Every year, cinema technology grows more and more advanced, inventing new ways to make life easier on set. And much like other industries, film gear is starting to integrate with our smartphones & tablets for just about everything. From remote lens control and adjusting camera settings, to live monitoring directly on our phones, these tools are unlocking new ways to film.
The Serv Pro is one of those tools. It connects to any camera source and broadcasts the video to up to 10 iOS/Android devices nearby, allowing you to monitor the shot right from your own device. The beauty of this is, because every connected device can pick up the feed, there’s no need for crews to shove into Video Village and share monitors. Everyone on set can have their own.
VUER is the free app that makes this all possible. When the smartphone/tablet is connected to the same WiFi network as Serv Pro, VUER will automatically show the feed on the app’s control surface, all with just 2 frames (less than a second) of delay. It also provides an entire collection of monitoring tools like Focus Assist, Waveform and Frame Grab that each crew member can personalize for his/her own needs on set.
But one of the best features available on VUER is the ability to monitor 4 different camera feeds... all at the same time! Traditionally, monitoring on 4-camera setups meant laying miles of video and power cables all around set, not to mention that it's extremely costly for any production. Serv Pro solves this problem.
Using VUER, each smart device can receive 4 videos, which are then displayed on a 2x2 grid and are active simultaneously. Tapping on one of the windows allows you to see an enlarged view of it, giving you complete control over which camera you want to focus on.
So how does this setup work? Serv Pro operates in two different ways:
As an access point, the Serv Pro uses its built-in WiFi signal, allowing smartphones & tablets within 300 ft. to connect to the Serv Pro’s network. This is perfect if you’re only monitoring a single video source, since your device(s) would be pulling video directly from the Serv Pro itself.
MAKE films, a production house based in Pennsylvania, has been using Serv Pro as their primary monitoring source. Since most of their projects are run-and-gun, keeping their setups small, lightweight and wireless is key. They use a single Serv Pro connected to the RED, which the entire team uses to monitor on several iPads/iPhones on hand, including the Director, sound, hair & makeup and clients.
Check out their setup here.
The key to monitoring multiple cameras is a WiFi router. As a wireless device, Serv Pro can be connected to other networks, allowing it to send its video to that WiFi router. When your smartphone/tablet is connected to that network, it will automatically pick up the feed as if it was connected to the Serv Pro directly.
There’s multiple benefits to adding a router to the workflow. One, the wireless range becomes whatever strength the router has. For example, Serv Pro has a built-in range of 300 ft. But connected to the Link, any device within 1000 ft. can receive the video feed. (Link is a router designed for on-set use, and features set-ready qualities like Gold/V-Mount battery options, mounting versatility, robust signal and a rugged chassis).
The second benefit is the ability to monitor multiple feeds at the same time. If you have A, B, C, and D Cams and a Serv Pro on each camera, they can all be connected to the same WiFi network. When you connect any smartphone/tablet to that same network, all cameras will appear on the control surface.
DP Terry Zumalt makes this work flawlessly on the production of the Netflix Original, Last Chance U. Working on football fields, the production used 10 cameras to cover every possible angle. Each camera was mounted with a Serv Pro, sending the video to specific Link routers positioned between the cameras and Video Village.
From Video Village, Zumalt and his crew were able to monitor every camera from hundreds of feet away, all while just needing 3 iPads to do it. Check out how they do it here.
Whether your shoot has a single camera or multiple, Serv Pro gives you the ability to monitor with convenience. Simply connect every unit to the same WiFi network, connect your phones & tablets to the same network, and you’re good to go.
Learn more about VUER’s different features here.