Color grading monitoring advice

Do you have questions about Desktop Video, Converters, Routers and Monitoring?
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Artkramer

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Color grading monitoring advice

PostMon Sep 23, 2019 11:19 pm

Hi guys!

I've been starting to make some artistic, musical videos (at the moment, mainly of nature) which I'd like to post online (Youtube, Instagram, etc.). Apart from the editing the clips, I also want to color grade them.

Recording with iPhone XR with Filmic Pro (Probably upgrading next year to a BMPCC4K)
Editing on a Mac Mini 3,2 GHz i7 8GB RAM
eGPU is on its way (Asus XG Station Pro with Asus Radeon Arez Strix Vega56)
Apogee Element 46 Audio Interface
Software: DaVinci Resolve

I can't really figure out what would be a reasonable monitor to buy. I shoot in 4k and when grading I want the colors to be as accurate as possible, while still on budget. So I was thinking about the BenQ SW271 with an X-rite ColorMunki for calibration, which is already a bit above my budget, actually.
Now, I do read here and there, that for accurately monitoring the colors, I would also need to have an I/O box like the UltraStudio 4K. I just can't wrap my mind around the use of this thing and I see all kinds of inputs and outputs I don't feel I really need. But maybe I do.

So my questions are:
1. BenQ SW271 has 99% AdobeRGB, but do I really need that, while the standard for web is sRGB? Might it be a bit overkill for what I want?
2. Do I need to pay an extra 1000 for a video interface like the UltraStudio? Is it essential for color grading?
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Dinindu Jagoda

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostFri Sep 27, 2019 6:27 pm

1. Benq SW271 is mainly for photography users I believe. What you'd want is the Benq PV270 which is meant for video work. Forget the adobe RGB, It's 100% Rec709 and 10bit panel that you'd really want to look at. Rec709 & sRGB are quite similar as they both use the same primaries and white point. There are many monitors claiming 100% Rec709 & sRGB but most of them can't represent the colours 'ACCURATELY' which is the secret word here. I was told by Steve Shaw of Light Illusion which has one of the best calibration software many of us use, that with a Benq PV270 you should be good for a budget option. There are no cheap colour accurate monitors although the Benq one is cheap (Relatively).

2. You could buy an Ultrastudio Mini monitor which will set you back like US$150 and you should be good to go. You need the monitoring device to get an accurate signal path to the monitor. When using a monitoring interface like BM mini monitor, it doesn't use any display profiles that may be active by default inside your OS and you'd know that your seeing the image accurately, provided that you've calibrated your monitor properly. Also some software like DaVinci Resolve (prior to version 16) didn't have a colour accurate GUI so you couldn't grade on the GUI directly if you wanted accurate colours. The only way was to use a monitoring interface.

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Artkramer

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSat Sep 28, 2019 8:06 pm

Dinindu Jagoda wrote:1. Benq SW271 is mainly for photography users I believe. What you'd want is the Benq PV270 which is meant for video work. Forget the adobe RGB, It's 100% Rec709 and 10bit panel that you'd really want to look at. Rec709 & sRGB are quite similar as they both use the same primaries and white point. There are many monitors claiming 100% Rec709 & sRGB but most of them can't represent the colours 'ACCURATELY' which is the secret word here. I was told by Steve Shaw of Light Illusion which has one of the best calibration software many of us use, that with a Benq PV270 you should be good for a budget option. There are no cheap colour accurate monitors although the Benq one is cheap (Relatively).

2. You could buy an Ultrastudio Mini monitor which will set you back like US$150 and you should be good to go. You need the monitoring device to get an accurate signal path to the monitor. When using a monitoring interface like BM mini monitor, it doesn't use any display profiles that may be active by default inside your OS and you'd know that your seeing the image accurately, provided that you've calibrated your monitor properly. Also some software like DaVinci Resolve (prior to version 16) didn't have a colour accurate GUI so you couldn't grade on the GUI directly if you wanted accurate colours. The only way was to use a monitoring interface.

Regards,
Din


Thank you for your reply.

1. In that case, I might go for the Benq PV3200PT, which is like the bigger brother (32" 4k) of the PV270. Initially I was very excited about the PD3200U, but I'm afraid it's not accurate enough, mainly because of the lack of hardware calibration. Hopefully I'm a bit future proof with the PV3200PT. The only thing that doesn't make me very excited is that the monitor is already almost 4 years old, so for example HDMI on it is still 1.4 instead of 2.0.

2. I would really like to use just one monitor in my workflow, but is this even possible when I want to grade with high color accuracy, or do I need at least 2 monitors, including one reference monitor (I suppose, I read this somewhere)? In other words, can I let Ultrastudio Mini Monitor "monitor" my Mac (the whole OS etc.), so that now I can grade accurately in the GUI of Resolve 16, without the use of a reference monitor?

Btw, unfortunately the Ultrastudio Mini Monitor only sends out 1080p. There is also a 4K version, but it's only as a PCIe card, namely the DeckLink Mini Monitor 4K. I could match this with a PCIe enclosure which would cost me around €500 in total. Together with the PV3200PT monitor (€1100) and an X-rite i1 (€200) this comes to a total price of €1800. Honestly, that's quite a lot for me, but if all of these tools are essential to edit and grade accurately in 4K (using just one monitor), I think I will do it. But of course, correct me if I'm overlooking things here!
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Alex Aitken

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostThu Oct 03, 2019 6:54 am

There is a thunderbolt 3 connection Ultrastudio 4K mini which just came out and would suit your needs, it's what I currently use. You won't be able to use just one monitor and grade accurately within the GUI interface. You need that dedicated I/O device to then calibrate that signal. On top of buying an X-rite i1 display pro, you need to buy software to calibrate, such as Lightspace which you can rent for 3 days - they have guides but it's still pretty involved.

But it all really depends on where your output is going. If you can get a monitor to within a close enough range and it suits your needs (web export or something) then don't break the bank on something unnecessary. There is accuracy and then there is broadcast accuracy etc, it's a rabbit hole. A lot of people would argue you'd be much better off getting a properly calibrated 1080p monitor, as colour accuracy isn't dependent on resolution.

If you're set on a 4K monitor AND you want it to be very accurate, there's no way around spending a significant amount of money.
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Artkramer

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSat Oct 05, 2019 12:29 am

Thank you for your reaction, Alex.
Quite a wormhole indeed!

There is a thunderbolt 3 connection Ultrastudio 4K mini which just came out and would suit your needs, it's what I currently use.


Yes, I'm aware of that product, but it's €1000, which is two times more expensive than a Decklink Mini Monitor 4k, paired with a PCIe enclosure.

You won't be able to use just one monitor and grade accurately within the GUI interface.


I'm a bit confused here because Dinindu said earlier in this thread:
Also some software like DaVinci Resolve (prior to version 16) didn't have a colour accurate GUI so you couldn't grade on the GUI directly if you wanted accurate colours. The only way was to use a monitoring interface.
...which would imply that in Resolve 16 you actually can accurately grade in the GUI, though I can't find anything about this on the web.

While color grading will be just one (relatively small) element of my whole audiovisual working process, I really don't feel like adding an extra monitor to my setup. What if I just:
- buy the Benq PV3200PT and do a hardware calibration on it;
- enable "Use Mac Display Color Profiles for Viewers" and "Use 10-bit precision in viewers if available";
- and then grade in the GUI,
could it be accurate enough for web exports? Maybe just even buy the cheaper Benq PD3200U (without hardware calibration)? It's quite hard for me to get a sense of differences in accuracy. I don't want to become a color "snob" (I actually do want that, but I have other priorities :lol: ), nor do I want to find out that each time I upload a video on Youtube it will look noticeably different than when I was grading it...
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Marc Wielage

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSun Oct 06, 2019 5:52 am

Artkramer wrote:I'm a bit confused here because Dinindu said earlier in this thread:
Also some software like DaVinci Resolve (prior to version 16) didn't have a colour accurate GUI so you couldn't grade on the GUI directly if you wanted accurate colours. The only way was to use a monitoring interface.
...which would imply that in Resolve 16 you actually can accurately grade in the GUI, though I can't find anything about this on the web.

No, that is not correct. Read pp. 2098-2099 of the Resolve 16 manual: "Limitations When Grading With the Viewer on a Computer Display." This goes into some detail why you cannot accurately monitor directly from the computer and operating system. You have to have a color-managed output, like one from a Blackmagic display card, preferably on a calibrated external Rec709 display.

Don't try to make judgements on uncalibrated GUI displays. That will lead down a perilous road of pain and suffering. And if you do look at anything in the GUI display, don't compare it to what you see coming out of the color-managed Resolve output (aka "the hero display").

For more on color management, read Jonny Elwyn's article at this link:

https://jonnyelwyn.co.uk/film-and-video ... o-editors/

What is true is that you can now edit in Resolve and just hook up a second (or third) display as a preview monitor. But I wouldn't trust the color. For judging focus or framing or performance or timing, it should be fine.
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Bendersky

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSun Oct 20, 2019 11:47 pm

Hey guys, i read this post and i have a realitve question.

What happend if you connect a Macbook pro 2018 T3-DisplayPort to a FSI dm240. The image in the FSI will it be 10 bit and a accurate image to do color grading?

Thanks, Martin.
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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostThu Oct 24, 2019 8:00 am

No.
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rick.lang

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Color grading monitoring advice

PostFri Mar 20, 2020 10:25 pm

I like the LG 34” 21:9 Ultrawude 5K2K that pretends to do HDR 600 and 98% DCI-P3. 34WK95U-W 5120x2160.

Also like BenQ 32” but only UHD. Hoping for true 4K. PD3220U.

LG Ultrafine 5K also in the mix. What depth is the colour 8+A FRC. What does that mean to what I’ll see in Resolve?

Sorry can not afford to buy suitable colour grading monitor. Not this year anyway.

Must get something to see what’s on the Mac Pro as I need to give back a borrowed iMac 2013 21.5” HD that I’ve been using in Target Display for the Mac Pro. That works well but not a good monitor for DaVinci Resolve as one needs a lot more real estate now.

Anyone want to pick a favourite budget 4K monitor? Somewhere in the ballpark of a maximum $2K.

The technical information supplied about these monitors is pathetic. So buying budget gear is buying blind.
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rick.lang

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Color grading monitoring advice

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 12:17 am

Thinking about it, I’m so used to the iMac 27” screen with that 5120x2880 real estate that is important to me working in Resolve with several video (up to 8) and many audio tracks (say 16). I have been using the 1920x1080 screen on the borrowed iMac 21.5” and it is so cramped for creating video. So the 2560x1440.screens aren’t going to be as easy to work with as a screen four times as large.

Looks like the Ultrafine 5K with reasonably good Apple integration. Wish it had two TB3 and two USB-C Type A connectors. But I do have a hub that helps with the Type A problem at least and the Mac Pro likely has enough TB3 so not a showstopper.

I remember hearing some negative comments in the past about this but I’ve forgotten the issues except for the wobbly stand and all that plastic.

It should be decent for editing and I’ll have to leave grading for another time and adapt to smaller screen sizes dedicated to grading, not editing.
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John Griffin

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 7:59 am

For uploads to the web where people will be viewing the material on any and all manner of devices I really wouldn't get too caught up in the need for a properly calibrated monitor. :oops: :D
Just grade to what you think looks right (ideally making informed adjustments with the help of the scopes), upload a test and view on a selection of devices to see if it's OK. Likely it will look different on each device but even the most expensive grading setup won't fix this.
Now I'm sure this advice will have the pro's foaming at the mouth but once you make a feature for broadcast or theatre projection you will be in a position to pay them to do the job for you......
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rick.lang

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Color grading monitoring advice

PostSat Mar 21, 2020 6:44 pm

Thanks, John. I test my movie ‘grading’ on my Samsung 2K/HD television and view it in a darkened room. One day we can add 4K. And HDR. Too bad I don’t have a friend who is a theatre projectionist as I’d love to test it in an actual theatre.

If it was up to me, I’d have all these goodies but the company comptroller here is putting the brakes on spending now; thankfully I got the Mac Pro before the sky is falling! You know when you sleep with the comptroller, you have to give her her due!
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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 4:31 pm

I found a good description of 10bit colour display on the physically 8+FRC display of the LG Ultrafine 5K 27MD5L monitor available from Apple.

FRC stands for frame rate control. It quickly toggles between two 8bit values to interpolate finer 10bit values. 8bit is a no-no, but FRC fools the brain into seeing those interpolated values. Not ideal, but for editing in Resolve it should still work well enough until I buy a true 10bit grading monitor.
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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 5:24 pm

It's thoroughly irrelevant to the topic, but in days of film projection, variations between reels of the same movies were so great, for all sorts of reasons (different timers, different chemical batches, variations in projector bulbs) that it felt as if you were in a different movie, when the reel change occurred. Then you get used to that reel, and twenty minutes later -- bang! Another movie....

For youtube, I'd use a cheap desktop monitor or laptop, fed either with decklink or the third monitor feature of Studio, and with the monitor haphazardly adjusted somewhere in the middle. Put the professionalism, if there is any, into the content instead. For the web, it's wasted effort.
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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 6:44 pm

After three days of looking at all the current alternatives, the Pro XDR 6K monitor ticks a lot of boxes and the Comptroller has authorized its purchase with the VESA mount adapter, not the Apple Pro Stand. I found a VESA stand that exceeds the specs of the Apple $1,000 USD stand at a fraction of the cost.
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John Paines

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 6:48 pm

Granted, I haven't studied the thread, but why would you spend $6000+, when you can get a 55" LG OLED, good enough for post houses, for $1500?
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rick.lang

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Color grading monitoring advice

PostSun Mar 22, 2020 11:45 pm

John, if you mean this, it’s a TV and you’re likely right, I should do something like that for grade proofing.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... s_hdr.html
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james tell

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostMon Mar 23, 2020 9:44 pm

this is just a well spoken comment, from a pro grader too : " lead down a perilous road of pain and suffering " :D thats just funny !:)))
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rick.lang

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostTue Mar 24, 2020 3:46 pm

James, are you in agreement with post #6 from Marc?

Although not meeting that standard, the Mac Pro Display XDR is factory calibrated to meet the requirements of about a dozen reference definitions such as P3-DCI, Rec.709 and so on including HDR and SDR. The monitor doesn’t pretend to display Rec.2020 itself. But DaVinci Resolve can generate and retain the colour values for Rec.2020. Scopes will be more important than ever.
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Christopher Dobey

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 2:00 am

John Paines wrote:Granted, I haven't studied the thread, but why would you spend $6000+, when you can get a 55" LG OLED, good enough for post houses, for $1500?


I have a 65" LG B7 OLED for HDR work and my thoughts are: 1) The input lag drives me nuts: the delay between making an adjustment on my Micro Panel and what shows up on the screen I find frustrating. This of course is probably not even noticeable to most. As a second screen directly out of the computer the delay is unacceptable for every day tasks. 2) HDR highlights peak around 500 nits vs the Pro Display XDR being able to push 1000 nits to the entire screen. Seeing HDR10 content on the screen at full 1000 nits is spectacular (though of course you don't get the 0nits black OLED). 3) The LG color calibration is far inferior straight out of the box vs the Pro Display XDR (and at +$5500 a professional Spectrophotometer ain't cheap)

I'm curious to see calibration results on the new TV sets that support Netflix Calibration Mode
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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 3:44 am

Wow, that's a full stop more in the highlights.
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rick.lang

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 5:28 am

And you can drive it at 1600nits for 39% of the pixels. If you have a reason to do that. This is a whole new experience for me to learn about. The Pro Display XDR has taught me quite a lot in terms of giving me a better foundation than what I have done before.
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John Paines

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 3:19 pm

There's a lot to be said for meeting the highest technical standard, but does it make sense to grade for a monitor that virtually no consumer owns/uses?

These days, a consumer rec. 709 monitor can, with some effort, at least approximate the standard. But HDR? On youtube?
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rick.lang

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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 4:01 pm

Absolutely correct. My theatrical and event recordings are delivered in SDR Rec.709.

The narrative projects need to be graded for how they’ll be viewed. That could mean one grade for Rec.709 and additional grades as appropriate including for HDR television sets.

I’m just at the beginning stage of trying to prepare for the poet’s advice “one’s reach should exceed one’s grasp.” Although the XDR isn’t the right choice for a colourist’s monitor, it’s a great choice for an editor’s monitor given the large real estate for viewing 4K pixel-for-pixel and added ease of access to many tracks.
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rick.lang

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Color grading monitoring advice

PostWed Mar 25, 2020 5:55 pm

Good news that Apple’s latest firmware for the Pro Display XDR now includes the ability to customize reference modes. This was missing from the original release and was a concern. Another box ticked off:

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210435

Perhaps more important is this note near the bottom of that technical note regarding calibration:
“User calibration will be available in an upcoming version of macOS Catalina.”
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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostThu Mar 26, 2020 1:36 am

Rare case that Apple is mentioning a planned feature!
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Re: Color grading monitoring advice

PostThu Mar 26, 2020 5:09 pm

james tell wrote:this is just a well spoken comment, from a pro grader too : " lead down a perilous road of pain and suffering " :D thats just funny !:)))


Reminds me of old times when you have to guess what you see.
Investment priority..
It always ends up with an I/O-unit and hardware calibrated displays.
The journey to the final destination is well described....pain. :-)

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