Computer monitor for video editing?
December 5, 2011 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Mid-sized computer monitor primarily for video editing?

I've been tasked with researching computer monitors for my very small theater company's video editing system. We're looking for something in the 22" to 27" range, with good color reproduction. I haven't been given a budget yet, but I'd like to keep it between 500 - 1,000 bucks if possible. We're entirely a mac-based office.

So far I've heard good things about NEC and Eizo, looking around on the web. Are they really better than the current Apple display options? What should I look for when I'm researching my options? Specific recommendations happily accepted.

Thanks in advance, everybody!
posted by hapticactionnetwork to Technology (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hit TFTCentral and read the reviews.

You probably won't be able to afford the very high end colour repro monitors on that budget, but you will be able to afford a very decent mid-range IPS monitor.

You might want to consider including a display calibration device (like a Pantone Huey or something) within that budget, as otherwise you won't be able to rely on the colour accuracy of the monitor over time. (Unless you've already got one of course!)
posted by pharm at 12:02 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Make sure you get an IPS or PVA/MVA display, *NOT* a TN film display. TN film is identifiable in that it color shifts from top to bottom. (If you look at the image from a high or low angle, the colors reverse.) TN film colors look different form side to side on the same monitor. TN film displays tend to be the least expensive, so if it seems too cheap, it's probably for good reason. I should note that TN film is fine for people who just want to do e-mail, the web and game. It's not fine for anyone doing imaging work.

Also be aware of the wide versus standard color gamut issue with monitors. Colors on PC or Mac are displayed in the sRGB color space. Wide gamut sounds better because it displays more colors, but in practice it tends to oversaturate reds and (I believe) greens. Imaging pros usually know how to compensate for this, but I would ask if in doubt. I tend to go with standard gamut monitors just to avoid the whole hassle.

The brand of monitor you buy really isn't as critical as the model, as most brands use a display manufactured by someone else.

HardOCP has a great forum that's aimed at higher end PC displays.
posted by cnc at 12:18 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just to clarify, what's the intended use of the system? If you're just publishing to the web or internally, I'd look for reviews on the sites recommended. On the other hand, if you're looking for a broadcast color level, you won't get that easily without getting into alternate video output sources to really get into that colorspace.

I do broadcast television editing, and while we use relatively low-end professional equipment to make that happen, I've quickly learned that you cannot rely on a computer monitor to accurately represent something you want to put on a television for numerous reasons.
posted by shinynewnick at 1:20 PM on December 5, 2011

Response by poster: We're primarily publishing DVDs, actually, which might complicate the issue. In the past our workflow has been to get as far along as possible with the computer monitor, and then burn a few DVDs and watch them on several different monitors for quality control.

For whatever reason, we have a few 20 year old CRT production monitors and some more recent 42" plasma tvs that we use to check colors, but it would be great to get as close as possible to what people viewing the DVDs at home will see.

Thanks for the answers so far, everybody!
posted by hapticactionnetwork at 3:19 PM on December 5, 2011

Do you calibrate your existing monitors?
posted by pharm at 3:22 PM on December 5, 2011

I'm assuming you have a Mac (iMac, Pro?), and editing on Final Cut Pro? If you can give me those details, I can give some specific recommendations, but I would lean toward spending money on a video output system. It will save you a ton of time and resources over your current burn and test method. The nice part is those 20 year old CRT production monitors should allow you to do a decent level of calibration.

Blackmagic makes some great products (and relatively affordable), as does AJA. Unfortunately there is a lot of change going on right now between hardware (FW800 to USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt) and software (FCP 7 to FCP X particularly). You're also working currently in the SD space, but it might be worth consideration of any step up to HD in the future.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:22 PM on December 5, 2011

Response by poster: pharm: yes we do.

shinynewnick: we use Mac Pros and we're editing on Final Cut Pro. I'd definitely appreciate some recommendations.

Thanks guys!
posted by hapticactionnetwork at 7:09 AM on December 6, 2011

As long as you're still in Final Cut Pro, I would recommend the Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro, which is a PCI card solution for video output at $199. For that price you can hook up to an SD or HD television and get real-time video preview from Final Cut Pro. It also works with Premiere Pro (which we are slowly moving toward), and Avid Media Composer, if you do move away from FCP. At the moment I don't think any of the third party video output cards work with FCP X for true color representation - last I heard there was a workaround to set it as a second monitor, but not what professionals use.

Aja makes great products as well, but then you get to the $1,000 and above range.

Let me know if you have any questions, I'll answer anything I can.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:07 AM on December 6, 2011

NEC EA231WMi (although it has apparently been replaced by the LED-backlit EA232WMi.
posted by duomo at 11:34 AM on December 6, 2011

but it would be great to get as close as possible to what people viewing the DVDs at home will see.

Clearly in that case you should go and buy the cheapest, biggest flatscreen you can find, slap it on the wall & never calibrate it :)
posted by pharm at 1:51 AM on December 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

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