FCP Finishing Monitors
I have a very small production company editing on a MacPro 8-core FCP system with Kona 3 card. Most of what we are doing right now is DVCPRO-HD downconverted to SD Letterbox for cable network delivery on Digibeta, but I suspect the show we're currently producing will soon deliver in HD.
I have been renting, but wish to purchase a finishing video monitor, but see there is an impossibly vast range to choose from. In the past, I have rented the Sony BVM multiformat monitor to finish some HD work, but that monitor is way to expensive to purchase.
I have been looking at the following LCD monitors:
Sony LMD-2050WHD 20" (w/HD-SDI kit)
They all seem to be in the right price-range (under $4k), but wondering if anyone has any opinions about them. Can an LCD monitor really be trusted for decent/accurate color correction? I see that the LEAST expensive one -- the JVC -- seems to be the only one that bills itself as having full native 1920x1080 resolution. Is this some smoke-and-mirrors thing (like Panasonic's upconverting of 720p to 1080 on its older cameras)?
I have also heard good things about eCinema, but their monitors apparently won't be out until late-Fall.
Any thoughts? Other suggestions? A more price-friendly CRT?
Any help much appreciated!
"Can an LCD monitor really be trusted for decent/accurate color correction?"
Given the budget ($4k) you can expect a decent LCD display. All of the monitors on your list will get the job done, OK.
For critical accuracy, color grading for example, you'll need to ramp up the budget quite a bit.
TV Logic (mid range), eCinema and Cine-Tal (high end).
The bottom line is that a high grade LCD display will cost nearly as much as the BVM.
Someone will chime in and say that an Apple Cinema or Dell is just as good as a Cine-Tal or e-Cinema monitor.
I don't know about the other monitors, but we have 4 Panasonic BT-LH1700W's here and they are awesome. Under 4k and color is spot on. We supply tv spots for movies on Digi and D5 and have never had any problems with color grading on these.
My 2 cents
the cheapest "broadcast" monitor is the Sony LMD-2030W, which is not acceptable to me, but is for some people. It's $1100. Is it as good as the other monitors mentioned - OF COURSE NOT.
Can you spend less - yes, buy a Plamsa display. Is it a finishing monitor - no, but do people finish on them - yes. A Panasonic TH42PH10UKA is about $899. It works. Is it critical - no. Does it make a better image than the piece of junk Sony LMD-2030W -yes.
Is it accurate like the Panasonic BT-LH2600W - no.
So, what is "price friendly" to you ? Want to spend $600 - this model was already listed in this thread by someone that responded.
I'm fine to pay around $4,000 because that is ultimately what it's costing me to rent the JVC DT-V24L1DU over the course of a year's worth of episodes we're onlining.
I just want something that gives me pretty decent color-grading & pixel-accuracy and has HD-SDI input -- without having to spend north of $15k.
BTW: Something that i seemed to notice with the JVC was that the angle of view -- even though it's billed as 176 degrees -- was quite different from even 20 or so degrees above than it is head-on. Maybe I'm just renting a bad one...?
no, lcd screens suck at off angle viewing. The JVC is the best of the bunch for $3500. The Panasonic is more popular, because people love that built in wfm, but the image quality is not as good as the JVC (in my opinion). Don't get me wrong, the Panasonic is great, and this is my #1 recommendation. The Sony LMD series sucks in general.
So, for more money, is the TV Logic, eCinema, and CineTal better. For $8000 and up, it better be. The CineTal is my favorite of this group. Will clients pay you more money because you own the CineTal instead of the JVC - of course not.
Thanks for the info, but I wanted to follow up.
Having read some posts in a similar thread (the one where you and another guy nearly go to fisticuffs), I see a similar issue whereby most of what I do right now is still SD. When I monitor off of the JVC LCD, I feel I do not get nearly an accurate sense of the resolution -- I suspect because it's blowing the image up. For HD, it's awesome (I tried). But looking at SD in the 1:1 mode is just too small to be practical.
How do you feel about the (seemingly now or soon-to-be discontinued) JVC multiformat tube monitors (DT-V1710CGU, DT-V1910CGU, DT-V1710CG, DT-V1710CG)...? With the HD-SDI cards, it works out to around $4k (maybe a bit more). It would seem that maybe that would be better for being able to work with SD in the near-term and HD down the road...?
Do you have an opinion?
Also, can an HD-SDI board accept an SD SDI signal, or does one need separate inputs (either HD/SD-SDI combo or separate HD-SDI & SD-SDI boards)?
Hi Dan -
I recently installed a JVC DT-24 monitor at Bramm Films in Tampa Florida (hi Dan !) - He also owns a Sony PVM-20M4U CRT Monitor. We setup both monitors, so he could have access to both. With standard def footage, the JVC DT-24 looks better than the PVM-20M4U. Now granted, the PVM-20M4U is 4 years old, and used on a daily basis, so the CRT is probably getting "soft" - but with that said, Beta footage from a UVW-1800 looks better on the JVC DT-24 monitor.
As for HD-SDI vs. SDI - modern products have auto sensing inputs, that will instantly switch between a SMPTE 259M signal (SDI) and SMPTE 292M signal (HD-SDI). This applies to the JVC, Panasonic, AJA, Blackmagic, and countless other products that are currently on the market today. So no, you don't buy an "option card" for these monitors (unless you are foolish enough to buy a Sony LMD series monitor who has the nerve to sell an HD-SDI option for their inferior product).
SO, will a brand spanking new CRT monitor look sharper with Beta footage than a hi end LCD HD monitor - probably, but you will not be doing standard def editing for much longer, so I think that $4000 is a very short sighted investment. If someone was giving you a "deal" on a used CRT monitor, that's another story, but to spend $4000 on a CRT in 2008 to do SD editing - that's just crazy.
So in the end, after research and side-by-side tests, we went with the JVC.
Some things we learned along the way:
JVC DT-V24L1DU: Of the three, this is the only one with a glossy screen, which probably accounts for its seemingly richer blacks. It has HD-SDI standard, full 1920x1080 image and a 1:1 button that allows you to see whatever image you're throwing at it in its native pixel-to-pixel size. Unfortunately for 16:9 letterboxed SD images (as we're presently delivering a show), it makes the image so small as to be almost useless. Also of extreme annoyance is the angle of view. Though listed at 176 degrees in all directions, that only holds true if you are legally blind. There is a sweet spot, and it's about 5-10 degrees (max), which simply means that while color correcting, you will need to be head-on while working. Not such a big deal, but annoying.
PANASONIC BT-LH2600W: Though the JVC had richer blacks, I get the sneaking suspicion that the Pani has slightly truer colors. But the smaller resolution (1366x768) combined with the bulky size of the monitor were a drawback. Also, their cockamammy (sp?) pixel-to-pixel option is just weird. It offers you the ability -- like the JVC -- to see your image in it's native pixel size. So because of the lower resolution, for full HD, it's blowing up the image -- you can only see the image cropped from one of the four corners (or centered). The most annoying quirk of this option is that you can not use pixel-to-pixel with an SD signal -- even with SD-SDI, it's nonfunctional. Only HD-SDI. Now this is just plain dumb. If the monitor had given me pixel-to-pixel in SD, I probably would've bought it, because it would have given me a larger SD viewing image than the JVC. Again... dumb. (Note: Some have mocked my SD concerns, but let me say that most of clients still require SD deliverables, and if they do need HD, they also want me to give them SD as well, and I think it's gonna be like that for at least another couple years -- if only because many of my clients simply don;t want to pay to have every show deliver in HD. One unnamed cable client prefers to uprez everything for their sister HD channel. Go figure.)
SONY LMD-2450WHD 20" (w/HD-SDI kit): Okay, Bob is right. It's crap. Switching between this and the JVC, it was shocking how contrasty the image was. I assumed that someone must've cranked up the contrast in the showroom, but when I centered out all of the controls (set Contrast, Brightness, etc to 50), the image was extremely dark AND there was still no information in the whites (that the JVC held).
So is the JVC perfect? No. But weighing all of the issues, I felt it was the best of the bunch for my needs. There is no doubt in my mind that these LCD's do not come close to CRTs. Not by a longshot. But then again, I have no interest (or funds) to get into the CRT-killers like the eCinemas for 10x the price or the Sony BVM.
For my SD work, I just bought a 13" Sony PVM off Craigslist for $75, so at least if I need to check critical focus, I can.
There you go. My six cents.
Thanks all for your help.