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Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.

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Clayton BurkhartDreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 19, 2010 at 10:49:31 pm

Looks like I may be getting a recent used HP Dreamcolor at a decent price. As it appears that one has to jump through several hoops to be able to grade properly with this monitor according to the forums here, what I am wondering is if I will be able to do this off of an iMac or a modern Macbook pro 13". (Which no longer has an express card slot, thanks to Apple's de-evolution) The problem is one of connectivity. I do not have a Mac Pro tower. If I have to purchase a $2000 box/card to make it happen in YUV space that would be kind of defeating the purpose. So how can I get there inexpensively? Also, I am aware that interlaced material is problematic without an expensive converter as well. As I am mostly shooting with Canon DSLR's in progressive format, doesn't appear to be an issue for the moment.

I do only occasional grading for personal projects, but it does matter to me and I need to know what would be the most cost effective solution and way of configuring this beast.

Cheers,
Clayton

ps> Any known PAL issues? I am in Europe.


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Rafael AmadorRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 2:18:18 am

[Clayton Burkhart] " If I have to purchase a $2000 box/card to make it happen in YUV space that would be kind of defeating the purpose. So how can I get there inexpensively?"
If would be possible, people wouldn't spend money in a box/card. People spend that money because is the only way to go.
The best monitor of the World is for nothing if the signal you feed it is not the proper one., and you can not get that signal without one of those I/O boxes/cards.
Basically there are three solutions: AJA, Matrox and Motu.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 6:19:20 am

Thanks for the response, but it doesn't tell me anything. I am aware that I need an i/o solution, just not a $2000 one.


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Rafael AmadorRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:12:56 am

So use Google and have a look to the prices of the available solutions.
There are no so many.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 11:47:17 am

Please don't tell me to go google something. That is insulting and irrelevant. If you have nothing better to contribute than the obvious, please do not comment at all.

I am looking for other members response who have personal experience with this monitor in terms of it's grading capacity and connectivity on other Mac's than the Mac Pro. Not all solutions may be worth the money or provide full exploitation of the aspects of this monitor which are valuable. Hands on experience is invaluable. Which is why I am posting here rather than just googling.


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Shane RossRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 2:06:42 pm

Matrox MXO2 Mini - $450
Decklink Intensity Pro - $199

Both require a MacPro. The MXO2 Mini works on laptops, but via Express34.

I don't know what purpose is being defeated. Do you mean trying to work with small machines? Or to work cheaply? Sorry, professional workflows require professional equipment. And the fact that you can get a solution for under $5000 is a big deal. Computer/card/monitor.

Looking for a pro solution for under $2000? Sorry, not possible. But get the MXO2 Mini and a good HDTV and there's a solution for about $1500. Now you just need the computer.

Shane



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


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 2:40:39 pm

Thanks for the response Shane.
In fact ever since Apple decided to eliminate the express card slot on the Macbook Pro, the only model in laptop form is the 17". Not only that but they have systematically phased out every other form of connectivity, but USB2. If that isn't backwards I don't know what is.

If I purchased an FSI, I would simply need HD-SDI PC card out from a Mac Pro. This is as you said very inexpensive (maybe $200-$300). It would also apparently allow me to do HDMI capture. Trying to pull off the 17"Macbook Pro I could use the MXO2 mini for $450.

Both of these options would require me to purchase a 3rd Mac for approximately $2600 just to run my screen.

Any other Macbook, (especially the new ones)or an imac (even the fast 27" ones which can do decent editing these days), I would need an old MXO breakout box which does not even do capture for $1000. Truly ridiculous.

Anyhow that is FSI with an HD-SDI solution.

The Dreamcolor however does not have HD-SDI, it has a whole bunch of other ports including HDMI, DVI, displayport, etc. I am interested in this monitor because I can also do in-monitor calibration (as opposed to off my graphics card or in-computer LUT's) for print work. A bit like an old Barco CRT. Much more accurate than placing a Spyder on any old screen.

The question remains how to get good 10 bit YUV off of it when in video grading mode from a computer-monitor chain that does not have HD-SDI involved. I hear many people tossing around an intermediary solution which requires a Konig card for $1500 + an HDP2 for another $700. That's doesn't make much sense to me from an economic standpoint.

Would for instance a:
1)direct Displayport to HDMI Monitor cable work?

or

2) Displayport to HDMI cable + MXO2 mini + HDMI out cable to monitor be feasible?

Would both of these solutions suffer from the corruption of a 2 way communication going on between computer and monitor (the computer trying to correct the image)?

Would 10 bit YUV be available, or would I be in some other funky HP Dreamcolor space?

Thanks in advance for your patience.



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Shane RossRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 3:29:12 pm

[Clayton Burkhart] "In fact ever since Apple decided to eliminate the express card slot on the Macbook Pro, the only model in laptop form is the 17"."

Yeah, that didn't make a lot of sense. I can see doing that to the 13"...that's more consumer level. But not the 15". To them it made a lot of sense as only 1% of the people who bought that computer used that port....yet a LOT more people need SD card slots for digital cameras. But that means that they took a PRO feature off of a PRO machine. Yeah...I'm miffed at that too.

[Clayton Burkhart] "If I purchased an FSI, I would simply need HD-SDI PC card out from a Mac Pro. This is as you said very inexpensive (maybe $200-$300). It would also apparently allow me to do HDMI capture. Trying to pull off the 17"Macbook Pro I could use the MXO2 mini for $450."

The Mini doesn't have SDI out...nor does the Intensity pro. If you want SDI, you need to go to the higher end models...AJA IO ExpressMXO2 LE, Decklink Studio. There are cheaper Decklink options with SDI, but they are ONLY SDI, no HDMI. But the only ones that work with a laptop are the IO Express and MXO2 LE.

[Clayton Burkhart] "Both of these options would require me to purchase a 3rd Mac for approximately $2600 just to run my screen."

?? What computer do you have now? That you haven't stated. You mention the possibility of a 13" MacBook Pro or an iMac, but you didn't say that you owned either. BOTH, by the way, are consumer machines. Yes, the iMac is powerful, yes, it will run FCS 3 just fine. But for PROFESSIONAL LEVEL monitoring and capture and output, you need to buy a professional level machine that allows for that. Yes, they are more expensive. But when you bill the machine to the client, as one ALWAYS should if they use their own equipment, then you can pay it off relatively quickly. So now why would you need to buy ANOTHER machine to run the capture hardware? Just get the ONE machine that works with them.

[Clayton Burkhart] "Any other Macbook, (especially the new ones)or an imac (even the fast 27" ones which can do decent editing these days), I would need an old MXO breakout box which does not even do capture for $1000. Truly ridiculous."

That is a pretty old box, but still useful for one thing...getting a video signal out of a computer. Still, when you limit yourself to non-pro machines, your choices are limited. Look at machines that do what you need done.

[Clayton Burkhart] "The question remains how to get good 10 bit YUV off of it when in video grading mode from a computer-monitor chain that does not have HD-SDI involved."

Capture card with SDI out, to AJA HDP2, to Dreamcolor.

[Clayton Burkhart] "That's doesn't make much sense to me from an economic standpoint."

Then don't get it. Don't buy the Dreamcolor. Get an FSI with direct SDI in. But if you insist on the Dreamcolor, then you need to use the signal converters to get the signal to it.

[Clayton Burkhart] "1)direct Displayport to HDMI Monitor cable work?"

No. That would be sending a COMPUTER RGB signal to the monitor, not a video YUV.

[Clayton Burkhart] "2) Displayport to HDMI cable + MXO2 mini + HDMI out cable to monitor be feasible?"

MXO2 MIni HDMI out...to HDMI converter to DVI...to Dreamcolor. Nope, sorry. Because the Dreamcolor isn't true 1920x1080, but 1920x1200...computer monitor dimensions...this won't work. I tried this on other computer monitors. HDMI signal expects to hit a 1920x1080 display, or 1280x720. If the TV/display doesn't conform to that...then nothing is displayed.

Shane



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


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Joseph OwensRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 4:16:48 pm

I'm afraid I won't be able to add any "hands-on" commentary, since all that I have ever read on this and other forums, with or without the benefit of Google, is that Dreamcolor, for purposes of HD-SDI grade work, is "hands off". Consequently, very few users have implemented it.
Here's a thread from about two years ago that is interesting reading, and contains a number of URLs for additional research:
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/223/7928

It really was designed as a consistent cubicle-farm monitor to assist with CGI work and it apparently does that really well. As I recall from the thousands of posts, its ColorEngine only becomes available with DVI or sRGB interfaces, which is really anathema to most grade work -- ColorSync really raises hell with Rec709 -- the OS is just dying to intervene, usually incorrectly. If this is for use with COLOR, that application usually has a lot of problems with other third-party color profile/"calibration" applications, as well, including totally garbling the output.

i'd be interested in knowing if they ever got around to writing that white paper.

COLOR, starting out as a third-party (non-Apple) application was aimed directly at the use of a PCIe Video I/O interface like AJA and Blackmagic, and it is very accurate and virtually trouble-free with that implementation. What Silicon Color did not anticipate was everybody (or anybody, for that matter) running Final Touch on their laptops, and we're observing that Apple is not devoting a lot of resources to the application's further development. The typical advice is to buy an MXO and be done with it (advisor muttering under their breath "if you're going to be that way.... " ). So.

A number of users have indeed achieved degrees of success building their own signal path with a myriad of interfaces -- sometimes prime examples of either obstinacy or engineering triumphing over common sense, but it does not appear to have been easy or terribly inexpensive for any of them.

I sympathise entirely with your assessment of Apple's de-evolution. Its one of the reasons why I am skeptical about how Blackmagic's Resolve for Mac is going to fare, since it has a much, much tighter spec and hardware requirement and is particularly unreceptive to improvisation or innovation on the part of the user base, plus as a competitor product, doesn't seem to be anywhere on Apple's accommodation list. Meanwhile, the user base is going right down the same road asking why can't I use it with something other than what the developer has very expressly and specifically targeted. Doesn't look like an MXO will be useful for that one, but who knows? Someone will persevere.

Monitors; can't live with 'em, can't bulldoze them off the edge of the Earth.

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 20, 2010 at 5:04:23 pm

Thank you both Shane and Joseph for your very sensible responses.

I did manage to find the white paper you were referring to Joseph:

http://bizsupport2.austin.hp.com/bc/docs/support/SupportManual/c01695201/c0...

My conclusion is not mysterious, after much research this afternoon. There are too many links in the chain for something to go wrong. Additionally, the cost of the conversion boxes mitigates the benefits of the screen. By the time I am done paying for an HDP2, and a probe calibrator, it is actually more expensive new than an FSI.

I also have seen numerous quality control, color tint issues and a general confusion out there in terms of solutions in my perusing, because no one seems to be on the other end at HP.

So the conclusion I am arriving at like a lot of others, is that the FSI seems ultimately a better solution for video, even if it is not 10bit and the Dreamcolor could be had for a good price.


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Jeremy GarchowRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 8:07:14 pm

[Clayton Burkhart] "The question remains how to get good 10 bit YUV off of it when in video grading mode from a computer-monitor chain that does not have HD-SDI involved."

Out of FCP? You don't. If you want to monitor ACCURATELY out of FCP with a DreamColor or any other video monitor, you are going to need a capture card

[Clayton Burkhart] "I hear many people tossing around an intermediary solution which requires a Konig card for $1500 + an HDP2 for another $700. That's doesn't make much sense to me from an economic standpoint."

Show me another 10bit monitor that makes more economic sense...?

In order to watch anything accurately out of FCP, you need an i/o card. It's the way it has always been.

Yes, the DreamColor does present a few hoops, namely one more box called the AJA HDP2 (which basically converts the YUV HDSDI to RGB/HDMI and also sends true p from interlaced material). Once it's setup properly, it is 10bit HDMI 1.3a (not DVI, jPo) and true video. Is the DreamColor have all the bells and whistles of other 10bt monitors? No, but it sure does get the 10bit job done for a very nice price. The whole kit (monitor and HDP2) is $3,000 US or under.

Show me a 10 bit monitor for anywhere close to that price.

For print work, you can connect it to your computer via DVI or display port, or whatever you want, but for video you need to send it real baseband video.

Since you have an iMac and a hobbled 13" MBP, your professional video connectivity options are limited to non existent. Sorry, but it's true.

Jeremy


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:07:43 pm

"Show me a 10 bit monitor for anywhere close to that price...Show me another 10bit monitor that makes more economic sense...?"


http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=11570

10 bit $1249

Came out yesterday.


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Jeremy GarchowRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 11:56:22 pm

[Clayton Burkhart] "10 bit $1249

Came out yesterday."


Yesterday. Well that's new.

The only problem I see with this is no REC709. Also, it doesn't say exactly how 10bit is achieved or displayed. The documents are sparse. If it's HDMI 1.1, there's no 10bit upon display, even though the electronics might process in 10bit. In theory, display port is "deep color" capable but your display card must be able to send it, and out of FCP, that signal is not accurate (see jPo's gamma consideration).

The unique part of the DreamColor is the DreamColor engine. Send the proper HDMI signal and you get proper monitoring, complete with gamma. People have a hard time believing the DreamColor. I forgot, that $3000 includes getting the HP Calibration Kit. You can read about it more here:

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/garchow_jeremy/HP_DreamColor_CRT_Re...

jPo: Have you ever seen a DreamColor in action? Just curious. Also, it's an HD-SDi signal path, there's just a box in between. If you have an HDMI capable capture card (such as the new Kona 3G), you can use it without the HDP2 as long as you are sending true p content and not psf or i. I'm not saying it's the end all be all, believe me, there's better for worse money. Just wondering if you have put eyes on it when it's setup properly.


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Joseph OwensRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:33:04 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "10bit HDMI 1.3a (not DVI, jPo)"

Thanks for the edification... but my point is that its characterization controls are not available with the appropriate (SDI) signal path.

The LaCie looks like an interesting new option. Wonder how much the blue-eye probe is, how efffective it might be, and what the heck is a dynamic backlight going to do with brightness and contrast when the Rec709 standard is for a fixed emissivity? Or can you set it up for 30 fL and lock it?

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 10:41:27 pm

It clearly is the same panel used in the Dreamcolor and the FSI without the same electronics behind. I suspect the blue-eye probe is just a conventional calibration unit. Blue-eye is their marketing thing for all of their probes I believe. Different than blue gun.

What I am wondering is if one could actually pull 10 bit YUV out of it for video with only a Matrox breakout box from a Mac. At least then the blue gun function would be available through the box.


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Joseph OwensRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 21, 2010 at 11:31:01 pm

[Clayton Burkhart] "At least then the blue gun function would be available through the box."

Not sure blue eye and blue gun are the same strategy. The good old line-up-to-blue-only is not only a remarkably crude way to set up phase and saturation, but not appropriate at all for colour temperature, grey scale, gamut complicity... none of those. Its a hangover from the days of composite baseband SD and hardly even applicable anymore, especially when gamma under various OS is a wild card, and barely under control on output. Which is another can of worms when attempting to work around a non-SDI interface.

jPo

You mean "Old Ben"? Ben Kenobi?


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 22, 2010 at 5:45:41 am

Yeh,
As I said before, the blue eye is likely meaningless for our usage. It is probably RGB correction:

http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10900

I agree the blue gun on the other hand (on the Matrox box) is very rudimentary for proper calibration today, but it is a step in the right direction. We are not talking Grade 1 here. However, if some people have been using an 8bit Cinema display with the matrox box to bypass the graphics card on a computer for YUV output, I do not see why we couldn't reasonably expect to have the same in 10bit.

The real question is if the blue eye calibrator is correcting the LUT's on the computer's graphics card or on the screen (doubtful - but it does say that calibration happens "in hardware"). If it is on the screen, we have essentially the Dreamcolor configuration and therefore when the matrox box bypasses the graphics card on the computer for YUV, the calibration may still be held by the screen. If not, well it's anyone's guess.


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Andrew KimeryRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 22, 2010 at 4:47:05 am

[Clayton Burkhart] "It clearly is the same panel used in the Dreamcolor and the FSI without the same electronics behind"

The electronics are very key though. For example, what makes the DreamColor monitor stand out is the DreamColor Engine. It will be interesting to see how the LaCie is reviewed. As always, the better the competition the better it is for the end user.


-Andrew

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Bram DesmetRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 23, 2010 at 12:54:17 pm

"It clearly is the same panel used in the Dreamcolor and the FSI..."

Nope, the LaCie is not using the same panel found in either the FSI or Dreamcolor monitors. Different panel technology, different color gamut, etc. Not saying it is a bad panel at all and the comment about the electronics is of course spot on, but just to clarify it is in fact not the same panel.

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 23, 2010 at 3:50:49 pm

You are right Bram. My apologies. I just received a reply from La Cie about this:

they have told me this so far:

1) The LaCIe 324i is a 10bit P-IPS Panel with CCFL backlighting. (It is not LG)

2) Calibration is done on the monitor itself : it's a hardware calibration.

3) They are checking with R&D if it can deliver 10 bit YUV with a simple breakout box or PCi card or if something more is needed in the equation.

4) They have not yet responded to my query about Rec 709 and HDMI 1.3a

I will let all know as I get news.


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Uli PlankRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 24, 2010 at 12:15:51 pm

I can confirm that the Dreamcolor works very well if used with the probe and the HDP2 from AJA (fed 10 bit YUV). There is no other reliable solution, we've tried everything that was available before IBC for an article in Digital Production (Munich).

AJA claims new software will support feeding it from the KONAs, but I didn't have the chance to test that yet.

But this all relates to MacPros – if you have one, and need an I/O card anyway, it's a very competitive solution. Not much of a chance with a MBP.

BTW, Adobe succeeded in feeding the right format to the Dreamcolor with some NVidia cards by DisplayPort without any additional hardware, but only under windows. Apple's drivers don't ssem to support 10 bit yet.

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Keith PrattRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 24, 2010 at 4:04:55 pm

Uli Plank: "I can confirm that the Dreamcolor works very well if used with the probe and the HDP2 from AJA (fed 10 bit YUV). There is no other reliable solution, we've tried everything that was available before IBC for an article in Digital Production (Munich)."

There's the LHi...


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 25, 2010 at 6:56:27 am

This monitor also goes 10 bit display using the DisplayPort and a graphics board:

http://www.eizo.com/global/products/coloredge/cg243w/index.html

It also has EBU, REC709,SMPTE-C, and DCI mode for video production market.


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Jeremy GarchowRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 26, 2010 at 6:10:28 pm

[Clayton Burkhart] "This monitor also goes 10 bit display using the DisplayPort and a graphics board:"

Still doesns't help you with FCP.


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Bram DesmetRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 29, 2010 at 6:11:06 pm

Many desktop monitors claiming to be 10 bit are not. The panels used in many of these monitors claiming to be 10 bit are really 8 bit with A-FRC, which gives you practically speaking roughly the same level of color reproduction capabilities. In the desktop computer world these claims don't seem to draw much criticism and for the end user it likely makes little practical difference. If this same standard of what is 10 bit and what is not were applied to Broadcast LCD monitors many of the professional broadcast monitors currently labeled as 8 bit would qualify as 10 bit.

Anyway, just food for thought...you will not find this level of detail in the specifications or user manuals of these desktop monitors. The only way to really figure this out is open these desktop monitors, look at the label on the LCD panel itself, and then look up the detailed specification sheet from the panel manufacturer for that particular panel (even these sheets from the panel manufacturers themselves seem to be getting more and more vague every year, but if you dig deep enough the information is usually available).

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Uli PlankRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 25, 2010 at 6:32:25 pm

Yes, but I had problems getting true progressive, RGB and frame-doubling for 24 fps to be sent at 48 fps. AJA folks at IBC told me that there is new software to try…

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Clayton BurkhartRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 25, 2010 at 8:54:34 pm

[Uli Plank] "Yes, but I had problems getting true progressive, RGB and frame-doubling for 24 fps to be sent at 48 fps. AJA folks at IBC told me that there is new software to try…"


I assume you are speaking about the Eizo? What software was AJA referring to?

Cheers,
clayton


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Uli PlankRe: Dreamcolor setup for grading with a Mac, but not a Mac Pro.
by on Sep 26, 2010 at 7:46:13 am

I was speaking about the HP Dreamcolor. AJA said there is an unreleased (at IBC time) new software for the LHi which should cure my problems.

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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