EIZO Case Study - New HDR Grading Monitor from EIZO
At the IBC in Amsterdam, EIZO introduced its ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145 HDR monitor for the first time to the European specialist audience and struck great interest. HDR is a topic that is currently on everyone’s mind – not least because many 4K televisions are sold with an HDR label, which means HDR has become a keyword for end users. For many graders, there is a need to make their post-production hardware suitable for HDR.
"We were really astonished with the dynamics that EIZO presents with the CG3145 PROMINENCE. The shades of black on the monitor were so dark that we could scarcely differentiate between the panel and the bezel. We had only seen that before in OLED. The precision of the image display is outstanding. Our artists would have preferred not to have to give back the monitor at all." Marc Versteeg, Managing Partner at Pirates ‘N Paradise
Many Uncertainties Have Now Been Resolved
High-end 4K cameras have long been able to deliver material with a contrast range of over 16 aperture stops. This is why a large part of the raw material produced in recent years is already present in HDR-suitable quality and only has to be remastered accordingly. The playback devices, i.e., monitors and televisions, previously presented a bottleneck. For a long time, reliable standards and specifications were also missing; these now exist with the licence-free HDR-10-based Ultra HD Premium Standard, as well as its competitor Dolby Vision, which requires a licence.
Nowadays, there are numerous televisions on the market that can play back HDR content; HDR has therefore been brought to the fore by many content providers, above all streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.
ColorEdge CG3145 PROMINENCE Offers Extreme Black Levels Without ABL or Local Dimming
Previously, the selection of HDR-suitable reference monitors in the post-production process for final grading was relatively limited, and often the domains of OLED monitors were as well. That has now fundamentally changed with the introduction of the EIZO ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145.
Despite a brightness of 1000 cd/m2, the new LCD monitor from EIZO achieves a contrast ratio of nearly 1:2,000,000, thanks to a minimal brightness of 0.0005 cd/m2. It also forgoes local dimming, which creates distracting halos. The monitor’s extreme black levels become possible through an innovative, two-coated LCD panel that enables black levels previously only seen in OLED monitors. At the same time, clipping of large, bright parts of the image, known as ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) in OLED monitors, is not necessary. The new ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145 therefore offers the advantages of OLED displays without suffering from their weaknesses.
Through ‘local dimming,’ the brightness of the backlighting is reduced point by point by LCD panels in order to achieve higher contrasts and lower black levels. The disadvantage of local dimming are halos, which arise in dark image areas when they border light areas. The reason for this is that the dimmable segments are comparatively large and can only be dimmed very greatly.
Automatic Brightness Limiter
ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) is a type of technology that is meant to protect OLED panels from excessive wear and damage. The brightness is restricted to bright areas of the picture, starting from a certain luminance or area. This leads to an unprecise image display. In addition, the white balance of affected devices often changes.
First User Experiences
The ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG 3145 is expected to be on the market at the beginning of 2018. Even before the beginning of serial production, some specialists and users, such as the post-production experts at Pirates ‘N Paradise, based in Düsseldorf and Berlin, were able to experience the qualities of the new LCD panel themselves.
We spoke with Marc Versteeg, Managing Partner at Pirates ‘N Paradise in Düsseldorf, about his plans and experiences with the new monitor.
HDR is becoming an increasingly prevalent topic. Is that true for you as well?
Versteeg: Of course, many of our customers ask about it. We have followed the topic from the beginning, and at this point, we have built great expertise in this field. That’s why we already organized an event in the summer about HDR. We are certain that it will really take off soon. We are currently planning on equipping some of our suites with HDR grading monitors. That’s why we were so happy to be able to test the ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145 extensively with our own material.
What do you see as the particular appeal of HDR?
Versteeg: HDR comes a lot closer to human vision than conventional technology has been able to thus far. It doesn’t really stick out when you view it, because we have long become used to gradual developments in the area of film. HDR film does, however, correspond much more to our real perception, which is why HDR film isn’t met with a spectacular ‘wow’ effect like, for example, 3D technology. Nevertheless, in our eyes, HDR is a much more effective improvement than taking the step to 4K or even 8K. The added value of the higher resolution gets lost depending on the viewing distance from the screen. The great dynamics of HDR, on the other hand, remain unchanged, and the large gamut does everything to achieve a significantly more vivid effect on films. The screen, television, or projector really becomes a window to reality. We are very certain that HDR – unlike, for example, 3D – represents a sustainable advancement in film technology, one which will permanently enrich our viewing experience in the future. It will lend itself to completely new expressive possibilities for cameramen, lighting technicians, and directors. This will be really exciting.
Back to the present: What were your experiences this week?
Versteeg: We were really astonished with the dynamics that EIZO presents with the CG3145 PROMINENCE. The shades of black on the monitor were so dark that we could scarcely differentiate between the panel and the bezel. We had only seen that before in OLED. The precision of the image display is outstanding. Our artists would have preferred not to have to give back the monitor at all.
How do you assess the ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145 in comparison to other monitors?
Versteeg: The black levels of OLED monitors are great. However, the problem with OLEDs is that very bright or extensive bright areas of the image must be clipped (ABL) so that the panel does not get damaged. Other LCD-HDR monitors use a technology with local dimming that gives rise to very unpleasant halo effects in bright parts of the image in dark surroundings. Local dimming and ABL haven’t impressed us so far. We are all the more glad that EIZO has now developed the first LCD monitor that achieves the black levels of an OLED monitor without applying local dimming, and which can also display the full brightness over the complete area in an unadulterated manner.
So, how would you sum it all up?
Versteeg: The pre-series versions of ColorEdge PROMINENCE CG3145 are already very promising. The new EIZO has a good chance of being included in our suites in the coming year, thanks to its excellent image quality and good value for money.
About Pirates ‘N Paradise
Founded in 1998, Pirates ‘N Paradise has been one of Germany’s most renowned and innovative post-production companies for years. With locations in Berlin and Düsseldorf, it handles all facets of modern, digital post-production: from editing, to compositing, digital lab, and motion graphics, to complicated 3D projects and stereoscopy, archiving, database usage, data wrangling, DIT, to documentary production and guerilla, viral, and online work.
The team puts together large advertising campaigns for film productions, agencies, network agencies, and industry clients, both nationally and internationally. And that’s in all disciplines of TV advertising and beyond – from event film to multinational campaigns with multiple country versions. Pirates ‘N Paradise also creates documentaries in feature-length film format (45+ minutes) for ARTE, MDR, and more TV channels.
To the Pirates ‘N Paradise website