Canon's 4K Display Monitor
In November 2013, Canon entered a new market: high-resolution display monitors. The new 4K Reference Monitor, the DP-V3010, a 30-inch 4K IPS LCD flat panel display, is priced at $40,000 and will be available in the first quarter of 2014. For the company well known for its Cinema EOS cameras and lenses, the move is a natural outgrowth of the company's interest in high quality imagery. And, with its 4K Cinema EOS C500 camera, Canon is also interested in putting pieces of the 4K production and post pipeline into play.
Shinichi Yamato, Chief of Display Product Business Management Project, referred to these reasons when he introduced the Reference Monitor to a small group of journalists in a 4K Theater at Canon headquarters in Utsunomiya, 110 km north of Tokyo. "With this 4K reference monitor, we're creating the Canon 4K World, with Cinema EOS System," he said. "The area of 4K production has high development potential, and with the DP-V3010 reference monitor, which is compatible with Digital Cinema, we make our first steps into display." He added that the display is "workflow support for the 4K pipeline." "It is suitable for the viewing needs of color-grading, digital intermediate (DI), editorial, CGI/animation/visual effects (VFX) and other post-production workflows, as well as full HD and 4K broadcasting," he said.
Shinichi Yamato, Chief of Display Product Business Management Project
I was impressed by what I saw, especially when the identical footage was shown on the new monitor and a large screen with a projected 4K Christie image. But I am no "golden eyes," so I defer to two of my colleagues on the trip who are. Cinematographer Jon Fauer, ASC called the new Canon 4K Reference Monitor's "jaw-dropping ability to exactly match its mates on set, in grading suites around the world, as well as simultaneously running projectors and monitors." "Anyone grumbling about the $40,000 list price will quickly be mollified by the stunning fact that here's a monitor that might replace an entire DI grading theatre/screening room," he continued. "You will now be able to grade at a desktop – because its 4K picture is as good as, and matches exactly, any 4K grading digital projection system. Just imagine the savings in high-cost real estate rental."
Cinematographers, including Geoff Boyle FBKS (pictured above with Ben Campanaro of Post Magazine) and Jon Fauer, ASC viewed the Canon 4K DP-V3010 monitor on the tour.
Cinematographer Geoff Boyle, FBKS said, "the 4K monitor intrigued me, from the first demo with them in P3 mode on either side of a Christie 4K projected picture to the close examination I was able to make later, the monitor never failed to impress."
With an aspect ratio of 16:10 and a full-screen resolution of 4096 x 2560, the DP-V3010 offers a contrast ratio of 2000:1 (DCI-compliant) and uses an IPS LCD panel with two custom Canon features: a Canon-designed RGB LED backlight system and specially developed high-bit depth image processing engine. The IPS LCD panel also has polarizing and filtering film layers to prevent changes in color and contrast.
The DP-V3010 is intended to be easily transported to on-set and remote locations for 4K monitoring; it weighs 52.8 lbs. and includes carrying handles. How robust is it as a location monitor? "Even though it isn't dedicated as a location monitor, it can be used outside," said Yamato. "I cannot give you the exact number but it can be stabilized in a very short time. Although we're expecting that most will be used for color grading or in a studio or TV station environment."
Digital signal interfaces include multiple 3G-SDI input and output ports for camera linkage or recorder playback.
Digital signal interfaces include multiple 3G-SDI input and output ports for camera linkage or recorder playback, and four DisplayPort interfaces for graphic workstations and PCs. It accept 4K inputs that conform with the digital sampling structure of 4096 (H) x 2160 (V) at 24, 25, 30 and 60 frames per second with a 1.896:1 aspect ratio (SMPTE ST 2048-1:2012) as well as 4K inputs that conform to the alternative sampling structure 3840 (H) x 2160 (V) with a 16:9 aspect ratio at all standard frame rates up to 60P (that is, ITU-R BT.2020 and SMPTE ST 2036-1:2009), which allows the DP-V3010 to be used in live 4K television productions. It can monitor live 4K motion imaging directly from camera systems that deliver real-time outputs via their 3G-SDI Quad interfaces, or it can view digital 4K recorded playback delivered from recorders via Quad 3G-SDI. The DP-V3010 can accept inputs from two separate 4K sources via eight 3G-SDI interfaces. Monitoring outputs for each are also included. The Display offers internal up-conversion from either HD or 2K to 4K.
Digital signal interfaces also include four DisplayPort interfaces for graphic workstations and PCs.
As Fauer points out, "the Canon DP-V3010 4K Reference Display is compatible with the five major color gamut standards (SMPTE-C, EBU, ITU-R BT.709, DCI, and AdobeRGB), DCI standards for 4K display (2000:1 contrast ratio), and ASC CDL (American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List) format."
With regard to the ASC's CDL (Color Decision List), the DP-V3010 has a Display Controller where the Director and DP can make on-set color decisions that can be stored in the CDL standard on a flash drive and then be used in dailies, editorial and finishing. The DP-V3010 also accepts color correction input directly using slope, offset, power and saturation parameter adjustments to the overall RGB image, and/or separately to the individual Red, Green and Blue channels. The DP-V3010 also supports direct importing of both 1D and 3D LUTs for color matching between individual displays and use of customized looks" created by third-party color-grading applications.
In Canon's effort to create a "4K World" of inter-related products, the EOS C500 4K Digital Cinema Camera is capable of outputting an ACESproxy signal that can be directly connected to the DP-V3010 through 3G-SDI. The display comes pre-installed with a Cinema EOS Canon Log viewing LUT, for easy integration with the Cinema EOS C500 and EOS C300 Cinema cameras.
With regard to brightness level, the Canon executives said that the presentation showed the monitor with 48 candelas. "We're hoping to achieve 200 candelas," added Yamato.
I also had a chance to speak more privately with Yamato and Hideyuki Komatsu, General Manager of Display Products Marketing Management Division. My first question focused on calibration, an Achilles heel for most monitors and the key to making the monitor useful for multiple installations. Yamato and Komatsu reported that the monitor has two means of calibration: a PC-less calibration that allows on-site adjustment without a PC, and an embedded feedback loop that allows the machine to self-adjust the color range so re-calibration is not needed as often. "It is a foolproof system," they added.
I also asked about whether the monitor supports High Frame Rate. "We have already achieved 60 frames progressively," said Yamato. "The reason we only go up to 60P is because we're focusing on the precision of the reproduction. We want to avoid the distortion between input and output because we consider this the monitor to be professional. But, as the industry progresses towards a higher frame for cinema or broadcasting use, we are going to be responsive to the industry's needs." I also asked whether NHK had approached Canon about creating an 8K monitor but got a "no comment" reply.
We encountered gorgeous fall colors on our trip to Japan.
So far, the new Canon DP-V3010 monitor has gotten a thumbs-up from both Fauer and Boyle. "The Canon 4K has a really neutral and natural look, I believe that their calibration is accurate and I love the fact that they have an ACS/CDL facility built in," said Boyle. "You can do approximate grades on the set and output a CDL to a thumbdrive and it will also accept camera output in ACES space and grade in that, or just monitor in that."
The monitor space has been volatile for some time, as technologies have shifted and gained or lost adherents. With Canon's entry into the marketplace, the company has not only created a reference monitor that is sure to fit the bill for many applications but added another important piece of the 4K world of products that form a seamless integration of production and post.
Follow Debra Kaufman on Twitter @MobilizedDebra
Photos © and courtesy of CANON Photo Production Dept.