Things You Must Know Before buy a Monitor for Color Grading.

MONITOR

Now, if you don’t care about knowing every single detail that goes into building a monitor or all the science behind it, then you came to the right place. After reading this post, you’ll know exactly what to look for in your next monitor. Make sure to grab a notepad also.

So before we jump into just looking at a bunch of different monitors, let’s start with defining your needs. What’s important to you in a monitor? So I’m breaking it into three hypothetical categories.

Multi-purpose

Number one, multipurpose. You’re somebody that just needs one monitor that kinda does it all.

Jack of all trade, master of none. Or you are working on content, either SDR or HDR, right, one or the other, right.

And then the third one is going to be somebody that started to pick up some pace when it comes to color work. You’ve got tons of stuff coming in and you’re getting serious about it, you wanna level up and you’re looking for a broadcast option without breaking your bank. Okay, so those are the three categories.

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What to look for in a Monitor?

Now that’s set, let’s move on to the next section, which is going to be what to look for in a monitor. How do you know what’s good or what’s bad?

So the first thing that you need to look for is, is it a 8-bit or a 10-bit display? All right, and don’t confuse that with a 12-bit processing. A lot of lower-end monitors will try to trick you into thinking that it’s a 10-bit display by putting in big, bold letters, “12-bit processing.”

That’s a completely different thing than like the actual panel being 8-bit or 10-bit, all right. Even a panel like this, this is the HX310, this is like the ultimate headhunter that you can get, a $30,000+ monitor.

Even this monitor is a 10-bit panel, okay, it’s not even a 12-bit panel. It does a 12-bit processing, but then the actual display is 10-bit. All right, so keep that in mind.

Contrast

Moving onto the next thing that you need to look out for is contrast, okay. Contrast is going to be… You know, you’ve seen those numbers, right, one million to one contrast ratio, or 1100 to one contrast ratio, or 1300 to one contrast ratio.

Higher the number, the better, all right. OLEDs have crazy contrast ratio, all right. They have like 1 million to one contrast ratio and it really speaks for itself.

When we’re watching something on OLED, we get true blacks, that comes from that contrast ratio, all right.

Brightness

And then the next thing is going to be your brightness, which is measured in nits. So you’ve probably heard 350 nits, SDR is 100 nits, some monitors go up to 450 nits. HDR starts at 550 nits, goes all the way to 4,000 nits.

I’m talking about Dolby Pulsar, super expensive monitors. You can’t even buy them, okay, they are just at certain facilities that you will use to rent these monitors.

It’s like looking right into the sun, it’s that freaking bright. So we’re not there yet, you don’t have to worry about that, but just so you know, nits in brightness is important, again, depending on what kind of work you do.

Color Gamut

Moving on, and next thing that you need to look out for is color gamut. So what’s your space that you work in? So if you are producing content for sRGB for web, or for broadcast, which is Rec. 709, then you wanna get a monitor that gives you 100% color accuracy for those two different color gamuts, all right.

If you’re working on movies and you’re delivering in DCI-P3, then you wanna look for a monitor that gives you good color accuracy when it comes through DCI-P3. So knowing these things are very important.

Input Signal

Moving down the line will be input signal, that is extremely important as well. If you’re looking at a old-school monitor that’s giving you HDCP 1.2 sort of connection, that’s not a lot of bandwidth in today’s standards, all right.

You need something that is HDCP 2.0 when it comes to HDMI connection, or a display port that is going to give you a really fast throughput, or the end-all-be-all, which is going to be your SDI connection.

Which usually is broken into 3G, 6G or 12G, which is basically short for gigabytes. So now that we have a basic understanding of what to look for, let’s jump into some other aspects of when it comes to picking the right screen.

Size Matters

When it comes to monitors and screen, size does matter, okay. And what am I talking about? I’m not saying bigger, the better, all right. We’re talking about the ratio, the distance from you to the screen. And usually, let’s assume that it’s a desk, and then the distance from a desk to the screen.

So ideally you’ll have like a two and a half to three feet distance, right, depending on your desk, how wide it is. But if we’re talking about a TV, it could be mounted on the wall, and then you can have some space. You don’t need to flush your desk against the wall.

You can borrow like about a foot, and then your desk could be two and a half, three feet, so you can actually build that four feet distance. The way you wanna think about it as like every 12 inches to a foot, okay, if that makes any sense.

So what I’m talking about is like a 24-inch monitor, if you’re two feet away from it, that’s an ideal distance, but usually you will be a little further away from that monitor. That’s why I will say my threshold when it comes to minimum screen size, I will not go any smaller than 24 inches, all right.

That would be the smallest I would go, because after that, you will be kinda squinting and like, you know, moving forward to see what’s happening on the screen. On the larger end, I will not go any bigger than 48 inches, especially when it comes to your working monitor.

Because otherwise you’re gonna be moving your neck constantly, it’s gonna cause a lot of fatigue, I’ve been through it. Remember, you guys know I used to have… My main monitor was a 55-inch that was right behind me, and yes, I had a good, healthy distance of like four and a half feet, four feet.

Even then, it just caused a lotta stress on my neck, so I don’t have to deal with that anymore. The perfect size has to be 31 to 32 inches, all right. That’s why this guy right here and all high-end broadcast monitors are 31.5, something like that. This is 31.5 I believe. So like around 32 inches, that would be the ideal size.

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