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Kyle Jacobs

Monitor Decisions! Transvideo or SmallHD?

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Hey all,

I recently upgraded to my first big rig (PRO Cinelive sled, Atlas arm, Exovest) and am looking at switching to a different monitor. The Boland BVB07 is on there currently, that's what came with the rig. My question(s) are for the folks who have used monitors with built-in digital levels I.E. Transvideo, etc and monitors without digital levels. I am stuck between spending the extra money for a Transvideo or something like the SmallHD 703 and adding a bubble level. 

I currently own a 703 and am very familiar with it but I haven't used it as a Steadicam monitor yet. I guess my real question is if I were to go the Transvideo route, is the extra money worth it over something like a 703 and which models should I be looking at? I really like the Stargate V2 for its form factor and size, does anyone have experience with this as a Steadicam monitor? Or should I be looking more towards the CineMonitor 8" models?

For those of you that are using something like a 703 or a DP7, do you regret going that route? What are the benefits you see in using those monitors, what are the drawbacks? Has using a bubble level or no level at all hurt your operating or make you wish you had gone with a monitor with a built-in level and the features that come with monitors at a higher price point?

I look forward to hearing from all of you, this place has been a wealth of knowledge for me over the years, so thanks to all who contribute!

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ive been using several different transvideo 6" models. im not interested in the 8" because the 6" is already pretty heavy and i have very rarely felt like i need the extra screen real estate. i really like the digital level among other tools in the transvideo. im using them for all sorts of stuff. in general i do not prefer any small hd monitors, though they have come around to working pretty well and i do like that i can setup different monitor modes, but really i would only find that useful on the camera or when using the remote head, i dont know why i would really want that on my steadicam rig, and i also think that it is too light-weight. turnaround times for repairs has been awful in my experience, so absolutely purchase two of them. i own two of absolutely everything anyways, but i would definitely have two small hds because when it goes down, and it will go down, youll wait minimum three weeks to get it back.

transvideos seems to do great in all weather conditions, the customer service has been awesome, super sharp. i feel like im running a customizable pc or mac pro tower, with small hd i feel like im running an ipad.

the viewing angle on the transvideo is not excellent, literally my only gripe.

i also hear good things about boland and i own a bon and am very happy with it.


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Brett, thanks for the great feedback. One of the many reasons I am considering Transvideo is because of their reputation for excellent customer service (although my experience with SmallHD's customer service has been a good one). Have you used any of Transvideos 7 inch models and would you consider them a viable option? I.E. StarGate V2 or Rainbow? I think I will also take another look at the 6-inch models...

Deke, do you run a bubble level on your Boland?  Do you wish you had a digital level? 

Thanks again for the replies!

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Hey Kyle,

One thing to consider when discussing digital levels, is that the sensor for the level needs to be as close to the post as possible.  Any level built into a monitor will not be as accurate as, for example, the XCS HD PDL.  I currently run a Boland BVB07 in combination with the XCS HD PDL.  I grew up using the standard def PDL, so always was used to having a digital level, and if I'm going to bank my horizons on a digital level, it's going to be a great one.  XCS makes the best digital level on the market, but you'll pay for it.  The Boland is a great viewing monitor, especially for the price.  I have spoken with Boland about building a Steadicam version of the BVB07, with a robust waterproof housing, frame lines, anamorphic desqueeze, image flip, etc...  The salesperson I spoke with was very receptive to the idea, and is trying to get it into their pipeline.  Personally, I have never owned a Transvideo.  Friends of mine have complained about the reflective panel being hard to see in exteriors.  I believe it's not only the NITs that help you see outside, but the reflectivity of the LCD panel.  This issue combined, price and not liking in monitor digital levels has kept me away from Transvideo.


Hope that helps!

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