When it comes to shooting video, a camera screen can be a bit small and challenging to see. Depending on the type of work that is being done, sometimes it is nice to have an external monitor that can help us compose the perfect shots.
Small HD has been known for their small, lightweight screens that provide a very clear and bright display for users. In addition to that, they have come out with a system to integrate wireless video transmission to other screens that can be given to the director, producer, camera op, and so on. This system is made simple for filmmakers and eliminates the need to hover over the camera ops shoulder to see what they are capturing. After trying out this technology, I found that this can be very helpful on certain sets.
For the most part, I really liked the way these monitors worked. They were perfect for short films and larger commercial projects where we could give the screen to the client/director. I really loved how simple and responsive the touch display was, it was super easy to slap on a grid line, show highlight/focus peaking, and add shortcuts and user profiles that would come in handy when on the move.
The biggest plus for a product like this was having the video signal transmitted wirelessly. Being an avid drone user, wireless VTX has become nothing but an essential when it comes to creating. Being able to mount this Small HD in a remote location gave us the freedom to put our gimbal somewhere else and control everything from a distance. For a video person like me, this opens endless options for creative shots all with a very simplified setup.
As much as I liked the whole system, there did seem to be a few downsides to it. Like a drone, I feel like there are temporary disconnection points or bad connection once you hit a certain range. I found that using this from a distance could be a bit challenging but we were able to make the most of it. My biggest problem with the monitor was the fact that I had to set up an entire Small HD on the camera in order to transmit the signal to the receiver. For ground work this is fine but for aerial work, I didn't see much of an application. This specific Small HD transmits up to 500' but they do have a variety of other monitors and accessories that will allow for longer ranges.
This entire system also runs off the same battery which has maybe an hour or two of juice. However, on set these batteries seemed to die quickly and I would recommend having extras just incase they die. I would also love to see a more compatible power supply to the unit, something more along the lines of the Atmos Ninja Flame where you could run directly off the battery power from the gimbal instead of adding any extra weight with the big batteries the monitors come with.
What I Liked
- Bright & Clear Display
- Tools for Customization
- User Profiles
- Easy Mounting
- Wireless Video Transmission
- Great Feel/Build Quality
What I Didn't Like
- Range of Connection
- Battery Life
- Lack of Transmitter Options
The simplicity and convenience of a tool like this is totally worth it to have. With the option to display the video transition to multiple screens, Small HD has made wireless video easy for everybody. Despite the downsides, there are so many uses for something like this. If you are looking to step up your level of production, provide clients/directors with the ability to see your shots or even just have a team member control the camera/focus from a remote location, this simple setup is definitely something to consider. Although this product might not get a 10/10 on my review, they do have many other monitors and accessories on their website at a higher cost that look very promising for higher level consumers.