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Atomos Shogun as DP monitor?


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Hi guys, 

I am currently looking for a smallish monitor to own and use as a reference, I have previously stuck with a trusty meter and skeptically looking at TVLogics, Alexa viewfinder, SmallHD 702 and other monitors from rental houses which never match each other and never are the same unit twice, but have finally started looking into getting a monitor which can always be the same and which I can calibrate and trust along side my meter. 

I have had a look at the offerings from SmallHD, Flanders, TVlogic and have landed on the Atomos Shogun HDR as possibly one of the best options in the image VS feature balance.

The main pros being:

- 100% Rec709 color and P3

- Easily calibrate-able.

- High brightness

- Recording possibilities 

- HDR possibilities for future proofing, but it being a 8bit + 2bit FRC monitor I am not sure how trust worth this will prove.

- Not crazy expensive

 

Anyone else use a shogun as a ref monitor and care to share some experiences? Or other monitors that they swear by?

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I don't know that it's ever going to be massively accurate, it's hardly a "reference display," but it's probably accurate enough for field work, which doesn't really demand much accuracy.

Most people seem to use them for the massive brightness which is of course not really representative of a calibrated specification, most of the time, it's just about sheer visibility, and they certainly do that.

 

P

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Thanks for the reply Phil, This is very much what I found myself, but are there any really accurate field monitors? Or just over par. I find the constant change in monitors and being told what is accurate very challenging, so having something you know is accurate and can compare everything else too would be amazing. I never really operate of a monitor, so the brightness for me is not the biggest selling point. 

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Isn't the shogun $1400 with accessories?   I'd say the biggest drawback is bringing that onto any set where they aren't able to rent it.  You're always going to be worried about it getting lost, stolen or damaged.  Just something to consider. 

I picked up a Portkeys P6 recently which is super cheap.  Image is great.  Just a reference monitor but has a waveform, LUTs etc.  $160.  The kind of purchase where if it's lost, stolen or damaged I won't really sweat it.   Not that bright in daylight but one battery lasts 6 hours. haha.   The downside to 3000 nits on higher end monitors is you'll burn through a lot of batteries all day long.

Edited by Michael LaVoie
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The Shogun is okay, but only just "okay" for monitoring, and you MUST NOT for any reason, use Atomos' built-in LUT engine to do any image processing. Their system is totally f**ked and will destroy any semblance of accuracy in your monitoring.

Send the Shogun a LUTted image directly from the camera though (with no additional processing on top) and it's serviceable.

Be aware though, that their spec sheets lie about a few things. The only have one SDI output (not two) if you're needing to do any loop-through with the monitor.

The only real strong points of it (to my mind) are that it offers internal Prores recording, and high-brightness for viewing outdoors.

The high-bright mode kills your accurate monitoring even further - but at least lets you make out compositions in bright outdoor conditions.

The recording mode, makes playback on-set much easier than it generally is running through the camera's playback system.

 

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In my experience Tvlogic will be the most accurate of the around 1k brands, echoing what others have said here in that Atomos and smallhd are super solid picks for high bright but tend to sacrifice color and tonal accuracy for a high nit count, if you’re looking for the absolute full stop for an on camera calibrated monitor Flanders makes a 9inch that’s pretty heavy but also dead on and can be sent to FSI for lifetime calibrations, this is also the most expensive option. Personally I’d be looking at tvlogic VFM-058 or 55s for 5 inch or tvlogic LVM-074 for a 7 inch, also smallhd has somewhat recently added a setting called studio mode which isn’t really any more accurate but tends to tone down the more egregious settings. 

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Thanks for all the replies guys! Great to hear some real opinions not just spec sheets! I will give the Flanders and TVlogics a look, hopefully the lockdown here in Norway will soften up soon and it will be easier to have a look at some actual units. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Michael Lanham said:

are there any really accurate field monitors?

It barely matters.

Without being in a fairly stable viewing environment for a while and having your eyes adjust, the perception of brightness is so variable as to make a complete mockery of any attempt (well most attempts) at calibration. Walking from a sunlit day into a blacked-out DIT tent and immediately glancing at a display is not likely to leave anyone with a particularly accurate impression of what the image will look like in a nice controlled grading suite after an hour of acclimatisation.

Naturally it's nice to have it as close to right as possible, but so long as you know that the impression you're getting of the image is likely to be wildly inaccurate, you have more or less all the information you can possibly hope to get, at least on set.

I think the reason people use Shoguns is so they can crank the brightness up and see everything clearly regardless of the ambient lighting conditions. When you do that, you accept that there are likely to be things in the shadows which are more visible to you on the day than they will be in the final. Often being able to see what's there is important, as opposed to risking missing stuff in shadows, but naturally it's up to you.

One reality is that standard dynamic range TVs should on paper only have a brightness of a shade more than 100 nits, but if you took that outside on even a bright wintry morning, you might as well not turn the monitor on!

P

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3 minutes ago, Phil Rhodes said:

It barely matters.

Without being in a fairly stable viewing environment for a while and having your eyes adjust, the perception of brightness is so variable as to make a complete mockery of any attempt (well most attempts) at calibration. Walking from a sunlit day into a blacked-out DIT tent and immediately glancing at a display is not likely to leave anyone with a particularly accurate impression of what the image will look like in a nice controlled grading suite after an hour of acclimatisation.

Naturally it's nice to have it as close to right as possible, but so long as you know that the impression you're getting of the image is likely to be wildly inaccurate, you have more or less all the information you can possibly hope to get, at least on set.

I think the reason people use Shoguns is so they can crank the brightness up and see everything clearly regardless of the ambient lighting conditions. When you do that, you accept that there are likely to be things in the shadows which are more visible to you on the day than they will be in the final. Often being able to see what's there is important, as opposed to risking missing stuff in shadows, but naturally it's up to you.

One reality is that standard dynamic range TVs should on paper only have a brightness of a shade more than 100 nits, but if you took that outside on even a bright wintry morning, you might as well not turn the monitor on!

P

A very very good point Phil, it seams that a meter and a clear monitor which allows you to feel confident when going into post is the most important thing, but that being said the time when a accurate monitor will be the most use is while working in rather consistent lighting conditions, like on a stage or working on interiors. In such conditions a 500 nit monitor like the Flanders and having it close to set will at least allow for a consistent image on the monitor, but as you say this still wont be the same as sitting in a grading suit as the ambient light will play still play in.. 

I think my use of accurate might be unfair to a field monitor. The biggest thing for me is having a monitor where things look nice when they are nice and not so nice when not nice, speaking mainly of contrast and color, as I constantly find myself going home feeling like things did not look great, but then opening up dailies and seeing that things actually did look nice and that I spent the day kicking myself, when things actually where working. That being said that might be more of a mental problem than the monitors fault. 

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