What converter/color correction software for external TV monitor for MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Chris7, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. Chris7 macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    Hello. I'm trying how to get fairly accurate video from an external monitor setup with a MacBook Pro. One popular combo is a BlackMagic Intensity card and good consumer HDTV, but this would only work with a MacPro, and the MacPro is not in the budget until next year. Another is a Matrox MXO plus Apple Cinema Display, but this is a little costly for what I’m doing right now. I am working primarily with 1920x1080 at 60i and 1440x1080 at 60i, but will be doing 24P and SD work as well. I will be using FCP native color correction, not the application Color. I need the monitor to show interlace, too.


    1. There is a simple $8 adaptor that just turns the DVI out in my MBP into HDMI for a TV. A rep at a video equipment store told me that, just by using this adaptor, once you go into a TV (rather than a computer monitor), this automatically converts the signal to YUV. I am suspect of this, as I have heard differently on other posts. Is this true? If yes, is it possible to color correct the TV using this simple setup with the appropriate software to show me a fairly accurate image? If it's not true YUV but close enough, is there a way to make it work using color calibration software, a sort of RGB to YUV color calibration software? What software would you recommend?

    2. If no software only solution would work, what's the cheapest external hardware I need (I guess the equivalent of an external BlackMagic Intensity card)?

    3. Is there any particular spec’s for an (1080) HDTV would you recommend? Anything from about 24” to 32” would work fine, so long as it’s matte (anti-glare). A rep told me I want a ratio of at least 3000:1 up to 15,000:1. What else should I look for?

    Many thanks,
  2. PsychOff macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2009
    Unless you got the big money, to have a proper colour correcting monitor it'll set you back about $50,000. HDMI is sufficient enough, it is of 4:4:4 (8-16 bit) colour depth.

    The rep you spoke to was pretty much dead on; regular high quality LCD and Plasma are damn good now at good prices:

    Honestly, I'd wait until you get the Mac Pro for next year. And any HD computer screen with good specifications will be pretty damn accurate as long as you go into the Screen Calibration setup on the Mac (in Sys. Pref.). In the end, its the eye that is the most accurate, what ever looks truest to you.

    You can get the Apple screens but I think they are over priced and not as good as other screens out there. I myself own two 24inch HDi/p 1920x1200 Hyundai screens which are fantastic (They have Component/DVI/VGA/HDMI/Audio inputs). Specs you need to look out for are contrast ratios, brightness, pixel size (as in how small each pixel is, the smaller the better) and response time.

    I remember going to a professional editing suite to have my edit checked over by another editor to get a second view point, he had one of those special expensive monitors and honestly the colours looked almost identical on my screens, like 95% the same.

    And besides, using FCP colour corrector... it is in no way sophisticated enough to require to splash out money on extra hardware. Learn Color, it's a good program, use the beginner's book and your golden.

    Hope that helps^^
  3. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    Not really.

    Trouble is, you won't be getting the original YCbCr video feed — which is what you want if you're grading in FCP. You'll be getting what your Mac has turned into RGB for desktop playback, turned back into YCbCr.

    I'd imagine it will also not show interlace properly.

    The MXO is good if you can get hold of a 23" ACD. The MXO2 is the only other option I can think of for the MBP. It's more expensive again, but I guess less so ultimately if you're doubling up your grading monitor and HDTV.
  4. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    I use a pantone eyeone 2 to calibrate my TV (when it is attached to the computer). It helps if you can figure out how to get into the technician menus on the tv to access brightness, contrast and each colour (to help set temperature), the software then takes care of the color correction. Seems to work pretty well.
  5. PsychOff macrumors newbie

    Jan 8, 2009
    What do you mean by "not show interlace properly"?

    If its progressive it can do interlace, however it'll show up like mad and expose it until you use some de-interlacing programs.
  6. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2004
    This isn't accurate for video work.

    You are calibrating in an RGB signal to an RGB color space. However, most video signals (along with TVs and Broadcast Monitors) are YCbCr.
  7. jampat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2008
    OK, thx. Video isn't my thing. Learning more every day.
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Properly is the key word there.;)

  9. Chris7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    Thanks to all who posted. Follow up questions for anyone:

    1. So, going DVI to HDMI to HD LCD TV will simply not work, as the color will be so off that I cannot correct it with color calibration software, and the refresh rate will also be off so interlaced content will look weird?

    2. Is FCP handling video in YCbCr, then transferring this to RGB if go DVI to HDMI to HD LCD TV. Will the TV then try to turn it back into YCbCr?

    3. If I had a MacPro and Black Magic Intensity card, does this card get it’s signal directly from the YCbCr in FCP?

    Keith: This quote from another post way back, I hope you don't mind me quoting you.
    Can you explain this more? Don't know what a LUT is. Is it the same with color correction in native FCP?
  10. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    1. The trouble is, that not being what colour calibration software is for, you'd never be sure how accurate it was.

    2. Bingo. But only if you're working in FCP — not Color.

    3. Yes.

    LUT stands for Look-Up Table. They are used frequently in grading.

    For a film going through a DI, a LUT for Kodak Premiere film stock may be used, so they are grading to what it will eventually look like on the big screen.

    In a similar vein, a LUT would be used in a typical Color set-up to remap RGB to YCbCr. That's because Color works in 16-bit RGB, and monitors most often take in YCbCr signals.

    A typical Color workflow will be: YCbCr input footage, working in RGB, viewing in YCbCr.

    Grading in FCP, on the other hand, would probably be: YCbCr input, working in YCbCr, viewing in YCbCr.

    But that doesn't make FCP better. The purpose of working in 16-bit RGB is to give greater latitude and minimise rounding errors. And if the typical Color workflow is done using the right equipment, set-up correctly, it can be very accurate.

    Grading is all about precision, and it gets exponentially more complex and expensive the more precise you want to be.

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