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Essential Video Calibration Software/Disks/Information etc....must have's!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

I am a bit of a video enthusiast and I can get pretty picky when it comes to what is displayed on my projection system or on my LCD TV. I have been fortunate enough to be able to have a dedicated Home Theater for about 5 years now and have found some useful information that I would like to share with others! So for those of you interested in maximizing your video playback enjoyment please read on.....I truly hope you find this information helpful!

Introduction:

Most all video displays, whether they be Projectors (LCD, DLP, CRT, LCoS, etc), LCD, Plasma, DLP, CRT etc reproduce signals to give you what you see on your screen. There are standards established by the recording/broadcasting industries that allow your display device to show this information.

However, not every display shows this content as it was "intended" to be seen. If the "standard" was followed exactly by manufacturers, then every setup would look essentially the same. The facts show us otherwise though. If you enter into your local electronics store (WalMart, Target, CC, Best Buy, Fry's, etc) you will notice the obvious differences in setups. Why is this done? Marketing for one. The more POP/WOW/BRIGHTNESS/CLARITY etc that a display shows can help sell that unit. Again, if the standard was displayed correctly and the sets have been calibrated to that standard, the displays would essentially show the same thing. This is NOT to say that all displays are equal, but the standard is just that...the standard... and viewing that standard should produce the same results on any set IF it is indeed capable of displaying it.

I could go on forever on this topic but the above paragraph should give you the basics.

Why should I care?:

Well that is a good question. For starters, many folks want to view content (movies, TV, etc) the way that it was recorded. Some refer to this as the "Director's Intent". Individuals want to see the content as it was "intended" to be displayed. There are others that may not like the way certain recordings look and then begin to "tweak" the display device to obtain something that looks good to "their eyes". That is 100% normal and acceptable if you would like to do this. Heck, if you like to have a "POP/WOW" experience and the original content did not record it as such, then by all means tweak away! I personally would like to KNOW that I am achieving the closest possible reproduction of video content and THEN tweak such content to what I like. In my situation, I want as close to the "Director's Intent".

Another facet to this "why should I care?" scenario is when choosing a display device. Some setups simply can NOT display the content correctly. This may be due to the quality of the electronics inside or inherent flaws/problems with the unit itself. For me, I want to know that the device that I am purchasing at least has the ability to reproduce the colors and black levels throughout the spectrum. To determine this it can be a long process but hopefully a good salesperson will allow you to tweak the OOTB (out of the box) settings on a device so that you can compare apples to apples. Another area where I could go on for days but you get the picture.

Calibration (Professional):

So now that you understand a bit of where I am coming from we can continue.

Most of us already have our display devices and are probably wondering just how we can achieve that calibrated setup on our systems. One way to do this is by having an ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) calibration done. The techs that do this should be ISF certified and have attended courses to allow them to calibrate your setups. This is not "inexpensive" by any stretch of the imagination but will yeild TREMENDOUS results from your display system. Most people do not want to or can not afford this.
Quote:
About ISF
ISF is in the Display Standards industry, and is dedicated to improving the quality of electronic imaging. ISF has four basic roles in this industry and the PC industry, which include consulting with manufacturers regarding product development, dealer training, media communications, and ISF licensing. They are the co-inventor of the recently launched and patented Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition 2004 Monitor Calibration Wizard. ---From Nvidia.com
I have seen some before and after calibrations done while living in Texas and I must say that the difference is night and day when it is done properly.

For those of us that would like to calibrate our display devices OURSELVES, there are many resources available......

Calibration (Do it Yourself!):

Located below are a few resources I have found across the internet that have made my viewing experiences that much better!

For those interested, there is a wonderful site that has information on a great deal of topics from HTPC, Projectors, Audio, Consoles, LCDs, etc. If you searching for information, then I HIGHLY recommend this site.

http://www.avsforum.com/

You can hit on the "Forum" tab to get to the discussion areas where there is a WEALTH of information.

Purchased Content for Calibration:

For those of you that are interested in calibrating your displays, Projectors, TVs etc.....there are software programs on the internet that will allow you to do this OR you can purchase or make a calibration disk. I have not used the AVIA series but some folks like it. A link is below:

AVIA series calibration


Or....

Digital Video Essential by JKP

I purchased the DVE for BluRay Here its $16.87 now.

They contain test patterns and an explanation of how content should be displayed. Both can be found on Amazon.com or probably many other "etailers" out there.

I personally have used DVE on Blu Ray and it comes with the Blue/Red/Green filters inside (they have HD/DVD as well). The disk does a good job explaining the history of the broadcast industry and has a multitude of test patterns that will allow you to calibrate your display device. I highly recommend this...some folks may not like the narration as it can move pretty fast, but for testing/calibrating your setup they provide "pauses" that let you pause the presentation while checking your setup. They also provide the test patterns alone so they can be used if you just want to see them. The disk also gives folks a good idea on how to setup their home theater.

Another DVD that could be used can be found at....

Get Gray Calibration DVD

A friend of mine from the AVS forum who I correspond with regularly wrote the instructions for this. I have not used this DVD yet but it is in my purchase list. There are probably MANY other resources that have test patterns on them...some BluRay and HDDVD movies have them as well.

Calibration Software you can burn!:

For those of you that would like to get the test software and burn it yourself (this is OCN and we like to do do things oursleves right???) to a DVD then you simply have to check out the AVCHD 709 software that the folks at AVS Forums have created. By using a simple ISO burning program such as, IMG Burn, you can place the content on a DVD so that will display the High Def patterns on your device. You do NOT need a BluRay burner to do this. Everything can be burned onto a standard DVD-R disk and it will display on your device. I am using a PS3 for my 1080P BluRay player and it works like a champ. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone desiring to get the most out of their displays.

AVCHD 709 Software thread (supports BluRay, HDDVD, and MP4)

There is an instruction set contained as a PDF in that thread and some helpful tips! This software will really help you tweak your TV/Projector system but you will need a Blue Filter to do the color calibrations. (you can get them online or you will have a blue, green, and red filter in the Digital Video Essentials disk that you can purchase as mentioned above).

Those are some really good reference materials for the folks desiring to get the MOST out of their display system without having to purchase a colorimeter or expensive software.

Use of a Colorimeter/software:

A "dummies" guide for grayscale and color calibration can be found at CurtPalme's site and a link is provided here:

Grescale & Colour Calibration for Dummies

A comprehensive instruction guide to help folks calibrate their systems. It has instructions for using various Color Meters (can be found from $130 on up) and has links to hardware and software for calibration. This site is VERY well done and for those looking to use this type of calibration it is a MUST read...for those that are not ready for that next step, it is still VERY VALUABLE information.

Summary:

Like I have alluded to before, calibration can be done for various reasons. If you would like to attempt it (its easy and fun) by all means do so! I think that you will find your displays look much better...almost like having a new setup once finished! I have used the AVCHD 709 content that I burned to a DVD and it is great stuff. I also use the Digital Video Essentials BluRay with great success as well. NOTE: different systems have different nomenclature for certain settings so that may be confusing to some folks. Additionally, your setup may NOT be capable of displaying BTB (blacker than black) depending on if it is set up correctly OR it may not be available. I am using a PS3 as my BluRay source, Epson 6500UB projector, and a Toshiba 42" LCD for my setups and the calibration has done wonders!

For those of you interested in your PS3 setups a terrific discussion is located below:

PS3 Settings thread

Note: The FAQ for the PS3 starts on post number 18.

Hope you find this informative and helpful!

Regards,



PS.....calibration steps I use......

Quote:
Calibration (auto iris off, which you have):

NOTE: Some people recommend turning the color control (saturation) down all the way, before proceeding, but it's not necessary unless you are having problems.

Before you start the calibration, warm up the 6500UB for at least 20 minutes (a good time to watch the demo material on the DVE disc).

Step 1 -- Adjust the Brightness (black level),
Step 2 -- Adjust the Contrast (white level),
Step 3 -- Repeat the above 2 steps until you achieve the best compromise,
Step 4 -- Check the grayscale ramps (DVE calls it "Reverse Gray Ramps with Steps" in the "Basic Video Setup patterns" and in the 1080p section of the "Advanced Video Test Patterns" sections).
Step 5 -- Go back to Step 1 and repeat as needed.
Step 6 -- Adjust the Color (saturation and tint/hue) using the Blue filter. The grayscale adjustment effects the color settings, but not the other way around. ---From CT_wiebe
The above steps I used to get my Projector initially calibrated. Thanks to CT_wiebe at AVS for the support and credit.
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post #2 of 11
Nice guide,and comming from avs forum they are the master on this subject.I always want calibrate my 52",i bet it can look better.Even if i have to pay.
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Most certainly it will help. I have been a member at AVS since 2005 (lurker for a long time before). Great community with many of us there willing to help like here!

You can adjust without having to pay by using the AVCHD 709 software. Just burn it to a DVD!
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post #4 of 11
Im a member there aswell,great forum and good information.
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post #5 of 11
Great info! Finally something I've been looking for!
 
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Glad it helped Bonz!
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Two 1TB WD Caviar Black 32mb cache Samsung 22x DVD R/W Vista Ultimate 64 bit LG W2600 25.5" (1920x1200) 
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post #7 of 11
Bump for this great guide and good help.I contact a THX Calibrator in the Orlando area and the price is no bad $400.00 for the my whole system.And he have to drive 250 miles each way i think the price is rigth.He is a big member of AVS forum too.
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post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks Alexisd! Glad it helped....with 100% certainty a qualified calibrator can do WONDERS for a Home theater system!
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Two 1TB WD Caviar Black 32mb cache Samsung 22x DVD R/W Vista Ultimate 64 bit LG W2600 25.5" (1920x1200) 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E8400 (E0) GA-EP45-UD3P EVGA GTX260 4Gb (2x2Gb) Gskill 1066 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Two 1TB WD Caviar Black 32mb cache Samsung 22x DVD R/W Vista Ultimate 64 bit LG W2600 25.5" (1920x1200) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Old Dell one Corsair 750TX Cooler Master 690 Logitech MX518 
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The place where my mouse lives... 
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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Bump for those looking to calibrate their displays
NEW BUILD 2009
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E8400 (E0) GA-EP45-UD3P EVGA GTX260 4Gb (2x2Gb) Gskill 1066 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Two 1TB WD Caviar Black 32mb cache Samsung 22x DVD R/W Vista Ultimate 64 bit LG W2600 25.5" (1920x1200) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Old Dell one Corsair 750TX Cooler Master 690 Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
The place where my mouse lives... 
  hide details  
Reply
NEW BUILD 2009
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E8400 (E0) GA-EP45-UD3P EVGA GTX260 4Gb (2x2Gb) Gskill 1066 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Two 1TB WD Caviar Black 32mb cache Samsung 22x DVD R/W Vista Ultimate 64 bit LG W2600 25.5" (1920x1200) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Old Dell one Corsair 750TX Cooler Master 690 Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
The place where my mouse lives... 
  hide details  
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Bump!
NEW BUILD 2009
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E8400 (E0) GA-EP45-UD3P EVGA GTX260 4Gb (2x2Gb) Gskill 1066 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Two 1TB WD Caviar Black 32mb cache Samsung 22x DVD R/W Vista Ultimate 64 bit LG W2600 25.5" (1920x1200) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Old Dell one Corsair 750TX Cooler Master 690 Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
The place where my mouse lives... 
  hide details  
Reply
NEW BUILD 2009
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
E8400 (E0) GA-EP45-UD3P EVGA GTX260 4Gb (2x2Gb) Gskill 1066 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Two 1TB WD Caviar Black 32mb cache Samsung 22x DVD R/W Vista Ultimate 64 bit LG W2600 25.5" (1920x1200) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Old Dell one Corsair 750TX Cooler Master 690 Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
The place where my mouse lives... 
  hide details  
Reply
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