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12.22.2008
Wohler RM-3270W-HD Dual Monitor
The Wohler RM-3270W-HD dual HD/SD-SDI video monitor is part of a lineup of compact, high-resolution LCD monitors that offer displays ranging from 1 to 8 RUs. The RM-3270W-HD reviewed for this article provides two 7-inch displays. However, the complete product line offers great variety, ranging from a single 19-inch monitor, on down to a slim rack of eight 1.8-inch displays. All products in the line are HD/SD capable with both SDI and analog inputs.

The ability to monitor multiple video sources simultaneously is very useful in many applications, such as in studios or field shoots with multiple cameras.

FEATURES

It is hard to talk about one monitor in the Wohler product line due to the variety of models offered creating numerous options for meeting monitoring needs. You can rack-mount sets of dual monitors if is a 7 or 9-inch display you desire. Or you can mount several four or eight display units if the quantity of monitor displays is more important than screen size.

The Wohler RM-3270W-HD dual SD/HD-SDI video/audio monitor
The Wohler RM-3270W-HD dual HD/SD-SDI monitor has specifications representative of others in the product line, and its dual monitors provide a desirable screen size.

In addition to the twin 7-inch widescreen LCD displays, the RM-3270W-HD also offers audio monitoring. There are built-in stereo speakers and a headphone jack to allow the audio to be heard and visual audio monitoring is provided for eighth channels of embedded audio.

The RM-3270W-HD is light and slim, weighing only four pounds and measuring nineteen inches wide and about two and a half inches thick. The front panel provides a row of buttons under each screen to quickly select such features as aspect ratio, blue screen, underscan, along with three user-defined settings. There are two BNCs associated with each monitor: an input and an SDI output. The input side of things accepts an HD/SD SDI signal or an analog composite signal. The monitor automatically senses and displays the appropriate source input. Time code is displayed if it's available in HD or SD SDI signals. The rear panel also contains a tally light connection.

Obviously, for any video monitoring system, image quality is a priority. The RM-3270W-HD provides a screen resolution of 800x480 and a contrast ratio of 400:1. Viewing angles of up to 60 degrees in both horizontal and vertical planes are supported. The RM-3270W-HD uses end-to-end digital technology to produce 262,000 colors and 72 percent color gamut.

Some users who've switched from CRT monitors to LCD displays have expressed concern about a possible lack of brightness capability in LCD displays. Recent technological advancements have overcome such limitations. The RM-3270W-HD can be adjusted to a brightness that rivals or exceeds that of a typical CRT monitor and can provide better performance in a wider range of ambient light conditions.

IN USE

The compact design and light weight of the RM-3270W-HD are impressive, but even more impressive are the crisp and true image quality and instantaneous ease of use.

Operating the RM-3270W-HD monitor is exceedingly simple, as it automatically detects and displays the incoming signal. I first tested it using the composite signal from a Panasonic HVX200 HD video camera by simply connecting the camera, switching on the monitor and observing the camera image.

I tested a number of lighting situations, scrutinizing the monitor for resolution and color fidelity. Under all lighting conditions—indoors and out—it maintained unwavering image quality. Color values remained true despite the exposure level, and all nuances in color were faithfully conveyed when compared against the visual reference of the camera LCD and my own vision.

One of the first things I look for in any monitor is ease of calibration. The RM-3270W-HD monitor makes this a snap by providing a blue-screen button. After activating the camera's SMPTE color bars and pressing the "blue" button, I was quickly able to adjust the brightness and hue of the monitor for accurate calibration. The RM-3270W-HD monitor also provides instant access to crucial controls without having to go into the menu. When the "enter" button is pushed, you can scroll through controls for audio monitoring, volume, brightness, contrast, saturation, sharpness, and hue. This provides a fast way to calibrate the monitor to a color bar signal.

Fast Facts
Application
Audio/video signal monitoring

Key Features
Accepts both analog and SDI SD/HD video signals

Prices
MSRP $2,995.

Contact
Wohler Technologies Inc. | 510-870-0810 | www.wohler.com
Other "quick" buttons on the monitor allow you to switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios and to toggle between normal and underscanned displays. Three user-defined buttons can be assigned in the menu to execute one of eight functions: H/V delay, volume up, volume down, OSD control, color bar, audio monitoring, area marker, and safe marker.

Pressing the "menu" button brings up a small screen with seven icons on the left. Scrolling through the icons provides a set of items that can be altered. The "video" icon brings up a sub-menu with controls for image attributes, such as brightness and hue. The "audio" sub-menu allows you to select which channels to monitor, along with other parameters such as volume range. Other sub-menus provide control of the marker lines on the display, under scanning, H/V delay, status indicators and a "config" menu for assigning functions to the three user buttons.

If you are familiar with the controls for one monitor, you have it mastered for the rest, whether there are two, three, four or more displays.

In my opinion, the best thing about the RM-3270W-HD monitor is that it is essentially plug and play. The menu provides useful controls, but I found that the monitor actually didn't need to be calibrated. When I checked it with the color bars from the Panasonic HVX200, all of the presets were correct.

I further tested the monitor as if I was doing a two-camera shoot. I connected a second HD camera and was able to compare the two images. The obvious advantage of this field monitoring capability is that two different cameras can be adjusted to minimize any visual differences between them. This can shave off hours of color correction in post work. Seeing the image from two cameras side by side on monitors that are technically identical provides an ideal system for camera matching.

SUMMARY

The Wohler RM-3270W-HD dual monitor offers outstanding image quality in a design that is space efficient and easy to use. The rack-mounted design allows one to construct a monitoring array by adding additional units to handle any number of video sources. And the consistency of image quality between monitors in the product line is a real plus for matching different cameras and video sources in the production stream. The image quality and versatility of this monitor makes it a product everyone should consider when seeking to create or upgrade a control room or mobile production system.

Geoff Poister, Ph.D., is a member of the Film and Television faculty at Boston University and a regular contributor to TV Technology.



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