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Testing Times Why test and measurement is for real life, not just for engineers. by Will Strauss T hanks to its long-standing association with virtually incomprehensible acronyms, dark machine rooms and (let’s face it) engineers with unruly beards, the subject of Test and Measurement (T&M) always gets a bit of bum rap. Yet, for all the pre-conceptions, it is a hugely important part of the production and broadcast chain and there’s nearly always something interesting to read and write about. This article is, hopefully, no exception. Ladies and gentlemen I give you: Camera T&M. How so? If you’re sitting comfortably, I will begin. As a scene is being shot, a DoP, filmmaker or camera operator has to know how to interpret the colour and brightness of the image, work out if it is in focus and, ultimately, decide how it will look on screen. A decent monitor or viewfinder will give him or her a fair idea but it is not always possible (or appropriate) to trust your eyes for this task because they can make certain TV Logic VFM-056W - Mountable Monitor with Waveform/Vectorscope Particularly well-suited to a DSLR, a Sony F3, a RED or just about any other digital cinematography camera, the TVlogic VFM-056W is a 5.6” HD LCD monitor with HDMI and 3G HD-SDI inputs – including HDMI to HD-SDI loop- through. It also features a Waveform and Vectorscope with Luma and Chroma display plus a Luma (Y’) Zone Check and range error. allowances. Eyes are clever like that. In this scenario, T&M is the answer. You probably wouldn’t call it that on a day-to-day basis. But that is what is required. To check the image you would probably need two T&M tools in particular: a vectorscope that will show you just how saturated your image is and where the pixels in the image land on the color spectrum; and a waveform monitor that converts video signals to waveforms (obviously), representing brightness and saturation levels in order to show the luminance (or ‘luma’) information from the image. Leader LV 5330 - On- Camera Waveform Vector Monitor Specifically designed for on-camera operation the LV 5330 is a multi-SDI test monitor with picture, waveform, vector, audio and status screens that can be displayed individually or in multi- screen representations. Cinelite and Cinezone are also included to provide measurements that are fathomable by technical and operations folk alike. A screen capture function is also included. Using these tools it is possible to accurately envisage overall exposure range and produce clear, colorful shots, regardless of what you are filming. Now, one option is to use a dedicated piece of rack-mounted or handheld T&M equipment. But you don’t have to. Field and camera-mounted monitors with built-in testing tools are also available. In no particular order, here are 10 camera T&M tools to consider: SWIT S-1070F - HDSDI/HDMI Monitor with Waveform The SWIT S-1070F is a 7-inch LCD monitor with a TFT screen that has a resolution of 1024x600. Switchable between 16x9 and 4x3 it has HD/SD- SDI and HDMI input and loop through output plus Waveform, Vectorscope and an RGB Histogram. 42 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 79 JULY 2013 TV-BAY079JUL13.indd 42 09/07/2013 16:52