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True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?

COW Forums : DaVinci Resolve

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Gabriel BergeronTrue no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 12:11:30 am

Hi everyone,

I'm an editor (with a big background in photography) who's started to use and learn Resolve to be able to grade small budget projects to complement the editing.

I started to search for information on what kind of really cheap setup I could do to reference the image properly when grading.
The computer I have set up at the studio right now is an iMac 27"
I read A LOT of threads here and stuff on the web and I must say I'm quite confused. Since a lot of threads deal with various color space and gamma, footage from various source, information might not be relevant and change depending on the situation. Also a lot of threads on "grading on a budget" do have quite a budget… ;)

What I gathered is this, please correct me if applicable:
- To grade a small feature or a short film on a budget I should be doing this in REC709
- With DaVinci there is no way to output the image on an external monitor through the Mac's thunderbolt connection directly. (you can only output the scopes)
- The ideal thing would be to work from a reference monitor with a computer sending an output through a deck to a second display like a plasma.


SOLUTIONS I'M SEEING:

- Use the iMac's monitor by calibrating it in rec709. Do you think that could be an OK solution? I understand this will be far from being a pro setup. My goal is to grade something at the studio and bring some of the graded footage at home, play it on my calibrated Kuro and be happy with what I see, finding it very close to what I've been grading.

If I go this route, what could be my main drawbacks? (won't be able to see all the color information on the iMac? the gamma will never be the same? huge color shifts possible?

- Find an affordable good monitor that can be used for reference grading in Resolve. This would also be calibrated in 709. But can I even use a second monitor on the iMac as the Main project window in resolve?

- If all of those fail, find a bang for the buck deck solution to feed to the Panasonic plasma, calibrated properly.


Am I missing something? From reading all this stuff about color space and decks and gamma, bits, etc. my head is spinning.

*** Is it possible to do a great grading job on an iMac? ***

Best,
Gabriel


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Mike MostRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 12:30:20 am

http://blackmagic-design.com/products/intensity/

...is one possibility.


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Kevin CannonRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 1:02:23 am

[Gabriel Bergeron] "play it on my calibrated Kuro"

If you can get the Kuro and the iMac in the same place and use the product line Mike linked to, you'd be getting warmer. I think almost everybody on this forum would agree it's not OK to work off the iMac screen, not because of the difficulty of calibrating the screen, but because that window in the Resolve GUI is not designed to be color accurate. Even the most budget setup will require one of the blackmagic video interface products between your Mac and the monitor.


KC

Prehistoric Digital


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John MichaelsRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 1:13:56 am

Attempting to calibrate your iMac's display to REC709 is not going to work, because the video preview window in DaVinci is already showing an approximation (though still inaccurate) of what it might look like on a yuv display. The only way to get a true representation is through something like an Intensity as someone linked to in another response.

I also don't think an iMac is going to give you a good experience, because it only has one (relatively weak) GPU. With one GPU, after a couple of nodes on a clip, the GUI gets really unresponsive. That's something you can check right now with Resolve Lite.

I think your best option right now on a small budget is to build a PC that meets all the requirements (multiple GPUs, Intensity card, etc) for about the same price as an iMac, but much more powerful.


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Pepijn KlijsRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 10:04:13 am

Im facing the same issues as you do Gabriel. I also have the 27" mac, although not with thunderbolt, so my options for resolve on the iMac are zero. I'm gonna build a pc dedicated to work with Resolve and for for referencing I'm lookin into different monitors from around 4 to 5k. I'm expecting the whole setup to be around 7k.

I think the only solution, without buying a new computer, is one of Blackmagics' thunderbolt products like the 'intensity'. That way you can at least see the actual signal you're producing.

But... You might wanna wait a little and see what goes on at NAB this year, cause I'm expecting Adobe to release Speedgrade very soon. The previous, or current version of this software runs very well on the iMac, in my experience even a lot faster. I don't know how they handle their signal output, but it's worth a google.

good luck

Avid/FCP Editor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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Chris JonesRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 12:42:18 pm

I'm still setting up my "budget" Resolve workstation on my Mac Pro. The one thing I learned is that it expensive. Even on a budget. I kept discovering "now I need this..."

One of the first things I bought was my monitor which is a NEC PA241W. It is 10 bit, 1,920 x 1,200 and is color correct. It cost $1,500. The thing I didn't know when I bought it was that it is really made for graphic work, not video. It has no HDMI ir SDI inputs. So I had to get a Blackmagic HDLink ($500) to connect it to my Decklink card. For 2,500 I could have bought an HP Dreamcolor monitor for $2,500 - which I think is the cheapest monitor you can buy to get by with for grading.

But if you are really on a budget, have you thought about using Apple Color? If you have FCP 7 you might already own it. And you can connect straight to a grading monitor without having to get a decklink card. When I bought my NEC monitor I connected it to my video card and I was grading (well learning to grade) with Apple Color right away.

Resolve is better... much better... but Color is still really very good.


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Pepijn KlijsRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 12:49:17 pm

[Chris Jones] " I could have bought an HP Dreamcolor monitor for $2,500 - which I think is the cheapest monitor you can buy to get by with for grading."

the Dreamcolor also needs the signal to be converted thru the decklink card, so would have had the same problem but spent even more money.



[Chris Jones] "But if you are really on a budget, have you thought about using Apple Color?"

Totally forgot about that! Good idea!

Avid/FCP Editor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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Gabriel BergeronRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 6:33:26 pm

Thanks guy for all your great feedback.
You shared a lot of crucial information that was escaping me before. I appreciate it a lot.

An Intensity card connected to a calibrated plasma seems like the cheapest working solution. With the plasma I'm losing the 10bit feature of a reference monitor like the Dreamcolor but that's about it? Is this right?

I know an iMac is not an ideal computer to run Resolve on but I'm currently transitioning to new computers right now. I'm getting ready to build a hackintosh pretty soon.

I had a few more questions related to the Intensity/Plasma solution.
One of the things that I can't still shake my head around is all the different color spaces and the limits we might have depending on our hardware.

My understanding is that a true cinema color space is DCI-P3.
REC709 comes close and is often used for low budget / indie films.

If P3 is better, why wouldn't we choose to grade in that workflow? Is it a hardware limitation?
What about REC709, can I work with this with an Intensity?
On BMagic's website it says that its HDMI color space is YUV 422. Does that mean I'm locked in that color space and would need to calibrate everything from there?

Any input regarding color space solutions and workflow would be most welcomed.


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Pepijn KlijsRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 7:11:10 pm

[Gabriel Bergeron] "On BMagic's website it says that its HDMI color space is YUV 422."

Yep and that's why people cannot use the dreamcolor without the extra decklink device, cause dreamcolor can only dream in 10 bit RGB, so the signal needs to be converted first.

Personally I wouldn't go for the plasma. few reasons why... It's very big, which isn't that comfortable if you have it on your desk, where you probably want it be to have a good look at maks etc. Plus, from what I read, it's very hard to calibrate unless you use a DAVIO box ($$$) and a special probe, to calibrate and create LUT's and repeat this on a regular base.

If I were you, and I am almost you (hackintosch project...), I'd go for a JVC-V24G1, or SONY PVM-2541, or Flanders or anything else that takes sdi.

Avid/FCP Editor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
http://www.pepijnklijs.nl


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Gabriel BergeronRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 17, 2012 at 8:06:59 pm

Hi everyone, I'd really like to have some clarifications with this.

Hope to hear from you.
Thanks!


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Gabriel BergeronRe: True no budget setup for grading, what are the best options?
by on Apr 19, 2012 at 6:30:54 pm

^^^ re: my last post
I meant concerning my post on April 12 but oh well this thread seems done :)


Thanks for your answer Pepijn. Yes you seem to be almost me... ;)
I hadn't read anything related to having difficulties calibrating a good plasma. I was planning on using a probe and good software.

Why would we need to repeat to process on a regular basis?
And if the plasma is calibrated in a color space and we work in that same color space why would we need a LUT?
Could you direct me for the information you've mentioned perhaps?


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