… Lenovo S10 as a field monitor …

[The above picture was captured from my HD camcorder while streaming to the S10. Note the firewire card sticking out of the right hand side.]

As a “no budget” film maker, I’m always looking for interesting and harebrained solutions to problems that don’t exist. For instance …

How can I get a battery powered field monitor that shows me all kinds of relevant image data while I shoot video on location without lugging around my laptop?

Well … you could always get a really tiny laptop with a firewire adapter. The Lenovo S10 is a 10.2″ netbook that has an expresscard 34 slot. I picked up an expresscard to firewire 400 adapter and plugged it into my new S10.

It was detected and my Canon HV20 was recognized. I installed Adobe OnLocation CS3… but there was a hitch! OnLocation looks for a 1024×768 monitor and won’t run without one. In order to get this thing running, you need to set your display preferences to a “virtual” 1024×768. The native resolution of the S10’s LED monitor is 1024×600.

This worked and OnLocation was able to stream to my little tiny computer. Cool.

I wouldn’t recommend streaming a high def HDV signal though … the lag time is about 2 seconds! OnLocation has to decode the stream on the fly so it looks like the 1.6GHz CPU in the S10 just won’t cut it. Heck … my 2 GHz Core2 Duo won’t even cut it for live HDV streaming. Standard definition material seems to work just find with only a slight lag.

I haven’t given it the real test yet … so I’ll have to get back to this concept at a later date.

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