Video Field Monitoring

I picked up a quick tip from the DOP and DV Rebel class at fxphd that I tried out this week. We shot a basic 3 point lighting, person sitting down and talking video for our MC graduation next week.

One thing I’ve noticed is I can’t trust the flip out viewfinder on our camera. Even using zebras has led me astray at times. So the tip I used is actually 2:

1) I created a card with pure white, 50% gray and 100% black on it. I then had each person hold the card as we shot so I can easily correct any exposure problems in post.

2) I used the scopes in FCP to monitor as I shot. I did this by connecting the cameras firewire port to my MBP and using log and capture. I didnt’ capture anything but you can monitor your shots. Specifically with the camera zoomed into the gray card I can see on the scopes where my white, gray and black values are. So I can adjust exposure so my whites are as close to 100 without blowing out and my blacks are as close to 0 without being crushed. I think the whites ended up being around 90 and the blacks around 10.

We’ll see how it comes out. The MCs actually shot the video after I helped them setup and they are supposed to log and capture and get a rough edit for me. I’ll finish the shots for them by fine tunning the edits, color grading, establishing a look and audio work.


May 3, 2008. Video.


  1. Video Field Monitoring Update « creative|ideas replied:

    […] on May 7, 2008 by Dave Just wanted to post a quick followup. The footage I got from using this technique were great! It was the first time my images were spot on right out of the […]

  2. Church Tech Arts » Field Monitoring replied:

    […] Cut Pro as a field monitor and scope setup [Edit: Source located; I read it at Dave Smith’s blog creative | ideas—thanks, Dave!]. It seemed like a good idea and I had a shoot today, so I tried […]

  3. Color Correction can save your… « creative|ideas replied:

    […] to gauge proper exposure. I typically run the image through my laptop and use the scopes in FCP (more in this older post) but this was a little more run and gun. One thing that appeals to me about the new HP-170 from […]

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