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How to Add an Extra Monitor for DLSR Filmmaking

When you're editing your DSLR video footage, it’s nice to look at something other the editing program's viewer windows with an extra monitor. It’s important to see the movie playing back on a slightly larger screen, especially if it’s one that more closely resembles the type it will play on. The second monitor can be another computer display or a television monitor.

Adding a second monitor has gotten easier. Even if your computer doesn’t have a connection on the existing video card or room for a second card, you can still connect another monitor using USB or Thunderbolt.

You can set the display as an extension of the desktop or as a mirror of it. In other words, you’re either spreading the screen over two monitors or duplicating it. Both have specific uses.

Before adding another monitor, make sure your graphics card supports a second monitor or that the computer will accommodate a second graphics card for a monitor. Check to see whether it has a VGA, DVI, or Thunderbolt port. If so, you’re good to go.

Here are some reasons for mirroring your desktop:

  • Show your movie on a bigger screen.

  • Demonstrate a lesson or task on your screen while it also plays on a larger one.

Why would you want to extend your desktop?

  • Have more room for tools and extras when editing.

  • Multitask without overpopulating your screen.

How to add a second monitor to a MacBook or Mac Mini

A second monitor easily connects to a MacBook using its Mini DisplayPort. Because it uses a smaller connector, you’ll need a special adapter to make it work. On newer iMacs, the Thunderbolt port supports the Mini DVI port.

Use one of the following to connect an extra monitor to a MacBook or Mac Mini:

  • VGA (Video Graphic Array) adapter: Lets you connect any standard analog monitor, projector, or LCD that uses a VGA connector.

  • DVI (Digital Visual Interface) adapter: Allows you to connect a newer display that has a DVI connector. This provides better display quality than VGA.

  • Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter: Lets you connect a second display to a MacBook or any Macintosh with a Thunderbolt port.

How to set up an additional display on Mac

Make sure you have the right connector and enjoy dual-screen bliss.

Here’s how:

  1. Connect the display.

    Use the appropriate connector and turn the display on.

  2. Go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.

    You’ll see a bunch of icons on the first monitor. By this time, you’ll see your background image on the second monitor.

  3. Click Displays.

    The main monitor allows you to select Display, Arrangement, and Color. The newly added monitor shows Display and Color. If it doesn't, select the Detect Displays button.

  4. Make adjustments on the second monitor.

    Try your best to match the resolution, colors, and refresh rate of the first monitor.

  5. Decide what you need from the display — do you want the two monitors to mirror each other or for the second one to extend the first?

    By default, the second monitor in the Display Preferences usually extends the first. You can even rearrange the orientation of the screens by dragging one over the other, by clicking the Arrangement button. Just drag and drop as you see fit. If you want both monitors to show the same screen image, click the Mirror Displays check box.

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How to connect an additional monitor to a Windows PC

Adding a second monitor to a PC is a little bit different than connecting to a Mac.

  1. Turn the computer off.

  2. Connect the display.

    Plug the monitor in the DVI or VGA port.

  3. Turn the computer and monitor on.

    Windows looks for the monitors. Don’t be alarmed if the new monitor doesn’t turn on.

  4. Activate the second monitor.

    Right-click anywhere on the screen and select Properties from the menu. Click the Settings tab, and you’ll see two boxes that represent each monitor. Right-click the dialog for the second monitor and select Attached. Click Apply on the bottom dialog. After some churning, the second monitor comes on.

  5. Decide what the monitors should do.

    If you want to make a single screen between the two monitors, click the number two monitor and select Extend my Windows.

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