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Rookie Monitor Calibration Question - Is it really important?
  • Here's a rookie question. Is it really necessary to calibrate the monitor you use when editing? I ask this because I guess when the editing is being done...whether you have a calibrated monitor or you don' seems you still have to export your footage and view it on the all the types of screens your audience would view it (computer monitors, hdtvs, standard def tvs, iphones, ipads, theater screens).

    I currently edit in Adobe CS6 on a PC laptop with a less than stellar screen (one of those ones that looks kinda washed out). I often will connect the Laptop to a 62" HDTV or a 42" HDTV to edit as well. So I've basically just been exporting footage and viewing on a variety of screens...and adjusting as necessary.

    My only guess is that a properly calibrated monitor can be defined as one that somehow sits in the middle/average of what all the different audience members screens are?

    All advice is much appreciated.

  • 10 Replies sorted by
  • TV broadcast is probably going to be the most strict for compliance. I would try and calibrate the laptop the best you can so that the colour/brightness is similar to other devices you trust. Your OS may have some control, and your graphics card may also have controls. The question is, what are the other devices calibrated to that you are referencing? Are they correct, whatever that is.

    When in doubt, use your scopes to ensure you are not crushing black or overexposing highlights, keep your mids near 50%, etc, as you would, unless you want a particular look, and check saturation level. White balance can also be checked via scopes. I use RGB Curves in Premiere to balance out my shot, then use Colorista to add a look and secondary correction, adding multiple effects as I need to. You can also check skin tones with a scope.

    Someone else probably has a better answer. Good luck.

  • Calibration is a must--just get a Huey if you don't want to spend big bucks.

  • I have this concern all the time. I post something up on Vimeo and go watch it on my girlfriends computer, then ask my friend with a PC to look at on his and get feedback from there. I cut on a Mac Cinema Monitor but don't think it's set correctly. @5thwall has helped me out too.

  • Yeah, everyone in your audience has a tv, iphone, ipad, computer, etc. that is most likely not calibrated. So is a calibrated monitor giving you a good middle point?

    @DrDave I don't mind spending some money if needed, so what would "big bucks" mean...and for what would it buy? (monitor? calibrating software)

  • @matt_gh2 If you're planning on doing any color correction to your footage, monitor calibration is very important. I use three different screens for editing video and after calibration they all look very similar:

    NEC PA271 monitor: has internal 14-bit 3D LUT which closely emulates the sRGB/Rec. 709 standard.

    Toshiba 42" HDTV: has individual RGB gain controls; calibrates well with the Spyder 3 probe.

    Lenovo laptop LCD: bright but inaccurate colors; Spyder 3 calibration makes it look much better.

    Once you have your monitors calibrated to sRGB/Rec. 709, you can be assured that your color grade is producing standardized results. If you want to produce a version of your video corrected specifically for viewing on an uncalibrated iPad, you can create an iPad ICC profile and use it as the working space in an After Effects project. If you then import your Rec. 709 video into the project, After Effects will automatically remap its colors to match the iPad profile and you can render it as an iPad video.

  • @all Thanks for advice. Will calibrate displays with either Spyder or Huey.

  • @Lpowell, any way to calibrate the TV without a computer? I use my TV for the final grading and I just had to go back and forth with color charts and so on. Is there a way to use a laptop to get a reading and then tweak the color controls using the numbers generated from the calibration, or is it just back and forth stuff?

  • @matt_gh2 There are some high end monitors I have worked with in studios that are very accurate and have color calibration devices built in. Some of these are more designed for photgraphers like the 27" Eizo. Seems more cost efficient to get a Catleap or Dell or whatever super IPS panel and just plug a calibration tool into it, but I haven't AB's them. Nothing wrong with my Catleap 27" except it looks too good.

  • @DrDave I bought the Toshiba HDTV because it has gain settings for the individual RGB channels. With that kind of control, you can tweak it very close to the look of a calibrated sRGB monitor. After I calibrated my NEC PA271 to emulate an sRGB monitor, I used it to visually calibrate the Toshiba using its built-in controls. I then calibrated it with the Spyder 3 in order to produce an ICC color profile for the Toshiba. This allows me to run both the NEC and the Toshiba in either unmanaged or color managed modes, and get pretty much equivalent results either way.

  • Thanks lpowell.