Reference Monitors & LG’s OLEDs in The Color Suite

January 22, 2017

Team Mixing Light discusses choosing colorist reference monitors. Plus, using LG's consumer OLED televisions in our color suites.

Day 22: 25 Insights in 25 Days New Year’s Marathon

Discussing Reference Monitors & LG OLEDs

Episode 36: From The Mailbag

Well, it’s the last weekend of our New Year’s Marathon.  We have a few days left, but we hope you’ve enjoyed the daily Insights!

2017 is going to be a big year for Mixing Light and we’re more dedicated than ever to bring you top notch color correction training.

Sunday’s are Mailbag days during the marathon and in this installment, we first revisit a subject that we’ve talked about before and is often talked about in colorist circles – reference monitors. We discuss in more depth OLED consumer displays from LG – these displays have been getting quite a bit of attention over the past year or so, and LG continues to improve them.

Remember, if you have questions that you’d like to get our opinion on please use the contact form. Your question may be included in a future episode of  From The Mailbag.

Your questions can be aesthetic, technical or even client related. We’d love to hear from you, and your question might make future episodes of From The MailBag.

Revisiting Reference Monitors

Yep, we’re talking about reference monitors again!

We got a question from a member named Luca, that was wide-ranging – but essentially he was asking for help picking a new reference monitor. He inquired about LED vs. OLED, HD vs. UHD, and if HDR monitoring was worth the investment at this point.

Although we’ve discussed reference monitors in various Mailbags, articles, videos and other podcasts here on the site, this is a question we get weekly (sometimes daily).

In part one, we take some time talking about reference monitors, what makes a good one, connectivity, HD vs. UHD, budget and other things to consider when looking for a new reference monitor.

Using LG OLEDs In The Color Suite

Over the past year, you’ve probably heard us (really Robbie!) talking about 2016 LG OLEDs and how good they are once properly setup.  But you’ve probably also heard us say several times they can be a bit of a pain to get setup properly.

Succumbing to peer pressure, Patrick recently purchased a 2016 LG 55″ B6 OLED, so because of that and because of Luca’s question, in part 2 we jump in and talk about these displays, how good they are, and essential setup steps.

This is a pretty dense Mailbag part so to help you out please check out these links:

When we originally recorded this episode it was nearly 45min so we cut down things quite a bit.  In the edited version, a few bits of vital information were left out:

  • Throughout the episode, Robbie refers to the LG as having a backlight.  Robbie was just having a brain fart! And late in the episode (the part we cut), he corrected himself.  Emissive displays like OLED, of course, don’t have backlights! In OLED speak, this is known as electrophosphorescence.
  • The built-in CMS is acceptable for minor adjustments like saturation, brightness, etc. The issues lie more with the grayscale and individual color adjustment settings. We clarified this in a bit that got cut.
  • The 2017 LG specs are better – better P3 performance, better HDR performance (peak white is near 1000nits).  The other interesting thing is LG announced a tick-tock schedule like Intel used to have.  Meaning 2017 is an improvement year, 2018 is a redesign year.
  • 2017 LG OLEDs will support 4 flavors of HDR – HDR10, Dolby Vision, HLG and Technicolor’s Advanced HDR

LG OLEDs aren’t perfect, and there is a lot of new competition from Panasonic, Sony and others.  But when it comes to professional use, it’s good to know OLED is alive and well, and that new options that can be adapted from professional use are continuing to be developed. One can only dream about what NAB 2017 will mean for professional OLEDs!

You guys have been quiet! We want your questions! Of course, you can use the comments below if you have more to add to the conversation. 

-Team Mixing Light

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27 thoughts on “Reference Monitors & LG’s OLEDs in The Color Suite”

  1. Patrick as an alternative to the the 2 boxes you bought, You could have purchased the $200 4k mini monitor card and used direct HDMI from the card to the TV since resolve supplies the meta data via the HDMI and can applied the luts beforehand. The resolve pattern generator supports HDR meta.

    1. that’s a fine solution for running a single display (display LUTs in Resolve) but doesn’t really work in a situation with multiple monitors as you can’t decouple a LUT from different SDI/HDMI outputs. So having a 1D/3D Lut for the LG would work as you describe, his FSI would also be getting the LUTed signal as well and that would screw up that display.

      Because the BoxIO and AJA Hi5 are down stream of the FSI monitor this is not an issue. One nice feature of the BoxIO also is that it doesn’t have to be used as an end of chain device because it has clean loop outs – additionally the regular Box IO is actual dual channel allowing one to have two independent LUT paths if needed.

      1. I think it’s important to mention that when using the BoxI/O in dual channel it only works at 17.17.17. points, while in single channel it works at 33.33.33.
        I’m currently using the BoxI/O with LightGrade 3 and Prelight beta, 4m4.1. It works great. I haven’t used in dual channel yet.

        1. True. I decided to take the easy way out for both 709 and P3 3D luts created in single channel 33 x 33 x 33 and simply scaled them to 17x17x17 in Lattice. I’m sure their are some rounding errors somewhere but visually things look great. Seemed way easier then re profiling in 709 and P3 when in UHD on the LG 🙂

    2. In addition to what Robbie said, the Box IO allows for both a 1D and 3D LUT applied to the input (and can change the order of which comes first). When Robbie does his tutorial on calibrating a client display, you’ll see this is a nuance that makes a difference.

      I did consider the 4K mini monitor – but with a single 6G output it can’t support the higher frame rates at 4K. I opted to go with the 4K Pro instead with 2x 12G plus 4:4:4 monitoring options.

      1. Makes sense, I had the 4k pro as well but I sold it because I didn’t want to pay all that money for a teranex mini to convert the sdi to hdmi and a hd furry. I don’t think the boxio supports the high frame rates in 4k though.

  2. As far as the banding when adjusting the LG CMS here is a pic I of what I experienced in HDR mode. Reseting the tv fixed it.

    I have been able to successfully adjust basic 20 point grayscale in SDR mode. I was told from someone at spectracal that the CMS/White balance fails a part in HDR mode but is ok in SDR and it was best to adjust the 2 point white balance in the service menu.

    1. on my copies I’ve had similar results even in SDR mode – significantly worse on the B vs the E but that could be do to processing chip in B is a generic Qualcom and E its an in-house chip from LG.

      Now that I think of it what firmware are you on? I recall seeing a service bulletin about CMS performance but I don’ think I’ve updated in a while – that performance could have possible been fixed – which might explain why you’re getting good SDR results.

      When I’m back in front of the monitors I’ll see if an update is available.

      1. I did do the 2 point calibration in the service menu first, and only made slight adjustments to the 20 point white balance that really consisted mostly of luminance adjustments

        1. wow! so recent firmware updates have cleaned this up tremendously! That’s good news. I was still able to get some banding pushing things but those high values probably wouldn’t be used normally if using the CMS for calibration.

  3. I suppose this is a good place to ask about this. I need a 42-48 inch monitor to mount on the wall above my setup so my clients can see from the sofa behind. I know, I have a really small room at the moment. Would you guys recommend a calibrated consumer monitor like Samsung UE40KU6405 or Sony KD-43XD8305 or should I maybe go for a FSI AM420? It is really a shame that OLED only comes in 55+ sizes. Any other recommendations?

  4. Great mailbag episodes, thank you guys! I know Dan mentioned the single Sony 4K OLED display in his grading room so I assume its setup in a way that clients can see and/or they sit next to you? I am thinking in my next grading setup to remove the client monitor from the scenario and remove the headache of matching two displays using a LUT box altogether. Having had some bad calibration experiences myself with perceptual match between displays, one less to worry about is tempting.

    1. yes…that’s correct Dan can chime in with more detailed info. The X300 at 30in is about the minimum size to make that work.. and of course a lot of suites feature a single monitor (dolby etc). I’ve just never been comfortable with the client sitting up with me.

      What have your issues with a perceptual match been?

      1. Hey Robbie, just not having good calibration done by the guy I hired last to get the perceptual match at the end between FSI and Panny plasma after using probe and software of course. I have otherwise had good results using a LUT box to match between those displays in the past. Would love to see a Flanders 4K, HDR, OLED answer to Sony 🙂 as I make the switch to a new workstation and desk this year I have been taking screengrabs of setups I come across on instagram and facebook.

        I hear you about having clients next to you, it can be a pain when the vibe is not great. I get a decent amount of dp’s and director’s wanting to get up and look at the ‘confidence monitor / hero display’ especially for commercial fashion or beauty. Using a single display in the room has been on my radar more recently in the last year or so because I have freelanced at a couple of places which have the Dolby 4200 and I really like looking at the same display as the client, but also ergonomically with newer adjustable desks for example, bias lighting and the rigging of that behind your display changes a bit. It would be great to see how you guys have your bias lighting rigged behind your SDI display and client monitors. Anyways, thank you for the wealth of information, super helpful!

        1. an eye match at the end is not the way to roll – it should be built into the actual calibration. Really all it is is a white point adjustment. Freeze the hero monitor on a white field, then grade the other monitor to visually match – if you want you can also try this with a 50% gray field to check. Once that’s done take a reading of the white field and write those xy coordinates down. When you go to calibrate those new coordinates are your new white point – other chromaticity points should be left alone for what ever color space you’re calibrating too

          one thing you might consider about setup is a perpendicular setup in my room clients backs are to me but on my right. So I can see the client display but they can’t (without effort) see mine. However I’m also really happy with my matching so it’s less of an issue.

    2. Thats exactly what I did! One monitor and thats it. To be honest it feels a little small when the room is full but in general it works really really well and I have zero arguments about what monitor to look at

  5. Thanks a lot guys, I didn’t expect a so prompt and deep answer. You’re really such a great team.
    Waiting for Pat’s insight about the LG’s OLED consumer display calibration insight!

  6. Soooo… having read this I am in a total quandry in setting up my own beginner color grading studio. So would an LG 55 B6 beat a LG 31MU97-B for color grading? I really want a CG318-4K but 5K is about double my top budget.

    1. properly calibrated a B6 is pretty good monitor. I’d take it for sure over the LCD computer monitors they make for any serious grading work. Remember to calibrate and have proper video I/O to the monitor.

  7. Hi there, great listen. We are right now trying to solve the same issue – to perceptually match DM250 and LG OLED55E6V 2016 and it is not easy. We do not have FSI IO BOX (at least for now), but HDLINK, which in theory should have the similar LUT possibilities (for SDR), but might not work as good as FSI box. Do you have any experience with those? If you ever write an article or something about how you actually create your LUTs it would be greatly appreciated. Anyway thanks for great insight, Zdenek

    1. Hi Zdenek –

      This is a bit old (software has been updated) but should get your started.

      I can tell you, owning both of the monitors you mention – the DM250 and the E series 2016 OLED you can get them to match very very very closely. To be honest its the closest ref/client match that I have ever head.

      The HDLINK for LUT purposes just shouldn’t be used. It’s widely known to be VERY problematic when it comes to working 3D LUTs. The newer Teranex MIni Boxes (SDI > HMDMI) has be received quite well.

  8. Hi guys,
    thanks for this insight.

    I really wanted to ask you an advice.
    I’m setting up my suite. I’ll be running as reference/reference-clients monitors the boundle Fsi Cm 250 plus the Lg Oled UHD B7A.
    I got a Deck link 4k extreme card from BMD (2x sdi outputs and 1x hdmi output).
    In total I will need to get 1 output for the Flanders, 1 for a mini mac running scope box (trough BMD mini recorder sdi to Thunderbolt) and one for the Lg Oled B7A. So I will have to use the Flanders built in sdi output.

    I’m not sure about with path to chose. Is it better to output the signal out of the FSI sdi channel to scop box or to the LG B7A?
    Considering also that if I choose to use the FSI sdi output to the LG B7A I will need the Box I/O for sure.

    If I choose instead to output the video signal from FSI toward scope box, would I need anyway the Box I/O for the LG oled B7A even if it has its own Sdi output (converter needed) from the BMD Deck link 4k extreme? There’s a way to output a 1d/3d lut directly from DVR exclusively on that specific output?

    Last thing. Will the video connection work from the BMD Extreme 4k hdmi out to the mini Mac with just a cable converter hdmi to mini display?

    Thanks in advance.

    Luca Enrico Canessa

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