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Color Grading is done on a Proper Monitor.

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : Color Grading is done on a Proper Monitor.
Last week there was a thread in the Apple Color forum asking about the Color Preview Window. You know that little video window that appears on the same screen as the scopes?

Anyway, this person was asking if we all noticed that the Preview window can show a different image than the Final Cut Pro Canvas Window. In his case, the Color Preview window was more red than the Canvas.

My response to this and all other queries about the Apple Color Preview window is as follows:

"So What?"


There is absolutely no reason for anyone to even look at the Preview window in Color. In fact, Apple really should just remove it from the interface because it's not necessary.

We have four primary workstations set up in our facility. We have a myriad of computer monitors from Apple, Dell, Samsung and ViewSonic. If you go into all four of those rooms and put the exact same image up on Apple Color it will look different on all four of the computer monitors. Why? Because they're not set up exactly the same, they're not the same manufacturer, they're not the same model, the editor has adjusted the monitor to better suit their viewing needs, etc....

Now in that same thread on the Creative Cow we got a comment along the lines of "well why can't Apple create two products that display the image the same?" First of all, Apple didn't create Final Cut Pro or Color. FCP was the brainchild of Macromedia which Apple has seriously refined and improved and Color came from Silicon Color and was rebranded from its original Final Touch name. Second, FCP and Color DO display the image exactly the same. Through a video capture card to a properly calibrated broadcast or film monitor / projector.

See going back to that scenario with my four edit workstations, look at that same image on all four broadcast displays and the image will look exactly the same. That's because our monitors are all identically calibrated Flanders Scientific broadcast monitors. All our systems are feeding the same image via matched AJA Kona 3 board. So it doesn't matter which room you work in, the image looks the same.

In fact, our documentary, Foul Water, Fiery Serpent was color graded by Ron Anderson in his facility using a Flanders Scientific monitor, Apple Color, AJA Kona 3 and you know what, the film looked identical in our facility to his. Why? Same setup, same properly calibrated monitor. Two facilities, identical image. How many of you can say that when you go from place to place?

This is why so many of us who use Apple Color harp on people when they complain about the computer image. There should be no discussions about what the computer image looks like in comparison to the Final Cut Pro Canvas or Viewer or Quicktime or any other computer based video player. All that matters is what is on the external display, the properly calibrated external display.

So once and for all, repeat after me.

"The Apple Color Preview Window Does Not Matter. I will disregard the Apple Color Preview Window. I will only trust the properly calibrated external display."

Thank you. I think we've made really good progress today. Set up your appointment for next week before you leave.....

Posted by: walter biscardi on May 6, 2010 at 4:09:32 pm Apple Color, Final Cut Pro

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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