(image of man with wave form) By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
If you’re an owner of a SmallHD monitor, you’re no doubt used to calibrating your monitor on every single shoot in order to load your custom settings and be ready to shoot on the fly. But SmallHD is changing all that with a new firmware update that will enable their monitors to auto calibrate, making them essentially plug and play.
(image of color bars) Calling OS3 their biggest firmware update yet, SmallHD has built in several new advanced features including auto calibration, false color, and waveform functionality. SmallHD has further expanded the false color values of their monitors from 0-100%, to custom assignments based on specific values chosen by the director of photography. This will enable users to fine tune their color workflows within higher resolutions like 8K and beyond.
(image of monitor with spyder calibrator) The killer app of OS3 is that of Auto Calibration, and you don’t need a computer to enable it. Just plug in a hardware based calibration tool like a Spyder, and you can then engage the AC utility to dial in the proper white balance and color settings.
But you can also craft your color gamut to focus on skin tones, or perhaps an overall lighting design to incorporate the lighting of an alien world, or special luminous glows from a space ship, create an entire virtual world by locking in the values from a green or blue screen dominated set. Or really dial in that dramatic sunset. Or you can merely make sure that the image you’re trying to get isn’t over or under exposed by creating a range that the recording will not go beyond, thereby guaranteeing your desired dynamic range.
(image of Image Gallery Viewer) Another new feature is spot metering utilizing a LUMA waveform. Through the waveform, users will be able to select any area on the screen that they like, which will then illuminate the entire area. Rather nice if you’re really wanting to get a good glow on your actor’s skin. SmallHD has also preloaded a series of stills of various lighting conditions, much like a set LUT that you can then preload and then tweak the lighting settings to your liking. This is called the Image Gallery Viewer.
The OS3 update is compatible with all SmallHD monitors including the 500 and 700 series, as well as ultra bright 703 monitor, which SmallHD announced last Spring at NAB, and their larger 17″ OLED Production monitors. Considering the OLED production monitors are capable of billions of colors, this feature’s benefit is evident.
And since you can apply all calibration changes through a USB slot in their monitors, you can then apply a calibration to other monitors on set. The benefit here is obvious, a tremendous savings of time on set getting your gear ready according to the lighting conditions as they change. You could dial in different light settings, custom crafted for golden hours, for instance, and then apply it to others. Then, when the sun is down and the klieg lights are turned on, you can then insert those values and keep on shooting. Only pausing to dial in any subtle variations as the director requests.
The free SmallHD firmware update is available for download here. Directions on how to load the firmware update into your monitor can be found there as well.
Hat Tip – Cinema 5d