June 28, 2016 at 2:15PM


is a 10 bit color editing pipeline needed to edit 10 bit footage

I am building a new editing computer and trying to decide if the cost is worth the benefit in upgrading to a 10 bit color pipeline workflow. What benefit will I receive if I spend $800 on a Quadro M4000 versus $650 on a MUCH faster GTX 1070?
Right now I have been editing 10 bit color with a 8 bit pipeline (GTX780 and 8bit monitor) It seems like I still get the 10 bit benefit of pulling color out of blown out highlights etc and my card seems to be handling the footage just fine. So my other questions are:
2: Am I not actually working in 10 bit color and the footage is just being auto converted to 8 bit or am I still working with 10 bit color, the only difference is what I see on my monitor display is only 8 bit to my eyes but the footage remains 10 bit and I can make adjustments using the scopes which read it in 10 bit.
3: Is the benefit of 10 bit pipeline that you can see the image in your monitor and make accurate adjustments without necessarily having to rely on your scopes. (I am an old man from the Beta Cam era so I have it ingrained to never trust your monitor and always only use your scopes.)
3: Is the graphics card needed to export and master to 10 bit color video files? All my clients end products are 8 bit at this point so it doesn't matter as much but future ones might want video files delivered in 10 bit.
4: I am looking to upgrade to a Black Magic 4.6K or Red camera and will be shooting in 444 12 bit color. Is the Quadro going to be faster and or required to edit that footage?
5: If I get a 10 bit 4k monitor and run it off a GTX1080 graphics card which is 8 bit what will happen? Is the 10 bit just wasted and what I will be seeing on my monitor 8 bit?

Also any component advice for building a new editing system is appreciated. The GTX 1070 and 1080 are so crazy fast and people posting benchmarks show they blow even the quadro 6000 out of the water and that bad boy sells for 5 grand.


From my understanding, you can have a full 10-bit workflow without being able to see it. That's including a 10-bit file in, working in 10-bit (or better) in the NLE/post workflow and 10-bit master. You'll be able to work with all of the additional color information, even though you can't see it. Given that you're a big fan of scopes, that's not likely to be an issue for you.

As far as actually seeing the difference on screen, you'll need a 10-bit display, a GPU that handles 10-bit, and a compatible cable type. That I won't comment on too much as I don't have that class of rig set up and I don't want to lead you astray.

June 28, 2016 at 7:36PM

Mike Racine

10-bit monitors are going to become much cheaper over the next year or so because UHD Premium TVs will start shipping this year.

What is Ultra HD Premium?

So I would not be surprised if all monitors eventually become 10-bit because that will become the standard for most TVs in 3+ years.

June 29, 2016 at 6:34AM, Edited June 29, 6:34AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

I work with 12 bit all the time on my GTX780 Ti which is similar to the Titan so any of those higher end GTX cards should be just fine. What you really should be looking for is fast storage, I have 8 drive in a RAID 10 array and 96GB of RAM so that gives me lots of room for smaller projects to be edited off a RAM drive. I would look into PCI SSD solutions. I still haven't maxed out usage on my 780Ti (and yes I think RED gimps their software to only accelerate to the max with their red rocket cards).

June 30, 2016 at 7:21AM

Clark McCauley

Your Comment