How Are Different Filmmakers Using iOS/Android Monitoring?

Thu, Nov 29, 2018

Mobile devices are playing a bigger role on set these days. From remote camera control to color grading to wireless monitoring, we’re seeing a big shift in film production towards our smartphones or tablets to make life better on set. After all, even Shane Hurlbut uses certain apps that are essential to his workflow.

Serv Pro puts monitoring in the palm of your hands by allowing you to use your iOS and Android devices as personal, handheld monitors. While it doesn’t have the same zero delay of the Bolt line, it transmits video at just 2 frames of delay. It’s perfect for filmmakers who need a portable, lightweight and versatile way to monitor from anywhere on set.

Its companion app VUER also comes complete with tools you’d normally find in traditional production monitors too, such as vectorscope, focus peaking, frame grab and much more. The best part? Each crewmember with VUER can customize his/her own personal monitor, so crews get access to the tools they need without having to share the limited production monitors on set.

But with such a versatile array of features, everyone is using Serv Pro differently. From cinematographers to script supervisors to DITs, check out how these filmmakers all utilize Serv Pro & VUER to create their best films.

Terry Zumalt, Local 600 DP

All-Around Monitor

DP Terry Zumalt works on Last Chance U, a Netflix documentary centered on college football players. As a documentary, things can happen at a moment’s notice and cameras only get one chance to capture it. Cameras follow athletes around the university, with Serv Pros sending video feeds iPads carried by the whole crew - producers, director, camera assist.

In football games, they have 8 Serv Pros sending video back to 4 iPads (using multiview) in the video village where the production team can monitor all 8 cameras simultaneously.

MAKE films

Frame Compare

A small production company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, MAKE films creates commercial videos for local businesses and organizations. Derek Dienner, Founder and Director at MAKE, uses Serv Pro connected either to the camera or monitor, allowing his crew and clients to monitor from personal devices. They even send emails to clients about downloading the VUER app before they arrive on set so clients can monitor from a distance away from the action!

Additionally, Derek likes to use VUER’s frame compare tool, which takes a screen grab of the current frame and allows you to use it later to compare with the camera frame. It does this by overlaying the previous shot with the current shot, showing crew exactly how to position the camera, talent, objects and background to achieve the best precision. For MAKE, this allows them to achieve a neat look in their videos like the above.

Chris Cavanaugh, Local 600 DIT

Portable Monitors on Set

Chris Cavanaugh works on major film and TV sets where productions last months at a time. Video comes from the cameras to his DIT cart wirelessly via Bolt 3000s, which he routes to various monitors and devices on set. Two of the devices are Serv Pros, which give his crew the ability to monitor the shots from anywhere within range. “That way, anyone on set with an iPad or iPhone can connect to monitor without having to stand behind our production monitors.”

One Vote at a Time

On the Road

One Vote is a nonprofit filmmaking organization that creates commercial videos for underfunded political candidates around the country. Mara Tasker, Producer at One Vote, and her crew are constantly on the road going from candidate to candidate, with mostly little space for carrying around large, heavy production monitors. Instead, Mara and her crew use two Serv Pros connected to their Sony FS7 cameras, which allow them to monitor without needing a single hardware production monitor. This saves a lot of money on renting and buying monitors, and gives them the mobility they need to follow their candidates around town.

Tim Hawkins, DP

Frame Grab, Lighting, Client Monitoring

The popular British show Back In Time For Dinner got its own Australian adaptation this year, and Serv Pro was critical to the production. Tim Hawkins, DP and camera operator on the show, used 3 Sony F5 cameras (handheld and Easyrig) each with a Serv Pro. His entire crew monitored solely on iPhones and iPads. When Tim had to adjust lighting, instead of walking back and forth between the cameras and lights, he used his iPhone to see the shot from the set.

Executive producers and the series producer needed the shot as well, so they connected to VUER through their own tablets. This allowed them to monitor and take frame grabs of the shots to save them in their camera rolls.

Marianna Harrison

Frame Grab

As a script supervisor, Marianna’s job on set is ensuring the story stays consistent, but sharing a monitor with the crew at video village wasn’t the most efficient way. Marianna connects her Serv Pro to the video village’s monitor, which gives her access to the same video but on her tablet. This allows her to have her own personal monitor, which she uses to take frame grabs and write notes.

VUER also integrates with ScriptE, which gives Marianna’s frame grabs a timestamp of when the image was taken. Since ScriptE knows when you took the screenshot, it can automatically assign to the scene & take. This means no more having to take photos with the iPad back camera of the physical monitor.

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