Some Quick Thoughts on Monitors For Video Grading

29th November 2016 General Articles


Recently this video had been doing the social media rounds.  I suggest you hit the full screen button for this one - it's all cinema footage and it wants to be a bit bigger than this single column allows:

Are Marvel's Movies Visually Boring?

I had to laugh, watching it.  It's almost the direct opposite of what I think about visual grading.

The author is complaining that Marvel's movies lack a pure black, are under-saturated and don't have any snap (i.e. lack contrast).

I don't disagree entirely with this - the lack of black depth in some scenes is I think an issue with some of the footage, but for the most part I think this is precisely what's good about some of these films - a more naturalistic approach to grading.  

You can certainly argue it's out of tune with the comic book pedigree of the source material - but when you transform an illustration into a live action version, you are per se moving from the illustrated, 'unreal' domain into the 'real' domain - that is, you're trying to make effects look ... natural & real, as if they are really happening, which I think is quite a different context to the clearly fantastical comic book domain.

(What I find most amusing is that there is some implication that this isn't deliberate by Marvel - as if they might not be conscious of their own approach to grading, which is much more minamilistic than the current in vogue, soup it up to 11 approach of most film making - does the author really think they're just producing this more naturalistic look by accident?!).

Video Grading Monitors

Next year we're planning on producing more content in this area, but for now I thought it would be useful to list out a few recommended options for setting up your own affordable film/video grading workstation.  Rest assured these screens can support both approaches - if you like it high contrast and saturated, or if you like it natural - the key thing is that what you are seeing is an accurate representation of the footage.  And this means you need colour accuracy, or just as with still image work, you'll make bad editing decisions and end up with bad results.

Most of the monitors we sell support high end colour grading work, but of course there are different levels of support.  Fortunately, gone are the days where you need a $20000+ 'broadcast'  screen to do this sort of work.  Now, outfits like Pixar, WETA and DreamWorks are regularly installing monitors from our primary brands (Eizo and NEC) for their content creators to work on.  

One thing worth remembering is that with video you often work & master at different timings/resolutions - that is, you can happily edit on a 1080p/60hz screen even though in the background the stream will be ultimately mastered (rendered) at the full 4K and with the correct timing for your market, 23.97 or 25 or whatever.  So you don't need to buy a screen with a zillion pixels to edit video - it is, just like with still photography, much more important that you get a colour accurate screen.

Choosing a Monitor For Video Grading

Here's a list of popular choices, from the best down....but of course we have many options.  

If you'd like to talk about which is the right one for you, give us a call on 03 9329 4522 and we can go  through your needs in detail, and early next year we'll publish a full guide on the various aspects of particular importance for different video editing scenarios.

SKU Price (inc) Qty.
Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K 31" Monitor Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K 31" Monitor
HECG_CG318-4K $7,490
Eizo ColorEdge CG247X 24" Monitor Eizo ColorEdge CG247X 24" Monitor
HECG_CG247X $2,394
NEC PA272W 27" Monitor NEC PA272W 27" Monitor
Free Insured Nationwide Shipping With All NEC Monitors!
HNEC_PA272W-BK-PX $1,769
BenQ SW2700PT 27" Monitor BenQ SW2700PT 27" Monitor
Free Insured Nationwide Shipping With All BenQ Monitors!
HBENQ_SW2700PT $999