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Old December 28th, 2006, 03:31 PM   #1
Go Go Godzilla
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Scottsdale, AZ USA
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HVX + Apple + Sony NTSC = WYSIWYG Color

Here's my New Years gift to the forum: a straightforward method for getting exact color/exposure out of your HVX. This represents months of testing various setups and external monitors, even broadcast monitors.

Unfortunately this method is specific to an Apple-based environment so it won't be of any help to those with a PC workflow.

The Hardware:

- HVX200P
- 23" inch Apple Cinema Display (models produced within the past 8 months)
- KONA LH/e (BlackMagic cards will have the same result)
- Sony 27" WEGA SDTV (models produced within the last 12 months) using component IN from KONA

Software: FCP (Final Cut Express will also work)

This setup is used primarily because all my productions are going straight to DVD or for broadcast; this is NOT a setup to be used for film transfer or conversion. An SDTV was chosen vs. "widescreen" because SDTV's still dominate the market and, professional "broadcast monitors" give a gamma response that is not indicative of the standard TV set people have in their homes. If you are producing content that is being converted to film then you need a broadcast monitor, not an SDTV as your external monitor.

The single most important step in getting this setup to work properly - and probably the most overlooked camera setup item - is making sure the flip-out LCD (or EVF, depending on which you prefer) is properly configured. I never use the EVF so this is based on using the flip-out LCD.

Step One: Balance the LCD properly. Bring up the BARS generator in HVX (upper left button on the side control panel). In the lower right of the BARS display are the PLUGE bars (picture line-up generating equipment): Black, Super-Black and Grey (lighter-than-black). Go to the LCD SETUP in menu item 7, adjust the BRIGHTNESS only down until you can only see the far right bar which is "grey"; the other two bars should appear solid. (if you raise brightness you'll see all 3 PLUGE bars clearly). On my HVX it only took 2 ticks left (-) minus from center to reach this level. Now the LCD is properly balanced. Do NOT adjust CONTRAST or COLOR level, those should both be left at the default center mark.

It's worth noting that after the LCD was setup we connected the Panasonic BT-LH900; it matched the HVX LCD exactly in color, contrast and brightness using the default settings in the LH900. This helped to confirm the LCD was in fact, properly setup.

Step Two: Apple Monitor Setup. Assuming you have FCP installed go to the DISPLAYS control panel in System Preferences and select either the NTSC 1953 or ADOBE RGB 1998 color profiles (both are available after FCP is installed). This will give a similar color/gamma response as the Sony SDTV.

NOTE: I also have a 30" Cinema Display however it is not as color accurate as the 23"; my 30" is two years old and the older displays have been updated. All the new 30" displays have been updated with newer front bezels and the color response is much more accurate. This testing was done using the new 23" inch display. (In my setup the canvas, viewer and color correction are displayed on the 23"; the timeline takes up the entire 30" since I don't trust it's color.)

Step Three: Setup the Sony SDTV. The Sony was chosen vs, JVC, Toshiba or even Panasonic because the color response was flatter (no hues were over-saturated) and both the 23" and 27" had S-video, component and composite in's. All the newer Sony TV's have a "Picture Mode" selector of, "Standard, Movie, Vivid and Pro". Select the "Standard" profile and make no changes. If you already have a Sony or have played with the color/contrast settings reset them back to factory default settings.

Step Four: Import footage into FCP and display through the KONA or BM.

With this setup, you're guaranteed that what you see on the HVX flip-out LCD will match exactly what you see on your external TV monitor. Right now, I'm looking at a test clip being displayed on the HVX LCD, the LH900, the 23" Cinema display and the Sony SDTV simultaneously; it is as close to WYSIWYG as I've ever seen and I'd call it a 98% match all the way from HVX to TV screen.

Simple! Enjoy.
Robert Lane
Producer/Creator - Bike Pilots TV

Last edited by Robert Lane; December 28th, 2006 at 04:09 PM.
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