Grading equipment on a budget?

Get answers to your questions about color grading, editing and finishing with DaVinci Resolve.
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

Ron Michaels

  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:19 pm

Grading equipment on a budget?

PostWed May 17, 2017 1:42 pm

EDIT: moved from "getting started" forum

Hey everyone,

First off, my apologies for asking basic questions that I'm sure have been asked several times before. Ive been familiarizing myself with post production for awhile but still need advice on a setup that "can get the job done on a budget". I have a classic Mac Pro with a titan X plus plenty of other mods for performance. Curious to know if computer monitors are viable for grading now or if a professional reference monitor is necessary to get a good/accurate grade? Is a decklink and lut box necessary? Are their computer monitors with built in lut capability? Is having a single monitor plugged directly into my gpu via hdmi or DisplayPort useable/accurate? FYI I plan making an indie film to be featured at film festivals, would like it to be delivered in 4k with p3 color space. Perhaps shoot it in 4k raw, edit and grade in 2k/rec709 and deliver in 4k/dci-p3? Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Offline

Andrew Kolakowski

  • Posts: 2749
  • Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:20 am

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostWed May 17, 2017 2:20 pm

Cheapest monitor with you could use for some P3 work will be Eizo, but this is 3.5K£+
You may as well stay with Rec.709 as many pros suggest.
What will be our P3 delivery? Cinema?
Offline

Ron Michaels

  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostWed May 17, 2017 4:17 pm

Film festivals/cinema. What about some of these newer LG displays or benQ even? Decklink a must? If rec709 is the smartest bet, which display and I/o device? Thanks.
Offline
User avatar

JPOwens

  • Posts: 1255
  • Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:04 pm
  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostWed May 17, 2017 5:24 pm

Ron Michaels wrote:Film festivals/cinema. What about some of these newer LG displays or benQ even? Decklink a must? If rec709 is the smartest bet, which display and I/o device? Thanks.


Take your pick from the BMD catalog. They're the only ones supported, onboard and outboard.

If you are trying to force a consumer display to simulate a theatrical projection, good luck with that.

In the first place, you can't simulate the projection environment unless you own a theatre. Its a light-spill issue. You are also not likely to be able to emulate the nit-level illumination that the projector is throwing, you have no control over how the theatre's server/playback system is handling the signal -- whether you deliver a QT, a BluRay, a DCP, or something else.

There are some new "HDR" displays coming -- Flanders showed a really interesting HDR monitor (worth exploring, but almost everything about it is currently "TBA") -- but in the end, the consumer line of displays, no matter who makes them, are so juiced and otherwise-leveraged that you will spend more trying to make them work ***honestly or with some degree of judgement fidelity*** think of the investment in calibration software and measurement probes that will actually get you a result -- the whole notion of "budget" is out the window.

If you are trying to do grade in 2D, especially stay away from "3D" displays. They can't make "black" without simply shutting down.

jPo, CSI
Offline

Ron Michaels

  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostWed May 17, 2017 7:57 pm

Can anyone recommend a 4k display that displays 100% rec709?
Offline

Andrew Kolakowski

  • Posts: 2749
  • Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:20 am

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostWed May 17, 2017 10:07 pm

What budget- without this I recommend Sony BVM X300- great monitor :)
Offline

Ron Michaels

  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostThu May 18, 2017 12:54 am

How bout using a decklink along with a TV?
Offline

Uli Plank

  • Posts: 1913
  • Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:48 am

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostThu May 18, 2017 2:44 am

TVs these days are not so bad – if you know your way around their menus to set them right. Samsung for example, starting from their series 7, was doing quite well when we made a test with a Klein K-10 probe. But colors are only good when looking straight at them.
Offline
User avatar

rick.lang

  • Posts: 7562
  • Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:41 pm
  • Location: Victoria BC Canada

Grading equipment on a budget?

PostThu May 18, 2017 5:51 pm

FSI DM240 about $4,000 gets you full theatrical P3 I believe, the FSI AMxxx series about $2,000 gets you broadcast Rec.709. In between price is the CM171.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Rick Lang
Offline

Ron Michaels

  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostFri May 19, 2017 4:02 am

Forgive my ignorance, but can I use a reference monitor going through a decklink as my only/primary display on OS X? Or is a GUI display necessary?
Offline
User avatar

Craig Marshall

  • Posts: 710
  • Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:49 am
  • Location: Blue Mountains, Australia

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostFri May 19, 2017 10:11 am

You don't need a 4K Rec.709 monitor if you select the Decklink SDI 4K Pro card because you can use a calibrated HD monitor to grade 4K material in real time.

An added advantage of the 12G (that's 4K speed at up to 60P) SDI Pro Decklink is that SDI#2 offers a hardware 4K downscale so you can grade 4K material on your calibrated HD monitor whilst feeding the 4K SDI output to your big TV. (via say, the Terenex SDI>HDMI LUT box)

Ideally, you should use an SDI display (eg FSI) which can be accurately calibrated and fed from a decklink I/O as it will give you a known, reliable 'video' output bypassing your computer's graphics chain.

I use a high quality native 1920x1080 'computer' monitor designed for photo/print proofing. It has inbuilt 14bit 3D LUTs so it can be accurately calibrated (for REC.709) and I drive it through it's Display Port connection via a Decklink 4K SDI Pro card which outputs an SDI signal only. This is correctly converted to Display Port using a BMD HD-Link 3D Pro box. This is probably the most reliable way of getting correct 'video' signal out of your computer to a reference 'computer' monitor without an SDI input.
4K Post Studio, Freelance Filmmaker, Media Writer
Win10/Lightworks/Resolve 12.5/X-Keys Jog/Shuttle/OxygenTec ProPanel
12G SDI Decklink Pro/Calibrated 10bit IPS SDI Monitor
HDvideo4K.com
Offline
User avatar

Craig Marshall

  • Posts: 710
  • Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:49 am
  • Location: Blue Mountains, Australia

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostFri May 19, 2017 10:30 am

Ron Michaels wrote:Forgive my ignorance, but can I use a reference monitor going through a decklink as my only/primary display on OS X? Or is a GUI display necessary?



You really need two monitors as a minimum with Resolve (GUI & Decklink out) but I like to use three monitors - grading reference up front (decklink out) over the hardware balls & wheel surface, Resolve GUI monitor to the right and Resolve scopes up full screen on the LH side.
4K Post Studio, Freelance Filmmaker, Media Writer
Win10/Lightworks/Resolve 12.5/X-Keys Jog/Shuttle/OxygenTec ProPanel
12G SDI Decklink Pro/Calibrated 10bit IPS SDI Monitor
HDvideo4K.com
Offline

Ron Michaels

  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostFri May 19, 2017 2:23 pm

Is SDI from the decklink converted to an hdmi or DisplayPort the most reliable way to grade with a computer monitor? Hdmi 2.0 has enough bandwidth for 4k 10 bit and some of the decklinks have an hdmi connection now.
Offline
User avatar

Craig Marshall

  • Posts: 710
  • Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:49 am
  • Location: Blue Mountains, Australia

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostFri May 19, 2017 2:30 pm

It depends on the Monitor. A lot of high end 'computer' monitors (those that can be accurately calibrated for film/video) only accept a 10bit signal through Display Port. Some HDMI. I've never had much success with HDMI as it has issues in long studio cable runs so we wired our suite 100% 12G SDI with HDMI conversion right at the set. (4K 'client' TV)
4K Post Studio, Freelance Filmmaker, Media Writer
Win10/Lightworks/Resolve 12.5/X-Keys Jog/Shuttle/OxygenTec ProPanel
12G SDI Decklink Pro/Calibrated 10bit IPS SDI Monitor
HDvideo4K.com
Offline

Andrew Kolakowski

  • Posts: 2749
  • Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:20 am

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostFri May 19, 2017 7:01 pm

Craig Marshall wrote:It depends on the Monitor. A lot of high end 'computer' monitors (those that can be accurately calibrated for film/video) only accept a 10bit signal through Display Port. Some HDMI. I've never had much success with HDMI as it has issues in long studio cable runs so we wired our suite 100% 12G SDI with HDMI conversion right at the set. (4K 'client' TV)


When it comes to high-end "print" monitors (Eizo, NEC etc.) then about all accept 10bit over HDMI and DisplayPort. Cheaper, but still "good" monitors are more likely support 10bit over DisplayPort than HDMI.

When it comes to to UHD, specially 50/60p I know only 1 box which can reliably convert 4x 3GSDI to DisplayPort. This creates problems when you try do things at low budget.
Offline
User avatar

Craig Marshall

  • Posts: 710
  • Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:49 am
  • Location: Blue Mountains, Australia

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostFri May 19, 2017 11:06 pm

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:.... When it comes to to UHD, specially 50/60p I know only 1 box which can reliably convert 4x 3GSDI to DisplayPort. This creates problems when you try do things at low budget.


We got around this issue by installing BMD's Decklink SDI 4K Pro card with the two SDI outputs. #2 offers real time UHD > HD conversion so we can grade UHD material using our existing HD SDI > Monitor chain whilst SDI #1 feeds the Client monitor at native UHD. Apart from some PC issues caused by that Decklink card requiring 8 CPU lanes, the system has worked very well for about two years.
4K Post Studio, Freelance Filmmaker, Media Writer
Win10/Lightworks/Resolve 12.5/X-Keys Jog/Shuttle/OxygenTec ProPanel
12G SDI Decklink Pro/Calibrated 10bit IPS SDI Monitor
HDvideo4K.com
Offline

Andrew Kolakowski

  • Posts: 2749
  • Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:20 am

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostFri May 19, 2017 11:52 pm

Craig Marshall wrote:
Andrew Kolakowski wrote:.... When it comes to to UHD, specially 50/60p I know only 1 box which can reliably convert 4x 3GSDI to DisplayPort. This creates problems when you try do things at low budget.


We got around this issue by installing BMD's Decklink SDI 4K Pro card with the two SDI outputs. #2 offers real time UHD > HD conversion so we can grade UHD material using our existing HD SDI > Monitor chain whilst SDI #1 feeds the Client monitor at native UHD. Apart from some PC issues caused by that Decklink card requiring 8 CPU lanes, the system has worked very well for about two years.


Not if you want UHD 50/60p monitoring, not its HD version.
Offline
User avatar

Craig Marshall

  • Posts: 710
  • Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:49 am
  • Location: Blue Mountains, Australia

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostSat May 20, 2017 5:51 am

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:...Not if you want UHD 50/60p monitoring, not its HD version.


Both SDI Decklink outputs will run at 12G for UHD monitoring or #2 can downscale to HD. Operator's choice. The Terenex SDI to HDMI converter also runs at 12G so monitoring 50/60P UHD is possible on our 9000 series 4K Sony. This works well but we prefer to grade UHD on the HD monitor via SDI #2>DP because of it's colour accuracy.
4K Post Studio, Freelance Filmmaker, Media Writer
Win10/Lightworks/Resolve 12.5/X-Keys Jog/Shuttle/OxygenTec ProPanel
12G SDI Decklink Pro/Calibrated 10bit IPS SDI Monitor
HDvideo4K.com
Offline

Ron Michaels

  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostSat May 20, 2017 6:27 am

Why is grading on a computer display connected directly to a gpu so inaccurate (aside for perhaps web delivery purposes)? If the entire pipeline is say 10 bit from software to display, and the display is calibrated to rec709, what is the issue? Is it video/data levels or something to do with grading in a rgb color space, all of the above or more? Again, my apologies for the newbie questions....
Offline
User avatar

Marc Wielage

  • Posts: 3940
  • Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:46 am
  • Location: Hollywood, USA

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostSat May 20, 2017 6:57 am

Ron Michaels wrote:Why is grading on a computer display connected directly to a gpu so inaccurate (aside for perhaps web delivery purposes)? If the entire pipeline is say 10 bit from software to display, and the display is calibrated to rec709, what is the issue?

Generally, the issue is that the computer displays are not good enough to be calibrated completely for Rec709. They're going to have purity problems, panel consistency problems, viewing angle problems, colorimetry flaws, and similar issues. Putting it a simple way: if it were possible to build a Grade-1 display for $995, it would've been done by now.

Steve Shaw of LightIllusion has some good thoughts on why calibration is critical and why many monitors will fail the calibration process:

http://www.lightillusion.com/why_calibrate.html
Offline
User avatar

Craig Marshall

  • Posts: 710
  • Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:49 am
  • Location: Blue Mountains, Australia

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostSat May 20, 2017 7:20 am

Ron Michaels wrote:Why is grading on a computer display connected directly to a gpu so inaccurate (aside for perhaps web delivery purposes)? If the entire pipeline is say 10 bit from software to display, and the display is calibrated to rec709, what is the issue? Is it video/data levels or something to do with grading in a rgb color space, all of the above or more? Again, my apologies for the newbie questions....


Jason Myres, Moderator of the Colorist forum LiftGammaGain explains it this way:

"(GPU output (DP/HDMI) and a Decklink/mini monitor card output) ..are two very different things and it goes way beyond whether they are 8 or 10-bit. The first one is a standard graphics card output, the second (Mini Monitor) is a Baseband SDI/ HDMI video output. The difference comes from the fact that one is intended (and modified) to suit a computer display, and the other is a fully legitimate video signal intended for broadcast monitoring. They are two different signal types with different color spaces and signal paths. Don't try to compare them, as they literally have no relation to one another.

In certain cases it's possible for images to "look the same" on both graphics cards and video I/O cards, but they were really designed for two different purposes.

Graphics cards are based around computer signaling standards (VGA, DVI), and are purpose-built to render Graphical User Interfaces and text. They can display video, but that video has to be rasterized, or mapped to the appropriate pixels in your monitor, before it can be displayed. The output from graphics cards is generally limited to legal levels (16-235), which means no full range output (0-255), including sub-blacks and super whites. They also have no sense of interlacing.

Those things, along with any processing being applied by the graphics card, including sharpness, contrast, gamma, or color space adjustments (usually to sRGB), are what generally makes them unuseable for critical viewing. The signal has been embellished, so what you see is not what you get. And, even if you were to try, it's very difficult to completely defeat, especially in OS X.

Video I/O cards are built around SMPTE standards, and are designed for passing unaltered ("baseband"), video signals used in film and broadcast television, in and out of your computer. They are specifically designed not to modify the signal unless you specify it, and when they do it's usually limited to formatting tasks like changing frame rate, frame size, etc. They provide a "proper video signal", which is exactly what you want for critical monitoring.
4K Post Studio, Freelance Filmmaker, Media Writer
Win10/Lightworks/Resolve 12.5/X-Keys Jog/Shuttle/OxygenTec ProPanel
12G SDI Decklink Pro/Calibrated 10bit IPS SDI Monitor
HDvideo4K.com
Offline

Andrew Kolakowski

  • Posts: 2749
  • Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:20 am

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostSat May 20, 2017 2:46 pm

Ron Michaels wrote:Why is grading on a computer display connected directly to a gpu so inaccurate (aside for perhaps web delivery purposes)? If the entire pipeline is say 10 bit from software to display, and the display is calibrated to rec709, what is the issue? Is it video/data levels or something to do with grading in a rgb color space, all of the above or more? Again, my apologies for the newbie questions....


If you use the same good monitor then it's not (OR IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE) less accurate at all.

Issues are on the software side, which are in most cases not written to give accurate GUI preview.
If you use software which has been written this way (using e.g. OpenGL surface), like Scratch then accuracy is even better as data is always 4:4:4 and doesn't have to go through any RGB<->YUV conversions. GPU pushes data directly to display over DP or HDMI, where in case of SDI card data has to be first converted to one of the supported pixel formats (quite often this is YUV 4:2:2) and than card pushes it to the display (which has to convert it back to RGB). There is also less delay and overall system resource are less stressed in case of GPU monitoring.

Look at printing industry- do they use SDI preview? They can produce accurate prints which are quite often even more difficult to achieve than video preview.
Whole thing is a legacy issue and laziness (and deliberate politics) of companies which in most cases have no interest to implement this as they (or their "friendly partners") make money on selling SDI hardware. SDI is good when you need long distance cables, but for private studio DP or HDMI is at least as good.
Once you have formed correct RGB data then fact if it travels over SDI or HDMI/DP makes not much of a difference. It's digital world, so if the data which left GPU is correct then it can be 100% the same regardless of SDI or DP cable (DP actually offers more bandwidth, but shorter cables). Key point here is to make sure that data which leaves GPU (in other words- hits DP/HDMI cable) is CORRECT. There are ways of achieving this, by separating from OS color management engine (eg. using OpenGL technology).
Today consumer technology in some case is more advanced than pro, which use to never be the case old days. Things are changing and you have to adapt/follow it or you will have hard time to survive.

Resolve is just not one of these tools, specially on PC.
Offline

Ron Michaels

  • Posts: 22
  • Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:19 pm

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostSat May 20, 2017 10:06 pm

Final Cut uses something called ColorSync correct? Just curious as we are on the topic.
Offline
User avatar

Craig Marshall

  • Posts: 710
  • Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:49 am
  • Location: Blue Mountains, Australia

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostSat May 20, 2017 10:14 pm

Andrew Kolakowski wrote:... If you use the same good monitor then it's not (OR IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE) less accurate at all....

... Today consumer technology in some case is more advanced than pro, which use to never be the case old days. Things are changing and you have to adapt/follow it or you will have hard time to survive.

Resolve is just not one of these tools, specially on PC.


That sort of heresy could get you hung here Andrew but I fear you are correct!
4K Post Studio, Freelance Filmmaker, Media Writer
Win10/Lightworks/Resolve 12.5/X-Keys Jog/Shuttle/OxygenTec ProPanel
12G SDI Decklink Pro/Calibrated 10bit IPS SDI Monitor
HDvideo4K.com
Offline

Andrew Kolakowski

  • Posts: 2749
  • Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:20 am

Re: Grading equipment on a budget?

PostSat May 20, 2017 11:39 pm

Ron Michaels wrote:Final Cut uses something called ColorSync correct? Just curious as we are on the topic.


I think so. Even with Resolve on Mac you should be able to get 10bit accurate preview with correct hardware. It just needs verification and way more attention than SDI preview due to the way how it works now. It would be easier when you can avoid OS color management as then it's basically the same as with SDI card.
As far as I understand Scratch works this way. Connect eg. Rec.709 calibrated monitor, set in Scratch that your monitoring is Rec.709 and your are done (change monitor to P3 profile, change Scratch setting to P3 and your are set for P3). OS color profile is totally ignored- you can switch it to P3, Rec.2020 etc. and when your OS preview colors will keep changing depending on the profile, your Scratch video preview will stay the same.

Return to DaVinci Resolve

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Jack Fairley, Jimmy Yuan, Markus Hottenrott, PeterMoretti, Richard Swearinger, waltervolpatto, Yahoo [Bot] and 31 guests