10 Factors to Consider When Selecting A Monitor for Video Editing

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Video-production monitors can offer a dazzling array of features with price tags running the gamut (no pun intended) from several hundred dollars all the way up to the price of a new car. So, while your budget will understandably be a primary consideration, what else should you look for in a monitor when setting up your editing system? Read on for some general factors to consider when choosing a video-editing monitor.

1. Screen Size

Look for a monitor large enough for comfortable, extended viewing during those day-long (or overnight!) editing sessions. Popular sizes include 19, 21.5, 24, 27, and 32" screens, with ultra-wide models also available. Larger, 40"+ monitors are an option if you have the room to accommodate their suitable viewing distances. If you plan on doing any work on set, a 19" monitor offers a good compromise between screen size and portability with plenty of travel cases to choose from.

2. Screen Resolution

If you’re editing in 4K and you can swing the cost of a 4K or higher monitor, go for the higher resolution. On the other hand, if your existing editing system is 1080p-compatible and you’re not ready to upgrade to the greater processing and storage requirements of 4K, you can edit your 4K footage using proxies while viewing on a 1080p monitor. Lower-res footage can be displayed on a higher-res monitor (although it will be in a smaller, “windowed” form) so if you want to upgrade your monitor to 4K first, you can. Of course, if you’re color-grading in any significant way, you’ll be better off opting for the 4K+ resolution.

3. Supported Video Resolutions

Most production monitors support a variety of input resolutions; it’s when you’re using formats on the higher or lower ends of the spectrum or less common frame rates that it’s important to confirm compatibility. Resolutions like DCI 4K (4096 x 2160), standard-def NTSC or PAL for legacy projects, and frame rates like 1080PsF 23.98/24 fall into this category.

4. Panel Types

LCD monitors are widely used for editing and offer high-quality contrast ratios, brightness levels, and color-gamut compatibility. IPS (in-plane switching) LCD panels offer better viewing angles than their TN (twisted nematic) predecessors and support pro color spaces. OLED monitors offer wide viewing angles, high contrast ratios and brightness levels, and true blacks; they tend to be higher-priced than same-size LCDs.

5. HDR (High Dynamic Range) Support

HDR technology ups the color intensity and contrast of your images to a brilliant degree. Monitor brightness levels, expressed in cd/m2 (candelas per meter squared or nits), play a key role in HDR display; look for 1000 cd/m2 or higher for optimal HDR editing. HDR10 is the more common HDR standard with Dolby Vision or HDR10+ available in some monitors, look for the standard supported by your editing system.

6. Color Support: Gamut, Color Depth, Chroma Subsampling

Color gamut (color range) support is expressed in terms of the percentage the monitor covers. Wider gamuts such as Rec.2020, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 provide exponentially finer color detail than older standards like sRGB / Rec.709. Go for 10-bit color to maximize dynamic range, especially when working with log gamma footage. The deeper color depths provide more detail to manipulate to your liking in post-production, but remember that 10-bit color monitors require that your GPU, OS, etc. can handle the 10-bit stream. If you’re a vlogger or show host who’s simply trimming your clips and maybe making white-balance adjustments prior to posting on a social media platform, you may opt to stay with more affordable 8-bit color monitors.

7. Connectivity

What connections does your computer’s video I/O card provide? Monitor input ports include HDMI, 12G/6G/3G-SDI (BNC), Thunderbolt™, DisplayPort, USB and optical variations; make sure your display is compatible with your system’s video output. A loop-out port is a handy feature for feeding your signal to a larger monitor for director or client viewing during post-production. Select monitors offer audio I/O options that enable you to split out embedded audio to external speakers.

8. Dual Monitor Setup

Ensure that your computer incorporates a dedicated card to output your NLE system’s color profiles if you opt to edit in one “window” and display a full-size playback in the other or if you’re using one monitor for editing tracks and the other for color correcting.

9. Display Tools

LUT (lookup table) support enables you to view your log recordings without their characteristic flat look; select monitors can display side-by-side views of HDR and SDR (standard dynamic range) for comparison. Popular LUTs are come pre-loaded in some monitors and/or can be loaded in via an USB port or SD card slot. Standard display tools on many monitors include a vectorscope, histogram, exposure zebra, and frame markers.

10. Calibration

Last, but absolutely not least, create a routine for calibrating your monitor. This aligns it to an established standard and is essential for maintaining a consistent look in your project. Some monitors come with calibration software or can be adjusted by loading a calibration LUT. Your best bet might be a calibration program with a tethered probe since it can be used with multiple monitor models or, alternatively, you can hire a technician to do the first calibration and familiarize yourself with the process.

Although it may seem that monitor features are being continually updated, we hope the above tips form a basis for choosing your video editing monitor. For a more in-depth look at log-format recording check out this article by my colleague, David Adler. Seeing is believing—stop by the B&H Photo SuperStore to look at some monitors in person, and explore our wide selection on the B&H Photo website.

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51 Comments

What 4K or 5K monitors are NOT made in China?

Hi Harrison - 
Most if not all EIZO 4K monitors are made in Japan:   https://bhpho.to/3tmbUqp

Hey there!

I'm looking for a monitor as i'm purchasing the HP Z4 G4 Workstation.

I'll be going to grad school for post production and i'll be using davinci resolve studio and avid media computer. 

what monitor would you suggest that's sensitive to your eyes? (BenQ?)

Let me know

Hi Mirsad:
 

BenQ PD3220U DesignVue Designer 31.5" 16:9 HDR 4K IPS Monitor B&H # BEPD3220U  

Key Features

  • 31.5" In-Plane Switching (IPS) Panel
  • Thunderbolt 3 | HDMI | DisplayPort
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz Native Resolution
  • 1000:1 Static Contrast Ratio
  • 300 cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angles
  • 5 ms Response Time (GtG)
  • 10-Bit Support for 1.07 Billion Colors
  • 100% sRGB & Rec. 709 and 95% DCI-P3
  • Built-In USB 3.1 Gen 2 Hub

looking for something from3 to 4 hundred dollar range for gaming 27 inch any suggestions. trying to upgrade from the aoc c32g1

Hello Cameron,

Based on your needs, a great option would be the LG UltraGear 27GL850-B 27" 16:9 144 Hz HDR FreeSync IPS Gaming Monitor, B H # LG27GL850B.

https://bhpho.to/3fdEZ2Z

 

Aloha, Any recommendations for this setup (Mac Mini 2021 M1 Chip 16gb ram) will be used for video editing medium to slightly heavy color grading, preferably something bigger than 24" and at least 4k display. Will be working by myself.

Recommendations for...

- Lower End    - Best suitable    -Higher End

Hi - 

BenQ PD2720U DesignVue Designer 27" 16:9 HDR 4K IPS Monitor B&H # BEPD2720U  

Key Features

  • 27" In-Plane Switching (IPS) Panel
  • Thunderbolt 3 | HDMI | DisplayPort
  • 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz Native Resolution
  • 1000:1 Static Contrast Ratio
  • 350 cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angles
  • 5 ms Response Time (GtG)
  • 10-Bit Support for 1.07 Billion Colors
  • sRGB, Adobe RGB, Rec. 709 & DCI-P3
  • Built-In USB 3.1 Gen 2 Hub

I'm looking for a monitor for photo editing in Photoshop  that is compatible with a 2019 MacBook Pro - what would you recommend? It does not have to be too large, but color is important.

A great option in terms of color, but not overly large would be the BenQ SW270C Photographer 27" 16:9 HDR IPS Monitor, BH # BESW270C 

https://bhpho.to/31sT96f

 

Going full Davinci Resolve Workflow so buying a Mac Mini M1 (16GB / 1TB SSD) and looking at a dual monitor setup like ultrawide bottom (to really see editing timeline) and upper monitor a 4K with a good color profile but not trying to break the bank so would settle for a good low cost 4k (maybe curved) monitor till money comes in from contracts to upgrade (also looking at Mini Pro ISO, CalDigit hub and Davinci Speed Editor) 

Hi Stephen -
Consider the:
Samsung UR59C 32" 16:9 4K Curved LCD Monitor B&H # SAU32R590C  

Key Features:

  • 32" Curved LCD Panel
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 | 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
  • 3840 x 2160 Resolution
  • 2500:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 250 cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angles
  • 4 ms Response Time (GtG)
  • Supports 1.07 Billion Colors
  • 60 Hz Refresh Rate
  • 1500R Curvature

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro ISO HDMI Live Stream Switcher B&H # BLAMMPISO

CalDigit USB Type-C Pro Dock (Space Gray) B&H # CATHBLTPRDCK

Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 17 Studio with Speed Editor (Dongle) B&H # BLDRDONSEBUN
 

Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 17 Studio with Speed Editor (Activation Card)B&H # BLDRSEBUN

Hello. I want to buy a monitor 32", 4K, curved, in order to view and edit my GoPro videos. I have searched Samsung UR59C and Dell S3221QS. I don't see many other options out there. Can you suggest the best monitor? 

Must be 32", curved, 4K

Thanks

Hi Alberto - 

All fine choices.  I like the:
Samsung UR59C 32" 16:9 4K Curved LCD Monitor

B&H # SAU32R590C  

Key Features

  • 32" Curved LCD Panel
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0 | 1 x DisplayPort 1.2
  • 3840 x 2160 Resolution
  • 2500:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 250 cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angles
  • 4 ms Response Time (GtG)
  • Supports 1.07 Billion Colors
  • 60 Hz Refresh Rate
  • 1500R Curvature

Hi. Great post. What would be recommendable for a old MacBook pro 2012, but will be used also on a MacBook air. We do some video editing. Sometime this year I will be moving to a new Mac, not sure if pro or mini. So would be good to have something that would fit for that also. A big range here, hopefully you can point me some directions. Thanks 

Hi Mauro - 

The LG 27UK500-B 27" 16:9 FreeSync IPS Monitor will work for many, if not most, 4K and HD projects.

I'm looking for a 4k monitor to edit 4k videos...I have been looking in the higher budget range as I would lo=ike a larger monitor like the rog strix UQ43UQ (i think that's right) or ASUS ROG Strix XG27UQ and even the ...in my research, I have been a bit fixated on the higher refresh models (over 60 hz)...is a higher refresh rate necessary for 4k editing?  Or will I be just fine with 60 hz?  if so what monitors would you recommend in the +30"-43" range?  Asking for a friend...haha...thank you in advanced.

Hi Zach - 

A high refresh rate is not critical for video editing work at all. 60Hz will work just fine. You will want to consider a large IPS panel with high resolution.

I'm looking for a 4K monitor as I'm editing 4K videos now, but I don't want to break the bank just yet.  Looking at the LG 27UK500-B 27" 16:9 FreeSync IPS Monitor, how would you rate this for editing purposes?

Hi Robert - 

The LG 27UK500-B 27" 16:9 FreeSync IPS Monitor will work for many, if not most, 4K editing tasks.  
 

having trouble evaluating differences in the 27" BenQ models. I have a 2016 MacBook Pro 15" and a 2009 MacBook Pro on which I edit in FCP--looking for quality color to grade two projects, one web, one festival screening. Being able to use with both would be ideal, but at least good results on the 2016. Which one do you recommend? or another brand? I usually like to futureproof a little but I'm not likely to go 4k soon....

The BenQ PD2700U DesignVue Designer 27" 16:9 IPS Monitor is a great option.  It will be great for grading and editing and is 3840 x 2160.

https://bhpho.to/2Kt0y2J

Hello! I'm looking for a monitor for my mac mini. I am a youtuber so I will be using it for video editing. What monitor do you recommend that is around $100-$300 price range? Hoping to keep the price below $300.

The Dell U2415 24" Widescreen LED Backlit IPS Monitor is a great option in your price range, BH #DEU2415.

https://bhpho.to/3a8Ojmc

Greetings !

Would you recommend the

HP Z43 42.5" 16:9 4K UHD IPS Display

for video editing on fcpx 4 k

thank you,

C

Hi Cyrille - 

Yes!  It is a superb monitor.

HP Z43 42.5" 16:9 4K UHD IPS Display

B&H # HEZ43

Key Features:

  • In-Plane Switching (IPS) Technology
  • DP + Mini DP+ HDMI + USB Type-C
  • 3840 x 2160 4K UHD Resolution
  • 1000:1 Static Contrast Ratio
  • 350 cd/m² Brightness
  • 178°/178° Viewing Angles
  • 8 ms Response Time (GtG)
  • 1.07 Billion Colors
  • Built-In USB 3.0 Hub

I am looking for a monitor to do photo editing and general use. I checked B&H web and am considering BenQ PD2700U. I would want to limit the spending to $500 although I could go for up to a few hundred more if necessary. Is this BenQ PD2700U good for my intended use? Is there any option better than this if I spend a little more? Thanks!

The BenQ PD2700U DesignVue Designer 27" 16:9 IPS Monitor is a fantastic option in your budget.  It is a great monitor!

https://bhpho.to/2Wc7LGA

Hi, I need help buying a monitor. I found this one so I'm interested in your opinion. I would use it in video editing.

Dzan F. wrote:

Hi, I need help buying a monitor. I found this one so I'm interested in your opinion. I would use it in video editing.

LG 29WL500 UltraWide 21:9

LG's are great options.  We do not have the model you listed, but we do have a 34" option.

https://bhpho.to/3765QIR

Thanks!

Hi! 

Please, may you reccomend me a monitor for color grading that's 1920 x 1080 for around 450€?

10 bit preferred if possibile at this price point 

Hi Akairo - 
:B&H # BEPD2700Q 

The PD2700Q 27" 16:9 IPS Monitor from BenQ is a professional monitor designed for users who need accurate colors. It's built with an In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel that provides you with wide 178° viewing angles and vivid color reproduction. Combined with its 10-bit color support, and 100% Rec.709 and sRGB coverage, you'll be able to work with a wide and accurate color pallet. For additional clarity, this display has a 2560 x 1440 QHD screen that offers four times the resolution of a standard 720p screen so you'll be able to work on the finer details. Utilize its Darkroom, CAD/CAM, and Animation modes to assist you with your craft and adjust your desktop partition for an easier time multitasking. Connect this display to your system via HDMI, DisplayPort or Mini DisplayPort, and then adjust it to your viewing preference.

I’ve been using my BenQ PD2700Q for a couple years now for photo editing.  Love it!  I’m sure there are reasons to spend more, but I haven’t I haven’t found any.  

Would this work with my late 2013 Mac Pro in 10 bit? I'm not sure if the 2013 Mac Pro supports 10 bit. Documentation is hard to find. I've been using the Apple Cinema Displays 2006 model. 

Hi Doug - 

 A 2013 Mac Pro running El Capitan or later will support the use of 10-bit-per-channel color.

For now I'm only working in HD, so I'm considering getting two ASUS ProArt Series monitors (the 24" variant) - one for the computer display, the other for program video out from my NLE, since it's rated for 100% Rec. 709 display as well as 100% sRGB display.  Question is (and this should be a whole section on Explora's tips), to display true Rec. 709, do I need to output from a third party pro video card like the Blackmagic Intensity Pro 4K, or can I get by with using one of the outputs on my AMD Radeon RX580 GPU to display the correct color and other aspects of the Rec. 709 spec?

For a true program video out from a NLE you need a playback device.  It cannot be done by just a graphics card alone.

https://bhpho.to/3o0ygf0

Thanks!

Are there any good monitors for colorists that are also compatible with rack mount i.e. the Blackmagic Smartview 4K?

The Smartview itself is already a great option.
https://bhpho.to/3ncf2m3

Hi guys.I have a few option and the price is similar to each of this monitor, but i would like to know what i should choose for editing photos and videos. I bought a gaming laptop Lenovo Legion y740, 8gb video, 32ram, i7-8750, and the monitor is 144hz, gaming monitor and i found out late that all my photos and videos are very sharp and all my work seems like useless and now i need to buy a monitor so i can work on my hobby, i mention that im a newbie and didnt know to much about editing, but i just wanna try my best. I have this options and dont know which one to choose. Thank you.

AOC 27 "U27P2 4K

LG 43 "43UN700-B

Philips 34 "346B1C

Philips 32 "326M6VJRM 4K

LG 27 "27UL850W

Hi Capitanu - 

I recommend this LG:
Designed for offices, gaming, multimedia, media creators, and other mixed-use environments, the 43UN700-B 42.5" 16:9 4K HDR IPS Monitor from LG (https://bhpho.to/36mHiN4) enables professional performance with enhanced picture quality on a large 42.5" screen. With this much screen area, you'll be able to display more content simultaneously, thanks to a four-screen split with Picture-by-Picture (PbP) and Picture-in-Picture (PiP) functionality. Backing this large display is a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 60 Hz, a 16:9 aspect ratio, and support for HDR10 that renders an increased dynamic range. Additional integrated functionality includes In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology, 10-bit support for 1.07 billion colors, an anti-glare coating with a 3H hardness rating, a typical contrast ratio of 1000:1 (700:1 minimum), a typical brightness level of 400 cd/m2 (320 cd/m2 minimum), an 8 ms (GtG) response time, and support for 72% of the NTSC (CIE 1931) color gamut. Using the 178° horizontal and vertical viewing angles, it is possible to watch content from virtually any position.

Is the LG 27GN950-B a good option for pro-video editing? I’m a professional videographer / photographer, but also gamer. Is this the best of both worlds? Are there any shortcomings in this monitor for editing?

I edit on a 16in 2019 MacBook Pro. 
 

Thanks 

Hi David - 
This would not be my first recommendation for a video-editing work station.  But seeing that you need a dual use monitor for gaming, it is an excellent choice and will manage basic editing tasks quite well.

 Flight Simulator 2020 has a setting called V-sync that van be turned on and off. If I have a current 75Hz monitor that that does not have a sync mode compatible with my Ampere video card, will that setting in the program give a similar result?

Unfortunately,  V-Sync would be a specific protocol so you may not see a similar result on a monitor that does not have this sync mode. 

Any consideration to refresh rate as a factor for high res video & video editing?

Hi Teresa - 

A high refresh rate is not critical for video editing work at all. 60Hz will work just fine. You will want to consider a large IPS panel with high resolution.

Hi,

I just purchased an HP DreamColor Z27x G2 Monitor from BH Photo. Do I need to calibrate it in spite of the fact HP claims it's factory-calibrated? And if I do, I have an i1 Display Pro kit. Is there a detailed step-by-step guideline specifically designed to calibrate the monitor accurately? Thanks. 

Just wondering about monitor resolution. There are many available resolutions. For example, I've seen some monitors with a vertical resolution of 1050, however my HD edit system is 1080 (no, I haven't gone to 4K yet). Do I need to get a monitor that is 1080 vertical resolution to edit smoothly with my current system? Thanks.

Monitor resolution will have little impact on the smoothness of your edit (for example, you may only start to notice slowness when you use a 4K monitor with a high refresh rate since it'll require extra processing power to run in addition to your NLE). I would recommend going with a 2560 x 1440 resolution at a minimum because it is helpful to see your footage on a sharp screen. On that display you can see your Full HD video at true 1:1, which is nice. It's also not necessary for smooth editing, just recommended for personal comfort.

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