Ideas on Finishing Suite for College
I'm responsible for a developing film program at the collegiate level. Like all higher education institutions, we don't have loads of money but they have invested a half decent amount into it.
The school is a couple hours east of Chicago, and I'm wondering if any of you know any color grading consultants in this region who we might be able to consult with to build our finishing suite?
I would also be interested in any input from you about building it from the ground up. Consider it an entry-level budget. What would you purchase and build if it were up to you?
From the computer itself, the card or I/O device, monitoring (I'm thinking Flanders Scientific CM-170W (not sure if there's anything cheaper worth getting), as well as client monitor around 65". I'm also assuming if we get a decent reference monitor like the Flanders, we don't necessarily need to spend as much money on the Plasma and maybe we can get away with something consumer. Also, what kind of audio monitors are you using? The part I now least about is how to create proper lighting/background, etc.
Minus the computer, overall I'd like to keep it as close to $5-7000 as possible, but if that's unrealistic I'm open to ideas.
It would be sweet to see any photos of the spaces you all operate in if that's not asking too much. We see this as a space not simply for students finishing their major projects, but also for instruction and review. So we'd probably squeeze in 6-12 people once in a while.
I think you have a pretty good list of components: the computer, the video interface card (decklink HD+ allows SDI output simultaneous with HDMI), graphics card (GTX 570 is commonly used). If the media is limited to compressed formats like R3D, ProRes or DNxHD, it will be easy to select a storage option (That's how the students at my undergrad are operating now).
For the monitor and client monitor, I think it would depend on your room and arrangement. With 12 people in the room, have you considered a projector? How large is the room? When students are actually color grading, how many will need to view the calibrated monitor? The FSI CM-170 seems like a good (albeit small) option to have an actual critical display. The 2461w would allow for a few more people to comfortably view it at one time.
Thanks a lot, these are the details I'm looking for. The BlackMagic HD Extreme is what I was planning on. I wasn't sure what card was preferred though.
I think it is highly unlikely that we'll be dealing with anything uncompressed or 4K (at least for several years), as most of them are working with ProRes.
The spacing is a concern, as it's both for senior projects and for smaller, advanced classes. I'd have to look at the blueprints again to give dimensions. I was thinking 65" monitor because a lot of the projectors I've looked at that have enough lumens to not bring the room lights way down are really expensive, plus I felt it required a little bit more thoughtfulness to take care of, as opposed to a master power switch for all the monitors. But if you do know some good options, I'm all ears.
You make a really good point about the size of the calibrated reference monitor--for instructional purposes I should have something bigger than 17" so that multiple people can view it. The 24" does look nice. What control surface are you using?
Any recommendations for proper audio out and control? I'm a bit out of touch in the audio realm, although I'm pretty familiar with the actual monitors themselves, but I don't know what people are currently using to connect to their NLEs and keep them timed properly to the images.
The HD Extreme 3D+ is the best with the possible exception of the more expensive 4K Extreme, which seems like overkill for your purposes.
If you used a projector for color purposes, I imagine you'd do so while having all the lights in the room off. If you have a need to keep the lights up while trying to be color critical, then a plasma would be preferable. Some of the consumer plasmas (panasonic VT25, for example) are pretty good, especially if the colorist is working off a 10-bit reference LCD.
I'm not too sure about audio, but you can always get a SDI > Analog Audio disembedder going straight to powered speakers. Resolve allows you to offset audio to compensate if you find you're having audio delay issues (I haven't encountered that).
I use the Tangent Devices' Element set, but I think that the lower cost options of the tangent wave or MC Color panels are good for the general idea of using a control surface.