Portable Field Monitors are an essential tool in video production, giving you an accurate representation of the image being captured while providing various monitoring tools like Waveform and Histogram. Field monitor technology has taken leaps forward in recent years, adding valuable new features while greatly reducing size and weight.
Convergent Design continues to drive innovation with the Odyssey7, a 7.7-inch portable 1280 x 800 OLED monitor with a touchscreen interface. But the Odyssey7 isn’t just a monitor. It’s also a powerful HD video recorder capable of capturing 4:2:2 1080p video over SDI and HDMI to proprietary Convergent Design 2.5-inch SSD drives using the Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec.
The Odyssey7 is a beautiful field monitor and a powerful HD video recorder thats perfect for video professionals with a 1080p workflow.
If you need 4K or RAW support, Convergent Design has a more advanced model called the Odyssey7Q+ and an ever-expanding selection of optional firmware upgrades. The Odyssey7 isn’t as versatile and has fewer ports, but it’s still a beautiful field monitor and an excellent media recorder for HD video producers with a 1080p workflow.
Out of the Box
The Odyssey7’s magnesium-alloy body is solid yet lightweight at only 1.2 pounds. The only power option in the box is an AC adapter with three interchangeable plugs (US, UK, and European standards). Fortunately, a variety of battery packs and mounting accessories are available from Convergent Designs and third-party companies.
To use the Odyssey7 as a recorder, you’ll also have to pay a little more for one of Convergent Design’s proprietary 2.5-inch SSDs. These solid state drives are available in 256GB, 512GB and 1TB capacities. They’re pricier than many other SSDs but have higher sustained read/write speeds and offer data protection by recovering and closing clips in the event of lost power. To transfer your files to a computer, there are many available SSD Sata adapters for USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt.
It takes a few minutes to register and set up the Odyssey7 for the first time, and you should spend time getting familiar with the touchscreen interface before taking it into the field. The portable monitor can be mounted on a stand or camera rig using 1/4-20-inch mounting threads located on the sides and back. However, it has no mounting thread on the bottom.
We tested the Odyssey7 with a Sony X180 connected to the Mini HDMI input. The colors were rich and vibrant on the gorgeous 7.7-inch OLED screen. The 3400:1 Contrast Ratio was apparent when shooting rapidly moving clouds, accurately displaying the deepest blacks and brightest whites.
The 1280 x 800 resolution displays a clean, sharp image while leaving room for the touchscreen interface. The intuitive user interface gives you quick access to monitoring tools like Focus Assist, Zebras, False Color, Waveform, Histogram and many more. It also features pre-installed display LUTs (Look Up Tables) for the major camera companies so that you can view your image with the preferred exposure, contrast, and color adjustments while capturing flat-looking log images that will be color graded in post.
While the Odyssey7 shines a field monitor, it’s also a handy media recorder. It records in 10-bit Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), and Convergent Design says additional formats will be available via free firmware updates in the future. Inputs include Mini HDMI input, 3G/HD/SD-SDI input (BNC), timecode I/O (BNC) and a 3.5mm analog stereo audio input. It also has an RS-232 remote control I/O that was disabled during our test but will be enabled via a future firmware update.
You can even use the Odyssey7 as a SDI-HDMI Converter thanks to the multiple ports. Because the SDI and HDMI outputs are simultaneously active, you can send your video signal to multiple devices at the same time.
Navigating the Odyssey7’s many tools and options is a breeze thanks to the intuitive touchscreen interface. A bar of virtual buttons across the top of the screen gives you access to the various record settings and operation controls, including the menu button, system status, video I/O settings, audio levels and time remaining on the SSD.
The lower bar has buttons that control the monitor’s OLED settings, display timecode and give you access to the many monitoring tools and image analysis functions. Hide all the onscreen controls with the tap of a button, and bring them back by tapping anywhere on the screen.
One Sweet Package
The Odyssey7 is like a Swiss Army knife for video professionals. It’s a field monitor, a media recorder, and a SDI-HDMI cross-converter all in one portable yet durable package. Although it lacks the 4K and RAW recording options available on its big brother the 7Q+, the Odyssey7 provides an ideal monitoring and recording solution for video professionals who use ProRes 422 as part of their 1080p workflow. With upcoming firmware upgrades, the Odyssey7 is built to add more features as technologies change.
Convergent Design, Inc.
Diagonal: 7.7-inch (19.5 cm)
Resolution: 1280 x 800
Contrast Ratio: 3400:1
Viewing Angle: 176°
Video Inputs: 3G/HD/SD-SDI, single link, HDMI mini
Video Outputs: 3G/HD/SD-SDI, single link, HDMI mini
Audio Output: 1 x 3.5mm headphone output
Video Formats: SDI: 720p60/50 to 1080p30/i60 in Apple ProRes 422 (HQ); HDMI: Up to 1080p30/i60 4:2:2 8-bit
Weight: 1.2 lb (.54 kg)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 7.9 x 6.1 x 1-inch (20 x 15.5 x 2.5 cm)
- Beautiful OLED display
- Multiple input/output options
- Easy to use interface
- Pricey proprietary SSD drives
- Limited recording options
Joshua A. Siegel is a filmmaker and visual effects artist.