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Old March 29th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #1
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What is the FCP canvas doing?

Hello. Im trying to find out what final cut pro is doing when outputting its timeline to a hdtv so i can understand what i need to do to get an accurate set up for colour grading. Now to my understanding if i connect my 1080p hdtv to my graphics card via dvi to hdmi it will basically act as a second monitor thus working from final cut's pros proxy canvas sampling, which basically means it's no good for colour correcting video which is destined for DVD/Broadcast.

would a card such as http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/publi...agic_intensity be the solution? What i ultimately want is to monitor my timeline in fcp6 in real-time and be able to colour correct accurately. I'm searching but im having a hard time figuring out how fcp would treat this card and if i would be seeing a pixel for pixel image or if it would still be working in some funny colour space and be no good for colour grading work destined for TV.

Additional info: my footage is 1080p from a sony ex1 and would be working in either it's native format or a 720p timeline up until time to render.

Thanks in advance people.
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Old March 29th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #2
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Hi Daniel - I suggest you also investigate the Matrox MXO - specifically designed to do what you want: monitor HD out of FCP in realtime, with pixel-accurate, colour-accurate, frame-accurate precision on a 24" LCD wide monitor - which means you've got a very cost-effective solution. The MXO driver provides the tools to calibrate your 24" monitor yourself too. (I use a Dell 2407 for this.)

I don't think just placing your canvas on a second desktop screen fed via an Intensity card into a HDTV will give you what you want. The MXO contains colour look-up tables and frame-store facilities that specifically achieve these requirements.
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Old March 29th, 2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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I was considering the Matrox MXO, i was just hoping i could do the same with a hdtv as im attracted to the prospect of viewing my videos on a 40" screen and saves me buyng another monitor as i couldnt imagine doing acurate colour correcting on the small canvas sharing the screen with the timeline etc.

What im really curious about is how the mxo manages to work with the canvas window in final cut, because as i understand it, fcp only displays a proxy version of the timeline, so if i am viewing that even with a mxo calibrated monitor am i still not going to be viewing a less than full resolution image?

Thank you
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Old March 29th, 2008, 05:50 PM   #4
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Add to that the fact that the MXO has special drivers to get audio out of the DVI port of the Mac. The MXO box has audio connectors so that you get audio and video that are in sync.

If you can get the 40" display to accept DVI (there are DVI to HDMI converters), it should still work okay for you.

-gb-
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Old March 29th, 2008, 08:49 PM   #5
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I've done a little more investigating on the mxo box and it really does seem like the perfect solution. Im just wondering, how it works in regards to play back, are people really getting smooth real time playback without the need for rendering within final cut pro?
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Old March 29th, 2008, 09:23 PM   #6
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Hello. Im trying to find out what final cut pro is doing when outputting its timeline to a hdtv so i can understand what i need to do to get an accurate set up for colour grading.
SNIP
I'm searching but im having a hard time figuring out how fcp would treat this card and if i would be seeing a pixel for pixel image or if it would still be working in some funny colour space and be no good for colour grading work destined for TV.

----------

I know it's bad news. But a lot of us here still believe that at this point in time, using ANY LCD monitor to judge color grading is a VERY bad idea.

Day before yesterday I was part of a "backstage tour" of the video facilities at the Arizona Cardinal's Football Stadum - (site of the recent Super Bowl) and the stadium playback video engineer was showing us some of the equipment Sony has lent them for evaluation for next season.

One piece among many was the new "true color" LCDs they're evaluating which will probably be showing at NAB in a couple of weeks (MUCHO $$$$) - They MAY prove to be color accurate, but the jury's still out in his mind, and when I asked him directly, he said he's certainly not gonna use them to color correct on game day. Not yet anyway.

So my advice is that if your primary purpose is color correction - DO NOT USE LCD at this time. Period.

I know High Def CRTs are expensive. But there's a reason.

FWIW.
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Old March 30th, 2008, 08:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Alexander View Post
What im really curious about is how the mxo manages to work with the canvas window in final cut, because as i understand it, fcp only displays a proxy version of the timeline, so if i am viewing that even with a mxo calibrated monitor am i still not going to be viewing a less than full resolution image?
As alluded to in previous posts, the MXO manages this feat NOT by using the Canvas window at all, but rather by specifically altering FCP's "External Video" output from the secondary DVI output. It does this by using both a special MXO software driver, and then the special hardware interface as well (which includes a colour-look-up-table) to give a real-time, colour-correct, aspect-ratio-correct, full-resolution image on an LCD monitor (of at least 1920x1080 pixels). It also runs at full speed - assuming your Mac is reasonably recent (and has two DVI outputs) - rending (as usual) only being necessary if you've placed loads of filters on the clip.

Re. Greg's suggestion:- using an MXO with a DVI-to-HDMI adapter into your TV might work - but I suggest you ensure your HDTV is of at least 1920x1080 resolution. With the MXO Driver's calibration facilities (which include "Blue only"), I would expect you can calibrate it OK.
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Old March 30th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
So my advice is that if your primary purpose is color correction - DO NOT USE LCD at this time. Period.

I know High Def CRTs are expensive. But there's a reason.
I went to see the LUMA II monitor demo Sony had set up in the NAB booth last year. They had two LCD and one CRT monitor in a darkened area playing back the same material. Their challenge was for the viewer to pick the CRT. I finally did, but only after staring and watching for about 5 minutes. It's that good. But, like you mentioned, mucho $$$.

CRT technology is going away fast. Sony isn't making any more HD CRT displays. I don't know about the other players.

-gb-
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Old April 1st, 2008, 10:22 PM   #9
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Anti LCD???

Not to hijack the thread, but Bill states: "But a lot of us here still believe that at this point in time, using ANY LCD monitor to judge color grading is a VERY bad idea."

I'm somewhat new here and have heard this same sentiment voiced often but as yet I've not read a good reason as to why. And why this might have been true just a year ago, LCDs are improving quickly. The bottom line should be if an LCD can hit the primaries and white point then why couldn't it be used for color correction??? For some of us this is a hobby... we don't have the coin to drop on a HD CRT, A well calibrated LCD seems like a good option. What would be a reasonable standard to say that a monitor (any type) is calibrated close enough for color grading???

Mark
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 04:02 AM   #10
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>I'm somewhat new here and have heard this same sentiment voiced often >but as yet I've not read a good reason as to why.

Well, here's my reason why.

About 7 hours ago I had a crew setting up a shoot at a major product distribution center. The building was about the size of four football fields with miles and miles of steel racks. The lighting was some kind of high-efficiency fixtures set about every 50 feet on the ceiling. Probably 1000 of them throughout the center.

I happened to have both a Sony CRT monitor and an LCD monitor (standard type, NOT one of the zillion dollar ones.) on the set.

When we took a white balance reading, the camera said 4200 Kelvin. I said something rude. When I see 4200 I know the light probably isn't full spectrum, and I've got to be VERY careful about white balancing.

Here's the tricky part - the shot looked GREAT on the LCD.

On the CRT is was CLEARLY kinda greenish. Not like fluors, but the walls where they appeared out of the shadows half way up their 4 story height clearly shifted under that lighting.

So we shifted the camera to preset 3200k. And the walls got warmer as I expected, but not right and the skin tones of the talent got kinda cold.

The shot STILL looked great on the LCD.

Then we went to preset 5600 and the skin tones got better, but the walls shifted toward yellow.

The shot STILL looked great on the LCD.

So I had my shooter push in on the faces of the talent and we judged them on the CRT monitor and I decided that the 3rd white balance made the talent look the most natural, so we went with that.

I looked at some shots back here where I KNOW my monitor is right, and everything looks fine. Just as I hoped.

What I'm saying is that if I was relying on the LCD only, I might have gone with setting 1 which was greenish. Or 2 which was warmer, but too warm for my eyes on a TRUSTWORTHY monitor.

Look, if you're only gonna shoot outdoors on nice days. Or inside under all tungsten, any camera can handle that. Buy the LCD and don't look back.

If you're gonna shoot for a living, or if you don't want to waste your life doing color correction in post, you MUST HAVE MONITOR GEAR YOU CAN TRUST. Period. End of story.

If not, you'll never really know you're in a crappy light situation like I was in today - let alone be able to understand and FIX IT before you generate a lot of footage that you realize is WRONG after the fact.

I really don't care if the gear is LCD, or CRT, or Plasma, or something not yet invented.

It simply MUST be able to show me what my monitor showed me tonight.

Simple as that.

FWIW.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 05:06 AM   #11
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Thank you all for the valuable input. I think im going to stick with my jvc sd monitor for now after listening back as most of my output is for sd anyway. However i have alot to learn about calibrating my monitor and true colour correction as it's hard to trust a monitor when i have no other professional screen to cross reference it with. For example, i know that one should be monitoring at 6500k yet when doing so (as opposed to 9300k) the colours seem to shift hue to an orange cast as opposed to what im seeing when i play back my footage on normal consumer tv sets. I think it may be something i just have to get used to like anything else.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 06:03 AM   #12
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Bill,

Thanks for the reply. Your situation is much different than mine, I don't do this for a living, but I always try to do things in the best way possible using the best tools I can get. And I understand what you're saying, but I'd like to understand why. There must be some measurable criteria by which to say one is better than the other.

Since this is not really the topic here, I started a new one here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...859#post852859

In the hope of getting a wider audience for discussion.

Mark
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