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Flanders CM 250 – The Lighting and Exposure Monitor of the Future

Flanders Monitor

Last November, I was a speaker at CCW in New York. I have done this small show two years running and love the size and the vibe of the audience. I did one keynote each day and the rest of the time I was left to roam the floor. This particular year the monitor section was extensive. Since the event was not that crowded, I had time to really focus on each vendor, get their sales pitch, look over their specs and see the image for myself.

“What I learned”

After doing this for two days, I settled on one monitor and one only. All the others were a distant second. If I compared this to the Indy 500, the Flanders CM250 would be at the finish line and the others would be on lap 125.

WHY????
There are many things that I have learned moving into this digital age. One of them is to believe in your eye. I did this when I shot motion picture film; why not with digital? Well, your eye has now become the monitor. These cameras are coming out so fast. The testing of their latitudes and weighing their pros and cons is a daunting task. I have started to rely on some waveforms as well as false color recently and I have to say, the waveform does nothing for me. The false color is everything — finding a monitor that I can trust and count on to deliver what I see on the 24” will be conveyed to the 60’ movie screen. The CM 250 is a 24” OLED display that is crisp, clean and delivers beautiful blacks. It is your eyes into your creation.

“What do I like best about it?”

The Flanders allows you to dial your levels of false color into where you like them, choosing the specific colors that you prefer. It displays a range bar on the right of the screen so that you can remember those values and where they land. Waveforms provide an overall scale of where your exposure is at. To pinpoint where my levels are falling, I use the false color on the Flanders. What I particularly like is that each color on the IRE scale is adjustable so you can pinpoint your middle grey, highlights and shadows.
 
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It delivers the cleanest true blacks of any monitor I have seen while giving an image that resembles a 60 foot movie screen in its subtleness of color, contrast and sharpness. It is not a monitor that is trying to be too many things. It is not a jack of all trades, master of none. It masters your creation exactly how you want to expose it and how you want to light it. This is worth its weight in GOLD!!!!!

“On the set”

On Fathers and Daughters, director Gabriele Muccino and I are using two Flanders CM250s right next to each other. I am not in some black tent with someone spinning wheels and making LUTs. I am right next to the director, listening to the performance, right next to the cameras, discussing their performances, discussing the look, the lighting, right there, no surprises. The director sees exactly how it will look. Gabriele looked at the monitor and asked, “Is this what it is going to look like in the theater?” When I said yes, he wondered, “Why do we need a DI then?” This is absolutely beautiful and exactly what I want. HA HA! I laughed and said, yep, EXACTLY!!!!

“How I set up my monitor”

False Color: I set the clip level at about 95% and make the color white be clipped. Red is in the 90s, Yellow in the 80s. Mid 50s is neutral grey. I like to underexpose faces sometimes so I like the blue green color to show that around 25-35%.

LUTS:
You can load your own personal LUT into the monitor if you would like to do so. Currently, you can just load one. I like using just the Rec 709 myself. I feel it gives me the cleanest whites and this is what most DI houses use as a benchmark.
 
Flanders Monitor
 
Waveform:
I use this once in a while to see levels. I keep this baby in the bottom right corner if needed, but with false color, I do not do that much anymore.

Aspect ratio lines:
I like to set one monitor with transparent black 2:35 lines because that is our aspect ratio and the other with solid 2:35 lines. This way I can see what part of the frame I still have to work with.
 
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Picture in picture:
This works great when I am monitoring two cameras at once. Seeing both images side by side in one monitor is useful in tight situations like a small video follow fan.

Baby pin mount:
The baby pin mount is a must have for mounting the monitor onto a c-stand or any kind of cart.
 
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Anton Bauer back:
When AC power isn’t available, the Gold mount on the back is useful for powering the CM250 in the field.

The beauty of this battery back is so you can go mobile, BABY!!! On Fathers and Daughters, we just completed a shot that was four minutes long with Aaron Paul and Amanda Seyfried. It involved starting on the second floor of a brownstone apartment, then moving down the stairs to the first floor. A fight ensues and Aaron races back upstairs to get his stuff. Amanda follows; we go with her. They argue in her bedroom and then at the top of the stairs. Then Aaron races back down the stairs out the door and onto the street where he gets into his car. Amanda follows him and tries to stop him from leaving. He drives off and leaves her lying on the street. Lighting this scene required me to go mobile with the 24 inch CM250 and the Teradek Bolt, so I went upstairs, all over the house, and then eventually outside where I used the power of the Flanders and the Anton Bauer back to make sure all the light looked perfect.

 

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“All the tech specs on this baby”

• 1920×1080 Resolution OLED Panel
• 12 Bit Video Processing, 10 Bit OLED Panel (1.073 Billion Colors)
• CFE2 Color Management, supports both look LUTs and calibration LUTs
• Simultaneous Viewing of Two Inputs, mixed formats supported
• Instantly Selectable Rec 709, EBU, SMPTE C, DCI P3, Native Wide Gamut, & Custom User Created Color Spaces
• Standard 3Gbps (Level A&B) & Dual-Link SDI Inputs Included for Support of Advanced Signal Formats
• 4:4:4 YCbCr, RGB, & XYZ Signal Support
• Embedded Timecode Display (VITC 1, VITC2, LTC)
• Automatic On-Screen Indication of Source Frame-rate & Resolution (toggle on, off, or 5 second display)
• DSLR Zoom for Full Screen Scaling of DSLR Sources
• On-Screen Alarms (IRE Threshold, RGB Alarms, Loss of Signal, Audio Mute, and more)
• Adjustable Focus Assist (Focus Meter and Focus Highlight in Red)
• Wide Variety of Standard Markers & Safety Areas
• User Adjustable Custom Marker Feature
• Pixel Zoom Feature – Adjustable Artifact-Free Zoom On Any Portion of HD Signal
• CX Scale (video example): Full Screen and centered scaling of Codex ARRIRAW Recorder output
• Active Video Boundary Marker
• H/V Delay
• Blue Only Mode
• Monochrome Mode
• HD Anamorphic De-Squeeze (1.3x, 2.0x, 2.0xMag)
• AFD Reader
• Overscan/1:1 scan
• Freeze Frame Picture by Picture (Sub Window)
• 13 Quickly Selectable Scopes (Display Up to 2 at the Same Time)
◦ Luminance Waveform with Adjustable Intensity
◦ Vector Scope with Adjustable Intensity and Gain Expansion
◦ Hue Vector Scope with Adjustable Reference Vector
◦ Color Coded RGB Parade with Adjustable Intensity
◦ Color Coded GBR Parade with Adjustable Intensity
◦ RGB Overlay with Adjustable Intensity
◦ Column Scope Showing Min/Max YRGB Range
◦ Histogram, Color Histogram, & RGB Histogram Scopes
◦ YCbCr Scope with Adjustable Intensity
◦ YCbCr Overlay Scope with Adjustable Intensity
◦ Audio Phase Meter (Select Any Stereo Pair of Embedded Audio Channels)
• Audio Disembedding to Built-In Speakers or Audio Output
• 16 Channel Audio Level Meters
• Color Temperature Selection
• Gamma Selection (1.0~2.8) as well as C-Log and S-Log monitoring modes
• SD Aspect Ratio Selection (Anamorphic/4:3)
• Advanced Pixel Level Measurement Feature
• 3D Signal Analysis Modes for multiplexed Level B 3Gbps SDI signals
◦ Left Eye Only
◦ Right Eye Only
◦ Picture and Picture
◦ Horizontal Split with Adjustable Split Position
◦ Vertical Split with Adjustable Split Position
◦ 3D Disparity
◦ 3D Line by Line
◦ 3D Checkerboard with Adjustable Checkerboard Size
• Exposure Level Indication with LUM Coloring feature
• Remotely Controlled Tally Lights (Red/Green/Amber)
• Camera Record Status Indication triggered by Camera SDI Flag
• Ethernet Ready* (*not ready at product launch, will be added via firmware in future)
• AC (100~240V) and DC (24V 4PIN XLR) Power Connectors
• Durable Diecast Aluminum Frame
• Compatible with FSI’s Direct Connect Automatic Alignment as well as LightIllusion’s LightSpace CMS

“Conclusion”

I have used so many different monitors in the past and this one is the Maserati. It lives and breathes beauty. Flanders has permanently lowered the cost of the monitor to 50% of what it originally cost. This is huge and makes it affordable.

What monitors do you light with?

Author: Shane

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26 Comments

  1. Looks spectacular. Im still using a BT-LH1700, it won’t die. That and a light meter.

    Have fun in Vegas.

    Post a Reply
    • Peter Nicoll, trash that goddamn thing and get out there and buy the CM250, you are working your ass, you could not even come to NAB, missed you

      Post a Reply
    • Peter Nicoll, thank you so much my friend, unfortunately we could not hook up in Pittsburgh. I was so slammed. How is the family? How are you doing?

      Post a Reply
  2. Great article! Right now I use the SmallHD AC7 OLED for all my lighting and onboard camera monitor. I was impressed with how much easier life is with the larger AC7 over my previous SmallHD DP6 setup. Bigger definitely seems to be better when it comes to monitors. I think I would be very blown away to use something like the Flanders on set! Baby steps. Baby steps ;)
    Keep up the great work Shane!

    Post a Reply
    • Spencer Weaver, get that 24 inch as quickly as you can, you miss so many subtleties on the small monitor. Do not my mistake that I did on Need for Speed where I exposed everything off of the 7″ OLED. Burned me and I underexposed everything.

      Post a Reply
    • Spencer Weaver, thank you so much Spencer, so sorry it has taken me so long to answer these, I had over 600 in a month. OUCH!!! getting through it though. Yes bigger is better. On Need For Speed I used the AC-7 and felt I missed so many subtleties and things in frame that I just could not see on the small screen. Especially lighting on female faces, so important.

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  3. I use a Flanders LM-2140W and love it. It works great out in the field and in the editing suite. For me, FSI is one of those must see booths at NAB and I can’t wait to feast my eyes on their entire line next week.

    Post a Reply
    • Brian Bud Dickman, they are an amazing company that I think is really getting it right

      Post a Reply
  4. Using Panny 17” and Small HD 7” OLED right now, but I ordered the FS CM250 B-Stock from NAB. Will be here near end of the month, oh yeah.

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  5. Hi Shane. First off thank you for an awe inspiring blog.. Learning something new with every post.
    I have a query regarding False Color you mention here & Canon C-LOG exposure… I read (may be wrong) you shot with C500’s on this movie and also on Need for Speed. How do you expose for C-log? I find the recommended 32% middle grey is a bit under and I have to bring it back quite a bit in post and leaves the shadows quite muddy.. I use a C100 and false colour on my Atomos Blade to set exposure.. I like that you can turn on rec709 mode and see closely what you should get.
    Where do you prefer your highlight/shadow values to land for C-Log.
    Would love to read an article on exposure.. Thanks and keep them coming..

    Post a Reply
    • Norm Harvey, you are very welcome and thank you for you kind words. The REC 709 out of the C100 and C500 is not a good LUT, it will force you to under expose your image huge. I do not use that at all, I output C-log then use the REC 709 on the CM250 to expose with. I put my faces at 45-55, I do not believe that 32% bullshit. Highlights I look at and keep under a 100 when I can, blacks I keep right at 8%. I will do an exposure blog, great idea

      Post a Reply
  6. Thanks Shane for the article ! Looks like good monitor. I personally use SmallHD DP7 LCD version. I love it. Waveform and LUT’s are great and biggest help on set. By far my favorite monitor.

    Post a Reply
    • Aram K, cannot go wrong with that monitor. A beauty did you see there new real time grading option with the monitor now and it sends its LUT’s down stream to all monitors on set. Now that is forward thinking.

      Post a Reply
  7. FS monitors rule. I have the CM171 and, despite the size, it performs way better than larger monitors from other manufacturers.

    Post a Reply
    • Emiliano Ranzani, could not agree more, thanks for sharing

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  8. Hi Shane, great blog. Thank you. I am a proud owner of a cm250. I love it and plan on getting another soon. I have had issues with mounting the monitor on my cart securely during small moves. Right now I have a vesa to baby pin and it works fine mounting to the baby pin on my cart. But when I get two I’ll want them side by side. I see you have a cross bracket that looks like a great solution on a backstage converted cart. Where did you get that? Thanks again, K

    Post a Reply
    • Kyo Moon, Doug are video playback tech built that. I will ask him and get back with you.

      Post a Reply
  9. Hi Shane. Saw this at NAB and am considering getting one for my C500. I too thought that it would be the best possible tool for lighting. I suspect you are shooting this film in 2k not 4k, and, are you just using mon out with Rec 709? I am using 4k a lot. Is there much difference when lighting to a 2k capture as opposed to 4k on the Canon? I mean would this monitor not being 4k give the director and producer on set a good reference to what would be projected? Thx.

    Post a Reply
    • Scott Devitte, It is the best monitor I have ever seen. I am shooting 2K because on the C500 it looks much more filmic. The latitude of the camera shows its hand so quickly in 4K where in 2K the over exposure looks much more filmic because you do not have another 2000 lines showing you that you have clipped the shit out of your highlights. Because I like to let them blow like I did on film. I am not bothering with a 4K monitor solution right now, everything you need is right there on the CM250. I never use the REC 709 out of the C500, the LUT sucks, just send log and use the REC 709 on the monitor to do it. Hope this helps

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  10. Great blog Shane, loving your work. Ive just ordered my CM250s, was considering the TV Logic route but the FSI handling of blacks and the scopes/LUTs outweighed it for me. Out of curiosity where did you get the 2 x monitor cross bar config for the maginer you have in your pictures?…looking to build a similar setup. Best, O

    Post a Reply
    • Oli, Thank you so much for your kind words. Our video playback guy Doug had that made by a fabricator.

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks Shane! Look forward to hearing from you. Happy lighting and monitoring!

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  11. Just bought my first monitor, the CM171 in a field kit, petrol bag, C stand mount. chuffed… will look into setting up false colors.

    Post a Reply
    • WOW takes shooting with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera to a whole new level. Much easier to judge exposure and to see any problems in the frame I may have missed using a small screen, the 17″ rocks!

      Post a Reply
  12. Hi, thank you for your superb review.

    What would be the advantage comparing with the Tv Logic XVM-175W.

    Thank you very much.

    Gui

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