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On Calibrating Pictures in A/V System

andymok

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#1
I've had this question in mind for some years. I figure this might just be a perfect place with all kinds of experts around!

I've been playing around with color management on PC, editing photos and dealing with designer on an armature level, so my focus was primarily on editing and pre-press. Wanted to do from the beginning by profiling my camera as well, but Capture One requires an .icc profile which is troublesome/expensive to build, and I do not use LR that often (coz CO's raw converter is simply so so much better). So I think I get the general idea of calibration and profiling, CMS etc. Gamma is kind of tricky to understand, as in which to use under certain viewing environment, aside from just sticking to the standard required.

My knowledge is therefore limited on stills, in PC environment with an OS and software running. Not so much when it comes to motion pictures when everything is hard-wired. And I want to learn more about the real deal.

I'm using X-rite's i1 Display Pro.

So let me start it off.

How do you guys calibrate your system? and what are the methods available commercially / in industry's compliance?
 

amirm

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#2
I documented my tools in this presentation I created years ago: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/video-for-audiophiles.275/



It is a hassle to drag out the Minolta though so I don't use it much at all these days.

Today, I resort to getting well factory calibrated monitors and don't bother much. Reason being that people view images on electronic displays so who knows what color they are seeing no matter what yours looks like!
 

Blumlein 88

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#6
I calibrated my PC monitor by ordering a factory calibrated Dell Ultrasharp. Comes with an individual read out of the calibration. It really does seem to be well calibrated. I checked it with various test patterns from Blu-ray cal discs and off the internet. These aren't equivalent to real calibration gear though they can get you in the ballpark pretty good. Other than some brightness adjust for my room lighting there was nothing to do. So I'm not sure it is to pro standards, but it isn't horrid. Few people have monitors that are as well calibrated as mine which I'm sure isn't the best. So if you are creating images I suppose it is the equivalent to making these incredible recordings that people download as MP3 and use the earbuds that came in the box with their phone to listen.
 

Sal1950

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#7
Actually @amirm, can you explain a bit about the differences between a monitor and a TV display?
A montior is simply a display device as in a PC monitor. No tuners or any such extras are included.
A TV display will include things like a OTA tuner, maybe a cable freq tuner, and today they all have the "smart" features including a android OS to support Netflix and all the other apps. Many of us hate the fact that we can't buy a big 55" and up monitor without alll the smart features. They tend to make the TV operation buggy.
 

amirm

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#8
Actually @amirm, can you explain a bit about the differences between a monitor and a TV display?
Beside the explanation Sal gave, you can buy "professional" monitors which come with factory calibration. I don't know any TV that does.

Some monitors are also application specific like for gaming with high refresh rate, support for "Freesync" and "G-sync." These fix one of the vestiges of CRT displays which had to refresh their display or the image would vanish. With LCD that is not needed. As such, the display can be programmed to run in sync with the source and avoid tearing in the picture.

Another difference is that computer displays need to have wider viewing angles as you sit so close to them so when you look at the corners, the angle is different than looking at the center. With a TV placed many feet away, this doesn't happen.

Finally, TV broadcast standards use 16 to 235 levels out of 0 to 255. Computers use the latter. Not all TVs support the latter or if they do, you have to jump through hoops to get that mode set.

As a practical example, when I needed to get a large UHD/4K monitor recently, I thought I would go the cheap route and bought a Samsung UHD 40 inch TV. I bought it from Costco and turns out that version had even less adjustability than their standard budget displays had. I spent hours trying to configure it correctly with the Nvidia card I had but at the end, the colors were all wrong so I returned it.

And that is another issue: it is very difficult to get high-resolution TVs in small sizes. Most 40 inch sets are 1080p which would look very grainy when used at close distances as a monitor in that size. Even the 4K one did not have enough pixels to work right.

So I bit the bullet and bought a much more expensive Benq 32 inch UHD monitor. It came out of box well calibrated, has useful features like USB 3.0 hub built-in, and has a nice little puck where you can assign buttons to different profiles. With just a touch of a button I can now make the display dimmer for evening use versus morning. I think it was $800 versus Samsung TV's $350 but it is worth every penny given the amount of time I spend on it.

The BenQ as with just about every professional monitor uses an IPS panel which gives it excellent viewing angles. Alas, IPS has less contrast so sometimes the image is more washed out than the Samsung was.

In that regard, OLED monitors are also extremely hard to find (Dell had one but I don't think they make them anymore) because the pixels can age prematurely with static icons and graphics we have in computer use. In that regard, we can't get that perfect contrast in a computer monitor as we can in a TV.

It is a shame to navigate such a complex maze to buy a display. It took me months of research to finally decide on a monitor to buy.
 

Sal1950

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#9
I remember paying $770+ for my 26" Acer monitor back in 2006, they were pricey back then . I wanted a really nice larger screen monitor to do my work on. I was spending so much time in front of it doing spread sheets for work and doing PCLOS development work at night, I wanted something I didn't have to squint at..
Turned out to be money well spend, I'm sitting in front of it right now, it has thousands of hours on it and still looks great.
 

Theo

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#10
I have been using a Spyder calibration tool on my Samsung 226BW. Not professional grade, not very expensive (120$) but looks good. I have found difficult to calibrate my videoprojector though.
 

amirm

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#11
This was my original computer monitor from IBM circa 1983 or so:



I was so proud of it. It kept its "new" (plastic) smell for a long time too. :)

I looked up the price and it says it was $680. In today's dollars it is $1,700.

To drive it, I also had to buy the Color Graphics Adapter. I forget the price for that but was a few hundred dollars...
 

FrantzM

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#12
Hi

ASR ROCKS ...

I spend very long hours in front of a screen and have developed pains in the neck ... and lower back.. Purchasing an ergonomic chair didn't fix the issue .. An osteopath recommended to change my monitor ... I have used 2 inexpensive monitors that alleviated the problem some. I can say that finding a good monitor is not easy. I would welcome people recommendation for a <$500 27" for general office use, that is Spreadsheets, Presentations, etc ... I do draw also using Visio for IT works ... Microsoft Projects and sometimes , rarely but very rarely a glance at that objectivist site where people are not about music but measurements .. You know what forum I am talking about :facepalm: ...
I am also interested in recommendations from those who know to calibrate decently my next monitor (likely a 70" Vizio) . I like the Spyder mention, I don't t have the luxury of being able to hire an ISF person where I live, to do it, nor have I the inclination to spend serious dollars on that .. frequentation of a certain site has that effect on people :cool: ...
Have I hijacked the thread?
 

amirm

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#13
Hi Frantz. Look up the measurements for your TV. Usually the reviews mention the most color correct profile to use. Often that is good enough. Then just adjust the contrast and brightness using a test patter on disc. Some movies come with THX pattern on them. Otherwise, just get one of the test pattern discs.
 

amirm

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#14
For monitors, one of the better test sites is Tomshardware. See: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-professional-monitors,4612.html

You want to look at the "professional" monitors for everyday/photography work. They have that shown on the page above with good choices below $500.

I am glad you mentioned adjustability as computer monitors tend to be a lot better in this regard than TVs. I love the range in my Benq monitor.
 

Blumlein 88

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#15
http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

I found these images to get you close. I also suggest one of the test blurays. Like many things getting this close isn't equivalent to a thorough well done instrumented calibration. The difference however is small. And you'll see how most monitors you are used to seeing aren't even close.

If you don't have one of the really fined calibrated monitors the above images will let you get the most out of what you do have.

BTW, if you have not used say a 1920 x 1200 monitor with the extra space along the bottom edge, it is really convenient. Lets your basic 1920 x 1080 images be shown pixel for pixel while having room for some icons and such at the bottom. Of course just up the numbers for 4k. And if you are doing photography or other high resolution images this isn't a big deal.

For basic TV's, get brightness (black level) set, get contrast (max white level) set, and get tint properly set and you'll be far along having proper color. Some sets simply can't calibrate fully, but getting these simple basic ones as close as possible makes them more or less accurate.

EDIT: Apparently Win10 has some built in images for simple calibration. I've not tried it yet.
https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/calibrate-monitor-windows-10
 
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andymok

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#16
I read some where says TV typical involve more signal processing than a computer monitor and hence more uncontrollable, is that correct?

For monitors, one of the better test sites is Tomshardware. See: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-professional-monitors,4612.html

You want to look at the "professional" monitors for everyday/photography work. They have that shown on the page above with good choices below $500.

I am glad you mentioned adjustability as computer monitors tend to be a lot better in this regard than TVs. I love the range in my Benq monitor.
There is an even better site I believe :)
http://www.tftcentral.co.uk

http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

I found these images to get you close. I also suggest one of the test blurays. Like many things getting this close isn't equivalent to a thorough well done instrumented calibration. The difference however is small. And you'll see how most monitors you are used to seeing aren't even close.

If you don't have one of the really fined calibrated monitors the above images will let you get the most out of what you do have.

BTW, if you have not used say a 1920 x 1200 monitor with the extra space along the bottom edge, it is really convenient. Lets your basic 1920 x 1080 images be shown pixel for pixel while having room for some icons and such at the bottom. Of course just up the numbers for 4k. And if you are doing photography or other high resolution images this isn't a big deal.

For basic TV's, get brightness (black level) set, get contrast (max white level) set, and get tint properly set and you'll be far along having proper color. Some sets simply can't calibrate fully, but getting these simple basic ones as close as possible makes them more or less accurate.

EDIT: Apparently Win10 has some built in images for simple calibration. I've not tried it yet.
https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/calibrate-monitor-windows-10
Eizo also has a test page as well :)
https://www.eizoglobal.com/library/basics/eizo-monitor-test/index.html
 
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amirm

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#18

Mittomen

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#19
How do you guys calibrate your system? and what are the methods available commercially / in industry's compliance?
A bit late to the party, but I hope not too late. I work as a color management technician, specifically in printing - more specifically in offset lithography, so I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I've done a fair amount of measurements and fiddling with knobs and buttons.
Calibrating computer displays is totally different from calibrating TV sets. Modern operating systems use icc profiles for correcting displayed colors. Icc profiles can be generated by characterizing the display (measuring the responses of a set of known RGB input values with a colorimeter and/or spectroradiometer). To get a good icc profile a preliminary calibration is highly recommended - this will linearize the RGB gamma curves (or set the desired gamma curve depending on your use case), set the correct white and black points, etc. It is important to note that any change in display settings (brightness, contrast, backlight level) or changes which develop with aging will require a new calibration and characterization.
For the best results, I use both an X-rite i1Pro (rev E.) spectro and an i1 DisplayPro colorimeter and the excellent and free DisplayCal tool (based on Argyllcms). You'll find much more information and you can become an expert if you read through these sites.
For quick calibration I just use the i1Pro and i1Profiler (not free) and a small testchart - it's usually good enough for me as I don't do retouching.
For professional work, we recommend Eizo CG/CX monitors with built-in hardware calibration and a colorimeter. You just press a button and after 2 minutes you have a calibrated monitor.
For TV calibration there is also a free tool called HCFR (also based on Argyllcms). Since you can't load an icc profile to TV, you have to dial-in the correct values of your preferred standard (sRGB, Rec. BT709, DCI-P3, etc.) starting with White Point and then the correct R,G,B,C,M and Y coordinates followed by Gray balance and Gamma (again as defined in the standard). Depending on your display type and technology the methods and nuances will be wildly different but one can always ask for help either on Argyllcms or AVS forums.
 

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