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Forums Broadcasting Standards and Monitors

  • Standards and Monitors

  • Bill Vincent

    May 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Hi, I’m new to this particular corner of CC and I’m sure that there are probably ongoing discussions around what I’m about to ask – but my question is simple: Have different types of monitors (computer/TV hybrids, etc) made it difficult or impossible to deliver an edited master that is truly “correct” color-wise? I just don’t know how to get my own monitors set to something resembling a standard which I can trust.

    I’m not a color-correction expert or broadcast engineer, just a lowly FCP editor with a desire to know that I’m delivering a product that’s not too dark, not too bright. Bars just don’t seem to tell the whole story anymore, especially when using bars to calibrate monitors that are RGB, which are vastly different than CRT monitors of old. Also considering that there are so many different types of monitors with different types of color spaces and settings, it’s just mind-boggling. What is true? Is color truth subjective now?

    Thanks in advance for any insights – the more I try to research all of this, the more confused I get.

  • Richard Cooper

    May 5, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Really, the only accurate way to do this is still monitoring your timeline through a true broadcast i/o card from your edit suite into a properly calibrated broadcast monitor… whether it be a CRT or the trend now, to broadcast “class 1 LCD” monitors such as the FSI line or the Panasonic Pro plasmas.

    “What is true? Is color truth subjective now?”

    Subjective?, possibly,yes…. but it still needs to be within the broadcast standards which is impossible to meet when flying blind.

    The i/o cards range in price ($300 to $3000) as well as quality but in my opinion Kona cards are the top of the heap followed by Black Magic and Matrox. There is no way to properly monitor your signal with a computer monitor fed from a computer video card. Just not possible to do it accurately.

    There is a TON of very good info on this subject over on the Apple Color forum. Just a warning though… don’t ask how to do it on your computer monitor, they are quite sensitive to this subject and are not shy about telling you about it 🙂

    If you are delivering for broadcast, an i/o card and broadcast monitor is a critical to professional edit suite. Just part of the cost to do the job right. Good Luck!

    Hope this helps.

    Richard Cooper
    FrostLine Productions, LLC
    Anchorage, Alaska

  • Bill Vincent

    May 5, 2010 at 2:51 am

    Hi Richard,

    First of all, thanks very much for your thorough reply. In terms of being able to meet broadcast specs I understand about the quality card and monitor, and won’t attempt to dive into the discussions over at Apple Color without proper equipment and preparation.

    However, that all being said, standardized color in the real world shouldn’t be so difficult to achieve. What you are basically saying is that without having a broadcast standard monitor and broadcast quality graphics card, it’s impossible to calibrate a monitor properly. Why don’t monitors come standard now with a proper test pattern and user instructions to self-calibrate? That’s a somewhat rhetorical question, but still it doesn’t seem like too much to ask. Why should consumers (and prosumers) be left (literally) to their own devices to attempt to have a calibrated monitor? Most likely because if monitors were calibrated identically and correctly, the deficiencies in various monitors would be painfully obvious. So much for really helping the consumer – it’s all about the wow factor in the showroom, not about accuracy and actual color depth.

    Anyway, thanks again for the reply. I’ll just have to wait until I can afford more equipment that I can’t afford right now to ever feel like I can judge color correctly. Frankly, I’m sick of all of it – it seems like a holy grail that can’t ever be found.

  • Richard Cooper

    May 5, 2010 at 3:25 am

    If you are a prosumer and donn’t need to nessisarily deliver for broadcast then that opens up some more, less expensive options. The Black Magic IntensityPro card is, I believe, only about $300 and will give you real time output from your timeline via HDMI. This coupled with a consumer HDTV will at least give you an “almost accurate” monitor. If you have it professional probe calibrated (another $250) you will be close enough for pro-sumer work. So for about $1200 all in you have a nice setup. It really is about what you are selling to your customers. But to start out this might be a good option for you.

    Computer screens are just not set up, and I believe they cann’t be, to give you an accurate broadcast spectrum. The gama and color spectrum just wont allow. Unless you are looking at an HP DreamColor but then you are spending a lot of money again and have a lot of caviats there as well.

    Take a look at the BM IntensityPro. It might be what you need and can afford.

    Good luck on your quest

    please excuse any typos as I am typing this on my iPhone!

    Richard Cooper
    FrostLine Productions, LLC
    Anchorage, Alaska

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