Finding the right camera will provide your production with professional, quality footage that can effectively engage viewers, whether you’re talking about cooking, sports, or world events. However, video cameras don’t often come with all the parts you’ll need to film your broadcast. For instance, one of the most important attachments you can get for your video camera is an external field monitor. This guide will teach you what you need to know about field monitors so you can begin using them to enhance your production quality.
Why They’re Better than On-Camera Monitors
You might be wondering what the point of an external monitor is if your video camera already comes with a monitor attached to it. Firstly, on-camera monitors are very small, and it is therefore more difficult to catch problems in-frame, such as an out-of-focus shot.
With the help of an external field monitor, you’ll have access to a much larger screen for viewing the content you’re shooting. This will make it much easier for you and other crew members to see how the footage looks in-frame, especially when it comes to catching mistakes like out-of-focus footage, or even having a visible crew member in the shot.
Additionally, the screens on external monitors are much brighter than on-camera monitors, allowing for a sharper image for you to see. Plus, this bright screen can prevent the elements from obscuring your vision, such as if you’re shooting an outside segment in an unshaded area on a sunny day. Instead of falling victim to glares on your screen, a bright external monitor will have no problem remaining visible at all times.
It Allows for Versatile Shooting
External monitors also open your production up to a variety of shooting styles. As mentioned above, it makes it easier to shoot out in the sun. Aside from the brightness, external monitors have different rigs and positions you can use for capturing footage.
For example, external monitors can attach directly to video cameras to offer the camera operator a better sense of picture quality, as long as you have the right rig to attach it to. Additionally, you can choose to use a handheld rig for the monitor, which utilizes two handles on the side for you to hold while reviewing footage.
External monitors also offer a wider range of areas in which you can view the footage instead of crowding around the camera monitor. If you’re shooting an outdoor segment, you can sit off to the side with other crew members while watching the footage on a monitor stand instead of watching it directly next to the camera operator and limiting their movement.
Similarly, external monitors will be helpful when shooting an out-of-studio segment taking place in a cramped area. Instead of cramming in and awkwardly hovering next to the camera operator, you can sit in a sperate room and view the shoot through an external monitor. Plus, even if your camera operator has to move the camera around a lot during the segment, the monitor will retain crystal-clear focus and the best picture quality. Whether you’re filming a single person directly in front of the camera or a huge crowd of people spread all across the area, you’ll be able to capture footage of them with ease and you won’t have to compromise image quality to do so.
They’re Great for Interviews
External monitors are also a great asset when you’re filming an interview. Since interviewing a subject requires you to sit next to the camera and maintain eye contact with them, you won’t be able to keep an eye on the on-camera monitor. Thankfully, you can easily place an external monitor out of frame for you to use throughout the interview. While you conduct the segment, you can look out for any shots in which your subject is poorly framed, poorly lit, or inadequately focused.
Handling HDMI Cords
External monitors can remotely receive crystal clear HD and 4K images instantly. However, if you’re using a cable connection to combine the external monitor with the video camera, you’ll need HDMI cords for the job. These cords will help deliver that crystal-clear quality to your monitor, but you have to be very careful with them. HDMI cords, just like many cords used for any number of daily tasks, can become loose after a while, hindering their ability to function properly during shooting. It’s important to treat these cords with care so you can use them on your set as long as possible. Even if you’re careful with the monitor’s HDMI cords, you should still go out of your way to regularly inspect them.
Make sure to inspect your HDMI cords each and every time before filming to see if it’s time to replace them. If you spot any signs of damage on the cord, then you’ll have to replace it as soon as possible. Shooting with a weak or unreliable HDMI cord won’t help you achieve the quality you’d be able to attain with a brand-new cord.
That’s why having back-up cords is also helpful on set. That way, if you notice that you have to replace an HDMI cord during your inspection, you can do it instantly to ensure you’re able to use the external monitor that very same day. Luckily, most modern game systems, Blu-ray players, and other devices frequently come with HDMI cords upon purchase, so there’s a good chance you have some extra HDMI cords laying around. If not, no worries, as individual cords are very easy to find online or at a variety of local tech shops.
Now that you’re more familiar with what you need to know about field monitors, you’re ready to use them for your next production shoot. As you can see, they’re a useful attribute to any professional production, no matter what kind of segment or presentation you’re shooting. Whatever task you’re working on, these external monitors will give you the quality and versatility you need to execute your footage to the best of your abilities. If you’re ready to find the right gear for your production, Ikan is here to help. Our wide range of wireless video transmission systems will integrate into your production easily, and you’ll notice the improvements instantly.