Sweatpants Media Director/DP Jonny Zeller depends on the SmallHD AC7 7-inch field monitor to keep his clients comfortable with the look of the video he’s shooting. It always makes the images look really, really good,” he said. “So when an agency person walks over to the camera and looks at that monitor, it looks awesome. And that makes us all look good.”
For a recent Toyota commercial, shot in the desert southeast of Los Angeles, the SmallHD monitor gave the client and crew a good idea of what the video would look like when it came out of post. “The commercial has a driver running out of gas during the heat of the day, and we were after a gritty, grainy look,” said Zeller. “So instead of using newer lenses that look sharp at every stop, every exposure, we chose to equip the Red Dragon we were using with Super Baltar lenses, like the ones used on the original Godfather movie. The look was vital to us and we were confident when we saw it on the SmallHD monitor.”
During chase scenes, the camera operator who was remotely controlling pan and tilt of a MōVI stabilized camera in a separate vehicle, could clearly view what the camera saw, even in the bright desert sunlight. “We shoot a lot of outdoors material,” said Zeller, “in the daylight. When it’s bright out you’re getting blasted by the sun, and with most monitors it’s really difficult for the assistant cameraman to see focus and to pull focus.”
The AC7’s Focus Assist feature, which adds detail to crisply focused parts of a scene, made it easier to judge focus, especially in the outdoor light.
Small in size and weighing less than a pound, the unobtrusive the AC7 mounted to the camera side gave the AC his own monitor. “Mounting it on the side keeps the AC from climbing over the director of photography’s back,” said Zeller, “making everything a little easier, a little smoother and a little faster. And I think any time our guys are happy and comfortable, that translates on-screen.”