AbleCine EXPO: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About On-Board Monitors

On-board monitors might not be among the sexiest pieces of gear on set, but they are definitely among the most useful. Whether they're used as a reference for a camera assistant or a dolly grip, the camera operator isn't able to use the eyepiece, or you've got a director who likes to hover behind the camera, on-board monitors have become essential to the filmmaking process in the digital age. But with so many different monitoring technologies, and with just as many options for these monitors in the marketplace, deciding which on-board monitor is right for your next production can be a downright daunting task. Luckily for us, AbelCine has our back.

The AbelCine EXPO Series takes an extensive look at a certain type of technology, and, as you might have guessed, their most recent expo event dealt exclusively with on-board monitoring solutions. Check out the video below for the entire 2+ hour event, which features an in-depth lecture about the various technologies used in modern monitors, as well as presentations from monitor manufacturers TV Logic, Sony, and Marshall.

While presentations such as these certainly won't be terribly exciting for everyone, it's still important for us to be aware of and to have an understanding of the technology that we have access to. That way, when we get onto set, we can be absolutely sure that we're using the right tools for the job.

What do you guys think? Which monitoring solutions have you used on your sets? Are there other brands that you would recommend other than the ones from the video? Let us know in comments.

Link: EXPO Series -- AbelCine

Disclosure: AbelCine is a No Film School advertiser.

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Your Comment


I bought the IKAN 7D and I just love having a waveform monitor again. As much as I have appreciated having zebra striping on my Sony EX3, I appreciate how a waveform monitor and an RGB waveform provide me with much more information about what is going on with video levels. My aging eyes also appreciate the much greater real estate for critical focus and detail. Now that I have it, I wouldn't ever want to do without it.

March 9, 2013 at 10:35PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Anything with good contrast and sharpness with solid waveform monitor is a total winner in my book.

March 9, 2013 at 11:10PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom

Yeah, I always wondered about the use of the waveforms, parade and vectorscope via a good onboard monitor, as a replacement for a traditional Leader or Tektronix waveform....

I got a chance to demo a Tektronix WFM 5200 recently (fully featured costs almost $10k) and I wasn't all that impressed. I felt like the scopes on the free DaVinci Resolve were actually better.

When I learned about the advanced features of many new onboard monitors, I started to consider using an onboard such as an Ikan or Marshall instead of a traditional Waveform, for the following reasons...

1. Onboard monitors are 1/3 the price of a Leader or Tektronix Waveform.
2. Onboard monitors are smaller and more versatile.
3. Onboard Monitors serve dual purposes.
4. Onboard Monitors display the trace in color (RGB), which can be a huge help.
5. Onboard Monitors have higher resolution than Tektronix or Leader, which only go up to 720p at best.

Any thoughts on this? I might just go through with it...

March 10, 2013 at 11:09AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM