Wireless monitoring is critical to many roles on set; but let’s face it, not everyone has access to one. In fact, on many productions big and small, priority for monitoring goes to the Director and DP, leaving other critical members to fend for themselves in the thick brush of an overcrowded video village with just a few monitors.
The goal, then, is to find a solution that lets everyone see the shot without having to fight for that premium video village real estate. And that’s where personal wireless monitors come in!
Personal wireless monitors offer some incredible advantages that traditional wired monitors don’t. The biggest benefit is allowing every member to see the shot so they can adjust their roles accordingly, making for a much more collaborative set. Another is being mobile, allowing the crew to maneuver around set with ease and remove as many obstructions as possible.
That being said, with all of the options out in the industry, choosing a system for your needs can be beyond confusing, especially with having to work around budgets and time constraints. So to help you with that, we’ve compiled a list of people on set who would benefit most from having a personal monitor, as well as the type of monitoring best suited for them.
1. Director - 703 Bolt / Bolt 500, 1000, 3000
The Director needs everything to be perfect, and what better way than having a personal wireless monitor? Handheld wireless systems are key to ensuring that the Director doesn’t have to fight for space in overcrowded video villages, as well as doing time-consuming back n’ forth walk just to see the shot.
The 703 Bolt is ideal for Directors, who benefit greatly from seeing an instant, visually lossless video feed. Its small and lightweight form factor makes it easy to move around on set without having to carry a hefty monitoring rig around, and are perfect for Directors who like to stay in close proximity to the talent. It can also detect all Bolt 500, 1000 and 3000 signals from up to 300 ft. away, making it easy to marry with existing Bolt workflows that have another wireless feed going to the video village.
The 703 Bolt also features a 3000 nit display, making it the brightest monitor in the market. Filming in direct sunlight? No problem. Even on a bright, sunny day, the 703 Bolt can display every detail of the shot so users won’t miss anything during filming.
2. 1st AC - 703 Bolt
The camera guy’s best friend on set, 1st ACs are the ones who need reliable, instant wireless monitoring the most on productions, especially when pulling focus wirelessly or checking for camera anomalies. While seasoned 1st ACs are experts at measuring distance with the naked eye, having a personal monitor to do their job better can’t be understated.
On any project where the camera needs to be fully mobile, a zero-delay wireless monitor goes hand-in-hand with other 1st AC tools like Teradek RT’s wireless follow focus. This allows him to manage lens control while being able to look both into the scene and at the monitor simultaneously.
The best solution for the 1st AC is also a 703 Bolt. Hovering around the camera means needing a lot of space as well as an instant live feed of the shot. By mounting the 703 Bolt together with a remote focus controller, 1st ACs won’t need to be tethered to the camera, and won’t need rig several pieces of monitoring tools together.
In addition to the 3000 nit display, the 703 Bolt operates under SmallHD’s Pagebuilder OS, which features a suite of cinematic tools for 1st ACs like focus assist, focus peaking, image framing and much more.
3. Gaffer - Serv Pro / iOS
Everybody who has worked on a set knows that the most important resource is time. Time needs to be used efficiently, especially with 1st ADs and executives breathing down your neck .
If there’s one guy who could really save their team some time, it’s the gaffer. When gaffers are fixing lights around the set, collaborating with the DP via shouting and blind adjusting can be a pretty time-consuming process, not to mention disruptive to the rest of the crew. Instead, they would really benefit from having a personal, portable monitoring solution. Serv Pro will be excellent for them.
Why Serv Pro? 2 reasons: mobility and cost. The Serv Pro allows up to 10 people on set to monitor the shot, but instead of needing heavy & expensive field monitors, it goes straight to an iPhone or iPad. Additionally, each iOS unit can monitor up to 4 Serv Pro feeds at the same time, which is great for gaffers to check if any of their lights are creeping into frame.
At just 2 frames of latency, this near-zero wireless feed is perfect for members who don’t need a critically live feed, but could still really benefit from seeing the shot for referencing.
With an iOS monitor, gaffers could make adjustments without needing excessive help from camera ops or the DP, and allows the team to move faster between takes while keeping monitoring costs low compared to traditional monitoring setups.
4. Script Supervisor - Serv Pro / iOS
Just like gaffers, script supervisors also don’t require a zero-delay view of the shot, but still benefit tremendously from having a personal monitor. Script supervisors are typically one of the last priorities when it comes to proper monitoring, considering that they have the important task of maintaining creative continuity. Fighting for space in the video village is essentially fighting an uphill battle.
With iOS monitoring though, the days of fighting for space is over. Serv Pro lets Script Supervisors monitor, take notes, and most importantly, take frame grabs through native integration with the ScriptE app. This lets them move around freely within up to 1000 ft. of range while still being able to get their job done.
5. Hair & Makeup - Serv Pro / iOS
Continuity is essential, and the hair & makeup team is vital to keeping the looks consistent throughout the entire project. Production crews might brush off the makeup team as people who just apply the cosmetics, but maintaining the look is more important than it seems, and a monitor gives them some serious advantages. The best part? It doesn’t have to cost an arm & a leg.
Serv Pro would be their weapon of choice. Since they have no need for a live or pristine, color-corrected shot, seeing a feed from their iOS devices is actually better for their roles. In addition, the monitoring app VUER comes loaded with professional features suited for makeup artists including frame grab and LUT preview so they can see what the makeup might look like after color grading. They could even do a 2-up to compare a previous shot to a live one side-by-side.
6. Clients & Executives - Serv Pro / iOS
The clients want their product to come out right, and their jobs are to make sure the footage accurately represents their brand. But instead of hovering around the camera or occupying space in video village though, they could just as easily be relaxing on a couch in the back and monitoring on an iPad!
Since each Serv Pro can connect to up to 10 iOS devices, this one’s a no-brainer. With VUER, they can monitor the shot, capture screen grabs, check emails and most importantly allow more space for the film crew to do their work. Also, if audio is piped into the Serv Pro, clients can even monitor dialogues.
Just instruct them to download an app, connect to the Serv Pro’s WiFi network and they’re good to go!
7. Boom Ops - Serv Pro / iOS
Finding that golden frame line to hold the boom is the ultimate frustration of every sound guy ever. Is it in the frame? How much time is this wasting? This is yet another job for the versatile Serv Pro!
By strapping an iPhone or iPod Touch to his/her arm or mounting it somewhere nearby, boom ops won’t need to rely on the AC or fellow crew to call out adjustments. Just simply look at the framing between takes (or use VUER's frame lines feature) and find that safe zone. This helps the whole production save time between takes and saves a ton of headache for the sound team.
While only a select few people on set absolutely need zero-delay monitoring, giving other personnel on set their own personal monitors can only serve to improve creative collaboration. And luckily, tech like the 703 Bolt and Serv Pro were designed specifically with these roles in mind, making wireless devices not only more convenient to have on set, but also making them cost-effective solutions for productions large and small. By helping to cut production time, you end up saving tons of money. So start off your 2018 cinematography work on the right track and get your crew the gear they need to succeed!