Dolby Engineer: Some of our partners are using LG TVs for mastering Dolby Vision

Just the other day, Nate McFarlin, Senior Content Engineer, Dolby Laboratories, NY, wrote:

“Dolby doesn’t approve specific displays for content creation/grading. We’ll always recommend you use the highest quality (reference-grade) display as possible, but we have plenty of clients and partners that use other display options for their work (including LG TVs). Ultimately, it’s up to the client!”

Yet, during a Dolby Vision Roundtable recorded on August 27, 2020, Thomas Graham and colorists Shane Mario Ruggieri, Greg Hamlin and Rick Taylor all agreed that no one should be using a consumer TV for mastering Dolby Vision content:

“Be very careful not to make color-based grading decisions on a consumer monitor… You should really only use a consumer monitor in terms of quality control as a final playback step. Don’t do any trimming or color grading per se on it unless your client happens to be the TV manufacturer and they want a specifically graded piece for that TV.” – Tom Graham, Head of Dolby Vision Content Enablement

Nate seems to be implying that, as a result of an explosion of independent studios and freelancers, the pandemic, supply chain issues, panel availability and budget constraints, an unspecified number of studios are mastering Dolby Vision on consumer televisions:

“Our stance on this has changed, a few years ago it was easier for us to hold a higher standard as Dolby Vision facilities were meticulously certified one by one and as part of this check, our engineers would check the quality of the grading display (image quality settings, calibration, etc.). The ecosystem has evolved very rapidly and with more and more people mastering with HDR, that requirement became unrealistic to maintain (increased number of freelancers, smaller/independent studios, and now remote grading). Likewise, the offerings in what I’d call the ‘prosumer’ or ‘mid-tier’ category have also grown. Again, I’d always recommend using the highest quality display possible (and we certainly don’t see many of our high-end studio partners grading on TVs), but for folks that have to be more budget-conscious whose clients still are satisfied with their work, other options can be used.”

Nevertheless, if you watch Nate’s presentation (which begins at 52’10’’) during a Dolby Vision Content Creation Technical Update Webinar till the end, you’ll hear Tom Graham repeat that,

“Consumer panels like a calibrated LG CX or C1 have a place as a client monitor in a color suite but not as a grading monitor.”

Update 11.04.2023. Nate adds, “Again, it depends – I’d say it’s a fair statement that the majority of times we see the calibrated LGs being used as a client monitor or for other applications (QC/VFX/etc.) but that’s more than often for the bigger studios that have other reference displays already employed. But for folks that don’t have that luxury, they may turn to them for their grading work if their own clients are okay with them doing so.”

Photo credit: Dolby Laboratories

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