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Video Processors, Technology & Calibration Discuss the best way to get the most from your video system.

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Old 05-15-2008   #1
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 36

Hi everyone!

I'd like to announce a new extensive guide I've put together:


Over 250 hours of research and writing have gone into this guide.

This guide came about as the do-it-yourself (DIY) crowd has been asking more and more about greyscale calibration over the years. With reliable colorimeters now under $150 USD and excellent free software like ColorHCFR available, it's a no-brainer that all DIY enthusiasts have some sort of colorimeter in their toolbox.

Countless number of calibration guides have been published prior to this one. Some of them quite good. The problem we found is that most assume that the reader already has the required equipment and knows exactly how to set it up properly. Most guides also assume that the reader has a good understanding of terms like D65, stimulus, CIE, etc. Some even provide links to highly technical documents as "required reading". Yes, many of these documents are very informative, but not everyone wants to earn a doctorate in colorimetry so that they can set their greyscale properly.

My guide takes a step backwards and makes the assumption that the reader has absolutely no knowledge of colour calibration. In fact, this guide assumes that the reader doesn't even *know* what "greyscale calibration" is! We explain what it is, why it's important, list the tools needed, where to get them, and walk you through the process from start to finish.

I hope you find it useful.

Disclaimer: Those not comfortable with a DIY approach should consider hiring a pro. For those that would never consider hiring a pro or simply want to learn a bit more, this guide is for you. Whether you attempt to perform the calibration yourself or hire a professional, please consider having your display calibrated. You will be astounded by the resulting difference in picture quality.

Comments and feedback are appreciated!


Last edited by kal; 06-13-2008 at 07:25 PM..
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Old 05-15-2008   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: U.S.
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Thanks for the guide, Kal.
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Old 05-15-2008   #3
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 36

No problems! I Hope it helps you out in some way! Putting my thoughts down on paper has certainly helped me!

I have a few other items still left to add to turn this "greyscale calibration" guide into a comprehensive "colour calibration" guide including measuring primaries and secondaries, and complete colour decorder adjustments (hue/tint/saturation/etc).

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), primaries cannot be adjusted on most displays, and colour decoder adjustments are typically quick and easy to do.


Last edited by kal; 05-15-2008 at 09:28 PM..
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Old 05-17-2008   #4
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New York City
Posts: 56

Hi Kal,

Reliable Colorimeters under $150 U.S.! Maybe reliable but far from accurate. I compare my Minolta CS200 to 2 and 3K colorimeters like Sencores new CP6000 and others all the time and they are nowhere near as accurate. the Spyder at $250 is so bad that my clients get angry when their picture is destroyed and they have pay to me to come in and fix it. The piece doesn't get anything right in its suggestions. There is no substitute for a true reference meter when it comes to accurate grayscale calibration.
Kevin Miller
Phone: 718-274-0236
Email: kevin@ISFTV.COM
Web Site: www.ISFTV.COM ;
Founding Imaging Science Foundation Member since 1994. Industry Consultant ~ ISF Instructor
Contributing Editor to CNET.COM, &
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Old 05-18-2008   #5
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Posts: 36

Hi Kevin,

You're right! The Spyder2 is a junk. I state so in my guide as I DO NOT recommend the Spyder2 at all.

You don't seem to have read my guide.

In fact I warn people NOT to buy it for the exact reasons you stated. See the initial "what tools do I need" section and Appendix A where I compare the $60 Spyder2 to the $150 Eye-One. The Eye-One is recommended by authors of professional calibration software as well as some of the top professional calibrators in the world (who own the Photo Research PR 650 and other similar expensive calibration tools) for DIY enthusiasts as the lowest price reliable/accurate colorimeter.

The Spyder2 is $60 USD as well (not $250). It hasn't cost $250 in over 3-4 years now.

As I state in my guide, tests done by many experts on dozens of samples of Spyder2 colorimeters have found that 1/3 are accurate, 1/3 are so-so, and the last 1/3 are unusable. Taking your chances like this is with a Spyder2 is something people should *not* be doing if they want to spend time to do colour calibration correctly. The Spyder2 is only included in my step-by-step procedures as so many people already own them. I clearly state the caveats however and instead push the Eye-One probe as the best reasonable option for home users to get very close to accurate readings.

To read how/why the Eye-One is recommended and how it compares to some of the more expensive tools out there, spend some time on largest calibration forum in the world: The AVS forum "Display Calibrations" forum where authors of professional calibration software as well as some of the top professional calibrators spend some of their time.

I recommend that people consider hiring a professional, but an educated consumer is a smarter consumer: Spending $150 and learning the ins and outs of calibration (even only at a high level) creates a smart consumer and helps week out the 'fly by night' calibrators who do a disservice to people like yourself in the industry. It gives the consumer a better appreciation as to what the experts do, and positions them to ask smart questions when shopping for a calibrator. If I had a nickel for every person who called themselves a "calibrator" just because they paid the fee to take the ISF course, I'd be a rich man. As you're aware: The ISF courses do not make someone a calibration expert - experience does.


Last edited by kal; 05-18-2008 at 07:44 PM..
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Old 05-19-2008   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 4

Hi Kal,

What a great job you did with this guide. It is so rare to find someone who actually knows what they are talking about who is also willing to share their information. Especially with so much detail. I appreciate all of the time and effort that you spent in putting this together. After having only read through the first section I was 100% sure that the information you were giving was accurate and well put together. As a fellow AV professional it is refreshing to know that there really are others out there who care enough about the industry to share what they know for the betterment of the business.

So thank you for everything that you did and I look forward to any other contributions that you might make.

Bill Allen
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