Best $200-400 monitor for editing with FCP -

Posted by elliek1 
Best $200-400 monitor for editing with FCP -
August 07, 2013 06:36PM
Is there such a thing as a monitor for $200-400 that will show me what is actually being created in FCP 7 (maybe soon to get X)?

I've been managing (ha ha) with a very OLD monitor and discovered recently that it is not showing me what my projects will look like on clients' HD t.v.s .

I mostly produce projects that are family histories, for people using DVDs as end product, and occasionally documentary films that might also go to DVD or HD. Sometimes they will be projected on a huge screen at an event.

I probably have NO idea what a $1000 monitor would look like next to a $200 one -- but I'm not sure why I would need to spend over $400 or so. Am open to being educated --
and would greatly appreciate suggestions for monitors you like that are in that price range.

Re: Best $200-400 monitor for editing with FCP -
August 07, 2013 07:07PM
The reason you get a 'broadcast monitor' is pretty much completely about meeting a standard. The standard exists firstly so they we are all coming from the same place and hopefully ending up at the same place and secondly because of some of the (mostly outdated now) limitations of broadcast.

Your end user is going to be watching your product on a screen that is completely variable. You have no control over the fact that they might have the contrast way off, or be on some kind of 'hi quality' dynamic setting, or have a screen that dulls the reds or whatever. There is no 'standard' consumer viewing experience, especially now with computer screens coming in to the mix.

However, if you want to be able to meet the standard for output (which is, despite the problems of the end user, important) you need a screen that can be calibrated - that is - adjusted to meet the specific set of rules that broadcast requires - so that you can set your whites at the right level, and your saturation and skin tones and so on. This makes the screen more expensive. Also, you generally need to get it calibrated or calibrate it yourself if you know what you're doing when you get it.

I guess a good analogy for why you need more expensive screens is audio engineering. Of course they get large, well balanced speakers to do their work with, rather than just attaching junky car speakers because that's what a lot of people would be listening to their work with.

Re: Best $200-400 monitor for editing with FCP -
August 12, 2013 10:40AM
The superiority of good audio speakers is physical. The good ones are able to produce sounds the cheapies can't and to avoid producing sounds the cheapies can't avoid. No amount of signal processing or "calibration" can replace this physical superiority.

With video monitors there are some physical superiorities affecting black level, uniformity, viewing angle, gradient smoothness, etc., but the crux of getting correct video color is calibration. Any monitor that can cover "100% sRBG", which includes some cheapies, should be capable of good BT.709 video color display with proper calibration.

Calibration should be the business of the computer -- application plus operating system plus graphics card -- not the monitor. The computer's job is to figure out what color (X,Y,Z) it wants a pixel to appear and then, based on either user colorimetric tests or manufacturer characterization of the monitor, to send the right signal (R,G,B) to the monitor to make that color appear.

Unfortunately, elliek1 is not going to get good BT.709 video color display from a $200-400 monitor, but the the cheap monitors are not to blame. Our computers are. Create a perfect calibration for the monitor -- a big 3D LUT in an .icc file -- and our computers can't apply it. That's the current status as I understand it. That's why I bought an expensive monitor which does some onboard calibration (especially gamut mapping) that the computer refuses to do.

The cheapest monitor I'm sure will give good BT.709 video color display from the FCP canvas is the $1250 NEC PA241W-BK-SV (and there's a trick necessary for this solution). If there are cheaper ones, let's find them, but be careful. There's much confusion in this area.

Dennis Couzin
Berlin, Germany
Re: Best $200-400 monitor for editing with FCP -
August 12, 2013 11:48AM
thanks for your responses and information!
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