Home Documentaries Inspiration and Passion Create Innovation: The Big Story Behind SmallHD

Inspiration and Passion Create Innovation: The Big Story Behind SmallHD

written by Shane Hurlbut, ASC

Small HD AC7 Monitor

I felt it was perfect timing to release the trailer for the documentary that Hurlbut Visuals produced about this forward thinking company called SmallHD, founded by Wes Phillips and Dale Backus. Julien Lasseur directed and photographed this piece, which was edited by Matt Macar. Julien went down to North Carolina to hang out with the masterminds behind this incredible company.

We are going to show you the trailer to get you fired up, but I have to tell you that after seeing this documentary, I fell in love with this company: their passion, their fearless nature and a Dad that supported them the whole way. I think back to all of my hair brained ideas as a child when my Dad was right there. This reminds me of a cannon story. We had cut and welded the sewer pipe so that it could accept our black powder charge and electrical spark maker that would ignite the device. We were deciding what to put in the thing to test it out. My Dad happened to be rounding the corner when we were discussing things and he asked, “What the hell are you guys up to?” We told him we were making a cannon. We wanted to use this to open up all of our soccer games. My Dad looked at this thing that we had created and it looked like a missile. “That thing is going to need some legs,” he said. “Let me find some pipe.”

He came back with two pipes and welded them onto the missile. “Now we need something to shoot out of this baby. Hold on.” He came back with some old weights that his Dad had used to measure gold. We put them into the cannon, loaded the black powder and hid behind my Dad’s tractor. We plugged in the extension cord that fried the little copper wire that then lit the black powder that soon exploded and sent that weight spiraling out of the barrel. My Dad jumped up and down more excited than we were seeing that the weight was still rising after 400 yards. We looked at each other, proud of our creation, and my Dad had a huge smile on his face. I love him! Thanks Dad for fueling my passion and creativity!

SmallHD is releasing two monitors that have been upgraded from the monitor that started it all, the DP-6. Its innovation, research, and development was paid for with not one but two grand prize wins of the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl commercial contest. This amazing group of filmmakers slash engineers slash forward thinking innovators created an amazing monitor that you can light from. I have made the DP-6 and the DP-4 EVF my main exposing tools for shooting with the Canon arsenal.
OLED light spectrum
OLED 5.6 inch color gamut

 OLED color gamut

Smash cut to 2012 and the dream team at SmallHD has created a wonderful upgrade, including the AC7. The new monitors offer OLED with the richest, most accurate colors available and contrast ratios of “infinity-to-one.” OLED displays are vivid. A more in depth blog will follow once I really put these babies to the test, but I thought it was pertinent to not only tell you all about their new products but shout out to the SmallHD team. Thank you for your spirit, your innovation, your passion and your incredible love of what you do. It shows.

Cannot wait for the DP-7. It looks off the CHAIN!!!!!! The entry period for this year’s Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest has passed, but you can vote for your favorites.

Related Articles


david shepherd November 30, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Hello Shane,

All I have to say is WOW! These guys are amazing. I would love to get one of these to use with my photography as I just am not pleased with my DSLR LCD. The AC7 OLED is just a brillant concept and I pray that these guys succeed at moving this product forward.

Thanks for the share and I am looking forward to you documentary of this company.


Shane December 8, 2012 at 10:16 AM

david shepherd, yes they are. What a great band of rebel innovators. Wait to you see the doc. We are releasing just before the Super Bowl.

Brendan December 9, 2012 at 11:57 AM

This looks very interesting, can’t wait to see it.

Shane December 9, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Brendan, we are going to run the blog and doc right before the Super Bowl. Stay tuned

David Mudre December 11, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Wow, I really love this post and I can’t wait to see the AC7.
What microphone was used in the interview bits in the preview video?
I love the fullness you captured in their voices.
Great content as always!


Julien Lasseur January 2, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Hey David,

We used EW100ENGG2 Sennheiser Lav mics. Thanks for your comments!


Digi February 2, 2014 at 11:20 PM

I am impressed with what they have accomplished and their products are awesome! However, this is a story that tells more of LUCK and having lots of family/friend/industry support than overcoming adversity besides losing a savings account worth of money on a bad manufacturing deal.

The way the story reads and how it is edited with visuals of good looking young adults with entrepreneur father figure and comfortable home life, feels like it rubs their success in the face of those who do not get amazing set of consecutive breaks to get where they are now.

I had an editor friend look at the film and he had the same conclusion. I hope it does not hurt your sales. Awesome products all around.

love the DP4!


Shane February 3, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Digi, how would this hurt their sales? This is amazing story about a company that is made in America, the underdog, the one that leads by example, the one that dreams, that is not Convergent Design or TV Logic. COME ON!!!!


Leave a Comment