Blackmagic Monitors Perfect Fit at ScheffTech

Brian Scheffler
PEORIA, ILL.—When I attended this year's NAB Show, I only had one day there to make final purchasing decisions in connection with building out our HD production truck. We were shopping for everything from a video switcher to camera cables.

Blackmagic Design had several NAB product announcements, and we chose to outfit our truck with that company's SmartView DUO monitors that feature dual HD LCD screens in a 3RU package.

These SmartViews are located throughout our truck and serve several functions ranging from monitoring scoreboard clocks to instant replay previews. Most of the SmartView monitors were set up to be directly routable via our Blackmagic Design Videohub router. This allows each of our clients to customize their monitoring configurations.


The monitor's $695 price tag allowed us to purchase several extra SmartView monitors for our truck, providing us with HD monitoring in more positions than we'd originally planned, such as the inputs and outputs of our replay server. This server is equipped with four inputs and two outputs, and we have it set up with all of the inputs routable, allowing our replay operator to record four individual cameras or a mix of cameras, and program, preview, or other feeds. The new SmartView monitoring gear allows the operator to monitor both inputs and outputs to ensure that the correct signals are being fed to the production switcher.

The Videohub router and extra monitors provide us with a lot of flexibility and functionality. Also, we're starting to use some of the other features that come with the SmartViews to make our lives easier. In addition to the SDI loopthrough inputs, the monitors are equipped with Ethernet and a 9-pin tally interfaces. The Ethernet port allows us to configure the SmartView via a network connection with the free Windows/Mac utility from Blackmagic Design. We have a lot of Blackmagic Design gear in our truck and we can set it all up from one location with a single laptop computer. The Ethernet connectivity allows us to make brightness and contrast changes, assign IP addresses, and even name each of our SmartView DUO monitors.


Another nice SmartView monitor feature that we use a lot in our live production work is the tally interface. This allows us to add red, green, or blue tally borders on the monitors, something that is really helpful for our replay operator. We've set things up so that a red tally around the monitor indicates that the replay video is being fed out on the production switcher. This feature has helped us to prevent unintended on-air switches.

To date, we've used our newly configured HD truck for more than two dozen productions and we've been more than happy with our decision to outfit it with Blackmagic Design gear, especially the SmartView DUO monitors. The flexibility and price point of the equipment fit perfectly into our plans.

Brian Scheffler operates ScheffTech Productions, LLC, in Peoria, Ill, and specializes in live remote broadcasts. He may be contacted at

For additional information, contact Blackmagic Design at 408-954-0500 or visit