How to Record and Monitor Videos Wirelessly on Your Sony a7S III and FX3

Building a rig and working with equipment gets a lot easier when you can eliminate some cables. One area that only changed very recently was getting reliable wireless video transmission.

There are a few methods of doing this, either with dedicated devices like the Hollyland Mars 400S PRO or via built-in Wi-Fi and mobile apps, and figuring out the best combination or setting can require some work.

Or, you can check out this tutorial from filmmaker Alex Perri. He has a nice setup using the Sony a7S III and FX3, though you can likely apply a lot of this info to other camera systems.

Right off the bat Alex comes out and says that Sony’s own Imaging Edge app is garbage and not worth using. He’s kinda right. I don’t think any brand has ever come out with an app that users actually enjoyed using. That means we will be looking elsewhere for a wireless video solution.

Up first is the pro pick—a dedicated wireless video transmission system. A good, relatively affordable model is the Hollyland we mentioned earlier. The cheaper option is a third-party app called Monitor+ that works like the Sony app, but way better. The question to ask is whether the cheaper app option is good enough or whether it is worth forking over extra cash for the dedicated hardware.

Image Credit: Hollyland

How do we connect these to our Sony camera?

For Monitor+ you’ll need to dive into your camera’s network settings. You’ll find a “Ctrl w/ Smartphone” setting to turn on. Head on down to connection after that. The camera should show a QR code for quick pairing. Monitor+ has a nice connect via QR code setting which you should use now.

Once you are connected you should get a nice full-screen view from the camera along with your settings. It looks great on a larger display like an iPad.

The Hollyland is actually a simpler setup since it is just basic HDMI connections. You go HDMI out from your camera to the transmitter and then go from the receiver to your monitor of choice.

Make sure things like channels are the same and the units are paired and you are good to go. It’s essentially plug-and-play. One thing to check is that the transmitters only support Full HD 1080p, so you’ll have to change your camera’s output to that.

Next, we will want to check out the different features offered by the two methods.

Monitor+ has an advantage by piggybacking off of Sony’s remote camera control features. The app shows a live feed along with providing access to tons of camera settings.

You can set frame rate, shutter speed, ISO, focus modes, and so much more. There are also a bunch of monitoring tools, like zebras, waveforms, aspect ratio guides, peaking, false colors, LUTs, and more. It’s essentially a fully-featured monitor.

Image Credit: Sony

For the wireless transmitter there aren’t too many real features for the device itself. However, you can use whatever monitor you want to use, so that could be a super nice option with a ton of advanced features or it could be a budget pick with some barebones settings.

Where the dedicated devices do better is with transmission reliability and range (up to 400’) and in latency/image quality. The Hollyland Mars 400S PRO can even transmit to four smart devices at the same time.

Latency is a huge deal if you want to pull off any movements or adjustments in the middle of a shot. You can’t pull focus if the image you are looking at is delayed by a few seconds. You’ll have to keep this in mind and no wireless system is perfect for this yet.

Smaller or more casual setups will likely be just fine with the Monitor+ app. It’s cheap and easy to use. Plus, it uses a smartphone or tablet you already have.

For where you need more reliability or distance than the Hollyland is a better pick. The dedicated hardware will work much better and if you have a crew around then this is a big deal.

Have you used any wireless video monitor tools?

[source: Alex Perri]

Order Links:

  • Sony a7S III Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • Sony FX3 Cinema Camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • Hollyland Mars 400S PRO Wireless Transmission System (B&H, Amazon)

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