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Pal Monitor Calibration

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Minnie Hutchings
Pal Monitor Calibration
on Jan 30, 2008 at 6:23:52 am

Hi.
I apologise as this question seems to be all over the web, but without (for me at least)
a clear answer.

I'm trying to find out how to 'Set up a Pal Monitor with Colour Bars'. I have plenty of Pal/NTSC bars but no information on how to calibrate the monitor.

The best I have found so far is something like 'yeah with Pal bars, turn up the brightness till you see some black, turn up the contrast till you think white is ok, turn up the colour to whatever you think is ok'.

It's my first monitor calibration and I have no idea what ok actually is, let alone how to set the pluge bars etc'.

Can anyone enlighten me?

Thanks
minnie



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Paul McDonald
Re: Pal Monitor Calibration
on Mar 4, 2008 at 11:46:58 pm

Hi there,

You're not Minnie Hutchings of the Plastic Palace Alice video fame by any chance? I saw them at Spectrum in Sydney last week and really loved the show. Great work on the 'Wolf' video if it was you! (If not apologies for the confusion)

You've probably found the answer you need in the time gone by since your post, but I find the setup detailed in the FCP manual is pretty well as good as you'll need. Its on about page 1327. If you don't have access to it on your system you can find it here: http://manuals.info.apple.com/en/Final_Cut_Pro_6_User_Manual.pdf

You can go to all the trouble of having them professionally probed of course, but to be honest the above method will get you 99% (well, more like 95-96%) of the way there. And unless you're trying to match monitoring at a telecine facility to provide clients with a similar grading environment, there's really no need of going to that level of accuracy (imho).

Hope this helps,
Paul.


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Minnie Hutchings
Re: Pal Monitor Calibration
on Mar 8, 2008 at 7:18:34 pm

Hi Paul.

Wow, that's amazing! Do you live in Sydney?
Thanks for sending the FCP Manual link, It's quite detailed, and much more concise than I have found elsewhere.

The reason I was asking all this is that apart from it being my first go at making a clip, I made TGWCW on my LCD screens.
Naturally there were a few nasty surprises when I saw it on a friends calibrated monitor. I'd like to do another clip sometime soon, so hence the need to get my act together.

The FCP Manual advises not using a still to calibrate, do you think it matters?
All I have are stills of both NTSC and PAL bars in Avid and After Effects, although my camera outputs bars that I could dub to the machine.

Thanks for the reply!
minnie






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Paul McDonald
Re: Pal Monitor Calibration
on Mar 10, 2008 at 2:15:52 am

Hi Minnie,

Now that you mention it I do remember the FCP manual mentioning something about not using a still. I believe there are set international standards regarding generated vision. For example at our last calibration the technician brought in a signal generator and plugged that directly into the broadcast monitor. The generator was able to internally create all the test patterns, grey scales, etc that he needed. I wasn't really watching that closely to be honest.

Of course that's all just to calibrate to an international standard. I would argue that that degree of calibration is great and all, but overkill is many cases. Like I said in the previous post, it's only really critical if you regularly transfer stuff to and from a telecine facility and have clients expecting to see uniform vision across all the monitors at both facilities. For most purposes the point of the monitor would simply be to check any field issues and get a realistic reflection of what the colours and levels looks like on television. Everyone has their television set differently so the broadcast monitor is only really a best case scenario guess anyway. A relative of mine has his black level set at about mid grey - drives me crazy..

What was my long and meandering point again? Oh yeah, don't stress too much about the technical ins and outs of calibration. Its a black art as far as I'm concerned and I'm more than happy to leave it to the pros. What's really important is to understand how your LCD differs from what you'll eventually see on television - how the saturation differs, if there's a hue shift, what not to do with your black and white levels, etc. We certainly calibrate our television sets to the broadcast monitors based off a still image, so its no drama.

Yes I'm in Sydney. I work as an online editor slash visual effects compositor on commercials. I've actually been wanting to work on a music clip for some time now (something hopefully fairly effects-lite for a break). If you do any more work for PPA I've loved to help out in any way. In my own clumsy fashion I can cut, grade, do vfx, and all that posty stuff. Otherwise I'd be happy to tech check any of your clips after work if you can make it into the city. Contact me off list if there's any way I can help out in future.

Regards, Paul.


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