Check out No Film School’s review of the Serv Pro here.
The film industry is constantly finding new ways to get better shots and simplify their on set workflows, and there’s no better representation of this than Teradek’s newest monitoring solution, Serv Pro! With more and more productions shedding the limitations of cabled systems, wireless video has become an essential piece of every cinematographer’s toolkit.
But some filmmakers may be skeptical on whether or not a product like this is necessary or practical on set. So we’ve broken down some reasons why Serv Pro users love iOS monitoring.
1. It Frees Up Video Village
You probably know all too well that dreadful feeling of literally everyone on set packed together like canned sardines in the video village to watch replays. Productions that have just a single monitor have to suffer from overcrowding around that monitor for critical info, and if you’re unlucky, that includes clients too! This not only wears the entire crew out, but also drags down the consistency, quality and overall morale of the team as time goes on.
The Serv Pro aims to eliminate this. Connected to any camera on set, the Serv Pro broadcasts a feed which is picked up by iOS devices on the same WiFi network, giving up to 10 people their own handheld monitors to see the shot. Instead of huddling around the director’s monitor, crewmembers can watch the feed without needing to move from their positions. This leaves more space for the director and DP to focus on adjustments, and also helps the rest of the crew understand their adjustments.
2. A Low-Cost Solution
It’s no secret that monitoring systems cost an arm and a leg, and even more when it comes to wireless systems. High-profile productions with deep pockets can afford to have multiple monitors on set, but most productions will have one or two split amongst several crewmembers.
Thankfully, iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches cost just a fraction of what hardware field monitors cost and offer just as much functionality. What’s even better is that the Serv Pro allows production crews to use iOS devices that they might already own.
3. Professional ToolsBut the Serv Pro doesn’t just turn your iPad into a basic monitoring screen. Using Serv Pro’s companion app, VUER, you gain access to an entire suite of professional tools commonly seen on production monitors like waveform, vectorscope, frame grabbing, focus assist and much more. Anyone with a connected iOS device has access to these options, giving each critical member of the team a personalized view of the shot that they can customize for their individual roles.
The VUER app allows users to view up to 4 different camera feeds at the same time, all with just 2 frames of latency. Each Serv Pro also comes with dual-input HDMI & 3G-SDI options so they’re compatible with just about any on-set workflow. With every critical member on set monitoring the shot from their positions and customizing their own view of the feed, everyone can be on the same page, making it easier to make adjustments and collaborate.
4. Freedom of Wireless
Wired systems are at an impasse. While reliable and stable, traditional monitoring devices rely on long stretches of cables on set which means limited range and more stuff to trip over. On top of that, how many times has your crew needed to move on to the next set, only to have to spend time figuring out how to organize and transport tethered systems and heavy monitoring equipment?
Productions are moving quicker and crews are getting smaller these days. When you’re moving from shot to shot with short deadlines, the last thing you want to worry about is wasting time hauling around and positioning your equipment.
That’s why the Serv Pro simplifies this process on set. With up to 300 ft. of built-in WiFi range (extendable with Teradek Link or 3rd party WiFi routers), Serv Pro allows anyone on set to monitor while moving around freely. In addition, since most of the crew would have their own monitors, there’d be no need for looking over camera ops’ or focus puller’s shoulder, giving them the space to freedom to focus on their roles without interfering with other people.
5. Keep Clients At Bay
Cinematographers know this all too well: you’re trying to focus on directing the project but clients are breathing down your neck, taking up precious video village space, following you around, asking nonstop questions. If there’s one thing users of Serv Pro have enjoyed, it’s telling clients to download VUER on their own iPhones or iPads and keeping them happily far from set.
Since Serv Pro allows up to 10 iOS devices to connect simultaneously, most productions could spare a connection for clients to pop in and monitor. In addition, thanks to WiFi Assist on iOS 9 and newer, iPhones and iPads connected to WiFi networks without Internet will continue to use cellular, meaning clients can switch between seeing the feed and checking their emails.
One thing should be made clear though: iOS monitoring isn’t designed as an alternative to traditional wired and/or wireless monitoring systems since seeing a zero-delay feed is critical for DPs on set. However, Serv Pro offers benefits unparalleled by traditional systems like portability and low-cost, making it extremely versatile for all levels of productions.
Learn more about Serv Pro here.