[Tig] Using multiple displays for coloring can be better?

Glenn Chan gchan
Thu Oct 13 04:01:00 BST 2005

Ok how about looking at this from a different perspective- that of fixing
real-world problems.  Maybe multiple monitors isn't a solution, maybe it
is a solution but not the best one.  Regardless, how would you deal with
the following problems:

A- Can your monitoring setup (i.e. everything, including scopes) represent
what the average viewer sees?
Some replies here argue that this is not a problem (that the target
audience is the videophile crowd, not "Joe Beer").  This assumes that
people who care about image quality own a display that mostly follows
standards (i.e. they bought and can afford the right equipment, they know
to hire someone to calibrate their set or they can do it themselves). 
This would exclude colorists whose families like high contrast and

There are some cases where your target audience is Joe Beer.  For example,
what if the ad agency client wants their brand color to be consistent?  Or
what if the client wants their product on store shelves to be "as seen on
It may be a very difficult problem because consumer TVs vary widely and
because of other factors like metamerism and viewing environment.  But it
may be prudent to try to hit the average (or mean) audience as best as
possible.  In that case, does your broadcast monitor really represent
average viewing conditions?
***To clarify:  I'm not suggesting it HAS to be a consumer TV that would
try to emulate what a consumer TV does.  It could be the video equivalent
of Auratones, or a high-end monitor tweaked to try to emulate "systematic"
differences in consumer TVs (i.e. increased saturation?, flesh tone
correction, higher ambient light reflecting off the monitor, average
surround brightness is higher?, higher color temp., etc.).  Just as long
as it would work to solve this problem.

Some argue that the solution is to get manufacturers to follow standards. 
That would be nice, but not a solution unless it's likely to happen (which
it could).

B- Is chroma crawl a problem?
Maybe you don't find it objectionable, in which case it's not really worth
worrying about.
But if you do find chroma crawl objectionable (i.e. on small text, fences,
plaid and certain fabrics, these fabrics on a moving subject), how would
you deal with it?
Can you deal with it?  I believe the solution is low pass filtering /
blurring / reverse unsharp mask, which trades off lower resolution.  You
may find that compromise to be not much of an improvement.
For text you can certainly deal with chroma crawl.

C- Now there are other real-world problems that may be more important than
the ones above.  Multiple monitors may make your clients unhappy, which
impacts your bottom line and makes your job less satisfying.
So I do agree that these are very good arguments against multiple
monitors.  But at the same time, you still have the problems above.  How
would/do you deal with them?
Digression:  Perhaps it's possible to use multiple monitors to help you
make more money through product/service differentiation??  You
differentiate yourselves from your competitors by demonstrating your
attention to detail (i.e. you monitor for and correct chroma crawl). 
Whether or not that's true may be irrelevant if you're into making money
(hey, I like money).  Just speculating here though, I don't know of
anyone's who has tried this.

D- Sam Holtz points out that two monitors can affect the neutral surround.
 I do find that in practice multiple monitors can affect the appearance of
another monitor.  Different white points can affect your eye's white
balance.  A really bright monitor may make less-bright monitors look
dull/dim/bad (and maybe the whites look grey).  But I think this problem
may have some sort of workaround/fix.
Digression: With some color correction systems like Final Touch, you have
to use computer monitors.  Does anyone find this a problem with the
computer monitors affecting their color perception?


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