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Need advice re: Mac monitors for video editing

Chris Harmon's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 05/10/2007 - 12:04pm

Hello,

I just bit the bullet for an Intel (Nehalem) Mac Pro and need some advice on monitors.

The Mac came with the standard DVI/mini port combo card. I need to be able to do my Final Cut and photo editing work, so here are a few questions.

1. Is one large LCD 24" monitor better than two 20"? What do you prefer and why? I am only looking at monitors that support 1080 and up, and have HDMI, VGA,andDVI conectors.

2. The Mac monitors seem too expensive for the features. What other brands work well?

3. Connections. Is a DVI connection enough? Or do I need to add a card for HDMI? And what about connecting to a regular interlaced TV/Monitor? Everyone says I need to check my work out put there too, but what do I need? Something with s-video?

Help- I am confused and am have enough on plate just learning the OS and NLE. And I am just starting out so I am not flush with cash, but will invest in worthwhile equipment.

Thanks.

Chris


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Everything you need to connect two 23" monitors will either have come with your Mac Pro, or in the box of your Acer model H233H flat screen monitors (often $250 or less per monitor, if you shop around). When the Nehalem Macs came out I took advantage of the cost savings to purchase the previous Mac Pro 8-core model and have been happy and pleased with my monitors.

I purchased them on the advice of a number of friends "in the know" and have not regretted doing so. Sure, if I stand up, or to the extreme right/left of them they wash out, but who really does that? From a distance they have a decent enough range of visibility, and from my desktop editing environment, at a bit more than arm's length, they suit me just fine. Are they for everybody? Doubtful. But for money WAS an object, and I had to make the best of a limited acquisition budget that included additional RAM, 3 Hitachi 1TB drives and a host of other stuff I needed to revamp my FCP editing environment.

You are obviously aware that there are literally hundreds of possibilities out there, monitor-wise, some more expensive, others less - and the range of included connections, cables, etc. is infinite as well. I do know that the connections you want/need are included between the Acers out of the box, and your Mac Pro.



Chris Harmon's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 05/10/2007 - 12:04pm

I was kind of wondering about that. Could I just use a TV? Obviously picture quality, contrast ratios and refresh rate come into play.


anindya49's picture
Last seen: 4 years 6 months ago
Joined: 01/15/2010 - 10:26am

I have just such a set up: a Sony 32" TV connected to my Mac as a second monitor. This works great for photo viewing; I've calibrated both displays using a Spyder3 Elite. It seems to work fine with my Final Cut Express projects, but I worry about accurate colour.

So if I may hijack the thread for a bit, my question is: what is the best way to ensure that the TV (and my main monitor as well) displays accurate colour? All the connections are digital.


SafetyMan's picture
Last seen: 4 years 9 months ago
Joined: 10/18/2009 - 3:07pm

I will try to answer each of your questions:

1. Is one large LCD 24" monitor better than two 20"? What do you prefer and why? I am only looking at monitors that support 1080 and up, and have HDMI, VGA,andDVI conectors.

A single 24" vs 2 smaller monitors is a matter of personal preference and physical real estate on your desk. I edit on 2 - 22" monitors and find it a good combination. This allws me to place my program monitor on one display and have the edditing application on the other, and if I need more room, I can move things over to the second display. Computer monitors are generally higher resolution than a HDTV. Also, the only difference between HDMI and DVI connections are that HDMI has the video and audio signal on the same connector, DVI is video only. Don't feel like you need to spend another $100- $200 just to get a DVI and HDMI connection to ensure backwards compatability. a $5 adapter will accomplish the same task.

2. The Mac monitors seem too expensive for the features. What other brands work well?

Dell monitors are extremely inexpensive, and the gloss monitors are beautiful.

3. Connections. Is a DVI connection enough? Or do I need to add a card for HDMI? And what about connecting to a regular interlaced TV/Monitor? Everyone says I need to check my work out put there too, but what do I need? Something with s-video?

As mentioned above, DVI and HDMI for video are identical, there is no electrical difference in video quality. HDMI is simply DVI with audio on the same cable. Imay not be the best person to answer this as video editing is more of a part time job/hobby so I can afford to save some money in exchange for some slight inconveniences like exporting, burning to DVDand viewing on my television to make sure things look right.


Ron Johnson's picture
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: 11/03/2011 - 5:04pm

Im glad you asked because I have a great Applesite that you will love. This site tell your what to look for in a good monitor and what to avoid. Let me know what you think.


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 days ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

If you're looking to accurately monitor your video, connecting an HDTV to a GPU is not the right way to go about it - even if the GPU has an HDMI connection.

Get two of those Acer monitors Earl suggested. I use those too, and having two screens is much better than one in FCP.

Get a BlackMagic Intensity Pro ($200). This allows you to send the true video signal to your HDTV. Ideally, you'll want an HDTV with HDMI or Component connections if you're going with the Intensity Pro.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Rob, what other benefits beyond HDTV with HDMI output does that $200 BlackMagic Intensity Pro offer? Is it something I've been getting by without that I really should incorporate into my system?


Eventvideoguy's picture
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Joined: 03/06/2009 - 8:12am

I have a 22" Samsung and a 22" Gateway connected to mine. Both DVI. Dual monitor (or more if you have the video cards handy) is the way to go. You can connect any DVI monitor but it's best to get two of the same monitor so that colors match up. I did not have that luxury when I first got my mac. I didn't buy my second monitor until 1 year after the first and the same model I already had was not being sold so I just got the best that I could afford.

Both have very good refresh rates and color ratios.


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 days ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

Earl, I/O cards send send a true video signal to your broadcast monitor or TV. It allows you to know exactlywhat your video really looks like (as long as your monitor is calibrated).

An HDTV connected to a GPU only puts you in the ball park. Maybe that's enough for you.

Personally, I think if you're making money, then you have to have the right tools. You wouldn't want a construction worker to eyeball his work and say, "yea, that looks straight." No, he needs to use a level. Video professionals need to know exactly what their video looks like.


Charles Schultz's picture
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 10:38pm

Rob, would not a Spyder monitor calibrator do the same thing. Just asking because I don't know for sure.



EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Rob, my question wasn't the validity or professional level of production, it was what, in addition to (if anything) specifically the Blackmagic card you mentioned, benefits it offers and what else can/does it do? OR, is the output to a production monitor the ONLY thing it does, however well?


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 6 months 3 days ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

Oh, sorry. I read your post way early this morning after working late last night.

Here's what the Intensity Pro does:

- monitor HD video on an HDTV (also SD on an SD monitor)

- real time down conversion so you can monitor HD video on an SD monitor. This is nice if you know you're going out to DVD.

- real-time conversion to ProRes, DNxHD, and Uncompressed if you're capturing tape.

- Tape output and real-time downconversions for that task too.

Other than that, not much else. That's why it's only $200

If you get a more expensive model, you get real-time up conversion and cross conversion for tape capture, tape output, and monitoring. If you do documentaries, you might need that.

More expensive models may also have RS-422 which gives you deck control. That's more reliable than using firewire to capture video, capture audio, and control the deck.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Thx Rob, that's what I wanted to know. The real-time conversion sounds useful as well. Appreciated.


Adriano's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 10/26/2012 - 12:32am

Hi guys 

i'm new to the video editing industr.i need help in exporting/rendering

i have a final project and it's for broadcasting/TV,so what exporting/rendering settings is best to use?