Monday, September 23, 2019

What I saw at IBC2019

Eizo CG3145 “mk.2?” – Revision of the current model “Prominence” monitor - see my post from last year.

It’s exactly the same dual Panasonic IPS (LCD) display module and modulated LED backlight as the current version (and indeed the Sony X310 replacement for the X300) with the following upgrades;
  1. Quad 3G and single-link 12G inputs for current gen 4K/UHD/HDR standards. If you need to go to 18G standards (so 4K, 12 bit, RGB and 60P) it still supports HDMI 2.0 and DP. Once nicety is that it has SDi out and can convert signal standard as an active loop-through (but not converting colour space, sampling structure etc – obviously),
  2. Internal probe; a higher quality photometer than the 319X but I’ll have to test it against a “proper” probe before we make comment; they assured me ColourNavigator’s “sensor correlation” function would work as other CG-series displays. See my video.
  3. Three user-defined cages and BITC as per Sony’s 4k monitors – this has been mentioned by several facilities as reasons why they won’t leave Sony – aside from the BITC feature having been broken in the Sony displays since v.2 firmware I don’t believe grading room displays need either of these, but it’s good to have an answer (I’d say exactly the same as point 1. Above)
  4. Much nicer control via a big knob on the front.
  5. Price – will be the same as the current CG3145
  6. Availability – they reckon there will be pre-production demo examples in January and supply at start Q2.
They made some point about having improved the FPGA code in the panel for better sharpness – sounded like marketing waffle; and in truth savvy customers don’t want a monitor “sharpening up” their pictures; pixel-to-pixel is what’s needed; brutal honesty rather than the picture processing you get on a domestic TV.

Emerald KVM system from Black Box; it comes in three product skews;
  • The basic – tops out at 2 x single-link displays (1920x1200) 
  • The “professional” – same performance but has tighter integration with their manager
  • The 4K – supports a single 4096-pixel wide display.
Points to consider;
  1. Price – the basic and professional are very akin to Amulet pricing (bear in mind Amulet Tera2 products do 4 x single link or 2 x 4K displays) – so typically £1,000 per end-point (sender and receiver); Amulet external T2 would be £1,400 (sender) + £700 (receiver). The 4K product which is what now competes with DX-H4T/DZ4 from Amulet is around twice the price (about £3,900 for sender/receiver pair). Add onto this the cost of a broker (their own 1u Linux box) AND they heavily push you to Black Box managed switches (essential if you’re using all the broker features),
  2. Encryption – AES256 with key-exchange is the clear via the broker’s database; we couldn’t sell this to anyone who is looking at a TPN audit,
  3. Bandwidth – max’es out a gigabit Ethernet (in fact you need the second NIC if you want to use two screens); remember, Amulet plays nicely with internet-type bandwidths
  4. Switch requirements – As mentioned, BlackBox manages switches preferred, but whatever you use jumbo frames and IGMP-snooping is required. Amulet plays nicely with all layer-2 ethernet switches.
  • Broker is better to use than Tera connection manager
  • ZC supports both PCoIP and RDP (their protocol is Windows RDP!)
  • As you’d expect from a modern KVM it is reasonably transparent, but full-screen HD video playback was (I thought) worse than Amulet (and remember Amulet tops out at 200Mbit/sec rather than the 2 x GigE that the Emerald needs)
So in fairness I don’t think there is any scenario (other than owning existing plant) where we could sell it as a better option than Amulet (or a Teradici option).

Streambox’s DolbyVision remote workflow

StreamBox have implemented eCMU functionality in their Chroma range which means they can take the DolbyVision metadata across the IP-SDi feed and decode the rec.709 fold-down data at the far end and display dual-6G outputs on and HDR monitor and a rec.709 display (typ. a decent TV). The powerful thing is that by having the Dolby tone-mapping algorithm with all the lift/gamma/gain tweaks in the HDR stream they can produce a pixel & colour accurate SDR version at the far end with no extra bandwidth required. Super-cool.

Canon DP-V3120 4k/UHD/HDR grading monitor

We sold a few of the earlier gen Canon DP-V3010 4k displays and although they were good 4k displays their HDR abilities were more limited than the X300 – in fact today they would be an equivalent to a £3.5k Eizo CG319X.
The new monitor uses the same Panasonic panel & backlight as the Eizo and Sony, but in this case it is a single-layer IPS which means the blacks are probably not as good as the CG3145 and the X310. I’d have to test that when we can our hands on one.
  • 2,000Cdm-2 max light output – probably because it’s only a single layer, they’re letting all the light through. Not sure why this is a benefit as nobody (Netflix, Fox, Warners) are specifying 2,000Cdm-2 deliverables and the next bump to DolbyVision will be to 4,000Cdm-2 so this seems to be neither fish nor fowl – much like the Flanders 3,000Cdm-2 monitor.
  • Tone-mapped false colour display – this is very nice; As far as I could tell this is nerly as good as Leader’s “CineZone” display but available in the monitor.
  • Same set of inputs as the new Eizo
  • Sub £20k price tag

ColourSpaceCMS colour management and LUT building software.

We sometimes sell a LightSpace license with Klein colour probes and I tend to then provide a day’s training (doing it next week at a customer's).
  • Much more modern interface – lots of people complain that LightSpace looks a bit 1990s and things like loading LUTs and talking to patch generators takes a few mouse clicks rather than being auto-detected. ColourSpace seems to address all of this. I've never found this to be an issue; if you've spent thousands on a probe and software you should really get familiar with it.
  • Profiling engine can run whilst you are manipulating LUTs – very cool; will go some way to addressing the two hours of thumb-twiddling I have to do whilst profiling a display.
  • Multiple probe support – you can be profiling two displays at a time; but with probes costing >£6k I wonder who will use this?! Monitor manufacturers at their factory, probably.
  • Price – near-free upgrade from LightSpace depending on age of license.
We never really offer LightSpace as a product by itself; always as part of a package and as part of the colourimetry training day.

Leader LV5900 – 8K test and measurement
  • 8K (so quad 12G) version of the LV5600/LV7600 series we sell.
  • Price – silly money! >£50k basic

AJA Image Analyser – HD/UHD/4K/HDR test and measurement

They’ve been selling this for a year as a competitor to the Leader but I don’t know it’s HDR abilities.
  • Quad-12G – now can operate as a 4 x 4K machine; perhaps an OB that is sourcing Slog3 cameras and delivering both HLG and rec.709 would find this udeful?
  • Price - £16k (so cheaper than an HDR/4K optioned Leader)
Also – all the Hi5-4K+ and associated boxes now support Dolby metadata passthrough so no more hooking up the USB control to force displays to switch between rec.709/PQ/HLG. Nice.

The Bryant Unlimited cable manufacturer's meal - the highlight of my professional year!