From our ongoing exploration of 10 Things You Should Know Before Shooting with RED Epic:
3. You’re Limited with Monitor Outputs and Options
Having an electronic view finder (EVF), an on-camera monitor, and a director’s monitor via BNC connection is a standard monitoring setup for most camera rigs. The camera operator uses the EVF while a camera assistant references the on-board monitor for menu navigation and focus.
The director, meanwhile, can relax and enjoy the view from video village with other above-the-liners.
With the RED Epic, you can still finagle this setup, but it requires playing a bit of musical chairs.
Because, unlike the RED One which had dual outputs for RED branded LCDs and EVFs as well as an HD-SDI output, the Epic gives you one RED display output and one standard HD-SDI feed.
Essentially, you’re working down from three outputs for three monitors to two outputs for three monitors. So what does this all mean?
No RED EVF and RED LCD at the Same Time
Basically, that in the Epic’s standard setup, you can’t run a RED EVF and RED LCD (touchscreen or not) at the same time. You pick one or the other.
But to get around this limitation you have two options:
- Use the RED Pro I/O Module
The Pro I/O module provides quite a bit of power in a cube that mounts to the back of the camera. Among XLR inputs/outputs, you’re given many more lemo power outputs as well as BNC connections for genlock, pgm, and previews. And, yes, you get another LCD/EVF jack for a 2nd RED display.
- Attach a 2nd Monitor/EVF by HD-SDI or HDMI
As an alternative to a 2nd RED display port, the Epic has an HD-SDI output and an HDMI output. You can choose to use a third-party monitor or EVF by feeding it the signal from one of these ports. But be aware that HD-SDI and HDMI cannot output video signal simultaneously — again, you pick one or the other.
Oh — one last thing — did I mention the Pro I/O module hasn’t even shipped yet? July 1st, 2012 is the expected date, but not promised. Which means you’re kind of stuck with option two for at least a couple of months.
Utilizing Pass-Through Monitors to Complete the Setup
And if you’re stuck with the 2nd option, you’re going to want a third-party monitor or EVF that supports signal pass-through. That way you can also attach the third monitor to be placed at video village for your director.
Otherwise, you’ll run the HD-SDI feed to your on-camera monitor where it’ll come to a dead end. That may not be a big deal on small shoots, but on a large cinematic film-style set, there’s no way that would fly. Producers and directors love their video village too much!
The lack of outputs on Epic also becomes an issue if you’re using a third-party device such as the Teradek Cube to record dailies or editing proxies.
The most important thing you can do is ensure your monitor chain — utilizing pass-throughs — is seamless and works while in camera prep.
Many of these issues will be solved when the Pro I/O module is released and, to some extent, the Meizler Module as well. But until that day comes and until the orders proliferate throughout the fleet of Epics, we’re stuck playing musical chairs with a setup we’ve become accustomed to.
And when the music stops, without adding more chairs ourselves, someone is getting left out.
What monitors or workflows do you recommend when working with Epic? Have you tried to recreate the three-monitor setup or do you succumb to the whims of RED and ditch either the LCD or EVF? Share your stories in the comments!