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Confused! What display to grade for?

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Reinis Traidas
Confused! What display to grade for?
on Jun 25, 2013 at 2:53:05 pm

Hi all. I have come to a strange choice in my daily grading jobs and I need your advice.

I've ordered an FSI monitor and until it's here, I'm grading on a HP ZR30W (IPS 10-bit, allegedly) and also using a cheapo Dell LCD to see how the image looks on regular monitors, which, to be honest, are what most people have these days. The stuff I'm grading on Resolve 9 will go out to internet only (Youtube, etc.).

Now, the colors look great on the HP panel, I've graded it to what I am happy with, but as soon as I view the graded material on ANY OTHER monitor, namely a cheap Dell and the Retina display on my Macbook Pro, all the colors are off - they are much more reddish, to the point of having a very noticable red-magenta wash, especially if viewed right next to my HP panel. Now I have rendered out a few other versions of the material with slight RGB offset adjustments to boost the green so that it cancels out the magenta on these low end displays, but the results aren't that convincing, I can never get it to look like it looks on a 10-bit panel.

So the approach here is what...? Ignore the reddish images on Macbook displays and grade for what is closer to the truth or grade everything way greener so that it looks more balanced on cheap panels? Or ignore the truth and grade for the type of monitor that most people will use to see the result?

I am wondering if the experienced people here have a trick, a simple adjustment to balance out the grade for "reddish" monitors? Also, can anyone explain briefly why is it that most regular affordable consumer monitors and LED TVs have that red/magenta tint to them?

Thanks!


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Simon Modery
Re: Confused! What display to grade for?
on Jun 26, 2013 at 8:12:16 am

I wouldn't rule out the possibility that your Flanders is set up incorrectly. Obviously no two monitors look alike, but in my experience the deference's are more in saturation, contrast etc. Having a tint like that looks suspicious.
Did you try using the Vectorscope to determine the actual colour of your footage? If the signal on your Vectorscope drifts towards red as well after you graded it the problem has to be with the Flanders monitor.

Head of Postproduction
Motherlode

http://www.simonmodery.com


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Reinis Traidas
Re: Confused! What display to grade for?
on Jun 26, 2013 at 8:29:06 am

Hey Simon, thanks for your reply. I haven't received my FSI just yet, my question was more philosophical and also, what is it that makes IPS backlit panels slightly more purple-ish? Because that is the message that I seem to be getting from the internets - they are perceived as warmer/redder. So I was thinking, should I compensate for that in the grade, knowing that my material will be viewed on all kinds of cheap LED/LCD/IPS uncalibrated panels.


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Simon Modery
Re: Confused! What display to grade for?
on Jun 26, 2013 at 8:42:20 am

There are different schools of thought about this. I personally only refer to my calibrated grading monitor because every other approach results into a slow decline into madness and paranoia :-)

Head of Postproduction
Motherlode

http://www.simonmodery.com


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Bram Desmet
Re: Confused! What display to grade for?
on Jun 26, 2013 at 5:44:53 pm

Of course all bets are off with uncalibrated monitors, but assuming all your consumer monitors are in fact calibrated your general observation that the LED backlight LCDs tend to be perceptually warmer than different technologies (CCFL backlight LCD, CRT, High-End projectors, etc.) is not uncommon at all. You can see this pretty clearly just walking into an electronics store, it is no coincidence that the LED backlight TVs look perceptually redder than the CCFL backlight LCD or Plasma. It all comes down to the spectral distribution of the LED backlight.

The thing to keep in mind of course is that you will tend to drive yourself crazy by putting these type of different displays right next to each other. Your eye tends to adjust well when just looking at one primary viewing device. So even if you grade on the CCFL backlight HP and then view on the LED backlight Macbook screen that typically is not too problematic provided you are looking at one at a time and not putting them side by side. The human eye is a wonderful comparative measuring device and will pick up even the slightest difference side-by-side, but as an absolute measuring device it is pretty much worthless and quickly accepts the 'white' it sees on a screen as pretty neutral if there is nothing else to compare it with...

The best and safest thing to do is accept that if you have equal balance on your RGB parade you have equal balance in the content. In practice it would be a very bad idea to grade everything more red or less red to try and compensate for what you can only guess your end users will be viewing on. This again comes down to the case of 'grandma's TV'. You don't want to grade everything to look good on grandma's TV at the cost of having it look bad everywhere else. Especially since if there is a cast to all content on grandma's TV grandma is going to think that is the 'normal look', b/c it is what she is used to. If your content is suddenly the only content to now be pushing green more then she will notice and may not be able to articulate it, but will know something is not right.

Although your question is not relating to an FSI display specifically we do have a video that covers the science behind this type of perceptual difference in the way different technologies look (even if they measure the same) at this link, it may be helpful to you to understanding this further: http://www.flandersscientific.com/index/tech_resources.php

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Reinis Traidas
Re: Confused! What display to grade for?
on Jun 26, 2013 at 7:04:05 pm

Hello and thanks for your reply.

I calibrated the HP ZR30W monitor that I currently use (it is S-IPS Wide Aspect Active Matrix TFT actually) with a consumer grade thingy (Spyder3) and the difference between this and my Retina display on the Macbook isn't that dramatic now. It is still there, but after going through the same calibration on the Retina display, the differences aren't huge any longer. The image appears bit greener on the HP or depending on the order of looking - comparitively warmer and less saturated on the Retina, as the HP is wide gamut and the Retina isn't.

I ordered the BM230 series monitor as I mostly do grading for broadcast/internet. I can't wait and I hope I can just use that as the only reference I need. You should update the video discussing the latest line of models, as the comparison near the end of the video deals with the previous, LM line of products.


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walter biscardi
Re: Confused! What display to grade for?
on Jun 26, 2013 at 11:25:10 am

In our experience here, we grade for the Flanders monitors. What we see on computer displays via the internet are pretty much what we see on the Flanders. Once you have that monitor, you trust what you see on that and don't touch anything in terms of changes to the image.

We have 6 of the FSIs here in house and have never had an issue with the image looking completely different on any other sort of display from CRT to LCD to Plasma. Variations to be sure since each monitor and how each person sets their own individual monitor is different, but nothing major.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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