An external on-camera monitor can be a valuable asset to your production. As valuable as it is, if you don’t take all the right factors into account before your purchase, the monitor will become more of a detriment than an asset. The factors below outline what to look for in an on-camera monitor for video productions so you can choose the right one for your next shoot.
The biggest benefit of an on-camera monitor is that it gives you a closer look at what’s being shot. That way, you don’t have to settle for the tiny screen built into the camera. This is why it’s vital to focus on the size of the screen when shopping for an on-camera monitor. The optimal range for screen sizes is somewhere between 5″ and 7″. It might seem obvious that you should go for the 7″ monitor because it’s bigger, but that’s where our next point comes into play.
The bigger the on-camera monitor, the larger the weight it puts on your camera operator. Not only is it important to consider weight to make sure the camera operator is comfortable, but also because it can affect the image quality as well. If your camera operator is struggling to hold onto the camera because the monitor is making it too top-heavy, you’re going to wind up with shaky video. For the sake of your camera operator and the footage, take special notice of the weight of a monitor before committing to your purchase.
Another detail to watch for when purchasing an on-camera monitor is the image resolution. Luckily, you don’t have to worry about size when it comes to this factor. In our library of field monitors, we have 5″ on-camera monitors that have a 1920 x 1080 resolution. However, there are other 5″ monitors on the market that have a resolution of only 1280 x 720, so make sure the one you’re looking at can support the image quality you need.
Any high-quality on-camera monitor should come with a variety of helpful production tools. Even if the monitor you’re looking at checks all the boxes above, you should still take the time to sift through the extra features it comes with because they can be of great use to your production. If you’re unsure of what to look for in an on-camera monitor for video production tool purposes, some of the most beneficial ones to look for are DSLR scaling, focus peaking, pixel to pixel, histograms, audio level displays, and false color.