Do I need a studio monitor?

Do I need a studio monitor?

If your projects are going to be delivered on DVD or broadcast, it’s important to have an accurate studio monitor on your desk so you can see your project as your viewers will see it while you’re editing.


First, many editing programs show you a low quality “proxy” of your timeline, so you can’t judge color correction, brightness, saturation, contrast, how titles or graphics will look, or any other aspect of the picture accurately.

Can I just enable a second computer monitor to show video and that will work?

With some editing programs, you can enable a second monitor to show a pixel-accurate view of the video, which will give you a lot better picture of what your viewers will see in terms of graphics… but color won’t be as accurate. Computer video is based on RGB, not YUV color space. A computer LCD will display a different gamut of color than an LCD TV. For example, some colors are “impossible” in NTSC or PAL that show just fine on a computer screen.

In the past, for DV monitoring, I’ve always used a Sony PVM 14″ studio monitor, it seems the right size for desktop monitoring, plus it usually has a handle right on top, meaning as you go out the door to a shoot you can grab it and bring it on the set as a reference or “safety” monitor while shooting.

Here is a list of such monitors on eBay.

For DV, if your budget doesn’t cover a studio monitor, or if buying one would force you to sacrifice something more important, you might first check eBay for a used one, or, a television is still much better than nothing! A TV with an S-Video input will give you better results than a simple composite connection.


Professional HD monitors are still expensive.

So, here’s an idea:

You can buy an LCD TV/computer monitor (the lines are being blurred more every day) that can be used for three different purposes.

Read the whole article here.


  1. question_everything 16 years ago

    i really need to get a monitor, whether it be a plain old televison monitor, or a studio monitor off ebay. The only issue is I don’t know how to connect my mac to the monitor i keep hearing about using a digital camera, but how do you connect the camera to both the mac as well as the t. Is it firewire from the mac to the camera and then a/v to the monitor? thanks

    p.s. i totally agree about previewing fcp on a monitor, i had just cut an entire movie on fcp and then i burn it to a dvd and it looks like garbage on the television so i’m definitely not going to go by the trial and error method of burning a million dvds and hopefully get a monitor soon.

  2. phil 16 years ago

    monitors are the tao-zen for previewing your end product, not exactly as it will feature, but you will get a very near accurate representation of your work before you burn it… being new to mac and FCP, I didnt invest in a monitoring (video) system, but after all the dvd productions done so far – with little help from FCP internal preview or compressor, this is something not to exclude.

    i am getting the matrox mxo – check out // unit soon for everything output related, ab bit overprised id say, but well worth it….

  3. modifoo 16 years ago

    I’d be a bit careful with using a LCD as a mirror for camera output.

    On our editing system we have 2 24″ LCDs and a studio monitor to preview output. Just for fun, I sent the video signal to the S-VHS and composite of the LCD and can say that it only looks awful. I would never do critical lighting/colour work on a non-studio-grade LCD.

  4. Josh 16 years ago

    Analog inputs on LCDs are generally not accurate. Digital inputs (DVI/HDMI) can be very accurate, depending on the monitor.

  5. LBL 16 years ago

    Hi, Will the Apple 24inch or 30inch be suitable for critical colour correction works? I want to upgrade by monitors and hoping to create more space in my setup. By that meaning using only the Apple monitors instead of the usual video monitor which I was intendin to buy..


  6. Josh 16 years ago

    We have been using this monitor:,__27671143

    It makes an excellent field monitor and computer monitor, still need to install the Intensity card and see how good a ref monitor it is…

  7. Roller 16 years ago

    Is it possible to preview HD-Material on a SONY PVM-Monitor (by going through a firewire-to-Y/C(orYUV)-converter ?

  8. levi 14 years ago

    can I still use a hd computer monitor to do color correcting for SD after i get a black magic card

  9. levi again 14 years ago

    I mean what about color correcting on SD?…Do I have to get the blackmagic card and a monitor too?

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