A TV studio contains tons of TVs, referred to as monitors. I’m sure you’ve seen the shots of the control room on any of the big news shows before they go to a commercial. (Those are called “bump” shots by the way.) There’s usually a wall of monitors, each flickering its own unique image. There are so many because each video source needs its own monitor. Sixty video sources require sixty monitors.
You need monitors to show you varying stages of video mixing. For example, what does camera 3 looks like with a banner headline added? The director will want to play with the mixing of that before punching it up on the air.
The most important monitor is your final output and this sits in front of the director.
The number of monitors you need is in direct relation to the number of video sources you have, the overall complexity of your studio and which technologies you choose. Some inexpensive computerized system can contain the power of multiple monitors so your need for monitors is decreased.
I was just ogling a switcher at my favorite video production outlet on the web that contained four monitors and cost less than $1,500.
Monitors don’t have to be big. Tiny two inch screens are easy to carry around and can run off batteries. Great for a hunting shoot. Five inch black and white monitors are common in studios because often that’s all you need.
One of the things you learn quickly in TV is that monitors are terribly inconsistent. Sitting side by side, you’ll see twenty images of the same apple and each one will have a different hue! It’ll drive you nuts when trying to determine the quality of your final product but it’s a sad fact of life in the video world. Next time you go into a store that sells TVs, you can test this out.
The most color-accurate monitors tend to be computer monitors you use for editing. Some people recommend that you attach a cheapie monitor for your final output of your computer editing system so you have a worst case scenario by which to judge and make microscopic changes in the signal.
When a video signal is broadcast, the outer edges are cut off. The TV viewer at home only sees the inner 80-90% of the shot that the camera operator in the studio sees in her viewfinder. Therefore, add a little padding to your framing. This concept also applies when you are editing in the computer. The video you input from your camera will show considerably more compared to what the computer will output on a standard monitor.
Therefore, a complete computer editing system needs to have a cheap TV as part of the system to monitor the final output. All titles and graphics need to be kept inside certain boundaries or they’ll be cut off in your final product. This is referred to as Safe Title. More sophisticated video editing programs will give you a template overlay on your output monitor window to judge safe title.
If you don’t have that, just give it a bit of padding on the edges and you’ll be fine.
If the internet is your videos final destination, don’t worry about safe title. A digital video signal doesn’t drop off at the edges like a broadcast signal does. This can make a big difference.
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Internet Video Gal