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March/April 2024

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Page 21 of 39

olor grading is inarguably an art. It is an essential element of the filmmaking process where the color, contrast and texture of a motion picture is altered to enhance and evoke the intended emotional and visceral impact of the story. The "canvas" on which color artists paint their images is most often a reference HDR video monitor, designed to accurately reproduce a wide range of colors and brightness levels with the full- est possible spectrum of color, contrast and tonality so as to accurately render the filmmaker's creative vision. The choices for capable, full-range reference HDR and SDR monitoring have traditionally been limited to expensive and complex display technologies that have made the barrier to entry, particu- larly for HDR color finishing, a relatively high-cost venture. To date, the tech- nology driving reference displays has primarily been either RGB OLED — such as the Sony BVM-X300 — or light-modu- lated LCD (dual layer LCD, full array local dimming, or a combination of these). The BVM-X300 offered wide gamut color, impressive viewing angle uni- formity, quick pixel response and high contrast, but proved challenging to drive at reference HDR luminance levels. And the RGB OLED panel was designed to cover DCI-P3 and Rec.709 gamuts, but not to extend out into the Rec. 2020 color space. Even the best LCD reference monitors have required either a constant direct backlight or a modulated local dimming LED array, which is highly ineffi- cient due to the surprisingly low trans- missivity of color LCD arrays. And LCD technologies more frequently exhibit off-axis color shifts, luminance and chro- matic non-uniformity, and image artifacts related to the slower pixel response time of LCD. Larger format WOLED displays employing four sub pixels — white/ red/green/blue — served as a stop-gap solution for some time by offering a way to make OLED technology brighter, but with the important caveat that these displays suffer from display color volume collapse in HDR. WOLEDs could attain relatively high luminance peak white, but any non-white bright color output targets were either produced too dimly or were necessarily desaturated when attempting to reproduce HDR display volumes on-screen. So while sometimes employed as client monitors in the grading suite, these WOLED solutions were not suitable as a primary reference display for HDR grading. It's safe to say there was room for improvement — which has now been realized with the advent of a break- through display technology — quantum dot OLED. QD-OLED is an entirely novel application of quantum dot nanopar- ticles developed by Samsung Display Corporation that combines the best characteristics of OLED (fast pixel response, excellent contrast, low power consumption, uniformly wide viewing angle, etc.) with quantum dot semicon- ductor nanoparticles. The application of quantum mechanics behind this amazing tech is so significant that, last year, the Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov, the research- ers who discovered and developed quantum dot nanoparticles. Comprehending the groundbreaking achievement of quantum dot OLED starts with a better understanding of the dots themselves. Quantum dots are ex- tremely tiny semiconductor nanocrystals as small as two nanometers. To put that into perspective, human hair is approxi- mately 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers wide. When these nanoparticles are made small enough, their optical prop- erties become "tunable" to specific color wavelengths based on their size. In a QD-OLED display, QD nanocrys- tals positioned above the red and green subpixels are excited by the photon energy of the blue OLED layer beneath. Unlike LCDs, where light emitted from the LED backplane must pass through multiple layers of polarization, liquid crys- tal diodes and color filters, the QD-OLED structure results in an incredibly efficient and uniform color conversion of the blue OLED emitting source to extremely pure and wide dispersion of RGB light output. Since colors are expressed only by the three primaries (R, G and B), QD- OLED recreates accurate colors with minimal adjacent color contamination across the luminance range. Further, QD-OLED emits light in a dome-shaped or "Lambertian" light-dispersion pattern, which ensures that the light is visible evenly in all directions, delivering a high level of uniform luminance with a wide range of volumetric color expressions re- gardless of viewing angle. And enhanced low luminance power control means that a QD-OLED retains exquisite details in the deepest blacks. "Samsung Display's QD-OLED tech- nology combines the best in material engineering, quantum physics and vision science to enable a richer and more expressive content creation canvas," explains Chirag Shah, senior director, Samsung Display. "We are thrilled by the growing adoption of QD-OLED and look forward to working with our partners to expand the reach and impact of this innovative display technology." For reference HDR and SDR color monitoring applications, QD-OLED pan- els have been implemented in recent- ly-introduced monitors from Flanders Scientific and SmallHD that bring the best imaging technology currently avail- able to colorists, DITs, VFX, mobile broad- cast production trucks and more. Last year, Flanders Scientific (FSI) introduced the world's first professional QD-OLED monitor, the 55-inch XMP550. Boasting an impressive 2,000-nit max luminance and jaw-dropping off-axis capabilities, this pioneering product quickly garnered acclaim, earning the HPA Engineering Excellence Award and the CineGear Post-Production Technology Award. The XMP550 represents a paradigm shift in the professional-monitoring space by offering the level of reference grade HDR performance typically only found in 31-inch and smaller mastering monitors, in a larger form factor. This opens up many interesting opportunities for post facilities, including the ability to build out single monitor viewing environments so that colorists and clients can all view the same image on the same display. FSI recently extended the XMP lineup by releasing the 65-inch XMP650 and the 31.5-inch XMP310. The XMP650 caters to environments that require a COLOR GRADING ENTERS THE QUANTUM REALM BY WES DONAHUE PRODUCT MANAGER, CINE & POST PRODUCTION SMALLHD & BRAM DESMET CEO FLANDERS SCIENTIFIC QD-OLED COMBINES THE BEST OF OLED WITH QUANTUM DOT SEMI- CONDUCTOR NANOPARTICLES C MONITORS 20 POST MAR/APR 2024

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