A director’s monitor is an important tool in video production and filmmaking. It serves as the director’s window in any ongoing production. Its main purpose is to allow you real-time visual monitoring and elevate your ability as a director to guide the technical and creative aspects of the entire shoot. Moreover, this monitor will enable you to view scenes as they are being captured through cameras so you can asses framing, lighting, composition, and aesthetics.
So, how do you find the best device with all the great features? This article will show you the 5 best director’s monitors in 2023. You will also learn about the important factors to consider before deciding on any monitor. And as you move forward in the article, you will explore the features, price, advantages, and disadvantages of all the products.
Factors to Consider before Choosing the Best Director’s Monitors in 2023
Before you empty your pockets to purchase the best monitor, you must consider numerous essential factors to ensure you pick the right director’s monitor that meets your needs. Remember, director’s monitors are required for reviewing and monitoring scenes during production, so you must make a wise decision. Here are some essential factors to consider.
a. Construction and Portability
Assess the overall build quality of the monitor. Try to find a lightweight monitor with a portable, rugged design. This will ensure that your monitor can handle rough usage. Portability also plays a vital role in selecting the director’s monitor, allowing you to travel with the equipment easily.
b. Panel Technology
There are several popular display technologies you should look for in a director’s monitors. This includes LED, OLED, IPS, or LCD. Remember, each panel has its own benefits and disadvantages in terms of contrast ratio, power consumption, viewing angles, and color accuracy. The highly recommended technology is the LED and IPS. However, monitors with these panels can be of high price.
c. Resolution and Screen Size
Pick a correct resolution and screen size that suits your viewing requirements. A higher resolution with a larger screen offers a better viewing experience and permits in-depth video analysis.
Whatever monitor you choose, make sure it has correct and sufficient input and output ports, such as SDI, HDMI, or Display Port, to connect your video playback devices, camera, or other equipment. Some director’s monitors also have a headphone output for monitoring the embedded audio. So, if you can find those, they can be a great choice. But bear in mind that not all monitors give you the option to monitor audio. Most of the brands only focus on the visual side. But companies like Atomos and Blackmagic Design offer audio monitoring in their products.
e. Color Fidelity
Remember, color accuracy is something you cannot compromise because it is important for evaluating a video’s quality. Look for director’s monitors that ensure the reproduction of accurate colors. Plus, the chosen one should have the capability to calibrate the video display to make sure the colors are true.
Most director’s monitors are not touchscreen, and they work fine. However, if you can find monitors that are equipped with touchscreen functionality, feel free to give them priority. These are time savers, as they allow you to adjust the settings quickly. Nevertheless, touchscreen director’s monitors can be a bit pricey.
g. Mounting Options
Check whether or not the director’s monitor supports different mounting options, including hot shoe mounts, VESA, or arms. If you don’t find these, then make sure the monitor fits all the standard mounting stands.
Set your budget according to your requirements. It is suggested to buy a professional and expensive director’s monitor if you really need it. Otherwise, look for low-priced brands with useful features.
Comparison Table – 5 Best Director’s Monitors in 2023
|Brand||Price||Display Size||Resolution||Touch||Panel Type||Aspect Ratio|
|Atomos Shinobi 5”||$299.00||5.2-inch||1920 x 1080||Yes||IPS LCD||16:9|
|Lilliput A12||$539.10||12.5-inch||3840 x 2160||No||IPS LCD||16:9|
|Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7||$995.00||7-inch||1920 x 1200||Yes||TFT LCD||16:10|
|SmallHD Cine 13||$4,699.00||13.3-inch||3840 x 2160||No||LCD||16:9|
|TVLogic F-7HS||N/A||7-inch||1920 x 1200||No||LCD||16:10|
5 Best Director’s Monitors in 2023
If you want to buy the best equipment for monitoring scenes while sitting on the director’s chair, here are the 5 reliable director’s monitors to consider in 2023.
1. Atomos Shinobi 5”
The Atomos Shinobi 5” is an HDMI on-camera director’s monitor with UHD 4K, HD, and DCI 4K video input. It comes with a 10-bit FRC IPS screen that has a 1000 cd/m2 brightness, making it ideal for use in both internal and external environments. It has an AtomHDR technology that permits you to correctly monitor the log gamma footage without compromising the image colors. The monitor also supports all popular formats, such as Canon, Sony, Panasonic, RED, JVC, and ARRI.
As the name suggests, this Shinobi monitor has a 5-inch IPS LCD with LED backlight, allowing you to view it even on a bright day without any covering. It is also observed that HDR and log signals are often difficult to monitor with ordinary devices, but the Atomos Shinobi 5” comes with an integrated HDR management functionality. It converts the log signal into PQ standard to ensure compatibility with almost all types of HDR equipment.
The Atomos Shinobi 5” is built-to-last rough handling during production. It has a lightweight chassis made of plastic and requires a 1x L-series battery. It also comes with a 12-volt power supply. Moreover, it has some great traits, including onscreen analysis for exposure, focus assistance, and framing.
Features and Specifications of Atomos Shinobi 5”
- IPS LCD panel
- 16:9 aspect ratio
- 5.2-inch display size
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 4K UHD/DCI and HD functions
- Anamorphic De-Squeeze technology
- 3.5mm HDMI input and output for audio monitoring via headphone port
Pros of Atomos Shinobi 5”
- Very inexpensive with excellent features
- Despite being affordable, it has a strong and durable build
- It has better battery performance than other monitors within this range
Cons of Atomos Shinobi 5”
- Some users find the focus assist feature not up to the mark
- $299.00 (As seen on Amazon)
2. Lilliput A12
Lilliput A12 is one of the renowned director’s monitors known for its portability and screen size. With a 12.5-inch display, this monitor is made for UHD 4K and HD projects, and this product itself is a 4K monitor. If you think it’s a gigantic device that takes up a lot of space, you will be glad to know that it has a slim and lightweight design.
The Lilliput A12 director’s monitor provides different connectivity options, such as 3x HDMI 1.4 inputs @ 4K 30 fps and 1x HDMI 2.0 input with a 1.2 input DisplayPort for 4K visuals @ 60 fps. Moreover, it comes with an SDI input that lets you connect various professional-grade HD devices with this monitor.
The Lilliput A12 also offers a wide range of monitoring tools for framing, focus, and exposure, which really enhances the overall image clarity. It also provides easy mounting options through 4x 1/4-inch 20 threads over the edges with rigid support to attach 75mm VESA brackets at the back. These mounting options allow you to attach studio equipment more securely.
If battery performance is your major concern, the Lilliput A12 has a power flexibility trait using the V-mount battery plate. This allows you to connect heavy and large batteries to extend the usage time on the field. That means you can use this director’s monitor all day with ease.
Features and Specifications of Lilliput A12
- IPS LCD
- False color
- Quad view
- 16:9 aspect ratio
- Image flip and freeze
- 3840 x 2160 resolution
- Safe and center markers
- Under and over scanning
- Color temperature adjustability
- 31.8 cm (12.5 inches) display size
Pros of Lilliput A12
- Affordable pricing
- This director’s monitor offers great horizontal flip functionality
- It displays numerous screen types as per your requirements
- The product has a good display quality, providing finer details of the visuals
Cons of Lilliput A12
- It does not come with clear instruction manual
- Users are required to manually switch off underscan
- $539.10 (As seen on Amazon)
3. Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7 12G HDR
The Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7 is a 12G HMDI/SDI HDR recording monitor that improves the video by adding professional-standard monitoring and high-quality recording capabilities. It has a 7-inch display with 2500 cd/m2 brightness that improves focusing shots and framing. The monitor is friendly to HDMI and 12G-SDI inputs, perfect for capturing video output from consumers as well as professional cameras.
The Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7 comes with 2x balanced 3-pin XLR inputs (mini) along with a 48-volt phantom power. This device permits recording and monitoring of HDR video up to UHD 2K/4K, DCI 4K, and 10-bit HD 4:2:2. And not only that, but it also gives you 16 channels to monitor 48kHz 24-bit embedded audio.
From the recording point of view, this monitor comes with UHS-II SD slots to accommodate USB Type-C or XC/SDHC memory cards. It supports industry-grade codecs, including Apple ProRes, DNxHR, and DNxHD for recording.
Talking about the monitoring and display, the Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7 provides touchscreen controls for quick access to main settings. You can also use the touchpad to adjust histograms, vectorscope, waveforms, and more. This director’s monitor also supports a USB webcam.
Features and Specifications of Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7 12G HDR
- 7-inch display
- 16:10 aspect ratio
- 1920 x 1200 resolution
- Touch screen TFT LCD
- AC adapter with Dual L-series slots for battery
- Option to use Blackmagic Raw with select camera models
Pros of Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7 12G HDR
- Good value for the price
- This monitor is a powerful equipment for HDR-related workflows
- It shows correct PQ2084 signals without compromising colors
- Easy adjustment controls for contrast, saturation, and brightness
Cons of Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7 12G HDR
- The display size could have been bigger
- This director’s monitor has a high learning curve – recommended for experienced users
- $995.00 (As seen on Amazon)
4. SmallHD Cine 13
If you want a director’s monitor equipped with the latest technology, the SmallHD Cine 13 may have what you need. This monitor has a sharp display of 13.3 inches with a 10-bit DCI-P3. This ensures you visualize 100% true vibrant colors with a Rec.709 standard coverage. Talking about the brightness, this director’s monitor reaches up to 1500 cd/m2 with a contrast ratio of 1300:1. These figures make the monitor perfect for viewing videos in UHD 4K.
The SmallHD Cine 13 provides 4x 12G-SDI inputs/outputs and HDMI ports (2.0). Besides, you can also connect your headphones through its 3.5mm output in case you need to analyze embedded audio. Cine 13 also has a Page Builder (PageOS 4) that provides pre-configured pages and adjustable page tabs with an impulsive UI, allowing you to access various monitor functionalities, such as false color overlays, pixel zoom, peaking, calibration wizard, focus assist, and more.
If talking about the power options, the SmallHD Cine 13 gives you a Gold mount/V-mount battery plate or a 4-pin XLR, so you can effortlessly choose the best power option. This monitor also permits powering peripherals via multiple output options. When it comes to data handling, the monitor has an SD card slow for RJ45 GPI port, RJ45 Ethernet port, and 3D LUTs.
Features and Specifications of SmallHD Cine 13
- LCD panel
- PageOS 4
- Edge-lit display
- 16:9 aspect ratio
- Quad and dual-view
- 4x and 2x pinch-zoom
- 3840 x 2160 resolution
- 13.3 inches display size
- Swappable power options
- RGB and Luma histogram
- Manual and auto image flip
Pros of SmallHD Cine 13
- It offers a good amount of I/O
- The device has 8x user preset buttons
- It is a lightweight and durable director’s monitor
- The colors are sharp, adding ease to monitoring
Cons of SmallHD Cine 13
- Extremely expensive
- The monitor lacks a built-in power supply
- The covers for SD card, screen protector clips, and speaker covers seems non-durable
- $4,699.00 (As seen on the official website)
5. TVLogic F-7HS
The TVLogic F-7HS is a Full-HD director’s monitor with a 7-inch display. It is known as the high brightness field monitor since it provides 1800 cd/m2 with improved peaking and sharpness function through refined image processing. The F-7HS offers optimal performance as it is equipped with professional features and high-quality pictures.
The TVLogic F-7HS also provides different color adjustments, enabling you to monitor video signals in the best way possible. Moreover, this director’s monitor permits you to upload your own 3D LUT files created through color-grade tools and apply them. This function lets you monitor customized views as well as allow you to compare various on-set grading images.
Features and Specifications of TVLogic F-7HS
- H/V flip
- Zoom split
- 7-inch display
- Simple LCD panel
- 16:10 aspect ratio
- 1920 x 1200 resolution
- USB Firmware updation
- Remote control via RJ45
- Screen tally and tally lamp
Pros of TVLogic F-7HS
- Easy to use
- Good construction
Cons of TVLogic F-7HS
- Not enough information is available about this monitor, such as price
Director’s monitors can enhance your filmmaking experience, as they reveal how the frame and scenes will look on screens. To find the best director’s monitors in 2023, you must look for several factors, including color accuracy, display size, resolution, and more. So, if you are looking for low-budget monitors with great features, you have options like Atomos Shinobi 5 and Lilliput A12. But if you can manage to raise your budget a bit more, you can go for the Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7. However, if pricing is not an issue, you can look for SmallHD Cine 13. Although it is an expensive monitor, it has excellent features.
Q1. Which of the director’s monitors is best?
It depends on your needs. If you need a larger display size, you can look for Lilliput A12. If features matter to you more, you can go for the Blackmagic Design Video Assist 7 or SmallHD Cine 13.
Q2. Do I need a 4K director monitor for filming?
Experts recommend that a 4K director’s monitor reproduce colors more accurately and give you a clear view for analysis.
Q3. Is IPS better than OLED?
LED panels provide a high contrast ratio and great black levels. IPS panels have high brightness levels.