Review: OSEE LCM215-E Field Monitor

OSEE is maybe not a company you may have heard of before, but if not, they are a China based+ manufacturer specialising in professional monitors, ranging from camera mounted field units to field units, quad split displays and quad split generators.

I confess I had not heard of them either (although of course you may have), and only came across them by accident in a Facebook / Twitter feed (shock horror, these new fangled social media things CAN be useful).

I dropped them a line to see if they had any Australian representation with a view to perhaps reviewing some of their kit and received a very quick answer offering me one of their units for a “play”.

Too good a chance to pass by and perhaps they may send me a camera mounted unit as let’s face it, freight from (presumably) China to the wilds of the southern forests of Western Australia was not a trifling amount of money.

So when the Australia Post lady (as agents for StartTrack here) struggled through the door with a dirty great box, I was somewhat dumbfounded to find that my contacts at OsEE, Dawn and Lisa, had sent me a full blast 21” LCM215-E field monitor.

I have since learned the full HDR model due out soon (this does not have HDR) is USD$1399, so AUD$2K give or take a bit with the current exchange rate.

Technical Details

The LCM215-E has a daylight bright 1000Nit panel that displays in DCI-P3,SMPTE2020SDR* and REC709 Colour spaces and the image processing is achieved with OSEE’s own proprietary 12 bit Image ‘Lude’ engine. This displays on screen what OSEE calls “Look Profiles” that are claimed to have the industry’s highest accuracy LUT (Look Up Tables) technology.

Included in the monitor “out of the box” are 10 camera de-log LUTs and 4 user LUTS that are preloaded with “film look” LUTs all ready to go.

Assist functions include, Waveform with Vector Scope, Zebra, False Colour and Focus Assist which can be utilized with SDI, HDMI inputs and OSEE say that “Unmatched colour reproduction is assured by CalMan and Light Space colour calibration and applied as our Look Profiles.”

For field work where 240v power may be difficult to access at times, the LCM215-E has a four hour battery operation time on either V or AB mount batteries (260W). Further accessories are available – or coming very soon – including c0-stand adaptors, mounting plates for other accessories, screen protecting sun hoods, and a waterproof hard case.

I am assured even more accessories are in the design phase.

rear panel

1. Power Switch1. Power Switch
2. Power Input
3. SDI1 IN, SDI2 IN(BNC)
4. SDI1 OUT, SDI2 OUT(BNC)
5. HDMI IN(HDMI)
6. Ethernet(RJ-45)
7. GPI interface(RJ-45)
8. RS485 (RJ-45)
9. Line IN (Unbalanced signal RCA connector)
10. L OUT, R OUT(RCA)Audio Output
11. Headphone Output Connector (3.5mm stereo Jack)
12. LINE1 IN LINE1 IN LINE1 IN
13. LINE1 OUT LINE1 OUT LINE1 OUT
14. LINE2(CVBS LINE2(CVBS LINE2(CVBSLINE2(CVBS /Y) IN
15. LINE2(CVBS LINE2(CVBS LINE2(CVBSLINE2(CVBS /Y) OUT
16. LINE2( LINE2(Pb /C )

Adding feet.jpg

Features

The standard colour space used in most Ecinema projectors , DCI-P3, (so I am told) is supported by the LCM215-E.  Apparently, according to OSEE, this is unique to the LCM215-E and allows you to make full use of a camera’s wide gamut without clipping and is particularly important in digital film production.

Each LCM215-E is precision calibrated for DCI-P3, REC2020SDR, and REC709 colour spaces.

As mentioned, there are 10 pre-loaded de-log LUTs and these are:

PANA VLOG V709
CANON CINCL2 WDR
CANON CINCL1 WDR
PANAVISION R709
SONY SL3C L709A
SONY SL@ LC709A
RED RLF RG3
BMD PC FILM V2
BMD CC FILM V
ARRI LOG 709

… so that covers the major bases then …

If your camera utilises an anamorphic lens, a nice feature called “Anamorphic Desqueeze” enables de-squeeze for HDMI, HD-SDI, 3G-SDI and 2K signals in screen aspect formats of 16:9, 4:3 and x1.3, x2.0 Anamorphic desqueeze plus x2.0 MAG Anamorphic desqueeze.

Up to 16 Channels of SDI embedded or 2 channels of HDMI audio levels can be displayed with a choice of options including level reference settings and gain.

Out of the Box

The contents of the box were surprisingly sparse – there was the monitor panel, power cable, a small package of screws and two – initially – indeterminate mounting brackets.

The rear of the monitor was literally peppered with mounting points and template markings as well as a plethora of connectivity ports. The front of the display is dominated by the actual panel with a row of soft touch switches across the bottom of the bezel – which is quite wide, about 1.5cm all the way around.

Top centre is a single white lamp that after reading the manual, I discovered is a simple Tally indicator.

Speaking of the manual, whilst apparently is supposed to be one shipped with the monitor, mine came without so I need to contact OSEE to get a PDF version – all 85 pages of it!

The first thing to do was to figure out how to attach the brackets, and I confess, without the manual – despite my enthusiasm for Meccano – I might have been baffled.

According to the manual, there are two types of supporting mounts; a standard pedestal type mount, or as in my case, a pair of “feet”.

What baffled me (sans manual) was that for one of the feet, none of the machining holes matched up so I could not figure out how to actually put the two together.

Once the manual arrived, the situation became more explainable. The machining of one of the holes on the left hand “foot” was incorrect by about ½ cm, so this foot could only be held on by one of the pan head screws.

No matter, it seemed stable enough, and after advising OSEE I was assured that all their stocks would be checked to see if this was an isolated case. I assume so, and anyway, if you had just spent a couple of grand on a field monitor, I am pretty sure a proper replacement would have been winging its way to you very rapidly if my dealings with OSEE have been anything to go by thus far.

Front Panel

As mentioned, this is made up of 11 soft touch switches, one of which is a an input selection button, there are 5 function buttons, an up and down menu operation button, enter button and the Power / Lamp button.

The Input selector lets you toggle through SDI1 and 2, CVBS Line 1 and 2, Y/C, YPBPR and HDMI. The current selection and its menu are displayed on screen.

Pressing any F button will display the assigned Functions. Pressing the desired function will select the function. When selected, the Function will then toggle through the desired setting including OFF.

The function of each button can be set via the menu.

In Operation

Not having access to a SONY F5, RED or ARRI at the moment (!) my test with the LCM215-E was limited to my well loved and trusty proven Panasonic HC–PV100 using HDMI.

To short circuit a whole bunch of words, I found it easier to make a short video of using the LCM215-E as you can see here. The footage was captured using a Panasonic VFX995 (in HD mode not 4K).

Conclusion

Yes, vast experience of using field monitors is not my forte, but having now had a taste, I can see just how valuable they are. It is so much easier to frame up using a larger image, and of course reviewing your footage becomes a dream as against squinting at high noon into an LCD flip out or viewfinder.

You also get a much better idea of what the ambient lighting is like, and much more accurate colour representation of course.

As you can see from the video, we do recommend the sun hood for the LCM215-E. I fudged a bit, not having a bespoke one for the monitor, and retro fitted a sun hood from a 25” BENQ monitor I have here, and while not perfect, it makes quite a difference in the harsh, summer West Australian sun on a not-that-hot-a-day – around 28˚Celsius, but certainly very bright and sunny.

Overview OSEE LCM215E Field Monitor from Auscam Online on Vimeo.

The sun hood for the LCM215-E is not here as yet as far as we know, being in the list of “coming accessories”, but it cannot be that far away.

We Liked: The colour accuracy, huge options for connectivity, lightweight, can work on battery power, value for money

Needs Work: The inaccurate “feet” machining, lack of manual in the box, sun hood not standard (as it is with other brand field monitors)

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Website: www.osee-dig.com/lcm215-e.html

Price: USD$1399 inc HDR (our review unit did not have HDR)

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