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Old March 18th, 2003, 01:27 PM   #1
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Need external monitor advice

It has become clear to me that I need to use an external monitor to adjust color on my videos that will be viewed on a television. I have to redo all the color on a short video I made as it looks terrible when played on a TV (mostly seems to be contrast problems).

Anyway, I was going to get a little 13 inch Tv to preview on and color/contrast adjust with. Do you think this would be sufficient or do I need a bigger Tv for this purpose, since most people will be viewing on a much larger screen? I'm hoping it will be OK because I don't have room for a bigger Tv in my office. Furthermore, if a 13 inch TV won't provide adequate representation of how the colors will look on a larger sceen then I'd rather not waste the $89 and time setting it up.

Also, now that I will be creating DVDs soon I'm not sure how to adjust color since some people will watch the DVDs on computer monitors and others on TV units. And what do you do for DVDs played on a HDTV?

As always any input as to what you guys use or recommend is greatly appreciated.
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Old March 18th, 2003, 02:44 PM   #2
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Hello Dan,
In descending order of importance I'd say that this is the cascade of priorities.

1. It's most important that you use an external video (i.e. NTSC in your case) monitor to view your footage while editing. Computer monitors are not capable of providing the true picture.

2. The monitor should be of professional quality, able to be accurately calibrated against SMPTE color bars and able to display the underscan area.

3. The size of the monitor is of less importance, particularly if you use a professional monitor. 13" is a good modest size. I actually use a 9" professional portable Sony monitor. In general, the more horizontal resolution lines a monitor can show, the better. This property does not always directly correspond to its diagonal size.

So, I'd say that if all you can spend is $89 on a consumer television, that's better than using nothing.

Re: DVD viewing, accurately color-correcting your footage against a good monitor will be about the best you can do for all viewing platforms. Peoples' computer monitors can be badly calibrated, as can their televisions. You can only produce against a standard.

Re: HD work, you will need an HD-compatible display setup, just as you would for viewing HD programming.
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Old March 18th, 2003, 05:13 PM   #3
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AT some point, if you do this for money, you may need a waveform monitor and vectorscope.

Some software comes with this ability such as the RT software from Canopus. I've matched their software monitors against external hardware monitors and find them to be quite accurate.

Shoot color bars on your camera, measure and adjust them in your editing system and then apply the correction to all of your footage. Works very well. Good enough for cable television at least if not broadcast.

For determining color, a television monitor is down on the list because it only provides qualitative input and relies on your psycho-visual interpretation to make sense of it. There are really few people who can do this reliably. They used to call them 'people with a golden eye,' in the broadcast industry.

I believe you may be able to find a standalone software waveform monitor and vectorscope if your editing software does not have that features.
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Old March 19th, 2003, 08:58 AM   #4
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Ken, are the professional monitors far more expensive than consumer TVs? A little 9 inch monitor sounds like it would be ideal. DO you have a web site that I could browse for this?

Mike, I use VV4 which has videoscopes (I assume these are adeuate). I've learned a lot about them but still don't really quite comprehend how to fully use them. Can you suggest a reading or tutorial source?

Thanks
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Old March 19th, 2003, 10:09 AM   #5
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Dan,
Unfortunately, yes, professional monitors are not cheap. B&H Photo is an excellent online and bricks+mortar retailer and a great place to shop for stuff like this.

Look under "Video-Professional" > "Monitors & Accessories" > "Production Color Monitors"
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Old March 19th, 2003, 06:44 PM   #6
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There are a lot of documents available on the Web.

I'd probably go to the Tektronix web site first. Then I 'think' Video University may have something about these issues. DV Mag may have some useful stuff too.

One way to reduce the cost of a pro monitor is to buy 'B' stock. That is stock that was used at a trade show or at some event like the Olympics. I saved quite a bit when I bought my JVC 14" monitor.

BTW, 9" may feel a bit too small when you have to use it a lot. 13 or 14" seems to be a more comfortable size and in line with many computer monitor sizes. Strangely enough, the 9 incher may cost you more than a 13 or 14". Figure about $800 or so for a good B-stock pro monitor. If that is too rich, there are some 14" Panasonic, Sony, and JVC industrial monitors that are much better than a TV set. They run about $300 or so IIRC.
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Old March 19th, 2003, 07:02 PM   #7
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I'd second Mike's remarks about the 9" size and cost. I bought mine because (a) I wanted a monitor that gave me the option to use it on a set, and (b) I had limited desk space available for a close-proximity monitor. Get a larger monitor if you do not face these constraints.

I should note that I simultaneously use a 26" Sony tv, patched into the video signal via a switch, during final editing to judge how material will look on consumer sets.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 12:00 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the information.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 01:47 PM   #9
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I too am interested in purchasing a post production monitor and once again I come to DVINFO for some advice.

I want to try to keep my budget for this around $700-$800.

I was looking at this particular model.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh6/con...=202193&is=REG

Seems nice as it's 4:3 16:9 switchable, blue gun, overscan etc...
I know next to nothing about quality post production monitors but these are the features I am told to look for.

Actually, I just found another one which is much cheaper.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh6/con...=127285&is=REG

Does this seem like a good choice? Right now I'm using a television but I'm assuming I need something more accurate.

Also, would this be suitable for a field monitor as well?

Any advice or recommedations for specific models would be appreciated.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 02:10 PM   #10
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Here's another question that's been brewing in my head.

I'm filming a short that will hopefully been seen at film festivals on a big screen, as well as VHS and DVD copies on regular televisions - my goal is not to distribute this for broadcast television. SO, my question is, shouldn't using a regular color TV for preview when editing give the most accurate depiction of what the film is going to look like on regular TVs?

In other words, I don't see the point of getting some fancy professional color callebrated monitor to guage my video, when in fact that isn't the representation people are going to be seeing when watching it on television. It's probably going to look worse on TV, so if I color correct for this professional monitor, won't it look completley different on regular TV's?

Hope that makes sense.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 05:56 PM   #11
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Short answer is no.

Long answer is, every TV is calibrated differently and the calibration drifts. Pro monitors are designed to not drift during their working life and to have well-regulated power supplies, something TV's also lack.

If you don't know where you are, it's hard to get someplace else. Same goes for video and sound monitoring.

You cannot calibrate for the average TV set. But you can produce a professional picture and sound that when presented on properly maintained equipment, will look and sound as you intended.

BTW, large screen projection normally requires a different video 'calibration' from a CRT presentation. I use a proc amp to change things although that isn't as good as tweaking the gamma curve. But then you have to know the projector characteristics before you generate a display master. That can be kinda hard unless you have custody of the projector.

P.S. The 9" JVC looks pretty good. You won't be able to work with BetaSP or BetaSX cameras and you will miss the S-Video connection which I like (although my sony 9" doesn't have it). All things being equal, I like the 13" for studio, the 9" for portable. The 13" will be more stable (as they say).

Either one will probably work out very well for you. Don't forget to get a case with a screen light shield for the monitor.
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Old June 19th, 2003, 09:52 PM   #12
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thanks for all the advice Mike. That certainly helps.
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