best buy offers hdtv calibration: how does it rate (details inside) - Page 13 - AVS Forum
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post #361 of 454 Old 06-30-2009, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

I think this is kind of a straw argument. Michael's point is that calibration is about accuracy to an objective standard. Achieving that is an activity of mainly objective measurements, but done through experience. Inevitably, the display is not perfect, and some compromises will be made in achieving as accurate an image as possible.

But it isn't fundamentally about turning the adjustment knobs (or pressing buttons, unless you're stuck in the 80s like me!) to give you the picture that you like or that looks good to you.

But in dealing with a novice, you have to get across that fundamentally there isn't much in the way of preference when it comes to calibration, because it is about accuracy to a reference. It is kind of a black or white issue, in a crude sense, because either the image is accurate or it isn't.

Now, as you delve deeper, you realize that in achieving that accuracy, some compromises are necessary. These come into play when you decide what TV you want (what set of strengths and weaknesses of capabilities you end up with), and to a certain degree some other calibration choices (display brightness, gamma, perhaps black level w/ambient light, clip or don't clip peak whites, etc) can enter in. These are relatively advanced minutia.

But calibration, fundamentally, is about what the picture should look like, not what some arbitrary person wants the picture to look like. To this end, a big part of the calibration process is educating the customer, so that they learn to appreciate what an accurate image looks like. In this way, the person's wants begin to align with what is right, and then there isn't conflict. It is usually the person who has never gotten the chance to really appreciate an accurate reference image, and doesn't even know that they want that, and at first they may not want it.

It's like somebody who hears a really flat subwoofer, properly calibrated into the system for the first time. That's accurate. But to the unknowing ear, it might sound thin compared to the bad-sounding bloat of a crummy system with the bass set way too high. But then you spend some time listening and discussing what sounds "real," and suddenly somebody who wanted horribly inaccurate before simply out of lack of knowledge and attention, desires and appreciates accurate.

You are correct, as was Michael. I said that one can be correct and still not be very useful. To say that calibration has nothing to do with what one likes or dislikes is correct but ignores the bigger picture that Michael and others know well is the crux of what we do. Sometimes it involves calibrating the user as much or more than the set, sometimes it means not calibrating the set at all. It always involves understanding the relationship between the science of measurement, the perspective of the user, and what can be done with a given system. It always involves educating the user to the degree they choose to learn.

Most calibrators know that and the best operate that way. Sometimes, however, we are not very clear in discussing the matter and educating people with regard to the complexity of the process. With all due respect to Michael and his great contributions, he tends sometimes, like you, to seem to be willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I am likely no better and sometimes I need to be reminded as well not to be pedantic and condescending. We can all raise the bar and be more informative in the process.

Yes, calibration is important...every user should be calibrated.

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post #362 of 454 Old 06-30-2009, 06:40 AM
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Greetings

When someone tells me that they know color and what a good picture ... "natural" picture looks like ... I start to shake my head. How many times have my clients told me that ahead of time prior to my arrival ... or even as I arrive.

And guess what ... they were all wrong ... and the end result looked nothing like where they started off. So when someone uses phrases and terms like that, I wonder what makes that person think he is different versus all the others that claimed the same position.

Sort of like how everyone claims that they are good drivers ... and yet still many accidents. Someone has to be wrong here.

As someone said ... "you don't know what you don't know." It is always fun to see the difference of where you start versus where you end up. But to establish the starting point as "this be natural" ... just begs for a response. I look for key words. One man's version of natural is not another man's. So who is right here?

On the topic of how long the BB guys take to do their calibration work, 1.5 to 2 hours should really be plenty. Now the qualifier ... calibration is easy ... marketing/education is hard. When I do stuff for my store front clients ... calibrating every last TV in their showroom, calibrations can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes. Take Sony flat panels for instance ... bang bang bang and it's done. Add 25 minutes if you have to make charts and things.

Unfortunately, as some have found out (Mainly the most respected calibrators) ... and many still have not found out ... there is more to this process than just the physical act of calibration. Education of the client is the key. It has to be. It's about understanding the questions first in order to understand and appreciate the answers that the calibration provides.

One cannot just give people a bunch of answers without the accompanying context. It's like throwing a bunch of numbers on a table and walking away. Sure one of the numbers there is correct ... but which one ... and why?

As I mentioned, calibration by itself is fairly quick ... because this stuff ain't rocket science. But throw in the education and the willingness to sit through it ... now the session stretches out. My calibration sessions these days take me anywhere from 4 to 6 hours and sometime longer. Even a 10 minute Sony set extends to 4 hours when you add the education component into it. My clients know ahead of time that it is actually a calibration 101 class that they are signing up for ... one where their TV just happens to be calibrated along the way.

Now the downside of the Calibration 101 approach ... for the BB guys. Unfortunately, this now requires more time and something else from the person doing the work. Being technically proficient isn't enough anymore. The calibrator is also required to be able to do public speaking which creates an additional set of difficulties. Imagine a whiz calibrator that has a stutter problem ...

regards

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post #363 of 454 Old 06-30-2009, 09:54 AM
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Well said, Michael.

Yes, calibration is important...every user should be calibrated.

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post #364 of 454 Old 06-30-2009, 09:55 AM
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Ok, thanks for clearing that up. I can see where you're coming from and where I may have been misleading in my statements. I apologize if you took offense to anything I said.
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post #365 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 04:02 AM
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I won't post the link but over on the avforums, Phil Hinton interviews Jeff Boccaccio from DPL Labs.

Pay careful attention to what he says about cable quality impacting picture quality.

Then those of you that insist on pedaling snake oil cables go away and hang your heads in shame.

digital film janitor
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post #366 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 06:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

As I mentioned, calibration by itself is fairly quick ... because this stuff ain't rocket science. But throw in the education and the willingness to sit through it ... now the session stretches out. My calibration sessions these days take me anywhere from 4 to 6 hours and sometime longer. Even a 10 minute Sony set extends to 4 hours when you add the education component into it. My clients know ahead of time that it is actually a calibration 101 class that they are signing up for ... one where their TV just happens to be calibrated along the way.

What do you say to the customer on the phone that job will take 10 minutes, but I will lecture you for an additional 3hrs 50min for your education and my ego, so that will be $$$. I can understand explaining the basics as you go but if I hired a plumber I would not expect to be paying for a lecture on plumbing. Are your customers lonely with no one else to share their enthusiasm for home cinema with?
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post #367 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 06:54 AM
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Greetings

I tell them that they are not a candidate for professional calibration.

On a related note ... a plumbing disaster in the home brings a plumber on an emergency call. He fixes the problem in 5 minutes. We still pay the full charge of that call and don't bicker about paying him for only 5 minutes of his time. How long he takes has no bearing on cost. It is the end result in this case.

If you can find me clients that feel the same way about the calibration service, I will gladly take all comers. Problem is ... they are far and few. We all get way more clients that equate time with value. It's a human nature thing. Experience and expensive gear and capital costs mean nothing to them in terms of $$.

I can get a client that says he doesn't care about the education ... and just wants it done. Then I get all these questions after the fact about why some tv show looks this way or that way ... and it never ends. And by that time, anything you say to them no longer matters. It is seen as the calibrator trying to weasel out of having to come back to the home.

The education process is proactive in nature. Whether it takes 3 hours or more or less is irrelevant, but in the end, all the clients are happy and they can actually speak intelligently about the calibration process to their friends. And that brings referrals ...

Versus a cynical view that belittles the clients.

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post #368 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

I tell them that they are not a candidate for professional calibration.

I can get a client that says he doesn't care about the education ... and just wants it done. Then I get all these questions after the fact about why some tv show looks this way or that way ... and it never ends. And by that time, anything you say to them no longer matters. It is seen as the calibrator trying to weasel out of having to come back to the home.

The education process is proactive in nature. Whether it takes 3 hours or more or less is irrelevant, but in the end, all the clients are happy and they can actually speak intelligently about the calibration process to their friends. And that brings referrals ...

Versus a cynical view that belittles the clients.

Regards

Fair enough. I would just be one of those not suited to pro-calibration, since I would not want to be calibrated, just have the display calibrated. Judging if I liked the results on my own subjective opinion rather than having been educated that the picture is superior.

Is the 10minutes due to their being little that can be done to improve the picture, calibration will not achieve much. Or is the 10minutes due to the display being extremely easy to get accurate, calibration is worthwhile but takes so little time, customers will not be happy paying.
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post #369 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 07:21 AM
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Greetings

10 minutes is due to the fact that I know what I am doing. Experience.

If you are the type of person that does not equate value to amount of time taken ... versus the end result, you are rare indeed. And possibly not part of the human race.

Bear in mind this is 10 minutes standing in front of a TV in a store front. There are no graphs or other pretty pictures in this process. The TV simply gets done ...

The moment you add in having to do these before versus after graphs ... it takes longer. Paperwork takes time.

A person that just gets the end result without any of the understanding is not the greatest choice to be an advocate of the process. So how does the picture look? As asked by a friend. Well it looks different, but I am not quite sure why? It's dimmer than it used to be ...

Guess what ... that does not get you referrals ... nor does it instill confidence in the process.

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post #370 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

A person that just gets the end result without any of the understanding is not the greatest choice to be an advocate of the process. So how does the picture look? As asked by a friend. Well it looks different, but I am not quite sure why? It's dimmer than it used to be ...

Guess what ... that does not get you referrals ... nor does it instill confidence in the process.

regards

I would hope a calibrated picture would look noticeably better. More natural-lifelike-real with more clarity and more depth to the image. The people look more like they are real and more pretty/hansome. The improved image I would hope would sell itself, rather than needing to be educated/persuaded/convinced it was better. If I need to be persuaded it is better it begins to resemble the emperors new clothes.
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post #371 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by dovercat View Post

I would hope a calibrated picture would look noticeably better. More natural lifelike with more clarity and more depth to the image. The improved image I would hope would sell itself, rather than needing to be persuaded/convinced it was better.

All fine and dandy, but many don't know how or why the picture is/looks different. "Wow. I see a lot more detail" is probably the most common comment from customers, then when directed to colors, flesh tones, they start to see the difference/improvement. Some see it immediately.

If you are the type who goes to the doctor only want to hear, "here is a prescription take it and you will be fine"....... then yu may not care about learning anything about calibration. The amount of improvement can vary depending on how well you bought a display and how well you have it setup.

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post #372 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 07:47 AM
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Greetings

Well what would you tell this nightmare client that I had many years ago that threatened to beat my head in with a baseball bat? He didn't stick around for the calibration process at all ... took off. I was gone by the time he came home. A 5 hour job reduced in time to 2.5 hours with him not there.

He also saw this better image ... and was sure I had broken his TV. He wanted a new one.

And how did he decide this? Well turns out he had two other TVs in the house that I did not work on ... nor was I aware of. They were also bad looking at the start ... just like the original TV. Well they were bad looking in a similar way ... and it led the client to decide that the calibrated image was the wrong image. The broken one.

His reference for right and wrong became his wrong TVs.

You say you are different.

So many of my clients tell me that they know a good picture when they see it ... and they think the one they started with was pretty good. Almost challenging me to prove them wrong.

And at the end of the session ... they are surprised to find it better still. But they all said they knew quality and what good was. Turns out they were all wrong. So what makes you right and everyone else wrong?

Ask everyone out there that drives if they think they are good drivers? The answer will be pretty much everyone saying yes. And yet ... accidents keep happening. Someone is lying. Or the definition of "good" varies.

You don't know what you don't know. 2+2=9 ... if you don't know any better.

Why is 4 anymore correct than 0 or 10 or 42 or 999 ... if you don't understand the 2+2 part of it?

Oh yes ... the nightmare guy .... how did that end? Well 2 weeks later after the guy sobered up ... I was back at his home looking at the same image I left him with. I sat him down this time. Okay ... this is how you set brightness ... this is why. This is how you set contrast ... this is why ... and step by step ... through the whole process.

At the end of this 2.5 hour session ... guess what ... he is happy. He loves the image. Also extremely embarrassed that he acted like an a-hole.

He went from mad as heck to singing the praises of calibration. The image never changed a bit. Why? Because he now understood the process and the questions ... that lead to the calibrated answer that he got.

regards

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post #373 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 07:56 AM
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Michael TLV -

In those 10 mins are you mostly just doing Grayscale?


I know when I calibrate a home display I take a long time just finding the best combination of Contrast - Power save mode - Backlighting to maximize on/off contrast, as well as Ansi.

I'm sure this is not needed at a show room floor as there would be lots of lights on and lighting coming into the room.
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post #374 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 08:01 AM
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Greetings

Depends on the TV ... but my example is a Sony set. 10 minutes to do it all. user controls to the grayscale. Brightness and contrast et al takes about 5 minutes ... if that. The rest is grayscale or even the beginnings of copying settings to other inputs.

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post #375 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

Depends on the TV ... but my example is a Sony set. 10 minutes to do it all. user controls to the grayscale. Brightness and contrast et al takes about 5 minutes ... if that. The rest is grayscale or even the beginnings of copying settings to other inputs.

But are you trying to find the best combination of on/off and ansi?

Or just set the TV contrast to a level that produces enough light output?

Do you use backlight settings / Power Save Modes?

Like I said before in a showroom with a lot of light this is not a big Issue or even a issue at all, but for a home in a darkened HT it would be.

I guess what I'm getting at is for the showroom it only takes you 10 min, as it should.

But I would hope in a home environment you would take the time to play with these other modes to find the best contrast performance for their day time viewing and night time viewing.
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post #376 of 454 Old 07-22-2009, 10:43 AM
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Greetings

That's why it takes 3 to 5 hours ...

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post #377 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 06:58 AM
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Greetings

You do realize that we don't care about ansi when calibrating a TV ... nor do we care about on off CRs either. What those numbers are have no bearing on the course of the calibration. They are what they are.

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post #378 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

You do realize that we don't care about ansi when calibrating a TV ... nor do we care about on off CRs either. What those numbers are have no bearing on the course of the calibration. They are what they are.

regards

Michael, for the forum, you should have said we can't do much of anything about ANSI, and generally there is nothing that can be done about On/Off CR, unless there are benefits to iris settings.

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post #379 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 07:53 AM
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Greetings

Not really applicable to playing with a sony flat panel on a showroom floor.

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post #380 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

You do realize that we don't care about ansi when calibrating a TV ... nor do we care about on off CRs either. What those numbers are have no bearing on the course of the calibration. They are what they are.

regards

Are you talking purely from a showroom perspective or in home environments too?
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post #381 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 09:03 AM
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Greetings

When you set contrast and brightness correctly ... you don't care about the ansi or the on off in the home environment because they are what they are at that point. They are just numbers and have no bearing on the calibration itself.

Maybe you use them if you are shopping for a TV ... but that has nothing to do with the calibrator since the person has already chosen the TV by the time the calibrator is in the picture.

No calibrator talks in those terms. It is just technobabble.

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post #382 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 11:08 AM
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This is not always true for Home TV calibration.

If you don't use backlight settings and power save modes on some TV's

You are losing ON/OFF and ANSI.


How may you ask???


Well if you follow the recommended ftL output ratings for TV's based on night time viewing (aka around 30 - 40 ftL) and only adj the contrast control to set the ftL level, and don't touch the backlighting setting or Power save mode, you are not lowering the Black level at the same time.

You would need to find the best combination of Backlighting setting and Power Save mode that gives you the absolute best back level reading while still allowing you to hit your required white level ftL (while still maintaining proper grayscale.)

If not you are lowering on/off and Ansi as well.

For LCD's that don't have dynamic contrast function, the Maximum on/off and ANSI are usually pretty close to each other in number.
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post #383 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOWK View Post

Michael TLV

This is not always true for Home TV calibration.

I you don't use backlight settings and power save modes on some TV's

You are losing ON/OFF and ANSI.


How may you ask???


Well if you follow the recommended ftL output ratings for TV's based on night time viewing (aka around 30 - 40 ftL) and only adj the contrast control to set the ftL level, and don't touch the backlighting setting or Power save mode, you are not lowering the Black level at the same time.

You would need to find the best combination of Backlighting setting and Power Save mode that gives you the absolute best back level reading while still allowing you to hit your required white level ftL (while still maintaining proper grayscale.)

If not you are lowering on/off and Ansi as well.

For LCD's that don't have dynamic contrast function, the Maximum on/off and ANSI are usually pretty close to each other in number.

The native contrast ratio of a panel doesn't generally change unless augmented with firmware enhancements. Backlight settings don't change the CR, they just raise and lower the luminance of the overall image. There is a threshold for setting brightness and contrast. You don't want to crush blacks, but setting too high can washout blacks and reduce CR. Contrast, basically the same, you dont want to clip whites or cause set where there is colorshift. Backlight gets set to accomidate ambient lighting conditions.

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post #384 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 12:06 PM
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The below example is just an explanation on how not playing with backlighting and power save modes can lower on/off and ansi contrast.

Extreme Example: But an example non the less.

35,000:1 on/off in a dark HT environment.

Its much better to have 35ftL 100% IRE white Level with a .0010ftL 0% IRE Black level

vs.

150ftL100% IRE white Level with a .0042ftL 0% IRE Black level

The second option is way way to bright and if you were not setting proper backlighting and power save mode to lower the black level from .0042, and only lower contrast control to a level that doesn't burn your eyes out, you are lowering on/off and ANSI.


If the above happed you would have:

lets say 50ftL 100% IRE White with a 0.0042 0% IRE = 11,900:1 on/off contrast


Again for a showroom floor 150ftL is probably wanted, but not in a home.
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post #385 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 12:19 PM
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I guess the above is not too much of extreme example as most TV's are now 2,000,000:1 right?

lol.













This is a sarcastic POST!
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post #386 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 12:27 PM
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Greetings

Recommended numbers were derived for a reference environment. I don't have a single client that has a reference environment.

We follow the rules for setting up displays and recommended numbers are nice to know, but never something to aim for. If one happens to end up close to those numbers ... so be it. They are not a consideration when calibrating in a non-reference environment.

I hope you are not pulling methodology out of the air ... as setting things to some reference number is not taught by the ISF or THX classes. Environment environment environment ...

Funny ... where in all my posts do I say I don't touch other controls?

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post #387 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 12:50 PM
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In the example above, if the black level was 0.0042ftL out of the box with it’s default backlight and power save modes, would you just leave the out of box settings for those 2 items?

If yes…

Would you then set 100% IRE ftL contrast…

To the individuals liking?

Or would you set the contrast control as high as it can go while maintaining good grayscale & color performance?
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post #388 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 12:58 PM
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Greetings

We follow the three rules to setting contrast / light output.

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post #389 of 454 Old 07-23-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOWK View Post

In the example above, if the black level was 0.0042ftL out of the box with it's default backlight and power save modes, would you just leave the out of box settings for those 2 items?

If yes

Would you then set 100% IRE ftL contrast

To the individuals liking?

Or would you set the contrast control as high as it can go while maintaining good grayscale & color performance?

Contrast as high as it can go, then lower the backlight, generally. Being careful about affects to greyscale, etc. If it's a plasma, then you have to lower the white level to a reasonable, somewhat arbitrary value. I pick intelligently based on eliciting some information from the customer about what they like to watch, in what kind of lighting conditions, etc. Same goes for setting the backlight on the TV. There isn't a set fL I'd try to hit universally. I just try to make sure it's not too bright, but bright enough. If it's someone who watches in the dark and tells me they love deep black levels and are fine with a dim image, I go lower. If it's an old couple who want their TV to look the best and spend all day watching soap operas and are likely suffering vision problems, I'd brighten it up quite a bit. Both yield an accurate image, one is just brighter than the other.

For a more reference theater environment with a projection screen, going towards 16fL might be more alright. IMO that's too dim for smaller TV displays rather than large-screen projection systems. Judgement and experience and also a hint of making the customer happy.
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post #390 of 454 Old 08-07-2009, 05:56 PM
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Bump... this was the first really interesting and informative calibration (distinguishing from merely informative but nearly as interesting) thread I have read so far It's good to see some of the differences in the philosophy and approach for calibration for home users. I would venture a guess that for movie theaters there is much more conformity to a standard, but I will happily admit ignorance either way

What I do find interesting about this conversational thread has to do with some very philosophical questions. First let me also say I am not picking on anyone here so please don't take it that way! I respect all the individuals who participate in these discussions greatly. But this one has me fascinated!

First let me say I am Joe Average. I am not a calibrator, or a Audio-Visual Tech but I do consider myself to be a somewhat thoughtful person. Of course after reading this you just might disagree!

To get where I would like to go let's start with the threshold question "What is the purpose or objective of ISF calibration?"

To quote some excerpts from the posts above-

"The quest for calibration is the the quest to get it right. Unfortunately, it is not about getting an image that you happen to like."

"...calibration is about accuracy to an objective standard."

To be certain I am making the point here clear, I believe this to in fact be the accepted purpose of calibration. You can easily find plenty of similar propositions or restatements of this in other threads on this and other forums.

Simply if I simply restate this then the purpose of ISF calibration is the process of aligning your television to most accurately reproduce the picture information that is sent to it.

Next question then-

What is the most accurate picture?

I won't belabor this one much. The best explanation I have seen regarding this merely points out that the most accurate reproduction is the the one that most closely matches what the director of the movie, series, news show or what have you conceived and saw.

Here are the two premises I can deduce from all this-

1. ISF calibration is the process of aligning your television to most accurately reproduce the picture information that is sent to it.

2. ..the most accurate reproduction is the the one that most closely matches what the director of the movie, series, news show or what have you conceived and saw.

Let's put the two together then-

ISF calibration is the process of aligning your television to reproduce a picture that most closely matches what the director conceived and saw.

Fair enough?

OK! So if you are still with me let me ask this-

Taking something as simple as color, do all people see color exactly the same? (other than color blind or vision impaired folks of course) Certainly we all call orange orange because that is what we were trained to call that particular color when we see it, but the question as to whether or not we all see the same thing when we see orange is very much less clear.

Let's be so brash for one moment to assume that in fact that there is some or perhaps even a good deal of variance between what I see as orange and what anyone else does.

Now for the philosophical question. If all of the above is true and my set is perfectly calibrated (ignoring that there is no such thing as perfect calibration only that which falls within a specified percentage of error), will I ever see what the director saw? Of course not! So what is the best I can ever hope for? To see something close to what the director saw? Sounds good, but how do I know what that is? Without a very intense explanation by the director of what he saw and what he was trying to achieve I have no way of knowing if what I see is what the director intended for me to see.

OK, OK enough of the philosophical. It's easy enough to argue even under my set of assumptions that most people see the same thing within some small realms of variance. That really is not so hard to accept and in fact it is what I believe! (true or not!)

Still understanding I can never really achieve to see what the director wanted me to see precisely, what is more important? That I see something close thereto, or something that most pleases my eye?

Pretty personal decision I guess in the end. The answer I come to individually is that I respect the art form and I want to know what message the director was trying to be conveyed by each scene in a movie. (Noting that I don't give a darn about the news, though most good fiction I have seen occurs during a news cast). What emotion was he trying to convey, what did he want me to feel, to know, to experience? Heck yeah I want to get as close to that as I can!!

But that is what is right for me. For someone else it might just be about seeing something that looks pretty darn good to them and who cares about all the artsy fartsy stuff!

So if it were up to me, and someone were in my home to calibrate my TV I hope that is the first thing they would ask me. What's important to me, what do I want to get out of this thing called calibration. I would hope that in the end they understood that this is a service they are able to provide and which I am purchasing for my own very selfish reasons. In the end it's not about the director, the calibrator or the ISF. Personal services are about people and that my friends is the way we like them!
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