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The View: Video Display Hardware and Software
Video Monitors and Media Players for field or studio use (all display technologies).


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Old February 10th, 2008, 06:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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Where to begin with monitoring

Hello. I've reached the point where I need to monitor my projects on something other than the Apple Cinema Display I use for editing in FCS. Up until now I was not terribly concerned that the images did not exactly match. I'm overwhelmed and need some guidance.

Hardware I use: MacPro Quad core, Canon HV 20, FCS, 23 inch Cinema Display.

Where my projects end up: on DVDs played through SD and HD tvs, image projectors; on the 'net/corporate website. Maybe someday on broadcast tv. This is not my paying job, but I am using video ever more frequently in the execution of my job, so I want it to look good!

What I know I need: monitor calibration tool such as Spyder, another monitor or HD Tv.

My Main issue: images, particularly color, are not consistent from my ACD to the final destination.

My questions, for those who've gone before me on this journey:

1) Given my present and hopefully future use, should I cut to the chase and just get a broadcast quality monitor?

2) In other threads, people discuss using an ordinary HDTV. Is this acceptable and will it get me results comparable to a broadcast monitor (assuming that's the gold standard)?

3) What additional video cards will I need to drive a monitor or tv?

4) In the meantime, how should I be calibrating my ACD to get moving in the right direction?

5) Even with calibration, how do you overcome the fact that some people may have their tvs and projectors calibrated improperly so that no matter what you do the image looks crappy?

Any advice, including product suggestions, is greatly appreciated. My budget for the monitor can't exceed $2k....but feel free to tell me if I'm out of my mind with that price!!

Thank you.
Bob
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Old February 10th, 2008, 11:27 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC
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You are a perfect candidate for the matrox mxo. It's the route we went after looking at broadcast monitor options.

We didn't have a high end capture card to drive an HDTV monitor as we are tapeless.

The mxo turns a dell 24 inch ultrasharp, or a 23 inch apple cinema display into a broadcast monitor that can be fully calibrated.

mxo is about a 1000 and if you bought a second monitor for editing and moved your cinema over to monitoring you'd be set.

it works. There is a great review of it on the little frog in high def blog
Jeff Heywood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #3
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Jeff's solution fits your budget.
I have no experience using the MXO, as I use an AJA Kona card.
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Old February 11th, 2008, 12:03 PM   #4
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If you are delivering SD, I would get a CRT broadcast monitor. I think you can still get them. They are around $600. (Don't buy used, or at least be very careful. Monitors deteriorate with age.)

Good picture, good color, shows interlacing and field order correctly. No LCD at $600 can do that.

Hook it up via firewire.


Quote:
2) In other threads, people discuss using an ordinary HDTV. Is this acceptable and will it get me results comparable to a broadcast monitor (assuming that's the gold standard)?
In my opinion, this is a definite no. Consumer HDTVs just do wacky things to the image. Most of them don't have at least 1920x1080 pixels with 1:1 mapping. The other problem is that a lot of them will apply image 'enhancements' to the signal.

The colors and primaries are likely off. (Primaries are the exact shade of red/green/blue.)

Good HD broadcast monitors start at around $4k... price and quality are getting better very rapidly, so the later you buy the better in my opinion. If you don't need it now then don't buy one now.

Quote:
5) Even with calibration, how do you overcome the fact that some people may have their tvs and projectors calibrated improperly
You can't really control what the TVs do or what the TV manufacturers do. However, everyone making broadcast video typically tends to make their video look good for broadcast monitors (in particular, the Sony BVMs tend to be the de facto standard). So in that sense all video should be made consistent for broadcast monitors.

There can be small problems in that what you see on a broadcast monitor may be hiding certain flaws that the audience will see. If you have illegal black levels, this can cause some old TVs to have a rolling picture. (In a professional environment, you'd probably run your video through a legalizer and check your material on scopes. In FCP the broadcast safe filter renders slowly.)

Cross color artifacts / chroma crawl is something that professionals don't monitor for... even though to me, it can be distracting in certain cases.

For HD material, noise is much more apparent on consumer LCDs than say a broadcast-grade CRT. Right now, the post house will focus their energy on passing QC. So if the broadcaster is doing their QC work on a CRT, then it's not something that the post house will need to care about. So currently a lot of people don't do anything about this.
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