SAN FRANCISCO - Professionals have been using digital, plasma, LCD and LED flat screens to display film and television output for years, yet when it came to color correction, no flat-screen technology was as good as a Grade 1 CRT. That is until now. Last year Dolby officially released the Dolby PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor, the first non-CRT display technology that actually exceeded specifications put forth by the European Broadcast Union (EBU).
The EBU maintains and publishes a standards recommendation document for reference monitors with Grade 1 being the highest standard. Dolby was invited by the EBU to provide the PRM-4200 for measurement and comparison against their Grade 1 specification. "We were very pleased to learn from the EBU that the Dolby PRM-4200 was the most accurate monitor ever measured," says Bill Admans, Dolby director of production and post solutions. "It was a great validation for the development team. It means we accomplished what we set out to do."
Subsequently, the EBU updated their color accuracy, black level performance and contrast standards based on the Dolby PRM-4200 monitor. "The EBU also chose the Dolby PRM-4200 as the standard reference monitor for their recent compression codec testing because of its ability to display pixel perfect images," notes Admans (pictured, below).
At NAB 2012, Dolby released a software update for the monitor. It includes support for 48 frames per second content. "48fps was recently added to the SMPTE (SMPTE 428-1-2011) and DCI standards specification documents. Whereas, 60fps has been part of the specifications for many years," notes Admans. Other feature updates include expanded support for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Academy Color Encoding Specification (ACES) workflow, which is required for mastering feature films, and Image Systems Nucoda 3D LUT support to help with color-managed workflows.
Dolby also introduced their Display Calibration Services. Worldwide, Dolby can dispatch a technician to make sure that their monitors maintain the most precise color accuracy and true black levels. "This can reduce the cost of ownership for monitors," explains Admans, "by removing the need for facilities to own expensive calibration equipment."
Some of the media that has been graded using the PRM-4200 include the feature films The Social Network, Apocalypse Now (remastered Blu-ray disc),
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and
Mirror Mirror, as well as three Superbowl commercials and the BBC One series