Creative Communities of the World Forums

The peer to peer support community for media production professionals.

Forums Broadcasting Color grading monitor for Macbook Pro

  • Color grading monitor for Macbook Pro

     sean lloyd updated 11 years, 2 months ago 8 Members · 24 Posts
  • Brian Lehrer

    September 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Hey Creative Cow,

    I am a first time poster, but a long time reader. I could really use some help, my brain is fried. Sorry for the extensive post.

    Anyways, I will be shortly buying a new 17″ Macbook Pro (3.06Ghz Duo, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, anti-glare screen). I will edit off of a G-Tech G-RAID3 with either eSATA or Firewire 800. I edit on Premiere Pro cs4, but will also be buying Avid (student edition) and most likely Final Cut to make sure I’m capable of handing anything that might come up. (p.s. Does anyone know if the Student Version of Final Cut is not-upgradable when new versions of FC come out?) It outputs video through the apple mini display port, but I will definitely be getting a mini display-DVI adapter, as well as a DVI to HDMI cord. I’m also pretty sure that mini display-HDMI cables are made.

    I’m trying to create a setup so that I can have a larger monitor to make editing easier on the eyes (doesn’t have to be color accurate), as well as have a monitor to judge color properly so that I can color correct (On Apple Color or with Magic Bullet). If these two monitors can be one and the same, so much the better.

    I am a student filmmaker, soon heading out into the professional world, and my set-up doesn’t have to be the absolute most professional gig. For absolutely CRITICAL work, I’d outsource it. However, I would like to be able to get a sense of decent correct color representation at home, and not the totally random output given by most computer monitors. I’d like the stuff I work on at home turn out looking pretty decent when viewed on people’s TV screens (via DVD) or when projected in a theater (at school or in festivals). Here’s what I’ve managed to ascertain so far.

    It seems the most direct route (and best, but most expensive) is to actually purchase a professional HD broadcast quality monitor for color grading and a larger normal computer monitor for general editing. (Correct me if I’m wrong, please)
    Problems with this: As you guys know, Broadcast Pro monitors are VERY expensive. I’m looking for an overall monitoring solution that is $1000-$2000, maybe up to $3000 if I’m really getting a great set-up that’ll last a while. Does anyone have any idea or know a set-up that could facilitate this goal?
    Also, how do I connect these monitors to my computer?

    The other potential options revolve around Matrox Products: the MXO, the MXO2, and the MXO2 mini.

    Question 1: As the MXO2 and MXO2 mini connect through expresscard and you connect a monitor to the box, can you attach 2nd external monitor directly through the minidisplay port? Or are you still stuck to one external monitor?

    Question 2: Do these boxes really not work on Snow Leopard? I’ve heard that. My new macbook pro will come with it installed.

    When it comes to these Matrox products, I’m somewhat confused as to what to go with and how to achieve my goals.

    How can I get a semi-affordable not-bad color grading option using any compbination of the following monitors (these are some which I’ve looked at, please feel free to recommend others, or tell me if any of these are bad). And what Matrox would I use with which monitor?

    I already have a 720p 26″ Sony Bravia and a 40″ 1080p Sony Bravia TV (with HDMI inputs), which could prove potentially useful.
    I’ve also looked at the 32″ 1080p Bravia XBR (better class of model than the ones I have)

    There’s always the Apple Cinema Displays (which look awful pretty). But…the current 24″ one only connects though mini display port (Apple…what the hell). So that ones only useful for general editing, not color correction. There’s the 30″ Cinema Display, which is a bit larger than I’d like for a color correction monitor (unless I use it as my sole dual-purpose monitor). It’s also quite expensive for what it is – $1,300. It requires a Dual Link DVI cable to attach from the Macbook Pro ($100). There’s also the discontinued 23″ Apple Monitor, which I can perhaps find on amazon or something. Uses a DVI I believe.

    I’ve also heard good things about the Dell Ultrasharp 24″ and 30″. They’re cheaper than the Apples, and have HDMI inputs. Sounds good?

    Some people have also spoken about the HP Dreamcolor, but I didn’t find much info on it. Other things I’ve looked at are the Alienware Optx 20.5″ 1080p monitor, or any of the 1080p Samsung line of monitors, which are quite affordable.

    Anyways…..I would really appreciate any help that could be given here. How can I get even a so-so monitoring solution with a few thousand bucks? If using a Matrox box, which one? and with which monitors?

    Thank you so much to anyone who actually made it through to the bottom of my post.

    Best wishes,
    Brian C. Lehrer

  • Shane Ross

    September 6, 2009 at 2:38 am

    [Brian Lehrer] “Question 1: As the MXO2 and MXO2 mini connect through expresscard and you connect a monitor to the box, can you attach 2nd external monitor directly through the minidisplay port? Or are you still stuck to one external monitor? “

    With the MXO2 and Mini, you can connect a production monitor to those devices, and have the DVI out available for another monitor.

    [Brian Lehrer] “Question 2: Do these boxes really not work on Snow Leopard? I’ve heard that. My new macbook pro will come with it installed. “

    They do not have drivers for Snow Leopard yet…the OS was just released, and not everyone has drivers that is compatible with it yet.

    [Brian Lehrer] “How can I get a semi-affordable not-bad color grading optio”

    Both the MXO2 and Mini have HDMI out, and provide the means to balance it properly to color bars. Any GOOD HDTV will serve you well.

    Forget the new Apple displays, unless your computer only has that mini port connection. The Apple monitors are expensive. I have two Dells and love them. And you can always get an adapter for the mini port to DVI.

    [Brian Lehrer] ” How can I get even a so-so monitoring solution with a few thousand bucks?”

    MXO2 or Mini and good HDTV.

    [Brian Lehrer] ” If using a Matrox box, which one? and with which monitors? “

    The one that has the connections you want. The mini is cheaper, but is lacking in a lot of professional connections. The mini is a GREAT box. But it all depends on what your wants and needs are. Look at what they offer and make your decision.

    HDTVs? Panasonic ProPlasmas are the best, but any GOOD HDTV should do fine.

    Shane

    GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD…don’t miss it.
    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Brian Lehrer

    September 6, 2009 at 4:54 am

    Shane,

    Thanks so much for your speedy help! Cleared up things a lot.
    Only questions remaining:

    – So, are you recommending I use an HDTV (like a panasonic) over a computer monitor (like the Dell UltraSharp)? This will yield better results? Just wanted to make sure.

    -If HDTVs are indeed what I should hook up to my matrox MXO2 or MXO2 Mini, you recommended Panasonic Pro Plasmas. Those seem a bit big for my purposes. I was looking for something smaller (22-36″, but definitely 1080p) to color correct on. Any other recommendations in the TV department? Or if I can’t go with a bigger plasma screen, is it better to go with an HD computer monitor (like the Dell Ultrasharp?) Also, I already own a 720p 26″ Sony Bravia HDTV and a 40″ 1080p Bravia HDTV – could these be potentially useful? What qualities am I looking for in a HDTV to use with the Matrox MXO2 or MXO2 Mini?

    -I know you said the Mac displays were no good, and they certainly have frustrating design flaws and are costly, but are they fine and clear for use as a primary monitor for editing? I’m speaking for the purposes of giving more space to edit when used with the MBP, etc, not for the color correction hooked up to the Matrox, of course. (You said I could use two monitors + MBP with the matrox hooked up to one and the main display out hooked up to another).
    Or…is the dell ultrasharp 24″ really much better than the apple.

    Once again, thanks so much for all your help. You guys are really incredible.

    Regards,
    Brian Lehrer

  • Brian Lehrer

    September 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Also,
    another thought:
    If the combo of the monitor/HDTV and the matrox starts to get close to $2000 (and still has issues: Snow leopard, Premiere on Mac not supported?? Avid?)…wouldn’t I be better off getting something like a JVC DT-V20L1DU Professional LCD Monitor ($2000) or the slightly cheaper model without HD SDI inputs (DT-V20L1U). These are pro JVC broadcast 20″ monitors. Couldn’t I hook these up to the DVI port of my Mac and have a real broadcast quality color correction solution for SD and HD? Am I missing something here?

    Lastly, where does the HP Dreamcolor monitor fit into this conversation between broadcast monitors, Matrox Minis, HDTVs, comp monitors, etc. I see you raved about it on another post and my curiousity is definitely peaked.

    Thanks,
    Brian Lehrer

  • Shane Ross

    September 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    First things first. There is no single capture or output device that will work with all three editing applications. Avid requires Avid hardware, FCP requires harwqre designed to work with it. Premiere hardware that works with Premiere. So no single device will get you professional level output on all three.

    Second, the output from DVI to any device, be it computer monitor or converted with small adapter to a TV will get you broadcast quality monitoring. It is a computer signal, not broadcast. There is one device that converts that signal to work, the original Matrox MXO. But that is FCP only. And while it can be used with Avid, it only does so to get a computer image onto a broadcast monitor. The signal is a computer one. The “presentation mode” that converts the computer signal to broadcast is FCP only.

    Sorry but if you want pro level monitoring you need pro gear. Pure and simple.

    Shane

    GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD…don’t miss it.
    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

  • Brian Lehrer

    September 7, 2009 at 2:09 am

    Shane,

    Thanks for your continuing help. I’m trying to figure out how to get what I want. It is my plan to acquire all three NLEs, so I should be able to figure it out with one of them, either Avid, Premiere or FCPro.

    As to the DVI connection, I know that it is not useful for color correction without a Matrox MXO. If I hooked up a monitor to the DVI without a matrox mxo, it would only be for general editing purposes, not color correction.

    However, I’m unclear as to whether DVI is still useless if it is actually used to hook up to a professional broadcast monitor (a few thousand dollars). It seems you can find okay (slightly old but still HD) pro broadcast monitors from JVC from around $2,000 with HD-SDI and DVI-D inputs. Is it still inaccurate then? Would you need the MXO even with such a pro monitor to use it properly? I’m sorry I’m a bit confused but is that what you’re saying? That no matter what the DVI will send out the wrong goods?

    As to the other attractive option of using a Matrox MXO2 or MXO2 Mini with a monitor or HDTV….
    Would you recommend using a computer monitor (dell ultrasharp, apple cinema display, HP Dreamcolor) or a HDTV? Which will yield better results? Either way I’m looking at screens that aren’t over 32″ MAX. I’m looking for around 17-25″ preferably.

    Can you recommend some HDTVs or computer monitors that you think would work best with the MXO2/MXO2 mini? Or qualities that I should look for? The Panny Pro Plasmas you mentioned are too big for me most likely. (I also own a 720p 26″ Sony HDTV and a 40″ 1080p Sony HDTV, but these consumer items are probably useless.)

    Lastly, where does the HP Dreamcolor monitor fit into this conversation? I see you raved about it on another post and my curiousity is definitely peaked. It seems to have remarkable capabilities to act as a reference monitor, there’s some info here:
    https://h20331.https://www2.hp.com/hpsub/downloads/LP2480zx_videoapps_WP_Oct08.pdf

    and here: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/dreamcolor-hewlett-packard-monitor,review-1096.html

    Can this solve my problems?

    And LASTLY -about time, right? :), are Apple Cinema Displays ok for general editing usage as the monitor directly connected to DVI or minidisplay while I use the expresscard — MXO2/MXO2 mini — whatever monitor as color correction monitor? (giving me two monitors(one for color, one for general) + Macbook Pro screen). Or are the Dell Ultrasharps better? Or is the HP Dreamcolor the “dream” problem solver?

    Sorry for these complex and long questions, I’m just getting really confused and you actually know what you’re talking about.
    I’m just trying for a few thousand dollars (hopefully on the lower end of that figure…) to get a more or less color-accurate solution that I can color correct with from my Macbook Pro. I know it’s not perfect, but what can I do to make something like this happen?

    Thank you SO MUCH,

    Brian Lehrer

  • Bob Zelin

    September 7, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    I was considering not responding to this post, but I just got back from the consumer TV stores. My mother in law needs a new 26″ TV (to fit into her furniture in her bedroom). The new LCD’s don’t have the same type of LOUD speakers that were placed in older CRT based “deep cabinet” TV sets. “But I don’t want external speakers, why can’t I just get a TV to replace this that is loud enough for me to hear” !

    And you want to know where my anger comes from –
    Brian, you are like a 78 year old woman.
    I will respond below. You want to do EVERYTHING, and do it on your MAC Book Pro. Well, you can’t.

    You write –

    It is my plan to acquire all three NLEs, so I should be able to figure it out with one of them, either Avid, Premiere or FCPro.

    REPLY – as you have been told, you are not running AVID Media Composer, FCP and Premier all on the same laptop, all from the same boot drive, all on a MacBookPro, and expect to do broadcast level work (or Cinema level work) all from a Mac Book Pro. And AVID requires it’s own propriatary hardware, like the Mojo SDI (which is a piece of crap). If you were serious about this, you would have a MAC Pro tower, with two boot drives – one for AVID, one for FCP and Premier, with the ability to install different hardware, like AVID Nitris hardware, or AJA/Blackmagic products.

    However, I’m unclear as to whether DVI is still useless if it is actually used to hook up to a professional broadcast monitor (a few thousand dollars). It seems you can find okay (slightly old but still HD) pro broadcast monitors from JVC from around $2,000 with HD-SDI and DVI-D inputs. Is it still inaccurate then?

    REPLY – Brian, you need a job. If you have a profesional interface (MXO2, MXO2 mini, AJA I/O HD) you can hookup to a $849 Panasonic
    PH42PH11UK 42″ Plasma display, and get wonderful color. Countless people use this series of Plasma displays (that accept YPbPr inputs, and even have HDMI inputs) to edit with.

    As to the other attractive option of using a Matrox MXO2 or MXO2 Mini with a monitor or HDTV….
    Would you recommend using a computer monitor (dell ultrasharp, apple cinema display, HP Dreamcolor) or a HDTV? Which will yield better results? Either way I’m looking at screens that aren’t over 32″ MAX. I’m looking for around 17-25″ preferably.

    REPLY – this whole thing is so insane. Are you sharing an apartment with 3 other guys, and don’t have the room, or are you in your bedroom at your parents house, and you don’t have the room for a professional monitor. If you have NO MONEY, get a Dell 2408WFP – plenty of guys use this – it takes in DVI, HDMI, and YPbPr at full HD. The Dell is about $600. It’s not a PROFESSIONAL color grading monitor, but it works. The HP Dreamcolor is a nice monitor if you feed it with the right graphics card (not your Mac Book Pro), but HP often recommends using this monitor with the Gefen HD-SDI to DVI converter box, which makes it too expensive. When you can get a Panasonic BT-LH1710 or FSI 17″ montior for $2500, why bother. Have no money, get the Dell. Have a little money, and some space, get the Panasonic Plasma. Have more money, get the Pana or FSI.

    Can you recommend some HDTVs or computer monitors that you think would work best with the MXO2/MXO2 mini? Or qualities that I should look for? The Panny Pro Plasmas you mentioned are too big for me most likely. (I also own a 720p 26″ Sony HDTV and a 40″ 1080p Sony HDTV, but these consumer items are probably useless.)

    REPLY – there is no “best HDTV” that works with the MXO2. All HD products from Matrox, AJA, Blackmagic, MOTU, AVID will all do the job, and will all look the same (not better or worse) with each of these monitors. Anyone that says “hey, the MXO2 works best with the JVC DTV24” is an idiot.

    Lastly, where does the HP Dreamcolor monitor fit into this conversation?

    REPLY – no, it doesn’t. You have too much time on your hands. Get a job, and stop this nonsense. You are not color grading the “next big feature” on your laptop sitting in your shared apartment with your HP Dreamcolor.

    And LASTLY -about time, right? :), are Apple Cinema Displays ok for general editing usage as the monitor directly connected to DVI or minidisplay while I use the expresscard — MXO2/MXO2 mini — whatever monitor as color correction monitor? (giving me two monitors(one for color, one for general) + Macbook Pro screen). Or are the Dell Ultrasharps better? Or is the HP Dreamcolor the “dream” problem solver?

    REPLY –
    I know what you want. You want to know WHAT IS THE LEAST EXPENSIVE MONITOR you can buy, that will work with EVERY editing and graphics application known to mankind, that will fit into your tiny space in your apartment. None is the answer. Go find a job, and stop trying to have your own company. You are not ready.

    Sorry for these complex and long questions, I’m just getting really confused and you actually know what you’re talking about.

    REPLY – you are not confused at all. You want to do everything, with no money, and no space (and not the right equipment). Plenty of people are just like you. Originally, Disney Orlando bought a Canon XLH1 HD camera, and thought they were ready to produce HD shows. I see this insanity all the time. You want to do pro work, you buy the right equipment. Getting started – get cheap gear, and do the best you can – save your money, and get better gear. Start a small business, save, expand, buy new gear. This is the process. You CANNOT do it all starting out – IT CANT HAPPEN.

    I’m just trying for a few thousand dollars (hopefully on the lower end of that figure…) to get a more or less color-accurate solution that I can color correct with from my Macbook Pro. I know it’s not perfect, but what can I do to make something like this happen?

    REPLY – buy the Dell 2408WFP, and stop posting already.

    Bob Zelin

  • Brian Lehrer

    September 7, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Bob,

    I didn’t mean to antagonize you or anybody else…My sincerest apologies.

    I’m not trying to have a professional super station at home with my macbook pro. I was a producer on a friend’s 35mm short film this year and we had it edited by a professional editor at a professional facility with professional equipment. The movie was color graded on a DaVinci. I know what real serious pro work requires. Please don’t get the impression that I’m expecting miracles.

    I am well aware of how much better a Mac Pro tower is when compared to a laptop. However, I need a laptop for portability, and I don’t have enough money right now to buy both a tower and the laptop for myself.

    I have my own apartment, I am a film student (who works as well), and I’m not trying to get the best of everything that will work with everything for no money. I didn’t mean to give off that impression…if I did, I sincerely apologize.

    All I wanted to solve was this:
    I have a about $2000-$3000 or so to drop on a monitoring solution for the editing that I do at home. I just wanted to see if I could find a way to put out something from my macbook pro (Which will unfortunately be included with Snow Leopard when it ships) that is more accurate for color grading(using Magic Bullet or Color) on my projects than just using a typical computer monitor in the usual fashion. I generally work on smaller scale projects for student films, ranging from SD to HD in the near future. These projects are outputted to DVDs or Tape, and played back on HDTVs or sometimes large scale projects at the film school auditoriums. Any really serious pro projects will be edited somewhere else, although I would hope to be able to edit low quality reference files at home for the heavy stuff.

    I don’t understand why I won’t be able to install all three NLE’s on the same computer partition and have them function? Does it screw up performance?
    I really only use Avid to play with stuff I edit at school on larger Avid systems. Therefore I use the Avid Student edition at home, which has NO hardware attached or needed. I generally use FCPro or Premiere for editing.

    Anyways, I’m sorry I upset you, and I didn’t mean to come off as ignorant, obnoxious, or whatever it seemed to you. I just came to this forum asking for help. Considering how you reacted to my last post, I don’t expect you to respond to this post, but if you did, it would mean a lot to me. I had hoped this forum was about sharing knowledge with those who are in need of it as I am.

    I’ll probably get the MXO2 or MXO2 Mini (even though they don’t yet work with Snow leopard) and an HDTV. I’ll probably take your advice and get a larger plasma, because I in fact have plenty of space in my apartment – its not so tiny. (If I have thousands of dollars to spend on a new computer and monitor, I have enough money to afford a pretty spacious apartment). Although, I was just confused why I wouldn’t buy an approximately $2,000+ OK production monitor and use that instead for a similar price as an Matrox + HDTV. So far no one has been able to clearly answer this question, and whether I could plug a production monitor straight into the DVI on the computer or would I need a Matrox even with a broadcast monitor? these are the questions I was hoping to answer.

    But if all this is a waste of time as you suggest…maybe I’ll just stop trying altogether and not bother color correcting at home for short films, which I have been doing with pretty good results so far. I’d rather not give up though.

    Thank you for your help, assistance and advice.

    Best wishes,

    Brian Lehrer

  • Brian Lehrer

    September 7, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    EDIT: I think Shane did explain above that even with a broadcast quality production monitor, the video coming out of the DVI is still the wrong color space, and so the Matrox MXO would be needed between the computer and such a monitor.

    Thanks for clearing that up Shane.

  • Shane Ross

    September 8, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Well, I see that Bob as set you right. Hee! Yeah, HDTVs…I don’t know what is the best. Not like i have access to everyone out there, nor is it my job to check them all. I have a Panasonic Plasma, and it is solid. A lot of people use them, and a lot of people recommend them. And Bob just calls it like he sees it. And is tired of people trying to penny-ante their way into pro systems. A lot of us are. Too much can go wrong.

    Now, onto other questions…

    [Brian Lehrer] “don’t understand why I won’t be able to install all three NLE’s on the same computer partition and have them function? Does it screw up performance? “

    Yes, it does. Avid has some VERY strict requirements as for what version of QT and MacOS it requires. And usually it doesn’t jive with what FCP wants and requires. So best to have them separate. I have both on my MacBook Pro…but I have my hard drive partitioned into two. One with Avid, one with FCP.

    [Brian Lehrer] ” I was just confused why I wouldn’t buy an approximately $2,000+ OK production monitor and use that instead for a similar price as an Matrox + HDTV.”

    Because to get that production monitor you STILL need to get a device to feed it. Now…will you be going pro work? Something to pay for all of this? Doing broadcast work? if not…why BUY it? When I was in school we learned on the school stuff. Get the MXO2 to get your pro IO…or mini if you don’t have the need for Pro IO…then use whatever TV you have already. It should be decent enough for practicing. That being said, a good capture device and a Pro Monitor will ALWAYS look better than a TV. But for practicing, the TV would suit you fine.

    [Brian Lehrer] ” So far no one has been able to clearly answer this question, and whether I could plug a production monitor straight into the DVI on the computer or would I need a Matrox even with a broadcast monitor?”

    You cannot plug a production monitor directly into DVI and get a broadcast quality image. Not without an adapter. I told you this. That is a COMPUTER signal. You would need something like the MXO via DVI to get a good pic. You want a pro image, you need the pro gear. ALL of it. No going into this half assed. But, again, if you don’t have paying clients, why get this? That’s a lot of money for PRACTICE. You’re young…take the money and go to Europe for a few months. That experience will benefit you more.

    Shane

    GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD…don’t miss it.
    Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

Viewing 1 - 10 of 24 posts

Log in to reply.

We use anonymous cookies to give you the best experience we can.
Our Privacy policy | GDPR Policy