affordable HDMI recorders on the market, is capable of recording from the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera. You can record the stream without actually recording from the BMPC, or you can just hit record on both units for dual recording (a good backup solution for critical projects).

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find-price-button Atomos Ninja 2 HDMI Recorder

I'll continue to add notes about the things i'm running into, and I'll be uploading sample ProRes files from the camera very soon. Make sure to follow me on Twitter, and stay tuned to the blog. Remember, if you're still looking to get on a short list to get this camera early, check in with DVEStore.com

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find-price-button BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera
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Here's a product some of you might find interesting, although I have to admit it's probably not too far off for DIY makers to craft up their own version. The Magnifty is a large Magnifier attached on 15mm rails magnifies the image on your LCD to help you get better focus. Other products like the Cinevate Cyclops or the Jag35 MonitorX offer the same method of magnifying the image into a large view, but attach directly to the camera's LCD.

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Cinevate Cyclops and Jag35 MonitorX

The Magnifty uses 15mm rods to slide forward or back to adjust the magnification, and also offers a much larger view. One major benefit to using such analogue techniques is that you know you're getting the proper exposure and color from the camera's LCD than you would with most cheaper electronic Monitors. Of course if you work indoors, you don't have to think twice about it, but for outdoor use you should be cautious of your equipment. Check out the Magnifty at their eBay store following the link (click here).

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find-price-button Magnifty LCD Viewfinder Magnifier 15mm Mount

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Express35-Inline-Shoulder-RigExpress35 shoulder rig

Express35 knocks $100 dollars off the Inline Shoulder Rig today. The inline rig gives you room to work with a monitor or EVF off to the side while keeping the majority of the weight closer to your shoulder instead of way out in front of you (which can wear out your arms). The 8" rods on this rig will give you room to work with a Follow Focus or Matte Box. I believe there may be some discounts available for the optional top handle and tripod mount if you're looking to build up a bit. [Thanks Chris] Find more information about Express35 products at http://express35.com.

Express35 Inline Shoulder Rig
Click image to visit Express35.com

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NAB2012 - SmallHD announces 2 new DP7 LCD Monitors to add to their lineup and also a very clever molded 5D Mark II HDMI lock that attaches to the D-Ring (normally where the camera strap resides), and still provides access to all your other inputs. Currently I have the SmallHD DP4 (EVF) and the DP6 which works perfectly in our workflow. I don't know if i'll be able to afford the new DP7 LCD monitors, but i'm sure in for the HDMI lock. The information will be available at SmallHD.com

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The SmallHD DP6 is a serious monitor with some seriously cool features. The price tag may not hit home for the starting shooter, but if you're shopping for a monitor around the 5" mark, the SmallHD puts most others to shame. We're not talking your average 800x480 resolution (yes check those LCD specs carefully), we're talking about a true HD display at 1280x800. The housing is milled aluminum, much like how a MacBook pro is built. It's solid, but at the same time lightweight. Especially if you're shooting with Canon, the DP6 monitor has special features designed to scale video signals for Canon DSLRs which don't usually output in Full HD.

DP-6

Don't be afraid to step into something that could get outdated quickly. SmallHD has put some forward thinking into their products with a USB port and 2GB thumb drive to make sure you can download and install any new firmware updates. Two features you won't find in cheaper monitors include False Color to help you check for clipping blacks or blown highlights, Peaking to help you ensure things are in focus. If you rely heavily on external monitoring from your video camera, you'll need something better than good, and the SmallHD is a great solid product. SmallHD will also be releasing a new DP4 - 4" LCD specifically designed to be used with a ViewFinder Loupe entering the EVF market. More about SmallHD products can be found at http://smallhd.com

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After posting a little something about the Zacuto EVF, a few people have been name dropping the SmallHD. Just so you know, mine arrived about a week ago, just haven't posted anything yet. But I can tell you, it rocks.... The resolution is higher than other monitors in it's price range, the menu that provides fine tuning is abundant, and the build quality with Aluminum (not plastic) body is well worth it's weight in this competitive market. I like the fact that they also update the unit via Firmware downloads, a nice touch to keep it Future Proof and Camera compatible. The reason I gave this one a go, is for the second 5D Mark II body (from refurb) that came in, and the SmallHD DP6 has some custom settings 'specifically' for the 5D Mark II. It's definitely a nice monitor for DSLRs or even for something high end like the Sony PMW-F3K.

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