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Building an Affordable Wireless Director’s Monitor Setup


We very recently discussed building your own portable 1st AC focus station, so how about a director’s monitor? Admittedly a very similar concept as in many indie productions having some control over the camera is useful, this take on a director’s monitor uses some different components that you might want to check out instead of the ones featured in the AC setup.

This one also has a focus on affordability. If you have always wanted to have your own director’s monitor then watch this video from Tom Antos as he details all the bits and pieces needed for his setup.

At the heart of a director’s monitor kit is of course the monitor. In this case it is the PORTKEYS HS7T. It is a decently-sized 7” Full HD monitor with support for 4K footage and has both HDMI and 3G-SDI inputs and outputs.

It has a high brightness as well at up to 1200 nits. A solid metal construction brings it all together.

Image Credit: PORTKEYS

The monitor is easy to use with a menu dial and an array of buttons to help control it. Four of the buttons are customizable for triggering different functions. It’ll help you quickly bring up monitoring tools like waveforms or false color. The monitor runs on the common Sony NP-F L-series battery and has two slots for hot swapping.

One cool feature is the Sony NP-F battery adapter. This allows you to mount accessories that require NP-F batteries to the monitor to run it all off a single power source. Considering the Hollyland Cosmo C1, which we will get more to later, runs on these batteries it is incredible easy to mount and keeps everything clean.

Hollyland makes some very solid wireless transmissions systems. The Cosmo C1 will do a Full HD signal up to 60p at distances up to 1,000’ away. Tom actually tests the range and it is impressive.

The full range, if you can get and need that, will require line of sight and minimal interference, but in any normal working range you should have a solid, stable connection. Just make sure to move the antennas to get the best angle if you are pushing the limits.

Latency is a serious concern if you plan on doing some focus pulls. In Tom’s tests he put this at about a 2 frame delay. That’s very workable if you are careful.

Image Credit: Hollyland

As for build, the transmitter is well designed with a small OLED display for settings. It also works at the 5GHz frequency for less interference with everyday wireless devices and faster speeds. You can also use the USB-C port to connect the receiver directly to a computer for streaming if you want.

There are a few options for getting the transmitter set up just right. It comes with mushroom antennas for working in areas without direct line of sight and it can be easily mounted to a camera’s shoe mount.

To keep things together and easy to carry Tom put the monitor and receiver on the PORTKEYS HD-1 Cage. It has a few 1/4”-20 taps and a spot specifically for the monitor with space around it for your accessories.

It’s only a few pieces and looks like a professional director’s monitor. Each component is also very affordable relative to the market and will look and work well based on the tests.

[source: Tom Antos]

Order Links:

  • PORTKEYS HS7T II 7” High-Bright Monitor (B&H, Amazon)
  • Hollyland Cosmo C1 Wireless Video Transmission Kit (B&H, Amazon)


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