By associate editor Elliot Smith:
SmallHD’s 500-series of monitor/viewfinders has proven very popular since its introduction and has found a home in a lot of kit bags if the SmallHD Instagram account is anything to go by. The company are now updating both the 501 and 502 to firmware version 2.0.
This adds downstream LUT support for both models, which is independent of how the picture is being used on the monitor itself: very useful for allowing the camera operator to view a flat Log-style image and for clients to have a LUT applied so they can see how things will look a little further down the line in post.
Additionally for the 502 with its increased number of physical connectors, it’s possible to cross convert between HDMI and SDI signals, send outputs down both signal paths and choose to apply a LUT to each signal (or not).
Other usefully upgraded features include an RGB parade and the ability to save a user profile to an SD card that can be imported across a number of monitors to ensure they all match.
The firmware update is free and is available now from the SmallHD website.
All in all this sounds like a useful upgrade for a handily-sized range of monitors.
This from SmallHD:
SmallHD’s New 500 Series Firmware Update adds HDMI/SDI Signal Conversion, Downstream 3D LUTs, and more
Cary, North Carolina: August 5, 2015—SmallHD, pioneers of compact, HD field monitors and accessories, releases an extensive set of free features for the brand new Sidefinder, as well as 501 and 502 Full HD 5-inch on-camera monitors—via firmware upgrade version 2.0. Exclusive to SmallHD, the new firmware unlocks the ability to output video containing an embedded 3D LUT to other devices downstream using HDMI, SDI or both at the same time.
“Firmware 2.0 really provides more flexibility and efficiency on the set,” says SmallHD CEO Wes Phillips, “It helps you communicate your creative vision through the sharing of the looks on other displays, and more importantly, it can really help you impress your client.”
SmallHD’s new 500 Series monitors and Sidefinders are amazingly compact and deliver 1920×1080 resolution images on vibrant 5-inch screens. The monitors were initially launched with core features like framing guides, focus assist, false color and zebra exposure indicators, as well as 3D LUT import capability. High-end features like Waveform, Image Capture and Audio Meters, DSLR Scale, and Anamorphic De-squeeze were later added in version 1.2.
Now, version 2.0 instantly adds a new set of high-end features, especially for the 502 monitor and 502 Sidefinder. This begins with the new ability to convert signals from HDMI to SDI, and vise versa. Using either an HDMI or SDI input, these 502 displays can now output both HDMI and SDI at the same time, providing tremendous flexibility for monitors and/or recording devices downstream. Shooters may choose to send the SDI stream to their B camera operator, while connecting HDMI output to a wireless transmitter to send to the video village for the client.
In addition to dual simultaneous outputs, a look or 3D LUT can now be sent downstream via SDI and HDMI. 3D LUTs typically come from color grading applications and are used by SmallHD monitors to provide a clear idea of what a live shot will look like as a finished product. Using a 500 Series product, downstream LUTs can be assigned independently of what is being viewed on the display due to the innovative pages system of presets. A specific output page shows exactly what signal and LUT is being sent downstream, freeing the operator to set up tools on other pages to check focus and exposure without impacting the downstream signal. This tool both satisfies the client and keeps the crew on the same page.
Finally, several other convenient tools have been added: RGB Parade, which shows a waveform for the three primary colors in the video signal, SDI metadata can now be accessed and displayed on the monitor, adjustments to brightness and contrast can now be made in the settings menu, and now, all the customizable settings and pages mentioned above can be saved as a “profile” onto an SD card. Profiles can be quickly installed on other 500 Series monitors on set to match them all up, or stored for future use with a specific camera type.