Pro Video Production Tools for Filmmakers

I wanted to give you a guide on the best practices so you can consistently deliver the same quality that makes your work stand out.

As someone who creates images for a living, the tools that I use are really important. It all starts with capturing the right images but equally as important is how we treat them in post production. When it comes to cameras these days I always try to pick the one that will gives me the best balance between the cost, size and speed of work but also maximum dynamic range, more colors and if possible to capture it all in raw, cuz it all really comes down to capturing as much data as you can while you are there on set and the camera is rolling and the moment is happening.

You can’t rewind time, so you really want to make sure that you get all the information that you can and later when you are comfortable, sitting in the editing suite and you have all the time in the world and when you’re not worrying about the logistics like weather or if the actor is going to hit the mark and all that stuff, that’s when you can sit and tweak the image as much as you want. In post is also when you see how important capturing the most dynamic range is. Specially with cameras like the Arri Alexa or URSA Mini that are pushing 15 stops of light or the incredible extended dynamic range you can get on some of the Red cameras using HDRX, it’s very important having the right tools in post production so you can then not only manipulate all that but also so you can see it.

URSA Mini Pro
RED Camera
Arri Alexa

We are now in the world of HDR whether we like it or not. Even if you are finishing for broadcast or just youtube or outputting in different formats like Rec. 2020 or DCI-P3. In the end you’re limited to the tools that you are using. I couldn’t imagine using just any standard monitor these days to judge my work.

ASUS has really delivered on that end of film production. Their ProArt PA32UC display has a 100% color accuracy or close to it in all those different profiles. It’s a nice big 10 bit IPS display plus it’s true HDR10 with over a billion colors. Now to really be able to see and appreciate HDR properly with all the details in the shadows all the way to the brightest of the brightest pixels you need a monitor that can display that kind of brightness. This monitor has an incredible 1000 nits of brightness. It means that even if I am working with all the office lights on and the windows open with daylight puring in, I can still see all the details. Anything less than that and you are really just working blind. You have to see what you captured before you can correctly adjust all that footage.

You can get the ASUS ProArt PA32UC Monitor on B&H and eBay.

ASUS ProArt PA32UC Monitor Specs:

  • 4K 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz Native Resolution
  • 1000 nits of brightness
  • 32″ In-Plane Switching (IPS) HDR Panel
  • Thunderbolt 3 | DisplayPort | HDMI
  • Hardware Pre-Calibrated ΔE < 2
  • Adobe RGB, sRGB, DCI-P3, and Rec. 2020
  • 384 Dimmable LED Zones

Obviously another obstacle of working in today’s film production is the huge amounts of data we are working with, specially if you are shooting RAW like I am. You need to be able to move terabytes of data and do it quickly. Thunderbolt 3 is a huge improvement. Plus added benefit is that these days it’s not just for carrying data but you can even use it as display port.

Some other tools I recommend for post production are:
Tangent WAVE2 Control Surface

Tangent Ripple

i1Display Pro Calibration Tool

I often get asked about color accuracy and how to go about that so that I know that I’m always seeing the correct colors. Color accuracy is obviously important but also how the colors are calibrated is huge. A lot of these monitors come calibrated from the factory, and this one is no exception, but you’d be a fool to think that is enough. Every display including the one on your camera will start to drift over time. The colors just won’t look right. Also your eyes adjust depending on the environment that you are in. So you have to get into the habit of calibrating all your displays every 2 weeks or at least once a month. There is a lot of great calibration tools these days. They’re affordable. Plus ASUS makes it even easier to keep their displays calibrated because you can save the calibrated color profile right on the internal chip that’s built into the monitor. Any display can be calibrated but it means that you save the color profile on your PC and the second you disconnect your monitor all that calibration is gone. If you switch to another video source then it’s all gone and you gotta re-calibrate it on that machine. With the ProArt monitor’s internal scaler IC chip all that calibration data goes with you. Which means you can switch to another PC or if you format your computer or for some reason lose that calibration info then the monitor still has it baked it.

So in short, always pick the camera that will let you capture the most dynamic range and colors and if possible do it all in RAW. Then make sure you back-up all that data. After all whatever you have on that little memory card is worth as much as your whole production. Then in post keep your displays properly calibrated and make sure you are seeing what you are actually doing so you can transform all that RAW data into the images that you want your audience to see.

Leave a Reply