How to Choose a 4K Monitor for Color Grading in DaVinci Resolve

Is it easy to choose a 4K monitor for color grading in DaVinci Resolve? Or is it a lot more complicated than it seems?

This video tells you like it is:

 

THREADRIPPER BUILD GUIDE:

The complete build guide for my DaVinci Resolve Workstation is available as a PDF file for only $7:

  • Insights into parts, like choosing power supplies, etc.
  • Connection diagrams for everything like M.2, PCIe, etc.
  • BIOS tweaks and Windows 10 tweaks to get your computer in an optimal shape.
  • Free software to test your system.
  • How to handle RAW data rates.
  • Free email support – ask me anything!

Click here to purchase (Direct purchase link).

What I mean by 4K monitoring

You can take things the ‘easy’ way, or the professional way. I mean the professional way:

  • Should you choose 4K (4096) or UHD (3840)? Since YouTube prefers UHD over DCI 4K, UHD is good enough for me.
  • What frame rate? I finish most of my projects in 25p, so up to 30p is good enough. To monitor 4K up to 60p (from here on 4K means UHD) you need different gear.
  • Do you want 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 (RGB or Y’CbCr)? I would like to monitor RAW footage, so I don’t appreciate chroma subsampling at all. Therefore, I require 4:4:4 (RGB), though if the monitor can accept Y’CbCr signals that’s great too.
  • How important is motion? It is important for a true monitor to support the correct rendition of motion at different frame rates – 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, etc. Most consumer displays can’t do this.
  • What color space? I need Rec. 709, which also means white levels at 100 nits and black levels below 0.5 nits.
  • 8-bit or 10-bit? For my purposes 8-bit is good enough, though 10-bit is welcome as well. The budget usually decides this.
  • Displayport, HDMI or SDI? There are so many flavors here, for the choices I’ve made above I need Displayport 1.2 or HDMI 2.0 or 12G-SDI.

The answers to these questions dictates your strategy. Obviously it’s not as simple as connecting any monitor to your computer and calling it professional. The true and correct interpretation of the video signal is paramount in this case.

What I’m leaning towards

As explained in the video, I’m leaning towards this model:

The Decklink 4K Pro has only SDI outs. I can use all of them, one downconverted to 1080p to an FSI monitor (or equivalent). The Teranex Mini converts 12G-SDI to HDMI 2.0 to drive the 4K display.

The other SDI out (or the SDI out from the grading monitor) goes to an Atomos Shogun for scopes.

As an alternative strategy, I’m also considering this one, though I’m not too keen on it:

The disadvantage with the latter model is the 4K monitor becomes the GUI, which is not the same as using it as a reference monitor. This also taxes the GPU unnecessarily. Also, the output from the GPU (in my case it’s a 1080 Ti) is typically 8-bit (unless it’s a Quadro or Firepro).

Here are the list of components:

  1. Blackmagic Design Decklink 4K Pro (Amazon, B&H)
  2. Blackmagic Design Decklink 4K 12G Extreme (Amazon, B&H)
  3. Blackmagic Design Decklink Mini Monitor 4K (Amazon, B&H)
  4. Blackmagic Design Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 4K (Amazon, B&H)
  5. LightSpace LTE
  6. X-Rite i1 Display Pro (Amazon, B&H)

I hope you found this useful. Let me know if you have any questions (Except: Which monitor should I buy? I don’t know).

THREADRIPPER BUILD GUIDE:

The complete build guide for my DaVinci Resolve Workstation is available as a PDF file for only $7:

  • Insights into parts, like choosing power supplies, etc.
  • Connection diagrams for everything like M.2, PCIe, etc.
  • BIOS tweaks and Windows 10 tweaks to get your computer in an optimal shape.
  • Free software to test your system.
  • How to handle RAW data rates.
  • Free email support – ask me anything!

Click here to purchase (Direct purchase link).

2 replies on “How to Choose a 4K Monitor for Color Grading in DaVinci Resolve”

  1. Thank you for your video. very useful for me. planning to go for a Davinci Resolve setup for my own grading & editing. But got stick with confusion. could you please guide me? if possible.

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