PRODUCT: ColorEdge CG318-4K monitor
PRICE: MSRP $5,989 (with hood)
- Well-designed, sleek monitor
- Touch screen control panel
- Self calibrating
The Eizo ColorEdge CG318-4K monitor is well-designed, sleek, easy to set up, and easy to look at. In fact, after I set it up, I called my most trusted colleague (an editor with an unbelievable eye for color and detail) and told her to come right over to see it. We both stood, staring, like deer in headlights, at the beautiful, full 4K picture. Here’s how I approached my review.
Take One: On-Set Critical Monitor
As I tell my editor and cinematically-inclined friends, the project starts with the shoot. So, into the studio I went. I got a really nice “portrait” set-up going — old school, three-point lighting, a couple of kickers and a little splash for good measure. I pulled the ColorEdge out of its travel case, checked through the very slick touch screen control panel, fired it up, and it was ready to go in minutes. Shooting on a new JVC GY-LS300, I had a nice image on my monitor. So, I’m all done with the set-up, right? Here comes the cool part. The CG318-4K is a self-calibrating monitor. Yes, self-calibrating! No fussing with an external calibration device. On command, the small sensing arm swings down from a very small protrusion on the upper bezel. Literally a minute later, done! When I say near perfection, I mean it. Black was black. The monitor has a 1,500:1 ratio. I even fooled around with changing my set backgrounds and cycs. The CG318-4K stayed true to form. I skewered the GY-LS300 settings all over the place — saturations, blacks, multiple gains, even something as basic as white balance. Again, the display locked on with faithful reproduction of images it received. As an added bonus, the CG318-4K comes with this easy to use hood, which blocks out unwanted light onto the screen. I could see where the hood could come in very handy on remotes.
As a producer/director/shooter, I am really a crazy purist. I must have absolute confidence in my monitor so that what I shoot is what I am seeing on my monitor. Bottom line? What I saw on the CG318-4K was what I shot.
Take Two: Editing/Color Grading Monitor
The CG318-4K displays the DCI 4K standard (4096x2160) which is more than four times that of full HD (1920x1080). We bounced around on several different editing configurations, based on client preferences and between Avid, Adobe Premiere, and Final Cut Pro. Also, the amount of control the end user has with the CG318-4K is outstanding. It’s a great set of features for us, because we can’t ever say exactly what work might come in. For a boutique shop, the ability to multitask jobs with the monitor between color grading, VFX or CGI work, would make the CG318-4K a no-brainer. With the self-calibration out of the way, the monitor had pre-sets depending on end user preference for either broadcast or cinema, and brightness controls for each. Plus, an extra bonus, flicker free means these old eyes lasted a lot longer than on previous monitors. The viewing angle was pretty wide as well, meaning we didn’t have to be sitting on top of one another.
For me, this made it possible to look at the new footage and get a match up to the pre-existing footage. (On a side note, the CG318-4K would have been a great addition on my last documentary, when we had a ton of footage shot over several years and with different cameras and formats.) But again, the strength of the monitor is the ability to use the presets to set up the monitor or if desired, or you can set it to your own personal editing preferences.
Additionally, one can also use the supplied software and conform an entire network of workstations so that every monitor has the same color grading values. If I were working on a large project, this would be a must have. Eizo also provides 3D LUT for accurate color display. The 3D LUT is included, which adjusts colors individually on an RGB cubic table. With the emulation function of ColorNavigator 6 and ColorNavigator NX (software provided by Eizo), the 3D LUT applies a film look to the image so creators can see the images in the same way that their audience will.
Dollar for dollar, the CG318-4K brought it on all fronts. From providing mission critical color, black, and contrast confidence in a shooting environment, to a few very long days grading and editing footage, the monitor delivered.
MJ Foley is the President of Blackrock Media Group in Coventry, RI. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.