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Old December 27th, 2010, 10:00 AM   #1
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Color scopes question

In a correct (or as close to it as most of us can afford) setup, for using Color, one would have a broadcast monitor being fed a proper signal from a proper card.

But if my set up isn't yet the acceptable setup, when using the scopes in color, to perform contrast and color balancing, are the scopes showing correctly (regardless if correct video card and broadcast monitor are used)? Or are they showing readings based on my computer/monitor setup?

This might be a stupid question, but I'm just wondering until I am able to get as close to a correct setup as I can, if I am following scopes to make those corrections, with they hold true no matter where the material is shown?

Thank you for the info,
Jeff
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Old December 27th, 2010, 10:45 AM   #2
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Not a stupid question (unless you programmed the code for the scopes)... The scopes represent your images numerically... so they will always show an accurate representation of your image, regardless if you're looking at them on a beautifully calibrated CRT or a B/W monitor.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #3
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If you use a professional color card (not cheap), film the card in each new set-up and do your corrections on the cards, then yes, you could train yourself to use the scopes for color correction. Otherwise it would be very difficult to see exactly what you are doing besides gross changes to the luma or pedestal or chroma although that might be enough for your needs.

You can try the Spyder3Pro hardware color calibration kit but even that needs a quality LCD monitor to give decent video trustworthy results.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 01:03 PM   #4
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You can't really color correct off scopes alone. What you CAN do with scopes is check that you are within broadcast legal ranges (you can also set up your broadcast safe levels to ensure this) and see where any over legal colors are coming from that you may not be able to notice on your non broadcast monitor too well.

This doesn't really help you in terms of the final look or color balance, but if you have consistent color throughout on your monioring setup, your scopes are within legal ranges and you can identify what is and isn't being clipped by your broadcast safe levels, AND can do a final test of of some delivered footage in a broadcast spec environment before you really get to work then you might be able to get things in the ball park.

Something else to consider is this - why would you need to do this? From your other posts you are looking to cut a pilot for some friends reality tv concept. Don't worry about the color correction process on no money, worry about the content. If the content is any good you will be able to use that to seek financing to do proper post and finishing either for yourself or with someone experienced.

Doing it yourself without proper gear is only going to cause hassles with distribution. And if you have product that is worth a distributor picking up, there is no reason to skimp to that level on bare basic boadcast finishing tools.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #5
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Don't get me started on the travails of "reality" TV. Craig is correct, get the content right and maybe the pilot will sell. Edit it together and if there's any money available, bring it to a professional for a day's worth of audio and color corrections. Otherwise let minor color problems slide.

But don't, under any circumstance, assume that you will be working on the series if it's accepted by a big network. That's not the way it works. They'll hire a production company with their own crew to produce the show. A smaller, syndicated reality show is different.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 08:11 PM   #6
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Thanks your the replies. Yes, The reality show was part of the reason Im asking these questions. But the main reason is for my own setup. I'm not overly concerned with re reality show thing. I just want to pit together a good setup for my own project, or possible future business interest. If I'm going to do something right, I like to try and learn everything I can about it. Im putting together a system for my own thing, first and foremost. The reality thing is a big 2nd.

Having said all that, what are some recommended cards for this? Can anyone give me a starting point to look? I've gone on b&h, and looked at Their I/O cards. Is that what I need? Can someone point me in the right direction, as far as manufactures website, so I can read?

I signed up on Lynda.com and have been watching the color tutorials. This is something that is an big area of interest for me, not just because of some reality show. I really want to setup my new system the best I can. It may be sometime before I can get a "broadcast" monitor. But I'd planned in a good LCD, with some sort of calibrating hardware/software like the spyder1. Now I'm not sure what it is I'm suppose to be hooking it too?

Thanks again for all the help.
Jeff

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Old December 28th, 2010, 01:58 PM   #7
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AJA Kona 3 and Blackmagic Decklink HD cards are sort of the industry standards in the FCP world. If you are only doing HD work and never likely to make the slightly sideways move towards 2K resolutions for film style editing, and don't think you'll need the upconversion capabilities, then a AJA Kona LHe is a good choice and what I use at work.

Also the AJA IO express may be sufficient for your needs. The AJA IO Express comes with the advantage of being relatively portable so if you move to a laptop system (it will need a PCI Express slot, which means only the largest current gen Macbook Pro unfortunately) you have something that you can use as an IO card while travelling - It has other limitations but I don't believe any thing that will greatly effect you.

I have some experience with Blackmagic products but not a lot with the IO cards - the mini converters are awesome and great value, their Decklink cards are generally lower cost than the AJA cards and do many of the same things so if cost is an issue may be totally suited to your needs, and they have recently purchased DaVinci Resolve which you can get in software version for the Mac (has some pretty hefty hardware requirements) - but if you want to get into professional colour correction long term its an interesting road map. They say they will support other IO cards in time, but currently the Decklink cards are a requirement.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 03:02 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the replies, I really do appreciate the information I learn here. I spent many hours reading up, since first posting the original question.

I have looked at both the AJA and Decklink cards. Until I move up to that level, would the MXO2 mini be worth looking at? Or would I be better saving a bit longer and going with the AJA Kona 3G? My thinking was to put my money into the monitor, and then upgrade the card. I am looking at a FSI 1760 monitor. That's in my price range. At least for the immediate future, I'm looking at a tapeless workflow. So wondered if the mini was a good lower end solution, then later upgrade to the AJA.

Thanks again,
Jeff
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Old December 28th, 2010, 03:22 PM   #9
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I haven't used the Matrox Mini, but in the pro column is that AVID Media Composer supports them for HD Playback, specifically for tapeless workflows - so my take on it is AVID supports it then it should be a viable tool in that particular workflow. Would also mean if you want to move across to Media Composer (never a silly idea to know more than one NLE) you'd be able to monitor from it, so that's something to think about.

Flanders Scientific are very good monitors, with great color reproduction from my experience compared to other LCD panels. An issue you will be facing with the 17 inch though is that it's only 1366 x 768 resolution and 8 bit, so isn't FULL HD and if you are shooting 1080i60/50 you ideally want a monitor that can display full resolution with field interpretation as it can help you spot field order issues and line twitter issues (which can be a significant issue.)

If you are only shooting progressive, and especially if you were planning on shooting the majority in 720p60/50 - this would be a very reasonable choice for your monitor, but you it's also only 8bit so while good for broadcast work really isn't high enough spec to be 'color critical'.

For color correction and full HD FSI 24 Inch Grade 1 HD Broadcast Monitor gets much closer to the mark. Compared to say a Sony equivalent the specs on this monitor for the price look pretty compelling. I'd definitely consider saving up if this is something you want to invest in for the long term.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #10
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Craig, thanks so much for all the help. I have some opportunities that brought me to Final Cut Studio, and interests that took me to Adobe AE and PS, so it was cheaper to get the whole production suite, so that peaked my interest in Premier. I most definitely have an interest in learning multiple NLE programs, and AVID MC is on that list. And recently Cinema 4D has been added alone side AE. Its a bit of a personal obsession, but I have some opportunities that would allow me to put some of this to use. I'm looking for a career change, and am using my current career to finance setting myself up doing something else.

Thanks again, I know anyone who's taken notice of the many questions I've asked, all over the boards, must think I'm nuts, cause I have been all over the place. But as I've said, it's a passion/obsession. And I hope to be able to make something of it.

Jeff
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Old December 29th, 2010, 03:42 AM   #11
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No worries Jeff - also, if you ever have a project that could use an illustrator/storyboard/character/costume design type person with a bit of film background (personal or paid projects) - I know a kick ass one in Tennessee I could put you in touch with.

(Odd I know, coming from a guy in New Zealand, but the world is a surprisingly small place)
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