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The primary value of a monitor for editing is the knowledge that what you see on it will be what everyone else will see. Broadcast monitors are designed to do exactly that. Plus, they are designed to fit into the complex environment of a studio. Often called the tech monitor, it’s also essential for monitoring video images in the head-in of cable & satellite operations. But what is the difference between a tech monitor and a video or output monitor?
Number one is rugged construction; they are built to last w/o losing any image quality over the years. Television sets are built with an expected lifetime of just a few years. Tech monitors will have all of their controls on the front panel and they have a large adjustment range in order to make tiny, precise adjustments. Modern TV’s require a remote for adjusting settings and the settings themselves are discreet jumps. TV’s have tuners to receive broadcast signals, but many also include AV inputs for home electronics. Monitors only have AV inputs, generally more than one. They will also have signal pass through and the capacity to synch to the suite’s master signal. And the most important difference (for editors like yourself) is the blue button. It does something that you can’t replicate on a TV or consumer monitor.
The blue switch turns off the red & green portion of the display. This leaves only the blue part of the image. And you ask why you’d want to do that, it is by far the easiest way to perfectly adjust the color, saturation, brightness & contrast of the monitor. And how does that work? It works with NTSC color bars. Have you ever wondered why color bars look like they do? It’s because of how they look when only the blue portion of the signal is displayed. I could go into details about how to adjust the monitor using only the blue portion of the picture. But it doesn’t matter how unless you have the blue switch. (If you are curious, there are several excellent sources for details.)
So, now let’s get to your questions. If you are serious about editing, you absolutely MUST have a dedicated video monitor. Now that monitor doesn’t have to be a broadcast reference monitor. It just needs to be able to accurately display your output signal. The video monitor is how you judge the quality of your video image. The only way to know what your video will look like when it’s played back on a TV is to see it on a monitor. (Of course, you have to accurately adjust the video settings first.)
Now you didn’t tell us what we really needed to know for us to tell you if any of your ideas would work. Neither of my edit suite computers has a video-out signal of the edited video signal. While the laptop has both a monitor out and an SVHS line out, both signals are generated by my graphics card. So they are useless for trying to judge the NTSC video I’m editing. To make judgments of the video image quality, you have to be looking at the program out of your editing software. I’m not familiar with Avid Xpress Pro since I am using Vegas Home Studio (the consumer version of Vegas.) But Vegas sends program out through the Firewire port. So I connect my DV camcorder to the computer then use the video out from the camcorder to display the NTSC video on my monitor. I adjust my monitor using color bars generated by Vegas and I’m in business. Any image adjustments or EFX can be accurately judged on the monitor.
So, in theory, you could use that large Samsung HDTV as a video monitor. But it’s only useful if you can see it while you are editing. That’s why the DVD player isn’t going to be of much use either. Since Avid Xpress Pro is a solid NLE, it undoubtedly has a method for displaying the program output on an external monitor. But someone else is going to have to help you with that.
As a last resort, you could render test segments of the video you are adjusting then burn them to a DVD and watch the DVD on your HDTV. But in addition to being a pain in the ass, you really won’t be getting the benefit of seeing your changes as you make them. So in conclusion, get yourself a decent monitor you can place in your edit suite. And figure out how to connect it to Avid Xpress Pro. You will not regret it. And when you find your monitor a pain to constantly adjust, then think about a tech monitor.
Good luck! You sound like you’re on the right track.