As many of you know, I review a ton of gear each year and I often get asked which piece of gear I found most useful for my daily work and which piece of gear would I most recommend that people consider adding to their workflow and why…
In past years, my pick usually involved getting better pictures from cameras but this year we saw our share of some great new tech for the video professional. Gimbals like the DJI Ronin and smaller units like the iKAN FlyX3 but the one item that stands out the most to me and one I recommend to clients several times a week is the new line LG 34” super wide displays . LG actually calls these “LG UltraWide” which is more accurate description.
Why a display? For starters, it’s more than “just a display “, it’s a well thought-out 21:9 display with a Thunderbolt 2 dock built in! With one cable I can connect my Thunderbolt desktop or laptop to the display and get all my necessary connections as well as unbelievable desktop space for editing. As you can see from the picture of my busy desk , I have a lot going on as I have 4 editing systems in my editing bay ranging from OSX , Windows 8, NVIDIA , and AMD GPUs. This set up actually allows me to do bench marking as well as answer questions from customers based on different configs.
In the past it took 3 monitors connected to an expensive Gefen Display Port 4×4 KVM switch and a ton of cables. As many of you know, it’s very common to run 3 displays in order to get the real estate they need to organize their work. With the newUltraWide LG’s , you can actually reduce those down to two displays- one for editing and one for 4K preview. For me, it also provides a wider timeline view without the need to keep switching resolutions back and forth. The key benefit on the technical side but only using 2 displays you are saving GPU processing resources by only needing to “push” 2 displays rather than 3 (less pixels to refresh) . As many New Mac Pro users now know, having too many displays on your system taxes performance on the AMD D500 or D700’s and understanding the 3 different Thunderbolt Buses is critical to the New Mac Pros performance. With the newer LG 34”UltraWide , you can rest easy with less configuration headaches.
I started using the 34UM65 Thunderbolt 2 displays in early 2014 and quickly found them to be the answer I was looking for. I tried using a single 4K display as well but editing on a 4K display requires more GPU to access the 4K real estate and you still need a 2nd display for full screen preview. As LG figured out, the simple answer is width not height.
LG quickly followed up with their Curved version of the UltraWide display 34UC97 which is what I now use daily – I can honestly say that the best just got better….
As you can see in the picture above, There are 2 UltraWide displays on my editing desk. One for my HP Z820 (now with Thunderbolt2) and one for my New Mac Pro. Each editing platform has a matching 4K display for 4K preview as well as additional workspace.
One cool thing about Premiere and using multiple displays: whenever you jump out of Premiere (say to your desktop) , Premiere will release the full screen preview and present your expanded desktop allowing for additional workspace. Again , using only 2 displays. Tip: you access these settings in the Preferences>Playback>Video Device area (also known as Mercury Transmit
A few things to point out: The new LG 34UC97 and the previous version allow you to connect 2 computers and split the screen to a single display. This might be handy for people that want their laptop and desktop or Windows and Mac systems available at the same time with out needing a switcher. If you are a Windows 7/8 user , consider getting a newer PC system with Thunderbolt 2. I have a single connection from my HP Z820 to the LG and it works great. Of course this is the current norm for Mac users already it’s just great to see HP, Lenovo, Dell, Gigabyte and others supporting Thunderbolt 2 as well.
If you have a system without Thunderbolt, you can still use the Displayport and HDMI connections. The good news is that you’ll have a Thunderbolt 2 ready display for your next system upgrade. I routinely recommend this display for users still wanting to use their older Mac Pros with a newer NVIDIA Cuda card or AMD card and needless to say, it quickly became their favorite upgrade as well.
If you plan to buy a 4K display as well , I would also recommend the LG 4K (31MU97) IPS display as a companion to the UltraWide display as the IPS colors are fairly close to each other. Always nice to have displays that match.
I also just got back from CES 2015 and there are a few other 21:9 displays but none have Thunderbolt 2 which again is not a must but nice to have the option.
A note for RED Dragon 6K users – This 3440×1440 display also provides an excellent playback display when used with RedCine or Premiere Pro CC 2014. Just set playback to ½ resolution and let the GPU take over and you’ll see what I mean. The IPS colors are truly amazing for this price point. This display should hold us for a while until true 6K display’s or 8K displays come within reach and I’m sure LG will have something for us.
What’s missing? Honestly, the only thing I would add to this display is an Ethernet port. For now, the problem is easily solved with a $20.00 USB 3.0 to GigE adapter that you can hang off the back of the display. I use the Cable Matters one as it’s OSX 10.10 and Win 8.1 compatible – here’s the Amazon link.
That’s my 2 cents……
I can easily give this display 4.8 out of 5 stars – hats off to the LG engineers…