Over the years, smartphones and tablets have become valuable assets to indie filmmakers. With the different peripherals and applications supported by products like the iPad and iPhone, content creators have found creative ways to take advantage of smartphone technology – whether it be using an iPhone as a light meter or mobile recorder to using an iPad as a camera remote during production.
Filmmaker Armando Ferreira has discovered another way smart devices can be leveraged to aid the daily workflow on set. By using the Serv Pro by Teradek, he was able to turn his new 2018 iPad Pro into a Wireless Director’s Monitor (or field monitor) in a few simple steps.
For those who might not be aware, the Teradek Serv Pro is essentially a small, router-like device that can wirelessly transmit the video signal from your camera to a maximum of a dozen mobile devices, including an iPad, iPhone, or any other iOS device.
The specs of the unit include image transmission of up to 1080p with a 2-frame latency. It also accepts both SDI and HDMI as inputs, powered by either a D-Tap, V-Mount Battery, or with its included AC Adapter and can operate on 5 GHz Wi-Fi as a complementary tool to zero delay wireless systems like the Bolt series.
Beyond that, you can integrate the system into your existing wireless network via an ethernet connection. This functionality allows you to transmit the video signal on a pre-established wireless network that covers large areas. However, you may also opt to use the built-in networking capabilities of the Serv Pro, if so desired.
To actually view the video signal from the Serv Pro, you will need to download the Teradek VUER App onto your smart device first. When you launch the app, you can view up to four video feeds if you have several Serv Pro units on hand.
Inside of the application, you also have access to professional video assist features such as histogram, waveform, vectorscopes, false color, peaking, focus assist, LUT support, frame lines, frame grab alongside the ability to compare, magnify, and even de-squeeze the image in case you are shooting anamorphic video.
Teradek Serv Pro Highlights
Wi-Fi Video Monitoring Solution
Use Free iOS App to Monitor Video
Up to 1080p Resolution
Only 2-Frame Latency
Includes Professional Monitoring Tools
Integrates with Local Network
Multi-Cam Monitoring with Multiple Units
Monitor on up to 10 iOS Devices
While the wireless signal allows you to compose and preview your shots, the noticeable amount of latency from the device means that for mission-critical monitoring, such as when focus pulling, the Serv Pro is not an ideal solution. That being said, the Serv Pro is oriented towards professionals who need to simply monitor what’s going on in front of the camera – such as a director, script supervisor, or people who are part of the hair and makeup department.
Keep in mind, though, that for $2,000, the Serv Pro is definitely not a cheap purchase by any means. However, with the ability to connect up to ten smart devices at once, it may be a worthwhile investment as you do not have to buy several monitors that cost a few hundred dollars each.