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Phil Rhodes

Waveform monitor

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It's becoming increasingly worth my owning a waveform monitor.

 

This is useful to me both as a camera accessory and when I'm engaging in what After Effects users call "Grading" and what Michael Most calls "harrumph!", so it's something I'd use very frequently. I want something that does an RGB parade, but I'm not that worried about what else it does - although most things that do a parade will also do a lot else.

 

In an ideal world, I'd have an Astro 3014, which is a fantastic piece of kit, but they go for nearly US$8k. Back in a more achievable fiscal sphere, I'm looking more at the Blackmagic Ultrascope end of things. It's tricky, though; I don't own a laptop with a suitable USB3 port, and the desktop one is insufficiently portable.

 

I suspect I really can't afford to do this properly, and I'll end up with one of those iphone-sized pocket oscilloscopes from ebay hooked up to a composite downconvert. This would be neither calibrated nor show split RGB, nor would it be at the full resolution of the signal, but it would give a consistent idea of exposure at least.

 

Is there anything else I could look at in the not-many-thousands range, before I go and spend £50 on a lump of Chinese electro-crap?

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Could possibly find an SD-SDI Tektronix second hand for a reasonable price. Failing that, there's some Tektronix rasterizers around for an even more reasonable price that have VGA outs.

 

It's just that BT.601/709 difference in down conversion I'd be wary of.

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That test chest thing is cute.

 

Re the colourspace stuff, I'm not so worried about the absolute results, to be honest. As long as it's consistent from shot to shot, it does the job I need it to do, which is to be the digital cinematography equivalent of a light meter. If it isn't pixel accurate to the spec, fine, I'm not trying to diagnose cabling faults, it's a basic exposure thing. Honestly, a lot of modern cameras are pretty bad at colourspace and range stuff. 5D2 material is 601 colourspace, on HD material, in full swing 0-255, which is why so much software bends it so badly. Craziness.

 

The 5D Mk. 3 is 709 at least!

 

Edit: The Phabrix stuff is gorgeous but not quite as gorgeous as the Astro, and often dearer.

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Re: Blackmagic: Could you use an ExpressCard to USB-3 adapter in an ExpressCard slot in your laptop...assuming the computer has an ExpressCard slot? I'm not sure/haven't checked to see how much bandwidth the BlackMagic device uses on the USB3 connection, but it would be worth looking into.

 

Anyone know anything about or have used the Ikan products? They've announced LCD monitors with built in waveform monitoring.

http://www.ikancorp.com/productlisting.php?id=75

 

Hamlet (Flexiscope, Microflex) has both PC interface devices and handheld waveform/vector devices.

http://www.hamlet.co.uk/products/hardware/microflex/

 

The Tektronix is mentioned above.

 

Miranda also has PC based waveform/vector scope rasterizers but their stuff seem to be more plant/head-in oriented these days.

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Guest Elizabeth DuckChong

Anyone know anything about or have used the Ikan products? They've announced LCD monitors with built in waveform monitoring.

http://www.ikancorp....sting.php?id=75

 

I've got a lower-end Ikan monitor and it's honestly a pretty crap piece of kit (cheap plastic housing, low-quality accessories, intermittently working), but the top end of their range might be different. I'd be very curious to get my hands on a D7w.

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