How to Set Up a 10-Bit External Color Grading Monitor With an iMac or MacBook

If you are looking for a way to output a 10 \-bit video signal from an iMac or a MacBook Pro, then you are in luck. In this article, you will discover everything you need to know to bypass Apple’s color management system and send a clean video signal using the Blackmagic Decklink Mini Monitor 4K.

Unfortunately, unless you have a Mac Pro, if you would like to output a 10-bit video signal from an iMac or a Macbook Pro, this process will require an extra step since you can’t install the Blackmagic Decklink Mini Monitor 4K PCIe card in either computer.

In order for you to be able to send a 10-bit video signal from your Mac, you will require an external PCIe card expansion system like the Sonnet Echo Express SE I Thunderbolt 3. The Sonnet expansion chassis will allow you to install the Blackmagic Decklink Mini Monitor 4K PCIe card and connect it to your Mac using a Thunderbolt cable.

For step-by-step instructions on how to set everything up, you can refer to the video tutorial above. Once you have your PCIe card installed and connected to your Mac, you will be able to export a 10-bit or 12-bit video signal from DaVinci Resolve 17 to an external monitor for more accurate color grading.

The Blackmagic Decklink Mini Monitor 4K PCIe card is also compatible with Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere as well as a few other video editing programs. The last step is to choose a video monitor that can handle the 10-bit video signal. Choosing a color accurate display can be difficult, but if you are on a budget you may want to have a look at the 48 inch LG CX or LG C1 models. The LG CX and C1 series are OLED panels that have some advanced features, and they are also very color accurate.

The LG OLED series allows you to calibrate the display and then upload a correction LUT to the monitor for an almost reference quality image. Considering what you would have to pay for the Apple 32-inch Pro Display 6K XDR or a 32 inch Asus Pro Art Display, it is quite a reasonable price.

In conclusion, if you would like to take your color grading to the next level, this is definitely a setup worth testing out. Let me know in the comment section below if you have any color grading tips you would like to share with the Fstoppers community.

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1 Comment
J J's picture

Seems like a lot of work when you can get the BM thunderbolt to SDI device for short money.