The Creative Toolbox by Mike Owen

About Me

My name is Mike Owen and I am the Head of Marketing at EIZO UK. In previous lives I have worked at Getty Images, Canon, O2 and Panasonic amongst other organisations.

I have now been in my role at EIZO for a couple of months, and it has been a fantastic journey of discovery. I have worked with creatives for the majority of my working life and was recently incredibly honoured to present a couple of awards at the recent Broadcast Technology Awards, where we sponsored two of the grading categories which were won by two outstanding colourists in Nuala Sheridon and Aidan Farrell of Picture Shop.

The biggest buzz however is having the opportunity in getting to work in new areas and discovering how EIZO screens impact such a diverse range of professions. Before interviewing I knew EIZO from a creative perspective and had been an EIZO user in a previous life, but I was not aware of the range of professional fields that we supplied screens into including a wide range of medical fields including Radiology plus Air Traffic Control, Security, Maritime as well as within offices and financial service companies across the globe. All these sectors rely on EIZO as part of their toolbox as much as the creatives do.

The Creative Toolbox

The journey of anyone who works in a creative industry, whether it is design, photography or filmmaking will involve a huge number of pieces of equipment both hardware and software. Some items will be used every day, others every now and again, but every single one will be an essential part of their creative toolbox. Every tool will be able to add a little more in the story telling process, picking the tools to help do the job.

The Creative Toolbox is not a new concept, but one that gets overlooked in some corners of our industry, and one I have championed where I can for as many years as I wish to remember. When you work for a large hardware manufacturer or software developer, the product range is so broad and market penetration so high that it is often an underplayed concept, as they focus on their own product rather than the wider ecosystem. For the more niche providers like EIZO, it is an essential element we have to factor into our planning as it is for any actual user of a Creative Toolbox.

A creative will often have many variations around a theme within their toolbox. Different cameras and lenses for different tasks, lighting for different environments, and while there maybe laptops and desktop machines within a workflow, the final output is generally done at a desk in a controlled environment and there is often more than one screen as part of a work station. If the screens are different, they will often have a very different look, as they will most likely have different panels. If the look of a screen has been ‘corrected’ to match another screen, that does not mean that the output will look the same, because changing the setting of a screen does not mean they will match from a colour management perspective, so getting your screens to match is an important part of any creative workflow.

As a screen manufacturer many may see us as a niche provider, we however see ourselves as the window to the creative journey. The creative journey is reviewed on our screens, the output is edited on our screens and the output is finalised on our screen. It doesn’t matter what camera, lens or lighting set up you use, it doesn’t matter what software package you use, but it does matter what screen you use.

If you do not have a good quality screen, with the ability to display the correct colour gamut to fit the brief of your client or you have not calibrated your monitor correctly, then the most amazing shoot or design project can go awry. Disappointing the most loyal and positive of clients. But more importantly, in some cases, disappointing yourself and not fully realising your creative vision.

Imagine you are working on a magazine and you have images from a range of photographers from around the world and you provide your files to the printer without a confirmed colour management process, the output could look shocking. Now obviously this will make selling the magazine hard, and for those buying and getting the magazine may not buy another copy and the likelihood of the photographer working with you again is massively damaged. So, it can cause you damage to your business but also to your reputation, not the way to build a sustainable business model.

Help yourself and your clients, by ensuring that colour management is part of your workflow. Understand what it means and the importance of having a process that works for you and your output medium. If you are shooting stills for social media, there is very little need to shoot in a colour profile other than sRGB, where if you are shooting for output to any form of print then Adobe RGB should be your starting point.

If you’re shooting for video then this is where a minefield of options can open in front of you…always keep in mind your output media and the requirements of any editing software that will be used as part of the process.

Like everything, the colour space you use is just another tool in your toolbox.

With an EIZO ColorEdge monitor we are confident that all of your creative requirements are covered from the colour gamut that our screens are able to display, to the viewing profiles within the monitor to the uniformity of the output across the screen. Our screens are designed to be used day in day out to give you the confidence that your output will match your creative vision.

Now I know that EIZO screens may not be the cheapest screens on the market, but I am a firm believer in the old adage you get what you pay for. Yes, we think you get better quality on an EIZO screen but there are some tangible real-world benefits. With an EIZO screen you will generally get some of the best energy management systems in any screen reducing the power consumption of your desk, we work on reducing the CO2 emissions throughout our supply chain and coupled with our lower power consumption, an EIZO monitor can really make a difference to your individual carbon footprint. Can you put a price on that?

If you're interested in learning more about how EIZO fits into the Creative Toolbox, explore our education section here:

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