Questions about paid/professional calibration - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-10-2013, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all. I have some questions about paid calibration but first some background as for why I am asking.

I have a repair shop where I repair all kinds of electronics, mostly TVs/blu ray players but also phones, tablets and computers. I am thinking of adding calibration as an added service. I already have professionalish gear and software and have already done calibrations for family. So, without further ado, onto the questions:

1. Is there any reason to get ISF certification, aside from marketing reasons, for what I would be doing?

2. Does being certified help me gain access to the service menu (i.e. will companies tell me how to access it if I show I am certified)? I have worked on some lower tier TVs that would only allow me to do 2 point if I access the service menu but I can't always find how to access the menu (a current Toshiba is giving me problems).

I feel as though I had other questions but my mind as gone blank now. I guess I will wait to see if they come back and/or what responds I get.

Thank you.

Edit:
Thought of another question: I thought of maybe offering calibration services for tablets/phones as well. I know this probably isn't as big a market since (to the best of my knowledge) you can only do calibrations after the item has been rooted and a custom kernel has been installed. On the plus side, I can always offer to do that as well, I guess. As for the question though, does anyone know of an app that can be used to for helping calibrate?
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-10-2013, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by grjelectronics View Post

Hello all. I have some questions about paid calibration but first some background as for why I am asking.

I have a repair shop where I repair all kinds of electronics, mostly TVs/blu ray players but also phones, tablets and computers. I am thinking of adding calibration as an added service. I already have professionalish gear and software and have already done calibrations for family. So, without further ado, onto the questions:

1. Is there any reason to get ISF certification, aside from marketing reasons, for what I would be doing?

2. Does being certified help me gain access to the service menu (i.e. will companies tell me how to access it if I show I am certified)? I have worked on some lower tier TVs that would only allow me to do 2 point if I access the service menu but I can't always find how to access the menu (a current Toshiba is giving me problems).

I feel as though I had other questions but my mind as gone blank now. I guess I will wait to see if they come back and/or what responds I get.

Thank you.

Edit:
Thought of another question: I thought of maybe offering calibration services for tablets/phones as well. I know this probably isn't as big a market since (to the best of my knowledge) you can only do calibrations after the item has been rooted and a custom kernel has been installed. On the plus side, I can always offer to do that as well, I guess. As for the question though, does anyone know of an app that can be used to for helping calibrate?

1) Not really, though it can help if there's fundamentals you don't understand. At least one very well known calibrator who is active on AVS is not officially ISF or THX certified or trained, but if you follow that example you'd better make sure you know what you're doing!

2) Usually not. Years ago a Samsung rep provided official instructions for how to calibrate some of their sets on the ISF Forum (none recent as far as I know), but other than that manufacturers are pretty hands off and unsupportive when it comes to calibration. However, once you complete the course you can join the ISF Forum (paid membership) or the THX Videotech form (free), both of which have some info for service menu entry.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-10-2013, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chad B View Post

1) Not really, though it can help if there's fundamentals you don't understand. At least two very well known calibrators who are active on AVS are not officially ISF or THX certified or trained, but if you follow their example you'd better make sure you know what you're doing!

2) Usually not. Years ago a Samsung rep provided official instructions for how to calibrate some of their sets on the ISF Forum (none recent as far as I know), but other than that manufacturers are pretty hands off and unsupportive when it comes to calibration. However, once you complete the course you can join the ISF Forum (paid membership) or the THX Videotech form (free), both of which have some info for service menu entry.

Thank you for your reply. I would like to think I have the fundamentals down, maybe even some of the advanced though I am can't just rattle numbers off the top of my head (i.e. I know I want magenta at a certain spot but can't quote from memory so I have a cheat sheet).

It is a shame, at least to me, that manufacturers are hands off and unsupportive of calibration. I know that when I did a Dynex and Hannspree TV, they looked a lot better after accessing the service menu as there weren't really any controls in the regular menu. I just feel kind of bad charging people only to get there and find out their TV doesn't even have a 2 point white balance setting. I don't think it is worth it though to spend the money so that I can have the option to join a forum where I might be able to find out about whatever TV I need. Shame more TVs aren't like LG and have ISFccc settings options from the get go.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-10-2013, 03:52 PM
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I've done a few tv's for family and friends, and always ask the make and modelnumber before. I find the manual online and then already have an idea if the tv has the controls I need.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-10-2013, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Wouter73 View Post

I've done a few tv's for family and friends, and always ask the make and modelnumber before. I find the manual online and then already have an idea if the tv has the controls I need.

That is what I have done before though that has been more because, more often than not, I either had the TV in my possession or was there when it was bought. I am just wondering if I should charge a lower price if I find out that the TV they have doesn't have a lot of control options.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-10-2013, 10:37 PM
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Greetings

This article pretty much describes the life of a pro calibrator ... and a warning to those that aspire to it.

Everyone wants to be a pro baseball player, but so many overlook all the ones that didn't make it to the big leagues.

Unlike Doctors or Engineers, you won't have any calibration police descending on your home if you decide to offer calibration without any certification. Try offering engineering services without being an engineer and see what happens.

You can charge more or less than what pros charge. You can also give it all away for free. Do what you will ... it's a free market.

If you think you know your fundamentals, go take that calibration quiz on my website for kicks. See how much you really know.

If you want the ISF letters, you have to take the ISF course. If you want the THX letters, ditto. But having the letters is not a path to riches ... as 90% + have discovered.

REgards

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ISF/THX/TLV Video Instructor
The Video Calibration Education Hub - www.TLVEXP.com

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post #7 of 10 Old 05-11-2013, 06:09 PM
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The other issue is that if you get a request to calibrate a TV that has no obvious calibration controls in the user menu, there's a good chance that NOBODY who is ISF or THX trained is going to have ANY information to help you. Calibrators who get around quite a bit are seeing 80%-90% of calibrations done on a small core group of TV and projector models... certain mid- and higher-end Samsung and Panasonic models, some LG models, certain Sony models, maybe a Vizio occasionally. In the projector world, you tend to see JVC, Epson, Panasonic, Optoma, maybe some Runcos if there's a dealer in your area that doesn't have a calibrator. The 100+ other brands make up the other 10%-20% of calibration jobs we tend to get. So you don't run into calibrators every day who have ever tried calibrating a Dynex or Insignia or Hanspree or other less common brands or less expensive models. So it's not that common to find yourself faced with having no resources to fall back on for some inexpensive brand or less recognizable brand (i.e. store brand, or custom installer brand, etc.). I've actually gotten the most help from calibrators who saw an early production model of come commonly calibrated brand like a new Panasonic or Samsung model that may have different controls than previous years. And I've gotten the least help with smaller sized TVs, lower-cost brands (Westinghouse) or house brands like Insignia or Dynex. People who buy cheap TVs are not likely to spend money on calibration so pro calibrators just don't see the lower-end stuff much.

I've never had a request to calibrate a computer monitor or phone. The people SERIOUS about calibrating computer monitors are typically having their calibrations done by the manufacturer of the system or the system included some means of calibrating the computer monitor so they do not need outside help (usually, there may be rare exceptions, but not a lot of them). Computer video is damn near IMPOSSIBLE to calibrate and keep calibrated... any firmware update to the video subsystem has a high likelihood of invalidating the calibration that might have been done. Joe Kane went through that with one of the pre-eminent manufacturers of video boards a few years ago. They managed to produce a board that could be calibrated perfectly. Joe was happy, they were happy... they parted ways and within 6 months, the first firmware update totally invalidated previous calibrations. Good luck getting into the cell phone video subsystem... and if you do, be prepared for operating system updates or just general phone updates to screw up the calibration at unknown intervals in the future.

"Movies is magic..." Van Dyke Parks
THX Certified Professional Video Calibration
ISF -- HAA -- www.dBtheatrical.com
Widescreen Review -- Home Theater & Sound
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-13-2013, 03:53 PM
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Good reality pill artical Michael

My comment about the labels, isf/THX, are not really for consumers, I find it helps when dealing with manufactures, A/V retailors and other calibrators to be taken seriously.
I see no difference at all between the systems as the end goal is the same, however the level of aptitude, attitude and general competence may vary.

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post #9 of 10 Old 05-13-2013, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your replies. I think that I will offer the service as a value added one either for free or a small fee depending on the size of the earlier job. Should it take off (say through referrals from happy customers) then I might go for certification as I figure it could always help marketing wise (and I do like to learn). I also think I will over a lower fee because I think that people who have the lower tier brands should be able to get calibration done and hopefully a lower price will make that happen. I have owned both Dynex and Hannspree (I am a sucker for cheap prices) in the past and, after accessing the service menu, have been able to get quite good calibration with them. Sure, I doubt they could compare to the high end TVs of their time but I am sure that they were the equal of higher level ones.

As an aside, the only way I know how to access the color system on a phone/tablet is by using a custom kernel which requires you to first root the item. I haven't got around to calibrating my phone because I don't watch movies/look at pictures on it but I have modified other parts in the kernel and they have stayed the same after updates so I am thinking it would stay though that may depend on what kernel you use.
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-14-2013, 02:21 PM
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Everyone has a right to offer what they do how they see fit, at some point though operational costs will decide minimum/maximum fees, too low and you will drop this service within 2 years, too high and you will drop this service within 2 years.

In a generalised statement I'd argue that the people that watch movies and images on small screens such as tablets and phones don't really care about video accuracy.
There is also plenty of evidence that shows humans on the whole prefer distorted views of themselves and the world. This is one of the reasons you don't find the whole populations chasing calibration since those who actually do are in reality rear as hens teeth per the population base.

Manufactures do set these small screens with forms of tolerance, but life span and decay has a dominant influence.

couple of cents of thoughts

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