Does seeing video in its full resolution onscreen matter to pro video editors?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by 12dylan34, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. 12dylan34 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    I figured that the Mac Pro forum would be the best place to get feedback from some real professional video editors.

    One of the things that people brag about on the Retina MBP is that you can see 1080p video in its full resolution right in the corner of the screen when editing video, so it's the natural choice for video editors on the go.

    Is it really that important to you to be able to see the video pixel-for-pixel? People make it seem like the holy grail to be able to see 4K video in its full glory on screen too while editing, which again, doesn't seem entirely necessary to me either.

    I'm in college studying motion graphic design, and I know that at least to me, I have no problem working at half resolution in After Effects, and I couldn't care less about a 1080 frame being able to fit in a small area of my screen if I'm going to get slow playback.

    If I'm being terribly ignorant (which is distinctly possible), please enlighten me.
  2. kaputsport macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2010
    Carlisle, PA
    I am not a 100% professional yet, but I bought a 30" cinema display so I would have the real estate to see the image pixel for pixel. The new retina display is 2880x1800 and the 30" is 2560x1600... So:

    220 more width and 200 in height. The difference is negligible, but I will say editing in 1080p in full resolution allows you to see pixel errors, digital artifacts, and other mistakes when importing in, and thus gives better accuracy to your work.

    Photo editing is another where one or two misplaced pixels could ruin an image, and if you can't see them, you would never know until print.
  3. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Basically, no, and certainly not on a laptop.

    The people who would benefit from seeing video like that are colorists or special effects artists. In both cases they'd be using monitors that cost more than an entire Macbook Pro. There's more to high-quality monitors than just resolution and their monitors have other advantages.

    I'm sure they'll be thrilled once those kinds of screens come in "retina" resolutions, but they'll have to wait for that to happen because they're certainly not going to use a laptop screen for that kind of work.

    Outside of that stuff, no, I don't need to see my video any sharper when I'm cutting. That extra resolution wouldn't make me pick one shot over another. When I'm cutting on a laptop I care about shot composition and if it's in focus. I can do that on any monitor.

    Does that mean I wouldn't want that screen? I still do, but I want it for the same reasons you do. Sharper text, better-looking icons, more pixels in still-photos...stuff like that. (This matters a lot more for photographers than video editors.)

    But as for the video itself, no, it doesn't really matter if I see it at 100% or 50% resolution. By the time I get to the point where I want to make the image look as good as possible I wouldn't want to be on a laptop anymore.
  4. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    Try this, take your 24" screen that normally plays at 1920x1080 and run it at 1280x1024 or whatever the next size down is.

    Looks like crap, huh?

    This is exactly the same thing. Maybe someone doing simple cuts can live this way, but people trying to make each shot look like a beautifully framed photograph with optimal lighting and color would never "choose" to see images this way.

    Yes, you can view things at downsized resolutions, but it certainly isn't optimal.

    One of those nifty questions that you can answer yourself.
  5. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    But isn't that why we have production monitors?

    I can see it being helpful if you're on a laptop and editing in the field, but most setups would use a calibrated production monitor. And even then, the need for color accuracy/native resolution really only comes in to play when finishing.
  6. ClassObject macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2010
  7. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    As a part of my small biz I produce what you might call corporate shorts. I've been fortunate enough to work with some crews having great equipment and experience. In the field, I've never even thought about cutting. It's all about capturing the "raw" shot well. Monitors are typically small and nowhere near 1080. Post is a different matter. Even in my modest setup, I use two monitors, sometimes three. I don't cut at full rez on the primary, but I sure preview and adjust everything else on a second monitor in all its glory. For example, try accurately anchoring a mask, or precisely keyframe an animated object, on a laptop, Retina or otherwise. Not gonna happen.

    As a side note, I recently had the chance to walk by a large network series production in my hometown. Block after block of forty foot trailers chock full of stuff. A dozen or more of anything and everything. No laptops (for video anyway). I guess if you are a stringer, or off by yourself in Africa shooting for Nat Geo, the Retina could come in handy.

    PS - Get familiar with some of the pro video forums. Start with a place like Creative COW. As a student, you'll find it to be like having a hundred extra professors and advisors available to you who are very willing to help and usually quite patient about it.
  8. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    "Real" editors, as you call them, would use an external display for monitoring footage. That said more resolution or real estate on the GUI screens doesn't hurt anyone.
  9. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    I always play back videos I'm working on in full resolution (for hundreds of projects, on a 27" screen) but for this last one I finished up yesterday the project had so many layers that I opted to see more of the project space and scaled down the video playback window a bit and it didn't affect anything. It just plays back smaller but retains all of the adjustments.
  10. okcannon macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2012
    I'm not a video editor but a colorist, so I'm in the situation where I sit with clients (usually the DP and director) and work with them in full-res on large monitors (say, 60" plasmas) or projection (12' and larger screens).

    On every project, the director, DP, and producers comment on things that they've never seen before: a subtlety of a performance, detail in production design, scars that actors have... They also discover issues in the footage (soft focus, equipment in frame, speed effect artifacts, boom shadows, things in the background that might require rights clearance, etc). It can make the editor look bad for not catching it and addressing it in some way. Some directors and DPs can get very upset that they are seeing it in the color session for the first time. And the editor is almost never there to defend the inclusion of the problem footage. Fortunately for us colorists, we have tools to solve many of the problems, while billing for the work. So the consequences can be that you can cost the production money and get blamed for missing important details. Or we can spend the color session talking about how much we like the edit.

    You don't need such an expensive monitor, but it's very helpful if it is a separate display, not on the GUI. It should be high-res (1080p works for HD, 2K, and 4K source material, in my opinion), large, and take in the right frame rates. Having a retina display is an improvement, but it's still small. Everybody will have to put their nose right up to the screen. Better to get a big cheap LCD or Plasma TV...


  11. 12dylan34 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2009
    Thanks for the responses everyone! It sounds like in general, the resolution and color accuracy only really matter in the final stages, which will be done on professional broadcast monitors anyway, but it might still be nice to have something like retina when you're working anyway

    Great advice! I probably do about 70% of my learning outside of the classroom on Greyscale Gorilla, Video Copilot, Creative Cow (they have a great forum on AE expressions), etc., then a significant amount of time experimenting to do my own stuff. I'm thinking of getting a paid subscription to Cineversity to really get the advanced stuff in Cinema 4D.
  12. xav8tor macrumors 6502a

    Mar 30, 2011
    You'll do extremely well if you keep that attitude. I once had a great prof long ago tell me that he was just a resource, no more/less than the textbooks, library, online databases, the labs, etc. How much I learned and how well I learned it was totally up to me. Now, I tell students the exact same thing when I teach a class here and there.
  13. Fluxtopia macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2012
    Best Plasma for SFX/Color

    You seem like the person to be asking this question...I am looking to buy a monitor for my visual effects and color work, but I don't have a ton of money to spend. I have the Matrox Mini on my Mac Pro which allows me to custom calibrate any monitor through HDMI, so I was thinking to buy a plasma TV and calibrate it. I found a Panasonic th-42ph9UK for $250 with the HDMI option. Considering I can get new 720p plasma displays for $300, is this one better because it is a pro monitor, or even worth it? Do I need full 1080p, or is THX certified more important, or does the ability to calibrate with the matrox mean that THX certification is not important but 1080p is a must-have? Do you have a display in mind that would serve my purposes that I might shop for used that will fit my budget? As in, this monitor was top of the line five years ago and little has changed in the technology since then that would make colors less accurate, yet the price has dropped substantially?

    I have a low budget for this, ideally $200 but if I must spend $300 I will.
  14. DJenkins macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    The most important info I can pass on is to view your work on a monitor that represents your final delivery medium.

    If I'm producing something that's for television broadcast I still use a standard definition CRT monitor. That's only 720x576 PAL. Sounds horrible right? But I know that certain things that look amazing on a 30" 2560x1600 LCD are not going to come across to the average consumer TV screen. Things like flickering on fine lines and interlace problems that you usually wouldn't pick up on.

    However if I'm doing a video that's going straight to youtube or vimeo, I won't even bother turning on the broadcast monitor, there's no point. Your computer monitor is fine.

    Exactly the same story as "okcannon". He's grading on a huge screen or projector because the work will be shown that way in the final format.

    Even though the retina would look amazing, and your could see your work at full res on a small screen, I still can see one issue. If you are doing motion graphics work that requires precise masks and rotoscoping etc. your work being shown at 100% is still not going to give you the mouse/cursor control you need to make these adjustments. You are still going to need to zoom in quite far so that your cursor interactions are precise enough. Probably not much of a problem at all really but just something to consider.

    As you are just a student I wouldn't get too caught up in this. I think the content of your work is going to be the most important thing to focus on. It's good you are asking questions like this though, just to get your head around it and prepare for later.
  15. Chrisg2014 macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2010
    Yea but screen real-estate, is another important thing. Also I'm a high School student, so what do I know. I've only taking a video production class for one year.
  16. okcannon macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2012
    I don't have any great answer, I would refer you to creative cow... There's pretty ongoing discussion in the DaVinci and Color forums about color monitors, and probably in the VFX forums too. That said, the Panasonic Plasmas have been reliable standbys for many non-CRT video things for some time.

  17. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    If you are professional you have a preview monitor, which you can set in all the NLEs.

    At least you should have if you are mastering for broadcast TV ...
  18. Alameda macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2012
    I think the high resolution would be great for still photography, though.
  19. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004

    But to honest, if you're a filmmaker, you're not intending for people to see the film on a Macbook Pro display anyway. Most filmmakers have professional monitor displays that more accurately display the colors and appearance of the film. Something closer to what a viewer would actually see in a theater. A Macbook Pro display isn't going to be as accurate as other displays, so while seeing a film at full resolution is nice, it's still seeing what the viewer will see.

    (And to the above suggestion of a plasma tv, no, there is really no point. Don't do that. Not only because buying 720p is a waste, but a cheap plasma like that is going to worse, not better, than the internal laptop display, and the resolution is so slow it's bad for using as a second display as well.)
  20. wonderspark macrumors 68040


    Feb 4, 2010
    I have a monitor that displays the full resolution of my work, and I set it to show me that. If I were shooting beyond my displayable resolution, I'd make it as big as possible for reasons already mentioned, mostly things like seeing things I might have missed during the shoot.

    I've been editing this movie where a lot of things were missed by both the camera operator and director... crew / equip shadows in low-light scenes, boom mics, people walking in background that weren't supposed to be there, and so on. They've been happy that I've caught all these issues, whereas nobody else has, and as far as I can tell, they're all watching the same footage, just on their laptops. I think if you're going to edit on a laptop, you had better pay extremely close attention to those tiny pixels, unless it's material that doesn't matter or nobody cares about. Once it's on a giant screen in the theater, people will see all those little things the laptop didn't make obvious.
  21. Snowshiro macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Is it important? Yes and no.

    I think it's largely a prosumer thing. No professional working on a serious film project would be doing it on a laptop. That said, for someone like a wedding videographer, many of whom take great pride in their work, it's not a bad option.

    I can see areas in the professional arena where it may have uses. I've had experiences in the past, working for a major studio where, for example, the director was on a trip somewhere in Europe, but wanted to see the dailies (unedited footage from a day's shoot) from the second unit. Before the days of high speed internet, we'd courier a laptop by express delivery, and then as technology evolved, sent it digitally and arranged for them to visit a local office with a high speed connection. Giving them a retina mac to take on the road with them would be a bonus in these kinds of situations, to give them the best possible picture quality.
  22. jji7skyline macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2011
    If video editing is anything like photography manipulation, then yes, the more pixels the better, and if you can fit a full size image along with toolbars and stuff, then that's awesome.

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