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10 bit color and selecting a GPU
August 27, 2013
12:09 pm
t3hsauce
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So I tried posting this in the Blackmagic Design forum with regards to working with Resolve and other post software, but I was met with complete silence.  The lack of response leads me to believe that most people over there simply aren't thinking through what it means to really delve into higher bit depth material, and what it is going to take to get the most out of newer camera systems like the BMCC and D16.

I'm looking into buying my first decent camera system later this year (possibly a D16), so I decided to play it smart and start by building a computer system capable of handling higher end footage.  I've constructed a pretty decent baseline system, and I made sure to get a 10bit capable monitor for grading.  I have held off on getting myself a GPU as I wasn't really going to be putting it to use until I got my hands on some demanding footage, but that time is fast approaching.  Here is my problem:

In order to actually take advantage of 10bit color images, everything from your GPU through your software and monitor has to support it, and if any single piece of the puzzle is missing, you are only going to be able to see 8bits on your screen.  Your image certainly won't fall apart like a DSLR when pushed too far, but you can see where I am going with this.  The last several generations of nvidia GeForce cards have supported 10bit output on windows systems through DirectX 11, but most professional programs don't support it.  After Affects and Photoshop *require* a quadro card to output 10 bit color.  I can't seem to find if this is the case with Davinci Resolve or not, and I am wondering if I can get away with a consumer card when using that color grading suite.

I understand that there is a significant difference between gaming and workstation cards, but the consumer 3d accelerators have about 10 times the amount of CUDA cores than the similarly priced workstation cards. 

I am wondering if 10 bit color output in Resolve is possible using a card in the latest generation GTX family, or if I am better off spending a little extra money on something like a K2000. I don't intend on ever doing 3D rendering or anything along those lines, I am just looking for something that will enable me to get the most out of Resolve. Does anyone have any advice or experience with this?

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August 27, 2013
1:07 pm
joerubinstein

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I am very interested into getting into 10bit color in the next few months.

I think this is a great topic for us to talk about.

August 27, 2013
1:24 pm
wado1942
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Ideally, you want everything to be designed to work with 10-bit video.  In practice, it doesn't really matter.  8-bit is "good enough" for display.  Really, the eye isn't sensitive enough to see much (if any) difference between 8-bit and 10-bit under normal conditions.  Where 10-bit comes in handy is in grading.  With 10-bit, you have 4x the number of gradients available so you can stretch the video levels a lot farther than you can with an 8-bit source and that difference is very much visible even on 8-bit graphics systems.  For instance, the first time I had film transferred uncompressed to HDD, the transfer facility asked if I wanted 10-bit or 8-bit.  I said I didn't know if my system could handle it, so they did a 10-bit transfer, then made an 8-bit copy of it and sent both.  I wanted to pull out some shadow detail and the 10-bit video could hold up to the grading much better without showing banding or quantization noise.  I was using an ordinary computer system with an ordinary editor and no GPU.  If you were doing your grading in a proper lighting controlled theater meant for screening digital movies from a high quality DLP, then you could probably see the difference between 10-bit and 8-bit, but despite what marketing guys claim, virtually no monitor has more than a 200:1 intra-frame contrast ratio.  You just don't see the gradations well when they're that close together.

 

Sorry if that's not the answer you seek, but I personally just wouldn't worry about it for a long time.  If/when you do decide to get a GPU, I'd recommend spending the money on a proper, professional model.  There's a lot more to it than numbers can tell you.  The pro stuff will have more sophisticated processing capabilities, lower error rates and more robust components, which means you won't have to replace it any time soon.  That's just scratching the surface.  Of course, you DO pay a premium for it being labeled a professional product, but having worked in this field for a while, when you make your living off of your equipment, you don't want to take any chances.

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August 27, 2013
11:08 pm
Thyl
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Must say I find it quite amazing that this is a "non-topic" not only in the Windows world, but also with Macs. My first encounter with "deep colour" HDMI was when I looked at xvYCC as a colour space. It took me quite a while to find out that there would be no way to output 10 bit colour ranges from a Mac via an DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter, even though actually several of those adapters are advertised as being 10 bit capable.

 

And as long as I see banding all of the time, I think that 10 bits might be a nice goal. Or 12 bits.

 

It seems as if most things that are somehow related to colour spaces are kind of "classified" material. It would not only be interesting to know whether Resolve can handle 10 bit ranges, but also, what colour spaces are supported. I haven't found out. The wider the colour space, the higher the neccessity for more bits, in order to avoid banding. 

August 28, 2013
5:16 am
Razz16mm
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Resolve works in 8-bit, 10 bit, and 12-bit spaces depending on workflow according to the specs.

The hardware list shows both 5 and 6 series Nvidia GTX series and Quadro 600 up series cards as supported.

August 28, 2013
9:07 am
Harry Lime
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If you have the money ($2500-3000), this is the monitor you want. The HP Dreamcolor the best unit out there short of a true broadcast monitor, which start at prices closer to $10k. It was designed as a replacement for the Sony Artisan 520 CRT tube monitors that dominated post production for many years. The Dreamcolor was the result of a collaboration between Dreamworks and HP, when the 520 and CRT production in general was ended.

 

 

http://provideocoalition.com/a…..valuation/

 

You have to jump through a few hoops to get the Dreamcolor to play with a Mac:

 

http://provideocoalition.com/a…..ate_2012.2

 

An alternative

http://provideocoalition.com/a…..lternative

 

 

Fred Tepper has many more articles on that site dealing with these issues.

 

 

 

August 28, 2013
9:39 am
Razz16mm
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Here is a new LG 10 bit IPS graphics monitor that does 99% of Adobe RGB space and 100+% of sRGB/REC709. 

http://www.lg.com/us/monitors/…..ed-monitor

August 28, 2013
9:31 pm
iaremrsir
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Go easy on yourself and get a GPU for processing alone. For 10-bit monitoring, get a proper IO box.

August 29, 2013
12:52 am
pask74
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Razz16mm said
Here is a new LG 10 bit IPS graphics monitor that does 99% of Adobe RGB space and 100+% of sRGB/REC709. 

http://www.lg.com/us/monitors/…..ed-monitor

How does this monitor compare with higher end models?

Would you recommend this LG for "indie color correction"?

 

August 29, 2013
3:18 am
Razz16mm
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pask74 said

Razz16mm said
Here is a new LG 10 bit IPS graphics monitor that does 99% of Adobe RGB space and 100+% of sRGB/REC709. 

http://www.lg.com/us/monitors/…..ed-monitor

How does this monitor compare with higher end models?

Would you recommend this LG for "indie color correction"?

 

In the US, LG's graphics monitors and consumer TV's conform to Imaging Science Foundation standards for accuracy when properly calibrated. Their consumer TV's and the higher end computer monitors like this one are all true 10 bit displays and have the full set of professional adjustment menus that higher end pro monitors have for full calibration with colorimeters.

If you are looking for a low cost grading display, and have space for a 50", there is no computer monitor that will be as good as a $600 LG Plasma TV until you get into multi-thousand dollar broadcast grade monitors or Panasonics professional plasma displays. But 27" to me is about as big as I would want on a single monitor desk top system. The LG listed above is high resolution too, so can show full 2k digital cinema format images.

My company sells calibrates and installs most major brand displays, commercial and consumer, in business applications ranging from video conference suites to sports bars to command and control centers.  The three brands I would pick from are LG, Panasonic, or Samsung. Of those, only LG puts ISFccc pro calibration tools in the user control menus of their consumer lines. You have to buy the much more expensive pro lines to get the same with anyone else.  So for economical grading monitor choices I would pick an LG consumer plasma or LED TV over any sub $1k computer monitor for IQ and accuracy.

Pro monitors use exactly the same panels as their consumer counterparts, but typically have professional input features like SDI, and more sophisticated controls. The better ones have very high CRI  back lights for maximum color gamut reproduction.  You want to look for monitors that can reproduce 100% of sRGB/REC709 color spaces. There aren't many that do and the specs will say so as that is a major bragging point.

Displays that carry the ISFccc certification are full gamut 10 bit displays, whether monitors or consumer TV's.

 

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August 29, 2013
8:43 am
Harry Lime
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Dreamcolor vs CRT grading monitor

 

http://provideocoalition.com/p…..eplacement

 

 

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joerubinstein
August 29, 2013
9:29 pm
analoggab

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Just so you know, most if not all professional colorists would tell you that you shouldn't be using a consumer TV as a reference monitor for grading even with proper calibration.

And even less so on a display that was designed to be a computer monitor.

Plasma are known to shift a lot / drifting issues for instance.

Of course our budget realities make it so we might not have a choice to use a consumer plasma but if one's goal is to build a serious grading suite he should take the necessary measure to ensure the monitor is as reliable as possible. I'm personally trying to find a way to create a custom LUT so it will compensate for my display's inaccuracies (like a Davio Box would so) without needing to invest in very pricey software and hardware.

 

August 30, 2013
5:58 am
Razz16mm
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analoggab said
Just so you know, most if not all professional colorists would tell you that you shouldn't be using a consumer TV as a reference monitor for grading even with proper calibration.

And even less so on a display that was designed to be a computer monitor.

Plasma are known to shift a lot / drifting issues for instance.

Of course our budget realities make it so we might not have a choice to use a consumer plasma but if one's goal is to build a serious grading suite he should take the necessary measure to ensure the monitor is as reliable as possible. I'm personally trying to find a way to create a custom LUT so it will compensate for my display's inaccuracies (like a Davio Box would so) without needing to invest in very pricey software and hardware.

 

Yet Panasonic pro line plasmas are a standard fixture in many grading suites.  All displays drift and have to be calibrated on a regular basis, but for motion quality, contrast range and color accuracy a consumer plasma properly calibrated is superior to any LCD/LED computer monitor under $1k.  The ones that are ISFccc certified meet the same standards for accuracy as a broadcast monitor and have the necessary adjustment menus for accurate instrument calibration. All current high quality brand name consumer TV's are true 10-bit deep color displays with superior motion quality and color reproduction compared to most computer monitors.

It does come down to budget. But consider what your audience will be watching your work on too.  Many of us will be working on edit systems with a total cost lower than the cost of a professional broadcast grade reference monitor. For us a consumer TV reasonably well calibrated is the best choice.

 

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