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video editor's frustration over color accuracy

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Daniel Zimmerman
video editor's frustration over color accuracy
on Oct 13, 2017 at 11:36:06 pm

Appreciate any help from a color correction/grading expert. I've been doing video shoot and editing since 2005. Over the years I've wrestled with monitor calibration/selection many times. Have used CRT monitors such as the popular Sony Trinitron monitors with the "blue only" button, JVC DVM monitor in a similar category, as well as many different flat screen displays including an Apple Cinema at the best. Never used a professional monitor intended for color grading though.

My trouble is, and I believe all video editors have the same question, I've never been 100% sure, not even once, that the color of the image I'm looking at on my monitor is displayed correctly, or even in the ballpark. There seems to be so many factors that can contribute to how colors are displayed - monitor itself, calibration, video editor used, graphics card, video standard, etc., etc.

My most trusted approach right now is to feed the color bar from a Sony HD camera I have to a Blackmagic ATEM production switcher and from there output the downconverted SD SDI color bar to my JVC CRT monitor (which takes an SD SDI input). I then use the standard procedure to calibrate my CRT monitor, including brightness, phase and chroma adjustments. I'm more comfortable with this approach because it is relatively straightforward, given the HD color bar (SMPTE) from the Sony camera is correct.

But in general, I'm completely lost as to guaranteeing color accuracy. Given today's videos are distributed more and more over the internet, I guess one approach might be to look at the video on different devices, such as smart phones, tablets, as well as computer displays, and make sure no one device is way off. Still, there's a great deal of uncertainty and the approach is quite cumbersome. I understand most things are not in my control, such as how Youtube displays videos, how Quicktime presents colors, etc. But the real question is, is there an easy way to set up/configure my equipment, software, etc. so that the video I look at, in terms of color, is reasonably close to what a colorist would see on his monitor? To make it simpler to answer, let's say I use FCPX as editor, a BenQ PD2500Q as monitor, is it possible to achieve that goal? If so, how? I even have an Xrite i-1 monitor calibrator if that helps.

Really appreciate any help on this. My mind is full of conflicting/confusing advices, opinions, misunderstandings that I've almost given up hope on achieving reasonable color accuracy with typical video editor gears. I've been telling my editors to forget about it, just look at the built-in vectorscope and make sure the skin tone is right.


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Chris Wright
Re: video editor's frustration over color accuracy
on Oct 18, 2017 at 12:26:16 pm

What nle are you using? Youtube is srgb.
Premiere is srgb. Calibrate monitor to srgb if using premiere as it has no color managemen. Use vlc opengl player to match srgb in premiere.


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Daniel Zimmerman
Re: video editor's frustration over color accuracy
on Oct 18, 2017 at 11:04:01 pm

Thank you Chris for the advices. I almost always use FCPX. Switched to Premiere Pro for a while during the early stage of FCPX. Have just ordered a Dreamcolor Z24X G2 display. Having my fingers crossed. My computer is a mid 2010 Mac Pro, 8 cores, running OSX Sierra. My plan is, when the Dreamcolor arrives, I'll hook it up to the DVI port of the Mac Pro, then calibrate the monitor with my X-rite i1. Then hopefully FCPX (10.3.4) will recognize the Dreamcolor in its "A/V Output" menu item. If that works, I guess I'm reasonably close to "color correctness"?


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