The majority of filmmakers would agree that while having a field monitor is crucial on almost every occasion when filming on set, it could be a hefty investment overall. What’s more, it gets indeed harder and harder these days to find an affordable monitor with a great display, advanced video assist features, and pro-level I/O. But what if there’s a device in existence already that offers all the features listed above plus many more?
Josh of Momentum Productions reviews the PortKeys HH7: a 7-inch field monitor that provides high-class video monitoring features at a relatively low cost. In combination, he pairs the unit with PortKeys’ proprietary Claymore Wireless Video Transmission System to get a full-fledged wireless monitoring solution without breaking the bank.
Running through the basic specifications, the HH7 comes equipped with a 7-inch panel rated at 1200 nits, perfect for viewing footage in bright sunlight – even without a hood. Furthermore, the monitor has a native resolution of 1900×1200 and accepts HDMI 4K signals that are downsampled to 1080p.
It also features 4K HDMI passthrough (in and out), several 1/4”-20 screw points around the unit, a headphone output jack, a USB connection port for importing LUTs, and dual hot-swappable Sony NP-F battery plates on the back to power the unit.
In terms of build quality, the HH7 is constructed with a sturdy material. With its durable design, you should feel a sense of ease as this product won’t simply fall apart, even when operating in a hectic work environment.
Regarding software functionality, the HH7 contains several video assist features to help monitor your video feed. These features include audio metering, focus peaking, false color, histogram, and LUT support for viewing Log/flat-looking video streams.
In addition to the HH7, PortKeys also offers their Claymore Wireless Video Transmission System for a cable-free monitoring experience. While the device is compatible with non-PortKeys monitors, the Claymore system is built to integrate with the company’s own products.
On the back of the HH7, there are gold pins which act PortKeys’ proprietary connector. This allows the receiver unit to simply clip onto the HH7, using the connector to transmit power and A/V signals to and from the monitor – thereby eliminating the need for an additional cable and/or battery.
The transmitter, on the other hand, will require you to connect an HDMI cable from the camera to the unit. Additionally, both the transmitter and receiver can be powered via a P-Tap connected battery, or with a Canon battery using a separately purchased adapter. In terms of I/O, the transmitter has both SDI and HDMI inputs while the receiver features an HDMI Out port.
By combining both the HH7 monitor and the Claymore Wireless Video System, you’ve got yourself a relatively low-cost yet well-performing monitoring setup. The video transmitted to the monitor appears crystal clear, with the HH7’s video assist features coming in handy when it comes to nailing down image exposure, focus, and color.
Even more surprising is the fact that despite the use of a wireless video system, there is virtually no lag present. This is especially useful when performing time-sensitive tasks, such as focus pulling on the fly.
While the setup is definitely an appealing monitoring system to consider, there is one minor caveat with the monitor-transmitter combo. PortKeys admits that there is a faint chirp present when using the wireless setup, however, it can only be picked up in complete silence.
For some, this may be somewhat of a major disadvantage or even a deal-breaker. Nonetheless, for the price of this system coming at less than most professional products out there, it’s hard to beat PortKeys’ offering. I definitely put my money on that.