Have You Taken the THX Video-Calibration Workshops? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 62 Old 12-19-2013, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I had no idea what I was getting into when I joined the AVS Newsbreakers team almost a year ago. My casual interest in TVs grew into a bit of an obsession, culminating in visits to CNET and Consumer Reports to see how they measure and test TVs.

 

As I learn more about the current and future display technologies, I've come to appreciate exactly how important calibration is to achieving the best possible image quality. Therefore, I've decided to take the plunge and attend the THX Certified Video Calibration Hands-On Workshops, which are being offered in Las Vegas immediately following CES 2014. Since I'm reporting on CES for AVS and I'll already be in Vegas, the chance to take the workshops seemed too good to pass up.

 

Have you taken the THX video-calibration workshops? I'd love to know about your experience and what I might expect. If you haven't taken these workshops, would you like to? If so, would it be to simply expand your own knowledge, or do you have aspirations of becoming a professional calibrator? I know the gear needed to do it right requires a significant investment beyond the cost of the workshops—not a casual decision.


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post #2 of 62 Old 12-19-2013, 01:25 PM
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Greetings

There should be lots of displays to play with. Unfortunately the student teacher ratio has gone up ... one instructor now.

You will learn a lot ... but don't feel pressured into buying any particular software and hardware package. Explore your options first. These are not presented in the class. The class is now Chromapure-centric. Good ... Bad ... it just is what it is. (ISF is Calman-centric) A specific THX calman workflow is available to those that already use Calman.

Regards
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post #3 of 62 Old 12-19-2013, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

There should be lots of displays to play with. Unfortunately the student teacher ratio has gone up ... one instructor now.

You will learn a lot ... but don't feel pressured into buying any particular software and hardware package. Explore your options first. These are not presented in the class. The class is now Chromapure-centric. Good ... Bad ... it just is what it is. (ISF is Calman-centric) A specific THX calman workflow is available to those that already use Calman.

Regards

Micheal, thanks for the reply. I'm coming at this with a professional photographer's background, so accurate color is more than just an academic issue for me.


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post #4 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Did any of you guys go into this out out of curiosity, which is where I'm at currently, or did you all intend to become pros right from the get-go? @donnymac51, @Doug Blackburn, @Chad B, @turbe, @fredtoft, @Rayjr, @David Abrams 


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post #5 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 02:04 PM
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Start by calibrating your own displays, family and friend's displays.. Some of the most successful professionals started out as enthusiasts, calibration as a hobby.

I'd invest in a Spectro. You can even get a used i1 Pro Rev D and get it re-certified. Later,, or sooner, you can add a i1D3 colorimeter and profile it on the displays to your spectro.

Don't quit your day job and do jobs part time once you are ready to go down that path..

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post #6 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by turbe View Post

Start by calibrating your own displays, family and friend's displays.. Some of the most successful professionals started out as enthusiasts, calibration as a hobby.

I'd invest in a Spectro. You can even get a used i1 Pro Rev D and get it re-certified. Later,, or sooner, you can add a i1D3 colorimeter and profile it on the displays to your spectro.

Don't quit your day job and do jobs part time once you are ready to go down that path..

I've been dabbling with calibration for years, starting with CRT computer monitors and large-format color printers. My day job is photographer and videographer, so calibration is relevant to me. I also figure the knowledge I gain from the workshops will also help me with my writing here on AVS.

I see the explosion of large flat panel HD and UHD panels as the obvious successors to large-format printing—which I was really into for almost a decade. There is some overlap from the print/CRT era, and obviously some aspects of calibration and modern display technology that are totally new to me.

 

Thank you for the advice.


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post #7 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 02:16 PM
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sounds like it would compliment your day job nicely and could be possibly an advantage for you...

I've seen to many plop down ~$20K and go for it full time, only to start selling their equipment less than two-three years later..

Michael has some online training videos available as well...

you may be ready to take the next steps
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post #8 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Did any of you guys go into this out out of curiosity, which is where I'm at currently, or did you all intend to become pros right from the get-go? @donnymac51
, @Doug Blackburn
, @Chad B
, @turbe
, @fredtoft
, @Rayjr
, @David Abrams
 
It started as a hobby for me, still is, and evolved from there. I'm not THX certified yet, but I got ISF certified. I don't know where this will take me, but I'm enjoying the ride.
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post #9 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 02:24 PM
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@imagic learned a new feature for the forum, thank you for showing that.

did it work and notify you?

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post #10 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by turbe View Post

@imagic learned a new feature for the forum, thank you for showing that.

did it work and notify you?

Yes @turbe it worked. It is a new feature that rolled out a few weeks ago. 


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post #11 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 02:52 PM
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Greetings

The hardest thing to the Calibration Business is the "business" part of the equation. The Calibration part is easy compared to that. Little surprise that the failure rate in this business is higher than 90%. If you are in a class of 10 people, 9 of them are "gone" within a year or two.

The hardware and software venders that often attach themselves to such classes are the ones that laugh all the way to the bank. Their goal is to get these attendees to buy as much hardware and software as possible ... and when those attendees fail ... monies been made ... onto the next person. All you really need to do is to create some aura that the calibration business is so easy that the money just flows in ... because you are listed on a website. It is too bad that most attendees almost always fail to do their due diligence and end up falling into the trap.

regards

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post #12 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

The hardest thing to the Calibration Business is the "business" part of the equation. The Calibration part is easy compared to that. Little surprise that the failure rate in this business is higher than 90%. If you are in a class of 10 people, 9 of them are "gone" within a year or two.

The hardware and software venders that often attach themselves to such classes are the ones that laugh all the way to the bank. Their goal is to get these attendees to buy as much hardware and software as possible ... and when those attendees fail ... monies been made ... onto the next person. All you really need to do is to create some aura that the calibration business is so easy that the money just flows in ... because you are listed on a website. It is too bad that most attendees almost always fail to do their due diligence and end up falling into the trap.

regards

In that sense it's no different than photography, videography, and the on-demand print business—all of which I'm familiar with. Then again, not every college grad finds a good-paying job in their chosen field, either. My wife writes about the restaurant industry, where the survival rate is truly grim—the proven 1-year failure rate is at least 60%. 

 

I agree, running one's own business is very difficult, I've been at it for over fifteen years and it still requires diligence, re-investment, and a willingness to take risks. For those who survive, of course the investment is worth it—being one's own boss makes up for a lot of the disadvantages of self-employment, namely the capricious nature of one's income flow. For a few years following 2008 it was difficult to make money, regardless of what industry you are in. 


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post #13 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 03:24 PM
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I am also curious about the THX/ISF certification.
About having the info to get into service menus of all models i may run into.
Of having meters that can deliver the precision needed for THX/ISF
Of having the trained eye to spot issues.
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post #14 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Did any of you guys go into this out out of curiosity, which is where I'm at currently, or did you all intend to become pros right from the get-go? @donnymac51
, @Doug Blackburn
, @Chad B
, @turbe
, @fredtoft
, @Rayjr
, @David Abrams
 

I got into calibration for the "Rock Star" Status smile.gif

RayJr
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post #15 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbe View Post

Start by calibrating your own displays, family and friend's displays.. Some of the most successful professionals started out as enthusiasts, calibration as a hobby.

I'd invest in a Spectro. You can even get a used i1 Pro Rev D and get it re-certified. Later,, or sooner, you can add a i1D3 colorimeter and profile it on the displays to your spectro.

Don't quit your day job and do jobs part time once you are ready to go down that path..

@turbe ...Very good info...I agree with you 100%

RayJr
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post #16 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Rayjr View Post

@turbe ...Very good info...I agree with you 100%

RayJr

lol @Rayjr quoted and mentioned notifications

quicker to use @ and /@, thank you
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post #17 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 06:35 PM
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I got into calibration for the "Rock Star" Status smile.gif

RayJr

And I followed you for similar reasons - like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Mark - if you're taking the full 3 day course for certification, do yourself a huge favor and learn ChromaPure now. Watch all the videos on the CP site and practice practice practice. It's not a hand holding course and if you aren't reasonably familiar with calibration you'll fall behind in a hurry. Things move too fast for those arriving without the basics.

To make it worse, if Michael is teaching the course you have to be able to solve riddles.... lolololololololol

sorry Michael. tongue.gif
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post #18 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 07:27 PM
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I took the training to round out my background and to support doing calibrations part time. If I had any expectation of making a living from calibration work, I would have been broke in a year or two. Trying to make a living from calibration work is probably the hardest thing to try to do for a living that I could have imagined. If you don't want to travel 80% of the time, forget it. I don't think there's a single metro area where you could make a living doing nothing but calibration work if you want to sleep at home every night, or even most nights. Maybe the NYC area... MAYBE, but only due to population density and affluence. There is simply not enough interest in calibration (alone) in any given metro area tor someone to make a good living without near-constant travel.

The self-marketing aspect of calibration cannot be underestimated. There aren't many tech-oriented people who are technically sharp enough to "get" calibration, do it well, and still have the will/interest/skill/ability to do all the self-marketing necessary to keep your schedule filled with calibrations.

I wanted to get all the background I could in consumer video displays so I would be able to deal with product reviews for magazines and because all my calibration experience previously (34 years) involved professional imaging systems with VERY different video displays involved. All of the 34 years of training on professional imaging systems (including some cinema systems) was useful, yet not useful.... I say not useful because NOTHING can prepare you for how utterly DIABOLICAL it can be to figure out the best possible way to calibrate some video displays. Controls may SOUND like they should be useful, but when you actually being using them, you find they aren't doing what they SHOULD be doing. Or that they will do some things and not others. Or that using an "innocent" control creates problems elsewhere that could be missed if you don't have your wits about you. And to heap-on the misery, you get used to how to calibrate some manufacturer's video displays after 3 or 4 years only to find that the next models they release are NOTHING like the models that went before, to the point that the new models are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in every possible way... and they can be damn testy/touchy/obtuse to calibrate well. That may not be such a big deal if the TV is in your own room and you have plenty of time to deal with it, but when you are at a customer's home and are already 4 hours into a calibration on a new and demanding model and you still haven't got a handle on it and it is midnight on a Wednesday noght and you're 2 hours from home... do you punt? do you leave the calibration half-done and make a 4 hour round trip to return later (plus 2 more hours home) do you press on forcing the owner to stay up with you when they have to work tomorrow? If you like stress and puzzles you may not be able to figure out on the first visit, calibration could be for you! What about problem solving? Like the customer's projection screen is so close to the 8-foot white ceiling that the images are washed out by the reflections bouncing back onto the screen and the customer hasn't even noticed that yet and "likes" the current setup? Do you explain what's bad about the setup and why, or let the customer live in bliss not knowing what's really happening? Damn difficult questions... and things like that pop up more often than not. adding even more to the stress.

Being a calibrator sounds romantic on the surface, but the REALITY is SO MUCH HARSHER than the ideal vision, that most people simply cannot handle it; I got EXACTLY what I wanted from the training... and I went into it KNOWING that I would never be making a full-time living from calibration.
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post #19 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I took the training to round out my background and to support doing calibrations part time. If I had any expectation of making a living from calibration work, I would have been broke in a year or two. Trying to make a living from calibration work is probably the hardest thing to try to do for a living that I could have imagined. If you don't want to travel 80% of the time, forget it. I don't think there's a single metro area where you could make a living doing nothing but calibration work if you want to sleep at home every night, or even most nights. Maybe the NYC area... MAYBE, but only due to population density and affluence. There is simply not enough interest in calibration (alone) in any given metro area tor someone to make a good living without near-constant travel.

The self-marketing aspect of calibration cannot be underestimated. There aren't many tech-oriented people who are technically sharp enough to "get" calibration, do it well, and still have the will/interest/skill/ability to do all the self-marketing necessary to keep your schedule filled with calibrations.

I wanted to get all the background I could in consumer video displays so I would be able to deal with product reviews for magazines and because all my calibration experience previously (34 years) involved professional imaging systems with VERY different video displays involved. All of the 34 years of training on professional imaging systems (including some cinema systems) was useful, yet not useful.... I say not useful because NOTHING can prepare you for how utterly DIABOLICAL it can be to figure out the best possible way to calibrate some video displays. Controls may SOUND like they should be useful, but when you actually being using them, you find they aren't doing what they SHOULD be doing. Or that they will do some things and not others. Or that using an "innocent" control creates problems elsewhere that could be missed if you don't have your wits about you. And to heap-on the misery, you get used to how to calibrate some manufacturer's video displays after 3 or 4 years only to find that the next models they release are NOTHING like the models that went before, to the point that the new models are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT in every possible way... and they can be damn testy/touchy/obtuse to calibrate well. That may not be such a big deal if the TV is in your own room and you have plenty of time to deal with it, but when you are at a customer's home and are already 4 hours into a calibration on a new and demanding model and you still haven't got a handle on it and it is midnight on a Wednesday noght and you're 2 hours from home... do you punt? do you leave the calibration half-done and make a 4 hour round trip to return later (plus 2 more hours home) do you press on forcing the owner to stay up with you when they have to work tomorrow? If you like stress and puzzles you may not be able to figure out on the first visit, calibration could be for you! What about problem solving? Like the customer's projection screen is so close to the 8-foot white ceiling that the images are washed out by the reflections bouncing back onto the screen and the customer hasn't even noticed that yet and "likes" the current setup? Do you explain what's bad about the setup and why, or let the customer live in bliss not knowing what's really happening? Damn difficult questions... and things like that pop up more often than not. adding even more to the stress.

Being a calibrator sounds romantic on the surface, but the REALITY is SO MUCH HARSHER than the ideal vision, that most people simply cannot handle it; I got EXACTLY what I wanted from the training... and I went into it KNOWING that I would never be making a full-time living from calibration.

Same goes for my chosen field, architectural photography. I do travel to NYC quite a bit for work, DC too. That's why I live in Philly—it's the center of megalopolis.


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post #20 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 07:55 PM
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Doug read my mind. wink.gif

Everything he said there is true. I eased into the full time touring after starting local and (very) part time. It takes determination, passion for home theater, and a high work ethic. We all flub up along the way; you can either let it discourage you or you can learn from it. Don't have the mindset that you're in it for the money; do it because you enjoy it and be driven to get the best out of their HT gear.

I enjoyed the THX class. It was great spending time with Gregg and meeting Michael, Sotti, and the others.
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post #21 of 62 Old 12-20-2013, 11:02 PM
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Doug's post #19 explains magnificently well why I will in recent years only calibrate displays I have sold and installed. My company has been primarily focused on custom theater systems and viewing environment consulting and solutions since its inception in 1998. Display calibrations were only one of the many services I provided over all those years, staying within Colorado.

My first ISF training in '98 was possibly the last class Joe Kane taught before he and Joel Silver parted endeavors. Joel allowed me to repeat the training several times after that and partially assist with each class. In those days, the course was focused on building a foundation in imaging science principles as they relate to understanding, selling, designing, and implementing video systems that perform correctly. An introduction to display calibration was included at the end, with minimal hands-on practice. My company has remained consistently dedicated to promoting imaging science best practices and viewing environment studies as a result of Joe and Joel's inspiration, teaching, and leadership.

I became THX certified in June of '02 at Skywalker Ranch the same week THX announced it would become a separate entity from Lucasfilm. When THX later decided to develop a display calibrator certification program, I was invited to join Lion AV and consulted in the course's development in late '07. The program was in response to a need for more in-depth, comprehensive, and hands-on training of display calibrators. Since that became a reality, the ISF has expanded its training course in order to compete. It's my opinion that both courses offer unique features, but the THX course is currently superior for anyone wanting to excel at calibrating displays for hire.

Formal training in imaging science and display calibration, with hands-on coaching by thoroughly experienced practitioners, can greatly expedite the process of learning the craft of display calibration. The THX training covers a lot of ground in minimum time. Time made available to students for practice and coaching with all the gear present in the mornings and evenings is a great asset. Such extra time really helps students secure the class material in their understanding. There is a superb assortment of display types and test instruments in the class room. Support after the course is also exceptional. The THX calibrator forum is another benefit of the program that continues into the future. It's wise to prepare as much as possible in advance because the pace is rather brisk. Getting some previous exposure to the process and software would help a student absorb more in class for sure.

Best regards and beautiful pictures,
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post #22 of 62 Old 12-21-2013, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post

And I followed you for similar reasons - like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Mark - if you're taking the full 3 day course for certification, do yourself a huge favor and learn ChromaPure now. Watch all the videos on the CP site and practice practice practice. It's not a hand holding course and if you aren't reasonably familiar with calibration you'll fall behind in a hurry. Things move too fast for those arriving without the basics.

To make it worse, if Michael is teaching the course you have to be able to solve riddles.... lolololololololol

sorry Michael. tongue.gif

That's one of the reasons why the 33 part and counting video training series was created. It addresses the memory retention issue that one experiences in the class. No one can remember everything and write down notes about everything in a class setting. So with a video series ... they can watch the stuff 100 times if they have to in order to pound the information into their heads. It's just too bad so few calibrators actually take advantage of this series. A bunch of them think it should be free ... like medicare ... (except for the reality that no one paid me and Ray for our time and effort in the creation of this stuff.)

No more riddles Buzz ... (I'm no longer part of the training program.)

Regards
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post #23 of 62 Old 12-21-2013, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
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....I'm coming at this with a professional photographer's background, so accurate color is more than just an academic issue for me.
A trained, disciplined eye for color and lighting are an excellent foundation for approaching video display calibration. Which reminds me, the proper approach is display system calibration in order to provide image fidelity. As Joe Kane consistently insists; "It's all about the art." A "perfectly" calibrated display device can be compromised in its ability to deliver correct images to the viewer if peripheral elements in the system are not part of the calibration equation and process.

I have turned down calibration business due to a seriously unfriendly viewing environment and glossy screen. This was one of those modern homes with lots of windows, high ceilings, high windows without any coverings, white walls, white ceiling, white furnishings, a built-in TV niche, and wide openings to adjacent rooms that also had white walls and abundant windows. The only time programming could be watched without obscuring reflections was at night with absolutely no lighting whatsoever. This couple admitted they would very rarely ever watch in such conditions because the wife insisted on having some room lighting in use. The RPTV was recessed into the wall with no space around the cabinet, so proper bias lighting was not available. Some other calibrators may have taken the business, but I couldn't justify it with such a bad case of interfering reflections all the time.

When I explained my reasoning to the couple for turning down their business, they at least said they understood. Unfortunately, the husband cut a hole in the wall between their living room and garage. Then he framed around the TV in the garage. They had no practical alternative, other than painting their living room differently and covering more windows. Viewing better TV pictures was not more of a priority than how their living room looked the rest of the time. This could be considered a worse case scenario. However, each system may have a variety of compromises, with degrees of severity on all kinds of sliding scales away from the ideal. A comprehensively skilled and experienced display system calibrator will understand how to correct for, and/or minimize the compromises......up to a point.
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post #24 of 62 Old 12-25-2013, 12:02 AM
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I would just like to say that you are all absolute legends in my book. I aspire to your level of knowledge of the home theatre.

All the best in the New Year.
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post #25 of 62 Old 12-25-2013, 02:03 AM
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Nope have not taken any workshop but with Calman tutorial I learned how to calibrate. It's a hobby for me and with the Lumagen 2041 I was very impressed with the outcome.

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post #26 of 62 Old 12-26-2013, 08:11 PM
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I didnt take the class but I do have the offical bluray THX calibration disc that you get when you complete the class. smile.gif

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post #27 of 62 Old 12-26-2013, 11:42 PM
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I just recently started getting into Home Theater sound and video equipment and calibration. It has become my hobby, and I enjoy it. I've been thinking of taking the ISF / THX classes to learn more, but at this moment it won't be possible. However, I been doing some reading, and watching videos trying to learn as much as possible.

I bought some equipment to calibrate my surround sound system. Now, I am getting into the video calibration side. It is extremely difficult since this isn't very popular in my area.

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post #28 of 62 Old 12-26-2013, 11:54 PM
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Greetings

Well if you want to learn about how to do this stuff, that 33 part and counting video training series is always available. Plopping yourself into an ISF or THX class will be considerably more expensive and paying more doesn't mean you get a better product.

regards
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post #29 of 62 Old 12-26-2013, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

Well if you want to learn about how to do this stuff, that 33 part and counting video training series is always available. Plopping yourself into an ISF or THX class will be considerably more expensive and paying more doesn't mean you get a better product.

regards

I agree, and I will be watching the 33+ part video training. Thank you and everyone else involved in making them.

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post #30 of 62 Old 12-29-2013, 08:32 AM
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hi guys!
I hope everybody is having a great Christmas season.

We just confirmed that LG will be supplying a 55" OLED for the class. This will be a great display to play with.
Along with 6 front PJs, and about 12 other flat panels. fun stuff!!
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