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Reference monitor and I/O for Resolve and Avid

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Sanjin Švajger
Reference monitor and I/O for Resolve and Avid
on Dec 2, 2013 at 12:51:58 pm

Hi, I've been researching the net for the last week trying to find out if creating a low budget colourist suite is feasible. And the biggest questions that I've got left are all basically centered around - go figure - the reference display. I'm a producer btw not a colourist. The suite would be used for web and broadcast as of now and DCP in the future.

So I would really really like to combine the colour workstation with the editing workstation (go figure, again:)) and would really like to combine the client monitor with the reference monitor. So this means a big screen (not an 17" Flanders LCD). Keep in mind this is low budget and maybe medium budget and keep in mind that where I'm from - medium budget is probably low budget in your market sector. The questions I've got, if anybody could please assist me with are:

1. My editing is done with Avid MC (currently 6 but can upgrade to 7 if need be). The monitoring I/O used in Resolve would need to work with MC without problems (I'm talking about the trim lag and audio sync problems that I read about people having when using BM hardware with Avid). I/O would also need to have a 3D lut option if I decide to go with a Panasonic VT plasma or any other non-calibrated display. The question is Which I/O should I get?

2. How would we calibrate the VT Plasma? For starters we would probably want to use the free ware program dispCAL that can create 3D lut cube files. We would rent a spectrometer for the calibration. Probably an i1 display pro as I've read is fairly good (I think it has an 0.5 Delta margin error) and when budgets get bigger in time (or when we would save up in time) use something better (Klein K-10, LightSpace CMS, etc.). I know that plasmas have the ABL issue but we'll just have to risk it:). I don't know how MC works with luts... Maybe it would be best just to put the lut in the I/O and be done with it. So is this feasible with the VT plasma? Can we calibrate the plasma from the workstations GPU and then load the lut in the I/O or resolve for that matter? The other option is the Flanders 23" 8 bit LCD that goes for 3K but it's only 23" so that's a bit small for a client monitor, so I'm not really considering it. We would like to use this edit/colour suite also as a preview room, so I was thinking a 65" VT plasma would be a very nice choice (if we can calibrate it). Which leads me to the next question:

3. You guys that do use a big plasma for a reference monitor, how far from the monitor are you sitting and how is it positioned in your suite, where do you have it, so that clients can also see it?

I know there are a lot of compromises made here, but this is what I'm researching now, trying to figure out if it's feasible... I'm especially curious about how to calibrate the plasma and what I/O to use for both programs. Alternatively we could use two I/Os (one for MC and one for Resolve) but this brings compatibility driver issues that is a whole other thing to research and I have doubts that we would ever get straight answers. So thank you very much for any tips, advice and/or help you can give.


Ps.: I know the plasma needs to be calibrated often, so maybe purchasing a spectrometer is not a bad idea.

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Joseph Owens
Re: Reference monitor and I/O for Resolve and Avid
on Dec 2, 2013 at 9:22:15 pm

[Sanjin Švajger] "I know there are a lot of compromises made here,"

The ones your clients are willing to make?

The BlackMagic video I/O interfaces on the market; Decklink, 4K, and their outboard solutions which are Thunderbolt compatible would check off the most boxes you have on your menu in terms of interoperability between all the edit and grade applications that you want to support.

Nothing is future proof. Monitors are changing all the time, so it really comes down to what you think you can amortize quickly. So I'm thinking the new Canon 4K probably isn't on your shopping list, either.

Raising the issue of DCP creation here is a little confusing, as it is quite a different environment, and not just another Quicktime as so many non-conversant individuals seem to assume. If the 17" Flanders won't cut it for what you're doing now, even a large Plasma won't be doing it for you when it comes to cinema-sized projection, and very definitely not when it comes to XYZ space.

I do know of grade suites that have a plasma monitor, but they only use it to demonstrate that a down-rez to Bluray or HD will look "the same"... and of course that thing is scrutinized on a daily, not a sometimes-rental basis. There have been a number of discussions on this and other fora discussing the non-suitability of plasma screens for use as a primary, critical display, not the least because they all implement some kind of auto-dynamic contrast as a consumer image enhancement. In other words, you can never trust them to be reproducing the correct black point, or contrast. Even though they do make a lovely, colorful picture otherwise.


"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.

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Sanjin Švajger
Re: Reference monitor and I/O for Resolve and Avid
on Dec 3, 2013 at 10:53:04 am

Right. I'll forget about DCP for now. I see this is a whole other investment to make:)

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