View Full Version : How to ensure perfect contrast/color levels on your computer monitor?
07-14-2012, 10:12 PM
I'm trying out a MacBook Pro and right away, I notice that when I try to watch Youtube/Vimeo videos, or win I try to play back my dslr files, the video look is always much contrastier and noisier than it was on my Windows Vista HP Pavilion (which had the best coloration/contrast profile I've ever seen on a monitor, it always seemed to represent my videos exactly as I had seen them on my camera LCD - in other words, flat always looked flat, they always had the same white balance look that my camera LCD presented, the noise levels were always so pretty, and all that). I tried manually playing around with the Macbook Pro's monitor profile, but I accidentally changed the original profile and now I can't even reverse it. Idk, is there plain out some sort of profile I can download for my monitor that professionals use to help represent true color and contrast for all playable videos (and to me, "true" would most likely match what my camera LCD looks like). Thank you!
07-14-2012, 10:49 PM
Well you can set the profile back on your MacBook, look up info on Google for that. It's never wise to trust your computer monitor for color-correction or representation sake. Using a proper broadcast monitor is what I recommend. In regard to all your videos looking crushed, it maybe the gamma bug inside Quicktime but I'm unsure.
07-14-2012, 11:44 PM
Well, I think as a general rule of thumb, most people, if nothing else, would want the same color profile representation for their computer as what Canon uses on its camera's LCD screen, if they use Canon's DSLR for example. What Canon uses and what my HP Pavilion uses seems to be almost the exact same color profile, there's virtually no difference between the two - it's like my computer's LCD screen was built to be exactly compatible with the Canon's LCD representation, I've never seen anything else as good as this match. I can even tell something's off on other computers because the HP Pavilon plays back the files with such clarity and matched colors that there's virtually no blockage or weird oddities, the colors are always matched with the camera and any noise looks like film noise. Other computers, including the MacBook, seem to induce some severe contrast and lots of blockage.
Over the past few weeks, I've tried A. A new windows computer (forgot the model) and the MacBook Pro, and the new Windows had a horrible, horrible blue tint with very contrasty video playback, and the MacBook also looks just as horrible on playback. Looks nothing like the Canon LCD and I would, just as a non-founded belief, say that Canon's LCD represents the true file more than anything else could hope to, it's attached to the camera after all. Even though it's a professional step not to trust any monitor, I'm bugged by this even because Youtube/Vimeo playback is also downright ugly and I want to view those playbacks as intended as well. I mean somewhere down the line, there must be some sort of color/contrast profile or settings for the MacBook that matches my HP Pavilion/Canon... just wish I knew what to do!
Crafters of Light
07-15-2012, 06:20 AM
Have you tried outputting the laptop video to that computer screen to confirm its the laptop display?
I have seen wide variations in video cards between same model cards and between manufacturers cards. The same goes for monitors. Some monitors, mostly laptops, viewing angle has a huge impact. Screen resolution settings is another variable.
07-15-2012, 01:54 PM
Well, see that's another cool thing with my HP Pavilion laptop - even the viewing angle made absolutely no difference beyond how it would change in brightness to the point were you know you had to adjust it. Once you adjusted it very generally to what your eye is supposed to look at it as, it looked amazing no matter if the angle was a good amount off. It never seemed to effect the contrast - heck, even if the viewing angle was extremely off, it would just invert the blacks, not contrast them. You could swing the screen around all day, and literally inches worth of bad angle wouldn't effect a thing. The HP Pavilion had a horrible processor for playing (it can't even play back my files for 5 second without me having to make the player 'smaller') but the video card's color capabilities - and even the amazing representation my photos had - was to absolutely die for. I love (trying to) watching my stuff on that display (lol if anything, it made the files look better than they really were!)
But the Apple laptop/New Windows laptop displays? I don't see how they sell these things on the market. On the new Windows display, it had a horrible, horrible color shift and extreme contrast on video playback, but it did show my photos as fairly darn accurate. It was absolutely shocking when I put my Quicktime window in front of the photo viewer. And with the Apple, both just suck. It makes my photos and videos look like they were taken on an I-phone. I have no clue what to do, but unless the display profile can be realistically tweaked and changed, this laptop's display/video card is an absolute dud. I absolutely can't go with this for editing or playback; I'm just imagining even watching a DVD on this computer, what it's going to look like....
07-15-2012, 02:02 PM
Well, I think as a general rule of thumb, most people, if nothing else, would want the same color profile representation for their computer as what Canon uses on its camera's LCD screen
No. No no no.
Your camera's LCD screen is the worst possible place to judge anything.
07-15-2012, 04:12 PM
So in general, should footage come out contrastier or flatter than what one sees on the LCD screen? It can only be one or the other and for me, if I choose a flat profile who's curve stops right before the black and white end (and if I keep in the middle of the exposure histogram on the camera) then my footage on my computer should look flat, not with crushed blacks and overblown highlights. It should actually be flatter than what the camera shows; if I can see more detail in the blacks on the LCD screen of the camera than what I'm seeing on my computer, where seas of black infiltrate the details, then you lnow somethings wrong, and not with the camera. Either the camera's applying a flatter curve, or the computer's applying a contrastier one. And since my HP Pavilion makes the files look most beautiful and least contrasty, wether out of camera or even on Youtube, I'd say smethings up with my Mac.
07-15-2012, 04:18 PM
None of those things is to be trusted, especially.
If you want a true representation of your pic or your footage, you need a properly-calibrated broadcast monitor. What it looks like on that is what it looks like.
Failing that, a good monitor calibrated as closely as possible to spec. The camera LCD will never be that.
07-16-2012, 05:03 AM
You have two different color spaces and levels when dealing with content created for viewing on laptops, and content for broadcast. Computers work at graphic levels of 0-255 RGB levels and SMPTE spec for video (8 bit) is 16-235 RGB levels. Computer is RGB and video is YUV REC.709 (for HD). When delivering content intended for both, a proper conversion is done on color, gamut, levels, and such to appear the same due to the monitoring environment.
That aside, it is possible for you to properly calibrate a computer monitor for RGB - professional photographers do this all the time and tools from X-Rite and such will get that done for you. And there are calibration tools for video broadcast monitors. There are some monitors like the HP Dreamcolor that have mutiple color space engines in it, and when fed a full gamut progressive RGB signal, can display a REC.709 for broadcast.
Then you have the QuickTime player differences between versions and platforms - it is not the most reliable and consistent player and you will find oodles of threads on "QuickTime Gamma Issue", but that being said - content intended for multiple distribution platforms are properly prepared for each with the intent that the computer monitor, broadcast monitor, etc are properly corrected. They just can't guarantee that everyone properly calibrates - have you ever looked at all the TVs in a Best Buy and how none of them actually match each other? They could if they calibrated them all for the lighting conditions under which they are viewed.
Welcome to the world of color management and calibration.