There’s a great article on the Pro Video Coalition about doing critical color grading using the latest generation of “in plane switching” IPS LCD monitors which offer the widest gamut of color and accuracy yet achieved on LCD monitors.
I bring this up because Dell has just announced a 30″ IPS monitor that may well be the de-facto choice for color grading do to its sheer size (as far as computer monitors go) and high resolution for a great price.
You see, whereas “broadcast” monitors cost a hefty premium, say $3000 and up for critical color work, these “consumer” monitors brandish price tags around $1000 and can be calibrated to work for critical color post. With regards to the Dell UltraSharp, Engadget related specs like this:
…we’re being told it’ll offer a formidable 2,560 x 1,600 resolution while maintaining the styling of the smaller U2711. TFT Central reports it’ll be a 10-bit H-IPS panel from LG Display, bearing a 7ms response time, 1,000:1 contrast ratio, 370 nits of brightness (ahem, overkill), and 178-degree viewing angles on both the horizontal and vertical axis. HDMI and DVI connections come in packs of two, accompanied by a lone DisplayPort.
When it comes to using an IPS display like the HP Dreamcolor, Patrick Inhofer says:
In the first hour of my two day grading job I ran the PVM CRT and the DreamColor LCD side-by-side. I spent quite a bit of time working shadow detail, ensuring anything I saw on the CRT was also visible on the LCD. I was satisfied that the DreamColor was showing me everything I saw in the PVM. I turned off the CRT and spent the next 10 hours grading only with the DreamColor.
Monday morning, after having rendering out the concert overnight, I powered up the CRT and watched the show… without the DreamColor.
No surprises. Everything looked just as I expected.
That moment, in my mind, is when the DreamColor proved itself every bit as capable as the Sony PVM 20L5.
So the age is coming when affordable LCD displays can sit where the expensive broadcast tube displays did, and we can expect them to be accurate, and correct for our critical color work.
I opted for the U2711 a few months ago and can never go back to non-IPS; the dithering was just terrible and the color gamut is extraordinary.
Because of the higher pixel density on the 30-inch model, and the poor implementation of increased d.p.i. % in Windows as it is, I think that the U2711 (same specs otherwise) is the best compromise so that you aren’t forced to squint ad naseum at text that cannot be scaled up (e.g., text in NLE modules).