- Parent Category: Test Drive
- Category: Articles
- Published on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 02:44
- Written by David Hurd
After five years of using a 17-inch output monitor in my review system, I learned that what I really need was a 24- to 32-inch model for color grading apps because it’s really true that a larger monitor makes it easier to see what’s happening in the shadows. After asking around and doing some research, I chose a 32-inch SEL32 monitor from Boland.
Boland was a brand that I had never heard of, but its products are made in America and the company is a heavy hitter in the broadcast monitoring world. Sony Pictures uses some Boland products for editing, and Boland monitors are being used for postproduction at Universal and Paramount Studios. They’re also used in the Game Creek Video and NEP Supershooters TV mobile production trucks that bring you your favorite live sports shows. Boland monitors are also used in TV studios, like CBS, CNN and ESPN, as well as on shows and feature films, including “American Idol,” “The Voice,” Netflix’s “House of Cards, ”After Earth, The Amazing Spider-Man and Fast & Furious 6 (for Editor Chris Wagner).
There are probably three reasons that all of these top productions choose Boland reference monitors for broadcast work. The first and most important reason is that these monitors are very accurate, presenting a calibrated Rec 709 HD image that truly represents what the edited image will look like when it is finally broadcast. The monitors also look good and present a nice image for clients during editing. The second reason is that Boland monitors are very durable. When 40 monitors are bouncing in a TV truck on the road from game to game, Boland monitors are sturdy enough to arrive in their calibrated state. I can’t imagine an engineer willing to spend 120 hours recalibrating 40 monitors each time their truck goes to a new game. For on-location color grading DIT work, it’s very much the same story. The monitors on your cart are going to be moved around a lot, and no one wants a monitor that has to be sent back to the factory to be calibrated every few weeks. The third reason I chose Boland is for its huge bang-for-the-buck. Priced around $4,000, the Boland SEL32 monitor is $1,500 to $9,000 less than its competition.
So Boland monitors cost less and need less maintenance, but what about the specs? The specs on the SEL32 are great because it’s a true 10-bit monitor with full gamma and grayscale adjustments. It has 3G SDI, HDMI, DVI and composite signal inputs, and it can also input VGA and component signals via an adaptor. On my Savage IO DataBrick NLE system, the SEL32 is connected via SDI to the output of my Blackmagic Design DeckLink card. I use a second SDI input on the SEL32 to connect my Mac Pro via the output of my AJA KONA3 card. By simply touching the remote control, I can easily switch between editing computers. The SEL32 came calibrated at factory Rec 709, 6500K color temperature and was instantly ready to work. The 1920x1080 display allows each pixel to be displayed as it should be, and it has wide off-axis viewing angles so clients can easily see it while you’re editing. The screen has built-in displays for waveform, vectorscope, audio bars and meters that seem very accurate, and the safe area markers are adjustable and work well.
Even though the monitor is light at 29.5 pounds, the SEL32 was still too heavy for my old adjustable stand that was made for a 17-inch monitor. So I used Ergotron MX stands, which can handle monitors up to 30 pounds. These stands came with an adjustable mounting bracket that did a great job of mounting both my 32-inch GUI monitor and the SEL32. Ergotron MX stands also use an adjustable arm mount that can bring the monitor closer or turn to show the connections on the back of the monitor. Costing under $180, these stands are priced right and work well with the Boland SEL32.
Overall, I really like my new Boland SEL32 monitor. It’s rugged, color accurate, reasonably priced and easy to look at all day — and the fact that Boland monitors are made in America is the icing on the cake.