Dolby PRM-4200

Tonight, Dolby is having its celebration to introduce its new  Dolby PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor, which is available in the marketplace at $54,950 MSRP. The unit was first shown at NAB 2010 (and again at IBC, where the final production model was previewed); Film & Video editor Bryant Frazer originally wrote a blog post about it here.

Since NAB 2010, the Dolby PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor has been in “very limited beta testing” at E-FILM, Laser Pacific and The Post Group iO Film, says Bill Admans, a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Dolby. Ron Burdett, Laser Pacific general manager of film/data DI restoration and mastering, says the monitor, in terms of blacks, “is awesome.” “It’s absolutely amazing,“ enthuses Burdett. “You can’t rely on the image unless you have a standard. And I think Dolby will fit that standard [in regards to professional reference monitors).”

Since NAB 2010, Dolby has redesigned several components, made improvements in software and significantly improved performance. “People saw the monitor at NAB and were blown away,” says Admans. “We believe the performance will be exceptionally better. We’ve spent a lot of time perfecting the calibration process so we now have extremely accurate rendering of the three primary colors, which is critical for color grading for DI in particular.”

The other area where Dolby has made extensive efforts is in the monitor’s true black levels and highly accurate detail. “The  black levels are so accurately dark that when the monitor is on, people have asked for a green LED so they’d know the monitor was on,” says Admans. “With all the extended dynamic range captured with new digital cameras like the Sony F-35 and ARRI Alexa, it’s really the only monitor that can accurately render the dynamic range of those cameras in the sense that you can see all the detail in the dark areas of the image–and all the detail in the highlights, which to a cinematographer is incredibly important. They’re trying to preserve all those details and need to see their exposure and the the details in color correction.”

Admans notes that some DI artists also told them that this is the first monitor capable of wide dynamic range from high contrast film stocks. “Some folks are having issues in the DI environment for printing on the Kodak Vision 3 stocks, which have a much wider color gamut and much wider latitude,” he says. “This is the first time a colorist can truly see the black levels and what the detail level is in the blacks and can truly color correct for the new film stocks. It’s a real benefit to their workflow.”

“Dolby is very conscious of the partnership we have with the content creation community,” adds Admans. “In developing the 4200 we were very conscious in including colorists and cinematographers and color scientists from our customer community in the development and refinement of the monitor. We truly have a monitor designed for the content creation community.”