The VideoEq -- A low cost external grayscale/gamma/cms tool - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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The VideoEq from AV Foundry is now available for order from SpectraCal and Curt Palme.

Grayscale, gamma and a Color Management System in a low-cost package.

I'll get some links together shortly. We don't want the CP folks to have the only VideoEq thread do we?
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post #2 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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AV Foundry
SpectraCal Note that this page may not show the single CMS table in the Basic model.
Curt Palme
Screen shots of the GUI tool.
HippoTech review.
edits:
22-Feb-2010 -- Added Hippo Tech review.
07-Feb-2010 -- Added AVF GUI screen shots.
05-May-2010 -- Note about new CMS table in Basic model
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post #3 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 01:57 PM
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Good things to come soon as well

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post #4 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 01:58 PM
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post #5 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 02:00 PM
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I'm told it should start shipping in about 2 weeks.

I'll have extra information on soon too, along with (hopefully) some screenshots and other things.

Kal
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post #6 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrinklefree View Post

So the Beta is officially over?

Not just yet as far as far as beta testers know.
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post #7 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 03:21 PM
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No.

I was told it ended today (i tried to take part since 28.12. ...)
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post #8 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 04:22 PM
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Some testing may continue (not privy to that info), but the NDA was officially lifted at the unveiling at the THX gathering Saturday night. I was there! Impressive product.

Shawn Byrne
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post #9 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talkron View Post

I was told it ended today (i tried to take part since 28.12. ...)

Yes the beta has ended for adding anyone new to the EAP program.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SierraMikeBravo View Post

Some testing may continue (not privy to that info), but the NDA was officially lifted at the unveiling at the THX gathering Saturday night. I was there! Impressive product.

Yes we are still doing a bunch of testing under NDA for a couple more weeks.

Derek

CTO / Founder - SpectraCal Inc.
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post #10 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 04:48 PM
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The VideoEq Pro was shown at the THX social this last Saturday in front of a crowd of around 75 people many of which are very influential in this industry.

The demo I helped with was showing a chromaticity chart based on Rec709 being externally generated and passed through the VideoEq to a JVC projector. So you could see all of the colors from white to full saturation. We then pulled red saturation down to zero to show what a chromaticity looks like with no red but only no red within the red segment of the chart it did not affect magenta or yellow. Next we pulled green and blue saturation down to zero again to show what a chromaticity chart looks like with no primaries but full secondary’s, again not affecting the secondary’s at all. Finally we pulled cyan, magenta and yellow saturation down to show a chromaticity chart with no color at all but a perfect grayscale. Next we added the primaries back to show what a chromaticity chart looks like with only primaries. The chromaticity chart was fun to play with but is not real world material. So our next part of the demo was to bring up a image that had faces for flesh tones and several brightly colored objects. One of the objects was a lemon, so we desaturated yellow to show what a white lemon looks like. Then restored the lemon back to yellow. The last part of the demo was to show how much control over color we really have. We take yellow and shift the hue by +/-30 degs by doing so we were able to turn the lemon into a orange or a lime. All of this and not messing up the flesh tones in the faces.

I do believe some of this was videoed so it will probably show up on you-tube or such.

Much more to come as I have time which has been a premium for the last month or so.

Derek

CTO / Founder - SpectraCal Inc.
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post #11 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 06:06 PM
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Thanks Derek for the clarification.

Shawn Byrne
Erskine Group
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post #12 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 06:13 PM
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Derek from SpectraCal at CES (also shows the VideoEQ Pro) - Part 1


Derek from SpectraCal at CES (CalMAN 4) - Part 2




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post #13 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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This comes bundled with CalMAN 4.0 included or is that something we need to purchase separately? Does that support a Spyder 3 Pro?
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post #14 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 06:36 PM
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The VideoEQ models are standalone products. They don't come with the base CalMAN versions, however, I'm sure we'll have some CalMAN / VideoEQ Bundles/Packages available..

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post #15 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 07:20 PM
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Toward the end of the second video Derek described a "trade-off" between getting the green primary properly desaturated and losing luminance, citing this as an example where a calibrator's judgement comes into play. A true 3D CMS can do both. It can adjust the luminance to any desired level regardless of what else is required to pull the color back into proper gamut. Did he mis-speak? Did I mis-understand?
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post #16 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erkq View Post

Toward the end of the second video Derek described a "trade-off" between getting the green primary properly desaturated and losing luminance, citing this as an example where a calibrator's judgement comes into play. A true 3D CMS can do both. It can adjust the luminance to any desired level regardless of what else is required to pull the color back into proper gamut. Did he mis-speak? Did I mis-understand?

Yes a true 3D CMS system can and the VideoEq does. What I was explaining is if the display can't saturate green to it proper place and by doing so messes up your luminance you will have trade off's.

Using an outboard CMS system can only deal with what the display is capable of in the first place you can’t add saturation that is not there. Lucky for most the displays being built are over saturated so you have room to play be it hue saturation or brightness.

Also at the end of the second video was a CalMAN demo not the VideoEq.

Derek

CTO / Founder - SpectraCal Inc.
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post #17 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveMo View Post

This comes bundled with CalMAN 4.0 included or is that something we need to purchase separately? Does that support a Spyder 3 Pro?

I'll venture a response.

I think there are three independent objects in your question:
1) the VideoEq (VEq) video processor (VP)
2) CalMAN 4 calibration software
3) A Spyder 3 meter.

The VEq is stand-alone lookup table (LUT) driven device with software adequate to build and load the tables. Naturally to create tables that correct defects the builder needs to know the current state and the desired end-goal. To measure the current state you need a meter and some software to drive the meter. The software needs to produce output acceptable as input to the builder. I expect the input will be readily available from a number of calibration software products. Naturally some software wil be easier to use (for this purpose) than others and some meters will produce better results on some displays than others.
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post #18 of 714 Old 01-11-2010, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekjsmith View Post

Also at the end of the second video was a CalMAN demo not the VideoEq.

That's what I missed. I thought it was a "CalMAN driving VideoEq" demo. I get it. Thanks!
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post #19 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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In a letter dated 10-Jan the beta/eap program came to a close and the NDA was lifted.
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post #20 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 12:46 PM
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2 Questions.
I'm guessing If I go this route that I am going to have to change my Calman home license to the enthusiast version to support the VideoEQ pro?

Dave N
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post #21 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpnaylor View Post

2 Questions.
I'm guessing If I go this route that I am going to have to change my Calman home license to the enthusiast version to support the VideoEQ pro?

Good question - They haven't mentioned what version of CalMAN is needed to automate with CalMAN 4.

I always assumed that even CalMAN home would support both VideoEq products. Maybe not!

Kal
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post #22 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpnaylor View Post

2 Questions.
I'm guessing If I go this route that I am going to have to change my Calman home license to the enthusiast version to support the VideoEQ pro?

That only looks like one question -- but you don't need CalMAN to use a VEq. Naturally you do need a calibration toolkit but any should be sufficient to use the stand-alone VEq tool.

Presumably Derek will chime in and let us know if the VEq will be licensed like a pro pattern generator or like the HTPC tool.
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post #23 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kal View Post

Good question - They haven't mentioned what version of CalMAN is needed to automate with CalMAN 4.

I always assumed that even CalMAN home would support both VideoEq products. Maybe not!

Kal

That would be great if the home version supported the automation in the software for the VideoEQ's, otherwise it is a few hundred dollars more to jump to the Enthusiast.
Lets face it most home users will use this device on one display, set it up and never touch it again except to recalibrate every few months. Until the Calman software can automate the calibration of an actual display bought off the shelf, I myself would have a hard time swallowing the extra cost to switch licenses.
Being just a home user consider myself in pretty deep as it is with equipment and software. I just invested in the Calman Home edition as well as an Eyeone pro meter, and calibration disks.. I think I have more invested now than my projector is worth..
I am really enjoying the Calman software though and learning more everyday I mess with it.
I'm really looking forward to hear what actual EAP's have to say about this VideoEQ, because I love my Mitsubishi HD1000U but it's primaries have been off (especially green) from day one, and there isn't anything I have been able to do economically about it until now!

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post #24 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpnaylor View Post

I'm really looking forward to hear what actual EAP's have to say about this VideoEQ

I don't think we have anything to say (yet) that will help your decision. I'm sure there will be regular reviews in the near future but we haven't seen the new CMS tool and CalMAN 4 is still a bit off so it would be speculation.
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post #25 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 02:09 PM
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Some of us EAPers in the UK have only just received ours and now it's all over... I'm hoping I'll be able to play with the CMS side soon as I've only pluged mine in briefly to make sure it worked, pending more time to run a calibration using it.

I've now got my greyscale and gamma spot on (well as close as reasonable using my i1) using the HD350's own controls, so I'd planned to just use the CMS function to correct my HD350's colour gamut. Once/if I manage to do this I'll be sure to post back, but not yet.

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post #26 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpnaylor View Post

2 Questions.
I'm guessing If I go this route that I am going to have to change my Calman home license to the enthusiast version to support the VideoEQ pro?

CalMAN v4's support for the VideoEq series (both the VideoEq and VideoEq Pro) will be in CalMAN Enthusiast or CalMAN Pro License.

I'm discussing with them a special CalMAN (& Upgrade)/VideoEq Bundle(s) that we can have available at Calibration Forums... stay tuned..


Quote:
Originally Posted by dpnaylor View Post

That would be great if the home version supported the automation in the software for the VideoEQ's, otherwise it is a few hundred dollars more to jump to the Enthusiast.

If you have CalMAN Home, you will need to upgrade your CalMAN License.

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post #27 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 02:39 PM
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So I got my VideoEQ on Mondayactually a day after the beta finished it seems.

The hardware has a lot of potential, but the software is very limited. Right now we just have a command-line tool for uploading/selecting LUTs and a web-based calculator, which has not been producing good results for most people. That said, they have announced new tools, so hopefully that will change very soon.


So on Monday, I set about creating a custom LUT for my CRT. I set the CRT into its highest contrast mode (in its more accurate mode, the black level is raised and the screen is dimmed considerably)

I set it up to provide the peak white level I wanted (I go with reference levels, so 80 cd/m² for video white, 100 cd/m² for peak white) and the absolute darkest black it can do. That is to say, no light output at all.

The pre-calibration results look pretty dire, as there's no control over the greyscale other than choosing a preset (6500K) and obviously gamma is awful as a result of the brightness/contrast settings.


(note: the charts are Luminance RGB, Gamma tracking, Absolute RGB tracking and dEuv)

Spending a bit of time hand-crafting a LUT (which is nothing more than a text-file) and these are the post-calibration results:


Quite an improvement, and things look drastically better than they ever did on the CRT as it now has the ability to do pure black and bright whites while the greyscale/gamma tracking is as flat as can be.


My only concern is that right now I'm seeing posterisation with the VideoEQ in the chain, which could be the result of one or both of these things:
  1. While the VideoEQ processing is apparently 16-bit, and the LUT is 10-bit, if you send it an 8-bit input you only get 8-bit out. With the LUT being 10-bit, it should always output 10-bit in my opinion.

    Around 60% and under, you could definitely notice a lack of precision from the 8-bit output. (as you can see, that's where the dE results start getting worse)
  2. Because there are no proper tools for LUT creation just now, I'm having to use a spreadsheet calculator I made to go from 12 measured points (0-100% in 10% steps and 109%) to a full LUT.

    I don't think I have enough data points near black and have to work on how the low-level points are interpolated. (initially there were significant amounts of posterisation, but changing how things were calculated helped a lot)
It may simply be that I'm asking too much of the LUT to correct the CRT when it's like this as a starting point thoughespecially if it's only outputting 8-bit.



As for the hardware itself, it's a lot smaller than I was expecting, which is great.

I feel that it should have some sort of rubber feet on the bottom though so it doesn't damage the surface it's on and I would also really like it if there were holes in the bottom so that it can be wall mounted or fixed to the underside of a shelf. (like most routers have these days)

The LEDs on it are very bright, though it shouldn't be too hard to cover them up. Would have been nice if there was a hi/lo/off switch on the box though.

The buttons are awkward to press because they're so flat on the face of the unit, but hopefully you shouldn't have to change things often. (it's really designed to be hidden out of the way)

It's also difficult to know which LUT you have selected. There is only a preset/custom LED on the box, even though you have multiple presets and custom LUTs available. One LED for each LUT would be preferable so that you know exactly what is selected.

And of course more precision (if the processing is 16-bit, why isn't the LUT?) and multiple inputs would be nice


Overall I'm pretty happy with it so far, and I haven't seen what the CMS is capable of yet, but this is assuming that proper tools are going to arrive shortly. Certainly though, I can think of plenty of changes I'd want made if there were a second versionit's not perfect by any means.

Considering its price and capabilities, and how limited many displays are, it seems like it's probably a good buy for most people. I doubt the lack of precision (8-bit out with 8-bit in) will be too problematic on most displays. (because they're imprecise already)
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post #28 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 02:51 PM
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I was wondering if there would be any advantage to increasing the signal to 10,12 or 16 bits before it entered the VideoEQ and if so how this could be achieved? Unfortunately for me I have to use my existing Lumagen HDQ (8 bit obviously) for upscaling and other projector requirements such as V-stretch, etc.

If I bought a BluRay player that had the V-stretch (with better quality than the HD350's own) and higher than 8 bit output would this be any advantage or would it likely introduce other issues?

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post #29 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvin1965S View Post

I was wondering if there would be any advantage to increasing the signal to 10,12 or 16 bits before it entered the VideoEQ and if so how this could be achieved? Unfortunately for me I have to use my existing Lumagen HDQ (8 bit obviously) for upscaling and other projector requirements such as V-stretch, etc.

If I bought a BluRay player that had the V-stretch (with better quality than the HD350's own) and higher than 8 bit output would this be any advantage or would it likely introduce other issues?

Blu-Ray is only 8-bit 4:2:0, so I would focus on the LUT creation itself first and foremost before worrying about getting an interpolated or padded higher bit rate into the VideoEQ.

Color accuracy evangelist and CalMAN insider
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post #30 of 714 Old 01-13-2010, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelvin1965S View Post

I was wondering if there would be any advantage to increasing the signal to 10,12 or 16 bits before it entered the VideoEQ and if so how this could be achieved? Unfortunately for me I have to use my existing Lumagen HDQ (8 bit obviously) for upscaling and other projector requirements such as V-stretch, etc.

If I bought a BluRay player that had the V-stretch (with better quality than the HD350's own) and higher than 8 bit output would this be any advantage or would it likely introduce other issues?

Considering that the VideoEQ will only output 10-bit with a 10-bit input, I think it would absolutely be beneficial to upsample to 10-bit before input.

Even if all you're doing is input value ×4, you then get 10-bit precision output to the display which should give you more flexibility with what you can do with a LUT before you start to see posterisation.

8-bit in, manipulating the data and then outputting as 8-bit is inherently lossy. (as is 10-bit in, 10-bit out etc.) You need a higher bit-depth on the output than you have on the input. (depending on the changes you make, 8-bit in and 10-bit out may not even be enough)

What matters though is whether or not the improvements outweigh the drawbacks. (and with many displays, they absolutely will)
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