The world of monitors is changing. The highlights:
We have tested and taken order of a new and superior wireless monitor system.
Sony has stopped making the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) field monitors that have
been used for so many years and is switching to LCD (Liquid Crystal Display)
We now offer a Panasonic 17-inch high definition-standard
definition LCD monitor
WEVI CAM-WAVE Wireless System With Marshall LCD Monitor
This month we
take delivery of a new wireless LCD monitor system. We have been using Black Box
wireless links with Optex and Teletest LCD monitors. We've never been too happy
with this combination because of frequent break-up in the signal and a lack of
robustness with the monitors but we were not aware of any other system. Well, a
new one is available and we're so optimistic it is a dramatic improvement that
we ordered 15 of them. We expect delivery by late January.
The new system uses a WEVI CAM-WAVE transmitter and receiver which transmits
and receives both video and audio signals using wireless LAN technology the WiFi
system used with computers for wireless networking. In the tests we've done we
found this to give a more stable and consistent signal than the RF system used
in Black Boxes. We had virtually no break-up while walking around with the
camera and remote monitor on several occasions. By contrast, we frequently had
break-up with the Black Boxes under the same conditions.
There is a delay of about half a second between the transmitted and received
image but we don't have a problem with this and nor did any of the more
demanding clients we asked. The ability to also monitor sound with the same kit
is a huge attraction. No more need for a separate director's audio feed using a
radio microphone from the sound mixer or camcorder.
You can get the technical features of the WEVI CAM-WAVE by visiting www.wevi.tv.
We are also changing the brand of LCD monitors we've been using. The monitors
we've used until now are what's been available and are okay. But again, they
never impressed us. The 7-inch Marshall V-R70DP is a different story. It is made
in the U.S. by Marshall Electronics. It is a robust piece of kit and from the
tests we've done it has the feel of being more reliable than other portable LCD
monitors. It also has a nicer picture with sharper resolution.
This increased reliability has a price. The WEVI-Marshall combination is
heavier and more expensive. But these are minor inconveniences to get what we
believe will be a superior and more reliable system.
The transmitter fits onto the battery mount on the rear of the camcorder
which means you don't have to Velcro or otherwise secure it to the side of the
camcorder. The battery is then mounted directly onto the transmitter and that
battery powers the camcorder and transmitter. This eliminates the need for a
The director has to carry the Marshall monitor with a heavier and larger
CAM-WAVE receiver with two antennae and a slimline IDX Endura 7s battery. To
also monitor audio, a special cable that goes into a small amplifier has to be
carried. This is more to carry but we are having special bags custom made to
make it comfortable to carry this larger load and again, we are convinced this
is a much better system.
The jury is out and I hope my optimism is not premature. If you'd like to
test this new system yourself phone Dennis or John on 020 7622 9888 and arrange
to come in and do so.
Sony Now Only Makes LCD Monitors
If you go onto the Sony web site (www.sonybiz.net) and look up
the PVM series of CRT monitors most widely used for as long as I can remember
you will find "This model is discontinued" beside each one. To replace them Sony
is now offering the LMD series of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) monitors. There
are a number of reasons for this but high among them is the fact that LCD
monitors are environmentally friendlier:
the EU considers CRT monitors hazardous waste because of their high lead
LCD monitors consume less than half as much power as CRT
LCD monitors generate less heat and so can help reduce air
LCD monitors require fewer components
LCD monitors last
LCD monitors are lighter and slimmer so cost less to
store and transport
If you're concerned about the environment, you can make a small contribution
by going LCD. That sounds good to us so we are going to begin phasing out our
stock of CRT monitors gradually. The pressing concern among many lighting
cameramen is how LCD monitors compare to CRT monitors when it comes to the
purity and quality of the colours and the sharpness of the image when you're
lighting an interview or scene.
Sony contends "the LMD range delivers superb picture quality." We have tested
one and are quite happy with the image. We think the LMD models will become the
new standard in the coming year so we have ordered ten 8.4-inch models which
should be with us by the end of January. The models include the LMD-9050 which
can handle standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) signals including
The 9050 has been made for broadcast and professional use. It can be battery
or mains powered and because it draws less power it will run longer on a given
battery than a CRT monitor. It has a full range of inputs: analogue composite,
Y/C, analogue component, SD SDI, HD analogue component and HD SDI.
If you'd like to see or try one of these monitors call us during the third
week of January and some may have been delivered.
Panasonic 17-inch HD-SD LCD Monitor
We also now offer a Panasonic 17-inch
LCD monitor that has HD and SD SDI inputs and the full range of analogue SD
inputs: composite, YC and component. If you need a large monitor on location,
this is an ideal solution. Unlike large CRT monitors, this one can be powered by
batteries. It's also produces an excellent image and is lighter, slimmer and
easier to carry around.
The world of monitors is changing: CRT monitors are being phased
out and LCD monitors are replacing them. This has significant advantages in
terms of size, weight, power consumption, flexibility and versatility. Some
people may still prefer the colours and image on a CRT monitor but the new LCD
models do produce good reference pictures.
If you use wireless monitors a lot, you should try the new WEVI Marshall
combination we will be offering later this month. Our tests indicate it is more
reliable and produces a better image than other options.
Call us on 020 7622 9888 if you have any questions. Ask for Dennis or John or
This Month's Question
I'm rethinking how to handle the quiz I have held
previously because getting the answer has become more a test of how quickly
someone can use Google rather than a challenging test of knowledge. For this
month, I am going to handle it by saying if you have a suggestion about what we
could do to improve our service or make it more useful to you, please e-mail it
to email@example.com. If we like your suggestion best, you will win a bottle of
good champagne. Read below for inspiration.
This Year's Message
The biggest challenge we face is consistently
providing reliable kits. Despite our best efforts, mistakes are still made
thankfully on relatively few occasions and it drives us nuts. To address this
issue, we have created a policy of "Every Step, Every Time." It means what it
says. Every time a kit is prepared a set group of steps must be followed to
ensure each piece of equipment is working well and that everything needed to
make that item work is included. In theory, if everyone preparing kits follows
every step every time we should be able to virtually eliminate all problems. So
that's what we're drilling into everyone at Procam. If you have a suggestion
that helps improve our reliability and the quality of our service that's what
we're especially interested in.
And if anyone would like to see an article on something in particular just
send me an e-mail and I'll see what I can do.
Until next time, happy shooting.