One of the biggest things that seperates the big guns from the amateurs when it comes to cinematography is speed. You need to be able to light, make things relevant to the story, maintain a level of consistency and at the same time do it as quickly as possible. Time is money on set and the more ways you can eliminate set up time the better. Reading through ASC cinematographer Shane Hurlbut’s website I came across a great idea of mounting a reference monitor to the top of a pelican case. This made the monitor extremely quick to set up and also very agile. So I recently set out to design my own set up building on the hard work that Shane and his team had already put in.
I started by choosing my monitor. There are so many different options and budget levels out there that it can quickly become overwhelming. After going through all the specs and testing out a few I decided that for my needs in the color suite and on set the Flanders Scientific CM240 was the one that ticked the most boxes. It is extremely accurate and is at home on set and in the color bay. It has all the professional bells and whistles while not being a beast to lug around. One of the best parts of the FSI is the control panel that is free to customize for each user. I can set up waveforms/false color/focus assist all with the touch of a button. Little features like that speed things up immensely.
Once I had my monitor I had to come up with a way to mount it to the Pelican case without actually piercing the outer shell. I wanted to keep the case weather proof/bomb proof and you can’t do that if you crack the outer shell. Luckily for me the Pelicans ship with a pretty beefy handle that I was able to incorporate in to the design so that it could take the majority of the load.
So here is what I came up with. The CM240 is mounted to a vesa to light mount that I got straight from FSI. Although a little pricier then some of the options out there this thing is rock solid. No shifting or sliding to speak of. You set it and forget it. Then I went down to our local Home Depot (Bunnings here in Australia) where I found a mental joint normally used for roofing applications. I took the baby stem desktop mount from FSI down with me and they measured up perfectly.
As I said before the main thing I wanted to accomplish with this build was speeding up the set up and tear down process. That meant that this had to be a tool less operation. I permanently fixed the Baby stem to the plate I got from the hardware store with a series of bolts and then for attaching the mount to the case I drilled two holes in the Pelican handle and used two thumbscrews to secure the mount to the case. It works fantastic. The weight of the monitor counters the pull from the mount and the whole system is rock solid with not additional support.
From arrival to set up takes a few seconds as everything is neatly stored away inside the pelican. I attach thetwo thumbscrews, mount the monitor, and attach the V-lock battery and away we go. Shaving minutes off of set up time means I have that little bit extra to finesse the set up/lights/creative.