Revisiting Using A Single Large Format Monitor

January 21, 2019

Team Mixing Light revisits the idea of using a single large format monitor in a color suite. Is it a viable solution?

Day 21: 25 Insights in 25 Days 2019 New Year Marathon!

From The MailBag Episode 65

Is A Single Large Format The Right Choice For Your Setup?

It’s an old discussion in the color grading world – multiple monitors (reference + client) or just a single large-format monitor in the room.

For years this question was pretty easy to answer – there simply weren’t many large format monitors (think 55″ or larger) that were good enough to really be considered reference monitors, so any monitor of that size was generally considered a client monitor.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that people didn’t attempt the single large format monitor setup, but those setups often had issues.

In the past year, that situation has changed a bit. All the major players in the world of reference monitors have released large format offerings with SDI connectivity, 3D LUT calibration, and other pro features.

While we’ve talked about this subject before, this week we got a question from a member that asked us to revisit this topic:

I’m an independent colorist currently working on a 24″ or 25″ (I don’t remember the exact size) HD OLED and as I contemplate the move to 4k monitoring and maybe HDR down the road, I’ve been thinking about ditching the smaller monitor and just getting a single larger format monitor.  What do you guys think?  Is it a good time to make this move?  Any things to look out for?  In general, I’m just wondering if this is a good idea – I’d appreciate your advice, and thank you for all the great content!

Well, Mr. Anoyomus colorist (we love it when you use your real name on our contact form, please!) We have some opinions on the subject – take a listen to the Mailbag to hear what they are.

Also, as we enter the last week of our New Year marathon, we hope that you’ve enjoyed all the Insights, new topics, and new contributors. We’re looking forward to 2019 and continuing to deliver great content to you – our amazing members.

Going Big – Some Thoughts

Recently, I went to a single monitor setup in my home set up – an FSI XM551U.

In my home setup, I’m pretty close to the monitor and as you’ll hear, that has brought on several perceptual issues with brightness, noise, focus and a few other minor things. However, after getting used to it, I’m very happy with it.

UHD, HDR and 12G connectivity are all pretty amazing features and the monitor looks stunning.


In my home setup, I’m now using a single large format reference monitor – an FSI XM551U. I’m really liking the single monitor setup, but in a supervised suite, there is a lot to think about.


In addition to the actual large format monitor in use, in this Mailbag we discuss issues with overall suite setup if you want to configure things around a single large format monitor – we all have our own thoughts on that!

Large Format & HDR

One thing that came up in this discussion as we continued to discuss room layout with a single large format monitor was the topic of HDR.

HDR reference monitors are very expensive, very good, but also pretty small (31 inch or so).  And while larger format monitors can do HDR, they are often at lower overall peak luminance and often have more limited color volume compared to a true HDR reference monitor.

So is there a workflow where you can have a larger HDR capable client monitor and a higher luminance HDR reference monitor in the same room? We discuss some of the potential options and how these kind of setups are going to continue to be challenging.

Do You Want Team Mixing Light To Answer A Question?

Remember, if you have questions that you’d like to get an opinion on please use the contact form.

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.

Enjoy the MailBag!


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Homepage Forums Revisiting Using A Single Large Format Monitor

  • Jay S

    Oh this is such a relevant discussion to my ever-changing suite. I’m full in agreement with having the clients 90 degrees from me and that’s how I’m set up now. I have a Sony A1E 65″ which is a panel that I’ve learned to trust because it calibrates very well. Then my screen setup is a 24″ vertical monitor, 27″ regular GUI monitor, and a sony PVM 241 which is older but I can at least set my levels on it, check softness/noise and get things close (then peak over at the 65″ for a final colour look for any critical brand colours). I do finishing and graphics for the most part with maybe 20% being grading so I need the GUI monitor front and centre.

    My desk is kind of an L shape with the long skinny edge running along the back of the client couch. This way I can swing 90 degrees and chat with whoever is in the room, take notes and crack some bad jokes. One thing I hate is having a division between myself and the client because you lose the face to face interactions that are so critical to communicating. Also was never a fan of having a big tv wayyy above my head so I’m craning up to watch with the client behind me.

    Then there’s the whole issue of audio sync when using a consumer panel. There’s always that little bit of processing delay so I have to keep that in mind and remember to watch the big panel for watching anything with sound. Definitely a big plus for using the big FSI through sdi and not having to deal with this.

  • Jose S

    I was at Arri (in Munich) some time ago and they have an interesting room layout. It’s definitely not a 7.1 sound room Robbie, but that they do is: The Colorist has a Sony X300 and in front of him and at a 20/30º angle is an LG OLED, for the clients. The clients sit in front of the colorist, but the colorist has a gap between the x300 and the UI monitor through which he can look at LG. Seemed like a nice approach.

  • György S

    Thanks again for this topic! It is good to hear other opinions on this.

    I was thinking, that I would like to hear your thoughts about scopes. Software and hardware types, how reliable they are etc. I have seen the previous tutorials on this, but maybe there are still more to talk about.

  • Sebastian Ziabka

    Hi, thanks for the podcast guys!

    Question to Robbie: I was considering FSI XM551U for a single monitor setup but heard from one of London’s post houses that once viewing from the side it has a green colour cast, which would make it pretty poor choice for the client. Did you have the same issues, can you see this on your monitor?

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