Will ISF or THX Certification let you calibrate TVs better? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 01-27-2014, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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What does it really mean to be ISF or THX certified besides being knowledgeable about theory of color and calibration science? Being dedicated, motivated, spending money and energy on such certificates and becoming a professional is great, but what does it mean for actual calibration skills and results? I've learned all I could about PC hardware and could do anything from customization, installation, optimization, troubleshooting hardware of any kind, basic networking, extreme overclocking with volt-modding, water-cooling, and of-course info on the newest products, updates, related-software, etc. I am not trying to brag - far too many people know all this and others can just buy a DELL laptop/desktop. At some point I picked up an A+ certification book and as I went through it - I was laughing because very little of it was helpful in practice and it was so incredibly out-dated. IMO, being A+ certified means very little for practical application of PC hardware-related skills. Is it the same with ISF and THX certification? I'd like to point out that I am not implying that it is - I am asking.
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post #2 of 31 Old 01-27-2014, 02:34 PM
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Well you could start by reading one of the four threads about this very topic in the first two pages of this forum...
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1506584/have-you-taken-the-thx-video-calibration-workshops
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1511196/thx-certified-calibration-workshop-at-ces-2014
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1513692/isf-training-classes
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1513691/isf-training


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post #3 of 31 Old 01-27-2014, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! I got my answer.
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post #4 of 31 Old 01-27-2014, 04:06 PM
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Greetings

It would also do you some good to read the four part write up on calibration courses at the TLVEXP.com site.

If you do not pay attention in the classes, you don't learn anything. Simple as that. (There have been a few of those ... they come ... hover around ,,, do not participate in anything in the class ... and then complain afterward that there was no hands on. rolleyes.gif)

Then ask yourself who would be better instructing jet fighter pilots ... the engineers that designed the plane? The people in the marketing department? Or actual ace fighter pilots?

The big thing to remember is that learning how to calibrate is the easy part of the equation. Turning this into a successful business is something else and much much harder.

And no two to 3 day class can cram 15 years of experience into a persons head.

You will learn how to do it correctly ... either validating what you already think you know, or correcting what you think you know.

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post #5 of 31 Old 01-27-2014, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

It would also do you some good to read the four part write up on calibration courses at the TLVEXP.com site.

If you do not pay attention in the classes, you don't learn anything. Simple as that. (There have been a few of those ... they come ... hover around ,,, do not participate in anything in the class ... and then complain afterward that there was no hands on. rolleyes.gif)

Then ask yourself who would be better instructing jet fighter pilots ... the engineers that designed the plane? The people in the marketing department? Or actual ace fighter pilots?

The big thing to remember is that learning how to calibrate is the easy part of the equation. Turning this into a successful business is something else and much much harder.

And no two to 3 day class can cram 15 years of experience into a persons head.

You will learn how to do it correctly ... either validating what you already think you know, or correcting what you think you know.

Regards

That was exactly my thought - thank you for pointing that out. I think making it a business is extremely hard and requires not only calibration skills, but also ability to sell hardware, software, and other services, thus being an excellent salesman/woman. It would be impossible for me to sell expensive products to people when I know they could simply use free HCFR, a modern and well-written guide for it, a cheap but accurate ColorMunki colorimeter and possibly rent a spectrometer to profile colorimeter to calibrate TV. For TV or monitor used with HTPC they could simply use free ArgyllCMS + dispcalGUI with free madVR and get either ICC/1DLUT profiles or even 3DLUT profiles, which could make their displays produce near reference-like colors. It won't meet everyone's needs but it will meet 90-100% of them for 90% of people.
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post #6 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 08:44 AM
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Greetings

There are a lot cheaper ways to compare notes with the professionals than paying the $1200 to $2000 to take these professional classes.

Given that the 35 part and counting Video Calibration Training series that is offered represents all that is taught in such classes and more. With the benefit of repeated viewing ... versus a class where once it's done ... it's done. Just have a note book with the class slides and whatever notes you scribbled into it.

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post #7 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 10:45 AM
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I think making it a business is extremely hard and requires not only calibration skills, but also ability to sell hardware, software, and other services, thus being an excellent salesman/woman.

You don't have to sell hardware/software.... in fact, I would suggest you start by just offering your calibration service, part time. I would also suggest you do not get into selling hardware or installation services.. focus on offering a dedicated calibration service to start.

Many want to have their own business but frankly, some just don't have what it takes to be self employed. It's a lot harder to be self employed and successful than it is to calibrate, by a wide margin.

As Michael likes to say, don't expect to sit around waiting for the phone to ring [or of course, electronic contact].

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post #8 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought about how I could do - visit local electronics stores like BestBuy and try to talk to customers who are looking at TVs, but I think I will get kicked out... Maybe do the same only during big TV sales? What is the main reason people do not calibrate on their own? I think that aside from not knowing how - they simply are not aware that their TV should show a specific picture rather than the one they like. How would you go about educating your local community on what calibration is? I know this is not really Display Calibration related, but I am not sure where else to ask. I thought about writing some kind of an educational piece for a local paper or magazine to get people to be at least aware. Then I could go ahead and offer my services.
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post #9 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 03:06 PM
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What is the main reason people do not calibrate on their own?.

well first, only a small percentage of display owners even think about calibration.. a bit more will do adjustments.. the rest just keep it in factory modes

Out of those few that want calibration and don't want to do it themselves? A variety of reasons but we need to be upfront here.. DIY is not for everyone that's interested in calibration.. I'm sad to hear today that one of my users has abandoned the DIY route, returned the meter. The good news is he had Chad B come in and calibrate his display, I just wish he would have kept the meter (it was returned before booking Chad), perhaps Chad could have provided some education during the visit....

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post #10 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 03:17 PM
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I thought about how I could do - visit local electronics stores like BestBuy and try to talk to customers who are looking at TVs, but I think I will get kicked out... Maybe do the same only during big TV sales? What is the main reason people do not calibrate on their own? I think that aside from not knowing how - they simply are not aware that their TV should show a specific picture rather than the one they like. How would you go about educating your local community on what calibration is? I know this is not really Display Calibration related, but I am not sure where else to ask. I thought about writing some kind of an educational piece for a local paper or magazine to get people to be at least aware. Then I could go ahead and offer my services.

Do you have a local or neighborhood newspaper that you could run an ad for awhile to lest the response? We have an Area newspaper that is free and delivered once a month and I've seen calibration services offered in it.
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post #11 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 03:30 PM
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I thought about how I could do - visit local electronics stores like BestBuy and try to talk to customers who are looking at TVs, but I think I will get kicked out... Maybe do the same only during big TV sales? What is the main reason people do not calibrate on their own? I think that aside from not knowing how - they simply are not aware that their TV should show a specific picture rather than the one they like. How would you go about educating your local community on what calibration is? I know this is not really Display Calibration related, but I am not sure where else to ask. I thought about writing some kind of an educational piece for a local paper or magazine to get people to be at least aware. Then I could go ahead and offer my services.

Do you have a local or neighborhood newspaper that you could run an ad for awhile to lest the response? We have an Area newspaper that is free and delivered once a month and I've seen calibration services offered in it.
That might work for someone to mow your lawn, but ... eek.gif

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post #12 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 04:59 PM
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That might work for someone to mow your lawn, but ... eek.gif

Hey, it was just a suggestion. Lots of people read their local community "Times" for deals and services.
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post #13 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 05:21 PM
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I've been running my Biz since 2007 in a reality small market compared to the US/Canada markets, start up costs were tools and ISF costs, but I had these covered within 3 years operation. Since then profits have paid for a Jeti 1211 and other stuff.

The key though for many, DONT GIVE UP YOUR DAY JOB!

One big mistake many make is dreaming that calibration makes you well off within a short space of time. More like you make others well off in a short space of time.
You have to look at tools, ISF/THX training and time spent researching as investment towards an end goal, that goal may be 5 or 10 or even 15 years down the track.

This is no different to making an investment in a specific degree or trade towards a career path, if you are changing paths as many do during their lives, it takes comittment and effort.
Even then there is no sure things, as with any career there is some elements of luck, chance and skill mixed with hard work.

I still have a day job, which is good considering my home and city were nerfed by earth quakes.

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post #14 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 08:16 PM
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That might work for someone to mow your lawn, but ... eek.gif

Hey, it was just a suggestion. Lots of people read their local community "Times" for deals and services.
How about brain surgeons? wink.gif

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post #15 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 08:20 PM
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^^^^ Do you have a suggestion for him?
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post #16 of 31 Old 01-28-2014, 08:45 PM
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Well he seemed to genuinely want to start a business, and is already familiar with calibrating (according to his posts) but didn't know where to start, so I just threw the suggestion out there because no one else had. I do see your points though, except for maybe the brain surgeon, which was funny btw wink.gif
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Well he seemed to genuinely want to start a business, and is already familiar with calibrating (according to his posts) but didn't know where to start, so I just threw the suggestion out there because no one else had. I do see your points though, except for maybe the brain surgeon, which was funny btw wink.gif
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post #18 of 31 Old 01-29-2014, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know that its a bit off-topic again, but at what point do you declare it as a business that you run to IRS? AFAIK you need to earn some money before you do so, right? And can you provide a name for your services without registering it somewhere? Like I would wish to call it "City name" TV/Projector Calibration Services or something similar - can I do that if that title is not used by any other business?
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post #19 of 31 Old 01-29-2014, 11:00 AM
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If your City Ordinance requires a business license, then you will have to apply for a tax i.d. number. Once you do, the IRS has you. If your business records a loss for 3 years in a row, the IRS MAY consider it a hobby and you won't be allowed to deduct your expenses but you will still have to report your income. There are exceptions but basically this is how it works if you are paid for a service, unless you do it by word of mouth and under the table.
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post #20 of 31 Old 01-29-2014, 11:28 AM
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^^^
I know different state have different regulations and ordinances for businesses that provide services to the public, but since the question was about the IRS, which is federal then under federal law, the business can operate under the person's SS# as a sole proprietor. This business would go on Schedule C. The business does not require a Tax ID number unless it has employees, then a EIN (same as as tax ID), Employer Identification Number would be required.

The IRS has Publication 334 that somewhat explains these... although I would suggest you consult with and accountant.

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post #21 of 31 Old 01-29-2014, 12:58 PM
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And Superleo is an accountant, BTW. Wish he were closer by to me...

redface.gif

Keep in mind that you have BB as your competition, charging a very reasonable $250 for their production line job, in and out the door in 2 hours max. The last cal I did was 3 hours and eventually it ultimately did not need to involve the invasive part of a calibration at all, we simply reversed the roles. He is an attorney, and he was coming to me for the consultation. We were able to bring off the same performance without doing any invasive surgery at all, just by playing with what we already had, since after the burn-in period we found that Panasonic had already dialed it in very very VERY close, out of the box. So close that any better would have been unnoticeable. Once we found exactly where, the rest was a series of tests and checks and instruction, winding up with a picture to die for. Which cost him only 2/3 of the normal fee, resulting in the same performance as if we had actually done the rest of the calibration. Experience in the field is worth more than gold, and soundly trumps an inexpensive, 2 hour production line job done with no time allowed for any education of the owner, much less thorough education with no stone left unturned, which is what we did. When I left he had become a highly experienced and newly competent handler of his set, from then on.

When you certify for THX you get Michael TLV, whose experience is superb and irreplaceable in the real world. He and Gregg Loewen started up their certification with THX after being turned down elsewhere, and neither they nor THX have ever looked back. THX now has every bit the reputation of ISF.

Whether you will get enough biz is anybody's guess. If they are members here, chances are you will. If you try to get them interested off the street, good luck. You need owners who already know the benefits of display calibration and the unique suspension of disbelief it allows for you, the hypnotic state you go into with a finely tuned and fully dialed in display, one that effortlessly spirits you away. That can only happen from a display that truly gets itself out of the way and allows the content to remain king at all times. That's what calibration is all about.

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post #22 of 31 Old 01-29-2014, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the help and advice - I really do appreciate it!

I thought of beating the competition by charging a much smaller fee - $100 per calibration. I already own an i1Display Pro, a laptop, CalMAN v5 Enthusiast and HCFR. I need i1Pro for accuracy, a tripod, a portable DVD player to hook to their TVs to play patterns, and one of them towel wrappings for colorimeter (to prevent light from hitting the area where colorimeter is reading patterns). A pattern generator would be nice, but they are SO expensive... Won't a DVD played do the trick?

I thought about targeting simple folks because they can't afford a pro calibration for $400 or even BestBuy's $250 offer. Most of them would not have expensive TVs, but I think 2pt grayscale is available on all HDTVs. For such a market being a Pro may even backfire as Pros would never charge so little and cheaper folks don't have the money for something expensive. But now that you said "Good luck finding customers on the street" - I am very concerned. I thought I could visit local video stores and just talk to people looking to buy TVs, but I'm afraid I will get kicked out by the staff, lol! I guess newspaper ads, local TV ads would help me find people. Any other ideas?

Targeting people on the internet - how do you go about that? Is there a section here where you can advertise your services? I live in SC - I am not sure how many people around here are even aware of TV calibration. And then the whole thing about not being certified will put people off, even though I'm certain I could do a truly great job, way better than Best Buy, possibly as good as pro, but possibly not because I do not have the best equipment. Calibrating nice and expensive TVs is actually much easier as they are accurate or close to being accurate out of the box! Its the older ones that pose a challenge - the LCD I have was in a horrific state when using factory settings, but now its accurate. Anyway, any tips would be appreciated, but I obviously don't want you to tell me all your biz secrets...

I also know how to use ArgyllCMS with dispcalGUI and I thought of offering additional monitor calibration, but that could be invasive - installing ICC profiles on their PCs through USB drive or e-mail.
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post #23 of 31 Old 01-30-2014, 04:24 PM
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Thanks for all the help and advice - I really do appreciate it!

I thought of beating the competition by charging a much smaller fee - $100 per calibration. I already own an i1Display Pro, a laptop, CalMAN v5 Enthusiast and HCFR. I need i1Pro for accuracy, a tripod, a portable DVD player to hook to their TVs to play patterns, and one of them towel wrappings for colorimeter (to prevent light from hitting the area where colorimeter is reading patterns). A pattern generator would be nice, but they are SO expensive... Won't a DVD played do the trick?

You do know CalMAN Enthusiast can't be used for commercial uses. It is a direct violation of the license agreement. You will need at least CalMAN Expert to use CalMAN for commercial purposes.

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post #24 of 31 Old 01-30-2014, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll use HCFR.
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post #25 of 31 Old 01-30-2014, 05:26 PM
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I believe client expectations are such that if you started using DIY software they will unlikely pay, likewise with tools. 95% of my clients research calibration before the hire me, they expect a certain tool kit, simple as that.
There is a base line investment required for the average starter, the exceptions would be those few attached to the game already and have a good knowledge base and experience.

Not trying to put you off, but it isn't a free ride to get started.

Some key points,

ISF/THX is about street cred, is it overpriced, maybe, maybe not. But when you start talking and working with the industry, showing that you have invested in yourself shows that you can invest effort into your client.
A vested interest and return if you like, so the value of accreditation returns down the track if you stay the course.

Tools and equipment, there is always another piece of equipment you think you might need. The hard bit is narrowing down the list to requirements verse wants.
Requirements are, quality software with professional backup, a Spectrometer, a generator, and maybe a colorimeter. A pile of connectors.

Attitude and appearance. I created a uniform, branding etc, looks the part atleast. When you arrive at the door, before you speak they know who you are, simple. Certainly comforts wifes and partners with this unknown person in their home.

Pricing, the market decides your price, you don't. Of course you can try, as I did, but ultimately the vast majority of public have no value for calibration.

This returns us to ISF/THX, because value in calibration and it's worth is part of what makes ISF/THX tick. Out of all the information you gather the key to it all is marketing, spreading the worth in calibration and why it is important.
So calibrators, also double as educators.
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post #26 of 31 Old 01-30-2014, 07:51 PM
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Can I also recommend a Hugh wad of Cash...or personal liability Insurance....cause I can tell you..I would not let you touch my display if you could not replace it..... if you mess it up.
That is were the Best Buy guys have it ..they just warranty out the display.

good luck

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post #27 of 31 Old 01-30-2014, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonarchX View Post


I thought of beating the competition by charging a much smaller fee - $100 per calibration. I already own an i1Display Pro, a laptop, CalMAN v5 Enthusiast and HCFR. I need i1Pro for accuracy, a tripod, a portable DVD player to hook to their TVs to play patterns, and one of them towel wrappings for colorimeter (to prevent light from hitting the area where colorimeter is reading patterns). A pattern generator would be nice, but they are SO expensive... Won't a DVD played do the trick?
.

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Originally Posted by derekjsmith View Post

You do know CalMAN Enthusiast can't be used for commercial uses. It is a direct violation of the license agreement. You will need at least CalMAN Expert to use CalMAN for commercial purposes.

Don't you hate it when you are trying to violate a products license agreement...and the owner of the company sees your post. eek.gif
Hate it when that happens.

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post #28 of 31 Old 01-31-2014, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Rayjr View Post


Don't you hate it when you are trying to violate a products license agreement...and the owner of the company sees your post. eek.gif
Hate it when that happens.

We no longer have to deal with this situation.

Derek

CTO / Founder - SpectraCal Inc.
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post #29 of 31 Old 01-31-2014, 01:10 PM
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One questions. Is it possible to make the ISF / THX online courses in a distance, to get this kind of certification? Or must necessarily be through contact sessions in classrooms?
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post #30 of 31 Old 01-31-2014, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguelronda View Post

One questions. Is it possible to make the ISF / THX online courses in a distance, to get this kind of certification? Or must necessarily be through contact sessions in classrooms?
I could be wrong..but I think both ISF & THX have to be done in a classroom to get certification.
But there are other options if you are looking for calibration training...take a look at the video series from MichaelTLV this will give you a very complete explanation of the process.

Just my $.02
RayJr
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