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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:05 PM   #1
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Monitoring for Colour Correction & Graphics Card

Hi,

This question has probably been asked a thousand and one times, but I'm struggling to find the information I'm looking for.

I run a pretty powerful machine with 2x 22" Viewsonic Full 1080p HD Monitors. After being frustrated many times over about how different my videos look on different monitors (although I guess this will never stop happening!) I have been considering buying a broadcast monitor to make colour correction/grading more accurate.

I would need to buy second hand, as these things are incredibly expensive - and eBay has thrown up some good results i.e. 20" Sony CRT Monitors w/ SDI for approx £300. Now, I currently shoot SD, but if all goes well, will be shooting HD from March next year - so I don't really want to waste money on sorting out an SD monitoring solution, to then move over to HD,

So - my main question is - how do I go about hooking up a broadcast monitor to my computer, for as little money as possible!? I've seen the Matrox cards and a couple of products by AJA but they are very expensive. Is there a cheaper way of doing it, or is it tough luck and it costs what it costs? This then leads me on to my next question, which is what kind of monitor should I look out for and with what connections? HDMI? HD-SDI? Size isn't really an issue, as long as it's no larger than 20" - although I could see a smaller monitor having an advantage for shooting too?

Sorry for the long, waffley post!

Cheers,
Ollie
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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ollie James View Post
Hi,

This question has probably been asked a thousand and one times, but I'm struggling to find the information I'm looking for.

I run a pretty powerful machine with 2x 22" Viewsonic Full 1080p HD Monitors. After being frustrated many times over about how different my videos look on different monitors (although I guess this will never stop happening!) I have been considering buying a broadcast monitor to make colour correction/grading more accurate.

I would need to buy second hand, as these things are incredibly expensive - and eBay has thrown up some good results i.e. 20" Sony CRT Monitors w/ SDI for approx £300. Now, I currently shoot SD, but if all goes well, will be shooting HD from March next year - so I don't really want to waste money on sorting out an SD monitoring solution, to then move over to HD,

So - my main question is - how do I go about hooking up a broadcast monitor to my computer, for as little money as possible!? I've seen the Matrox cards and a couple of products by AJA but they are very expensive. Is there a cheaper way of doing it, or is it tough luck and it costs what it costs? This then leads me on to my next question, which is what kind of monitor should I look out for and with what connections? HDMI? HD-SDI? Size isn't really an issue, as long as it's no larger than 20" - although I could see a smaller monitor having an advantage for shooting too?

Sorry for the long, waffley post!

Cheers,
Ollie
An HD broadcast monitor suitable for color correction will be in the range of US$3500. Very few people go this direction unless it's their business to do so. For the rest of us, there are a few options. But doing this for HD is still going to cost the better part of $800-$1000. There's just no way around it. You need either a monitor you can calibrate (with a blue gun) or you need a piece of hardware that can send a blue gun signal to a monitor.

In my case I went with the latter, opting to buy a decent monitor (Dell U2410) and the Matrox MX02 mini. This solution is not perfect. Some of the Dell U2410s tend toward a pink hue after as they age. Mine is still quite new and I haven't seen this. And the Matrox box isn't perfect either, but it's been good enough for my needs, and I'd trust it for all but the most stringent of broadcast needs. There's just now way an $800 solution is going to match a $3500 solution. But it's been good enough for me.

But if you are thinking you can do this for a couple hundred dollars, you are going to be very disappointed. By the way, I have an SD Broadcast monitor, and I disconnected it in June and haven't looked back. It did a nice job for SD work, but just wasn't what I needed once I went HD.

Oh, and by the way, color work is generally done on rather large screens. My 24" is considered terribly small for this work. The common standard is 30" and for film the work is done via projector whenever possible.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 04:30 PM   #3
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You didn't mention which NLE you use. This will make a difference with the output options available. I use CS5 and now have the ability to output color accurate RGB directly from Premiere. I have the option to use the second HDMI port on my graphics card to do this. Apparently this is the only NLE which offers the ability to do this. Read about it here:

ProVideo Coalition.com: TecnoTur by Allan Tépper

Now all that is needed is a pro HD monitor. I would recommend the Sony LUMA series.

Sony LMD-2030W 20" Professional LCD Monitor LMD2030W B&H
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Old December 13th, 2010, 04:40 PM   #4
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The problem with this, is that Premiere isn't a grading application. Even Color Finesse which is included with AE isn't the most awesome thing out there, though it's pretty good.

So if someone is actually looking to do color grading (and not just basic correction) the Premiere solution isn't going to cut it.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #5
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After Effects with basic color tools is good enough for anybody who knows what they are doing, as long as one is working in 32-bit mode linear. The 'professional' color apps don't make it easier, only faster.

Regarding the matrox, etc. please read my post here on the subjet:
Why Aja/Blackmagic or Matrox?
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
After Effects with basic color tools is good enough for anybody who knows what they are doing, as long as one is working in 32-bit mode linear. The 'professional' color apps don't make it easier, only faster.
And sometimes, that makes ALL the difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
Regarding the matrox, etc. please read my post here on the subjet:
Why Aja/Blackmagic or Matrox?
Yes, I followed that thread as it went on.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #7
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Not to hijack the thread, but I was wondering what you guys thought about the Panasonic BT-LH 1710P for this application? I just got one for production but am wondering how it would be for post.
Panasonic BT-LH1710W 17" Widescreen HD/SD LCD BTLH1710WPJ

mb
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Old December 14th, 2010, 02:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
The problem with this, is that Premiere isn't a grading application. Even Color Finesse which is included with AE isn't the most awesome thing out there, though it's pretty good.

So if someone is actually looking to do color grading (and not just basic correction) the Premiere solution isn't going to cut it.
I agree that Premiere is not the best solution with regards to color correction. The original questions though were how to get a signal out to a monitor and which monitor to use. I used my setup as one way to do this considering the NLE was not mentioned. Besides, there are plugins for Premiere that allow more color control, like Color Finesse and Magic Bullet Colorista.

1. Use a powerful dual-head graphics card(Premiere only)
2. Use the Intensity from Blackmagic for @$200. It works with Premiere, After Effects, Final Cut and perhaps other NLE's.

Once you get the proper signal out of the computer get a professional monitor which will display the colors accurately, like the one I mentioned. Unfortunately, you're looking at @ $1,000 to start.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Bolding View Post
Not to hijack the thread, but I was wondering what you guys thought about the Panasonic BT-LH 1710P for this application? I just got one for production but am wondering how it would be for post.
Panasonic BT-LH1710W 17" Widescreen HD/SD LCD BTLH1710WPJ

mb
These are pretty good monitors for the price. Also look at the 20" JVC or the 17" Flanders Scientific.
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Old December 18th, 2010, 02:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Bolding View Post
Not to hijack the thread, but I was wondering what you guys thought about the Panasonic BT-LH 1710P for this application? I just got one for production but am wondering how it would be for post.
Panasonic BT-LH1710W 17" Widescreen HD/SD LCD BTLH1710WPJ

mb
Mark,

I have this LCD as well and its great except for its scaling. Because its only 1366x768, you will find it somewhat inadequate for 1080p editing.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 03:54 AM   #11
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Thanks a lot for all of the replies!

As you said, I forgot to mention my NLE. I'm using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 (I use the whole CS5 Production Premium).

I've heard of the Matrox kit before, but it seems quite hard to get hold of in the UK.

Brian, you mentioned the following:

"Use a powerful dual-head graphics card(Premiere only)" - I currently use a NVIDIA GTX460 which has two DVI outputs (using these for the 2x 22" HD Monitors) and one HDMI port - is this useable for the setup you suggested?

Thanks,
Ollie
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Old December 21st, 2010, 03:03 PM   #12
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It should work if you can use it to drive three monitors at a time. My setup only involves two. My suggestion is to connect a test monitor(inexpensive set that can be returned) and see if you can get a signal using extended desktop to it. If not, you may be limited to two. Once you are able to drive the set, playback some test footage to it and make sure it plays back smoothly. Use full HD if possible. Lastly, if you are satisfied with the performance, all that is left is adding the pro monitor.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 09:08 PM   #13
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The Nvidia cards are limited to only 2 outputs at the same time. Your cheapest option for a 3rd monitor is get another nvidia card that can be hacked to work with Premiere's hardware acceleration such as a GT240 with 1GB ram. Then try Premiere's playback function and use the 3rd monitor solely for that.

For QUALITY LCDs, the minimum you should consider is the new NEC for $1000-1100 plus their calibrator or a Spyder or Eyeone (i1) for another $150-200.

Furthermore, I believe Nvidia's control panel allows you to select either RGB or YUV output; thus, you would select YUV.

To read about the Mini's issues, go here: Matrox MXO2 Mini Calibration Issues : Matrox Video Systems
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 07:50 AM   #14
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I've actually got a spare graphics card, that came with the PC (it's a custom spec PC) which is a NVIDIA 9800GT which has; 1x S-Video, 1x HDMI & 1x DVI connections and has 512mb DDR3 RAM.

Is this up to the job, or would you strongly suggest something with 1GB RAM?

With regards to the 'Spyder' interface, I guess It's a device that gives you the calibration tools.. I assume it includes the 'blue' mode?
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 03:40 PM   #15
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Now that I think about it, that card might actually work. I say this because another person here, Tim Kolb, has a certified card for hardware acceleration and then a 2nd card (not certified) connected to 2 LCDs for more screen room. What you should do is this: have the GTX as your main card with the timeline and source window on 1 LCD, the Program/Playback window on the 2nd LCD and your other windows on the 3rd LCD connected to the 9800. In the display configuration, you will have 3 monitors to setup. #1 must be connected to the GTX because that will be your main LCD for Windows.

Essentially, any video playback must be done thru the GTX.

And about the Spyder and calibration: as far as I know, it does not do Blue only. The Spyder and i1 are devices that hang over the front of the monitor and calibrate to a specified Gamma (2.2) and White Point (6500). With real VIDEO monitors such as the higher-end NEC, Eizo and others, these calibration devices interface with special software from NEC or Eizo in order to calibrate to specific COLOR SPACES such as Rec 709 (HD video), Rec 601 (SD video) and DCI (film). If you are delivering your video to SD broadcast, then you would have your monitor calibrated to Rec 601, for example.

There is a misconception that calibrating a monitor with the Matrox software for POST production (ie, color correction, grading, finishing...) is the proper method. Calibrating a monitor by using Bars is meant for Production purposes. Calibrating a monitor to specific color spaces is meant for Post production., which is why my Eizo CG243W has a few calibrated settings, one for SD broadcast-Rec 601, one for HD broadcast & HD web-Rec 709 and one for film-DCI. Furthermore, my Panasonic BT-LH1710W with HD-SDI is connected to my EX3 for production; so, it is calibrated with Bars being output from the camera.

Last edited by Steve Kalle; December 22nd, 2010 at 05:40 PM.
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