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Author Topic: Color grading suite, advice on upgrade
Sylvain Cossette
Film Handler

Posts: 9
From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted 08-08-2014 03:57 PM      Profile for Sylvain Cossette   Author's Homepage   Email Sylvain Cossette   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi everyone,

we want to upgrade our color grading suite with a projector mainly because most our work is dedicated to the big screen so it would help us confirm the choices we make during the grading process. Right now we are using a TV-Logic XVM-245W. Grading is done on Davinci Resolve.

I've made a lot of research, but since it a big step, i would like confirm those choices with the community.

The Room:

Projection wall: 120" width by 118" tall
Throw distance: 175"

If i leave 5" on both side, it would give me a screen size of 110"x 61.9" (126.25"diagonal).
1.777 aspect ratio taking into account here.
Screen would have a 1.0 gain.

The projector:

Since the main delivery system is now DCP (and we do made those in-house), P3 projector would be the best choice allowing us to grade in full range. Now the room being really small, mainly 2 choices exist:

Christie Solaria One and Nec 900.

I would choose the Christie over the Nec for the Xenon Lamp. Seems that the IMB of the Christie is more unstable and restricted than the Nec but since its for a grading suite, we could surely manage it.
Exhaust would be connected to the projector for heat management.

Question is:
-Would this projector be still too powerful in a room of this size?
(brightness versus throw distance (lens is 1.2-1.72:1)
-Should i go with a lower gain screen?
-Any other factor i should take into account?

Thank you.

Best
Sylvain

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

Posts: 4138
From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 08-08-2014 04:04 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What about the Barco 8Sx?

The problem with these S2k machines is that their contrast performane is quite bad. Now there are pros and cons regarding their usage for grading applications. Con is, they are hiding a lot of shadow detail, pro is, you can grade for the lowest common denominator, as a lot of cinemas are using these ;-)
Also, you can not only grade on these units, but also qc final DCPs incl. audio mapping, etc. if you buy a server/IMB/IMS with it.

- Carsten

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Marco Giustini
Film God

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From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 08-08-2014 04:08 PM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
0.69" will give you a reduced contrast ratio. Ideally, you want to stay on the bigger brothers which, unfortunately, will be brighter.
I guess the NC900 will provide the proper brightness with one lamp - but NEC state the projector achieves DCI specs with TWO lamps.

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Pete Naples
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Dunfermline, Scotland
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 08-08-2014 04:10 PM      Profile for Pete Naples   Email Pete Naples   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Should you not be looking at Post Production projectors?

I know Barco manufacture said.

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Sylvain Cossette
Film Handler

Posts: 9
From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted 08-08-2014 04:35 PM      Profile for Sylvain Cossette   Author's Homepage   Email Sylvain Cossette   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for the answers.

On major factor that i've should had mention if the price. Did have a look at the Barco DP2K-8Sx, but it's easily another 20k with integrated media server with we don't have. (budget is 37k)

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 08-08-2014 05:49 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmm, in germany the price difference between NC900C (with IMS), Barco DP2k-8Sx and Christie Solaria one is small, almost non-existent.

Do you want/need to buy this projector with DCI server (of course, mandatory with the Solaria One)? I think there are non DCI compliant projectors available with P3 color space support. However, as I said, having a DCI server is handy if you not only grade but also create DCPs.

- Carsten

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Mark Ogden
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Little Falls, N.J.
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-08-2014 06:27 PM      Profile for Mark Ogden   Email Mark Ogden   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are you absolutely committed to projection? The Dolby 4220 monitor is a jaw-dropping piece of kit that is fully capable of P3 space with per-input adjustable color calibration (or just lay over an LUT, I think Film Factory set one up to match a Christie Solaria), AND REC-709 and custom set-ups as well, and all at the push of a button. I presume that you are going to deal with deliverables that call for both a DCP and a 709 grade at some point, It seems to me that being able to do it all on one monitor would be an advantage, and it will sure save some space. Last I heard it was about US$40,000 which is a bit over your budget, but once it's in, that's it, no screwing around with bulbs and all the other associated equipment

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Dave Macaulay
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 - posted 08-09-2014 07:52 AM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The xenon DLP projectors are pretty much identical and I would also prefer them over the NEC or other non-xenon units. On the integrated server front, the Barco ICMP seems most capable although it's also the newest (lots of software updates recently indicating bugs are being worked out still). I would try and stretch the budget to an external server: the integrated server interfaces are pretty slow and kludgy compared to the outboard servers' video terminals. For a Barco 8s at least that means an IMB or you don't have any easy non-cinema input (SDI input card has only SDI input, and there's no other input on the projector like with B or C models).

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Sylvain Cossette
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From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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 - posted 08-11-2014 09:17 AM      Profile for Sylvain Cossette   Author's Homepage   Email Sylvain Cossette   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mark Ogden
Are you absolutely committed to projection? The Dolby 4220 monitor is a jaw-dropping piece of kit that is fully capable of P3 space ...
I've thought about a bigger monitor but we want to get as close as possible to the theater experience since we are grading for it most of the time.

quote: Carsten Kurz
Also, you can not only grade on these units, but also qc final DCPs incl. audio mapping, etc. if you buy a server/IMB/IMS with it.
Yes, this is exactly what i want to do.

quote: Marco Giustini
0.69" will give you a reduced contrast ratio. Ideally, you want to stay on the bigger brothers which, unfortunately, will be brighter.
The Solaria, NC900c et the Barco 8Sx being all 0.69" do they all suffer from the low contrast or the actual problem would be brigthness being too high for the small room? In that case would having a greater throw distance and/or lower gain screen help?

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Marco Giustini
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From: Reading, UK
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 - posted 08-11-2014 09:59 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
0.69" chips will deliver a reduced contrast ratio.

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Brian Shull
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From: Buhler, KS USA
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 - posted 08-11-2014 01:49 PM      Profile for Brian Shull   Email Brian Shull   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you are going to use a projector for color grading, get a .98 chip at least. You should be going for the bigger chip, 1.2 or 1.38. I strongly recommend looking at post production projectors. The tolerances of these projectors are tighter and what is needed for accurate color grading.

I think you will spend most of your time color grading on your calibrated monitor, then outputting for a check on your projector. In fact if I were color grading for you I would re-calibrate the monitor to mimic the projected image.

I went through this a long time ago. I had many projects to grade that were going to be played via LCD projection. I thought I would use an LCD projector for grading, more trouble than it was worth. I wound up resetting my monitor, when happy there I would output to a projector for the final.

In the purchase cost you need to factor in the cost of a color meter $$$. Color grading can only be as good as the accuracy of your equipment. You will spend time checking the colors of your projector.

Good luck,

Brian

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Carsten Kurz
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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 08-11-2014 04:14 PM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Sylvain Cossette
The Solaria, NC900c et the Barco 8Sx being all 0.69" do they all suffer from the low contrast or the actual problem would be brigthness being too high for the small room? In that case would having a greater throw distance and/or lower gain screen help?
They all suffer more or less. But it's hard to say how to deal with this. 0.98 will give you 'some' increased contrast, and it tops out with the larger 1.2" machines.

You can improve contrast somewhat with aperture plates and lens iris, but I don't know if the 0,69" machines offer these options at all, as they are stripped down versions of the larger machines. I guess the Barco does.

You can also use a grey screen - this will increase contrast and at the same time reduce brightness.

Honestly, I would try to go for the DP2k-8Sx. You could as well try to go for a Christie 2210/2215 and buy a server later for DCP qc.

- Carsten

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Sylvain Cossette
Film Handler

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From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Registered: Jun 2014


 - posted 08-11-2014 05:05 PM      Profile for Sylvain Cossette   Author's Homepage   Email Sylvain Cossette   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks guys, your feedback is highly appreciated.

Bigger chip projector is interesting but there isn't much choice when taking into consideration the space and budget i have. I can only see the Christie CP2210 but then again, i don't have a exact listing, surely this one goes around 50k USD$.

The Barco 8Sx looks like a good projector too Carsten, being also .69" i've chosen the Christie because the spec are pretty much the same but price is reasonably lower here.

Well, i guess i need to start looking for sponsors!

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Marco Giustini
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From: Reading, UK
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 - posted 08-11-2014 05:27 PM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Carsten,
I believe a grey screen will reduce your black level but also your white level, hence it won't increase the contrast ratio.

Grey screens were used when home cinema projectors were delivering awful blacks.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 08-12-2014 04:17 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Grey screens improve the ambient/projection light relation - which is useful if your projector is too bright for a given screen size and can't be reduced in brightness further. Plus, of course it brings the screen luminance down to acceptable levels.

@Sylvain: Good luck trying to feed 2k/P3 into the Christie IMS - the only realtime-capable signal inputs are DVI/HDMI... That's the real issue with the Solaria One/+ - it's limited connectivity. This is really only meant to be installed in cinemas.

Also, I think you can not reduce brightness on the Christie (and Barco) down to where the NC900 can go with one lamp at reduced current. The smallest Christie supplied bulb is 1.4kW. Don't know if Ushio would have suitable lamps smaller than that.

- Carsten

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