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why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv

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Ryan Santos
why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 13, 2007 at 9:20:02 am

I have read somewehre to plug the editing computer to a calibrated monitor because "a TV doesn't cut it." Is the difference in color on a calibrated monitor too much as compared to a tv. Why can't I just use a TV? I do mostly wedding videos and corporate videos of very small companies and I don't think the clients will be too technical to notice very subtle differences in color. What do you guys think


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Bob Woodhead
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 13, 2007 at 10:33:06 am

The classic argument (& perfectly true) is that consumer monitors don't use SMPTE-C graded phosphors, don't have a "blue-only" setup to accurately adjust color, nor do they have the resolution of broadcast monitors. So if you do any color-correction or graphics, what-you-see MAY NOT be what you get (using consumer). That said, it's far better to AT LEAST be watching your output via a TV, and not just a computer monitor. Main reason is that the gamma of computer displays is quite different (usually darker) than that of tv's.
So... in your case, I'd suggest looking on eBay, etc, for a used 9" portable broadcast monitor (doesn't have to have battery slots, but a DC-in is nice.) Reasoning is you can take "on location" to GREATLY assist your lighting setups (for corporate work), your clients will dig watching you work through it, it'll look (& is) more "pro" on set, and finally, you can use it as your editing monitor. Should run around $300-500 used on eBay. Make sure it has "blue-only". Google that to see how to use it - in the meantime, there are work-arounds to set up a consumer TV via a "blue-only" method (Google will find it).
Good luck, happy shooting!

"Constituo, ergo sum"

Bob Woodhead / Atlanta
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Ryan Santos
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 13, 2007 at 11:03:16 am

Thanks bob. A couple of week's back, someone's selling me a really used 10" or 14" (I think; I can't remember) portable monitor for roughly $200 (10,000 Pesos. I live in the Philippines). I think it's about 7 years old (or more). How would I know if the picture tube will last? Thanks.


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Bob Woodhead
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 13, 2007 at 11:15:36 am

Don't know of any way you can know, other than looking for burn-ins or other oddities. 14" would be rather large to lug around for shoots (assuming it's a small crew). Keep looking, and meanwhile, set up a consumer tv you might already have, and do your best to calibrate in that "blue-only" workaround.


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 13, 2007 at 3:25:32 pm

Ryan, you can probably "get by" with a regular TV for now, as long as you are not doing any super-critical work (and I'm guessing wedding and small company clients would fall into that category).

Just at least make sure you are using a GOOD one (not an $88 dollar one from a discount store). Look at the inputs, see what kind of signal it can take in. If if can take only an RF signal in (which will be the case with the cheap ones), stay away from it. Ones that can take in a composite video signal will be better.... an S-video signal, even better... and component signal (RGB) even better.

The next time you are in a department store or an electronics store with 40 or 50 TVs all set up playing the same thing, take a look at the pictures. Probably each and every one of them will look different, even identical models of the same set (NTSC does, as they say, really stand for "Never Twice the Same Color"). That's why your buddy was recommending a calibrated monitor... but it might be a luxury for you at this stage of your business, so do the best you can with what you have.

Follow Bob's advice and calibrate the regular TV as best you can. I'm remembering though some directions I read once about calibrating monitors... there were quite a number of steps to go through (the ones you might expect) first using color bars... THEN the last step said "Then replace color bars with moving video, and if the picture is unsatisfactory adjust to taste." It just goes to show that calibration is a pretty subjective thing in the NTSC world.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
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Ryan Santos
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 13, 2007 at 8:56:53 pm

Thanks Todd and Bob. I'll be going back again tomorrow to the department store to check. But if the price is close the used broadcast monitor (I was informed it was 9"), I might consider it. However, is there some things that I need to check to see if the picture tube on that old broadcast monitor will continue to work for more years? The seller told me it was 7 year old. To me it looks older, probably more than 10 years judging from the wear marks. Thanks.


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Bob Woodhead
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 13, 2007 at 10:32:07 pm

As Todd said, do what you think *you* need to do for *your* clients - not what others (including us) think you should do! ;)


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P. J. in Hollywood
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 15, 2007 at 5:14:30 am

I have been told the same thing...just use a TV, but they tend to be a bit blue and as you say differ from unit to unit.

I have two NTSC Ikegami color reference monitors; a TM-10 for field use and a (1988 vintage)CDA-20 1HN for my editing bay, that I just got from a friend. Its old, but it produces GREAT color and came out of a DI suite.

The only odd thing about it is that the resolution is much lower when compared to my TM-10 that is newer, when viewed at the same distance, which is about 3 feet. If I recall correctly, isn't optimum viewing distance different (farther away) for larger screens, generally speaking, than smaller?
When viewed from 6 feet away, it looks better.

If this would not account for courser resolution,perhaps I should have the monitor serviced?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks, P. J.


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George Socka
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 18, 2007 at 10:35:19 pm

2 points:

No consumer that can afford wedding video will be buying anything with a phosphor based CRT - I am not sure that Best Buy still even carries any.

What you see on a 9 inch monitor will in no way prepare you for what your customers will see on a 42 inch LCD. THAT is what they will judge you on. For instance, titles that take up 1/4 of the screen and look good at 9 inches look HUGE on a 42 incher. What looks in focus at 9 inches may look truly fuzzy at 42. Low quality DVD compression that can't be seen at 9 inches looks gross at 32. And your customers are now buying 57 inches and more! And a consumer LCD TV is made out of the same stuff as your computer LCD.

Problem is hoping / ensuring that what you see on YOUR 42 inch plasma will look close enough top what they will see.

The same goes for corporate work. When did you last see a tube TV in a board room?


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Ryan Santos
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 19, 2007 at 12:12:32 am

Are you suggesting I drop the idea of buying a consumer tv or the 9" broadcast monitor? Should I edit/ color correct using an LCD tv or anything that I think the clients will use to watch the video? In case of the wedding videos, most people in our place (Manila) doesn't own LCD TVs. Most of them have CRTs in their homes. Which is why I thought of buying a consumer CRT TV so I'll be able to see what they will be seeing when they watch their wedding video at home. Also, while they may have an LCD at home (since they can afford a wedding video), not all their friends have LCDs at home.


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Bob Cole
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Dec 16, 2007 at 3:42:51 am

[George Socka] "When did you last see a tube TV in a board room?"

Thursday.

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P. J. in Hollywood
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 25, 2007 at 5:53:07 am

In case anyone is interested in calibrating their TV or professional color reference monitor, here is a nice link to an article on the subject that should cover a broad spectrum (no pun intended) of professional monitors or consumer TVs so at least there's some hope of the customer seeing the same the editor sees on his reference monitor or TV.

We've all seen a wall of TVs at Best Buys, etc., where each TV has a slightly different color quality.

http://spareroommedia.com/video/monitor_setup.html


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Tim Wilson
Re: why a calibrated monitor instead of ordinary tv
on Oct 26, 2007 at 10:25:23 am

There's also an outstanding article by Bob Zelin on this in the current issue of the COW Magazine. It's free in PDF and print editions, and has a crazy amount of good stuff.

This issue is also chock full of cinematography goodness from Todd McMullen and Todd At Fantastic Plastic (Todd Terry), among others.

You'd normally have to subscribe to get the juiciest goodness, but we liked this issue so much that we made it available to non-subscribers.

When you get it, you'll see why you shouldn't miss any other issues. It's a 9 MB download, so don't be in too much of a hurry. But you can use your free time during the download to subscribe to the magazine.

I'm not kidding, you haven't seen a magazine like this one. Only the best for members of the COW herd.

Yr pal,
Tim

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