Originally Posted by Chronoptimist
If you are used to looking at and working with calibrated displays all day long, it definitely gets to the point where you can eyeball most displays to a pretty good state.I agree. When you have familiarized yourself with the controls on a TV or monitor, manual adjustment (with test pattern media) will get most displays in a good state. Especially lower end units with only an RGB white balance or 2-Point.
Without any reference nearby, I'm pretty good at getting displays in the 100 nits range (tends to be 90–100) in the most accurate greyscale preset, and select the right gamma preset for my target whether it's 2.2 or 2.4. (game/PC or film) Brightness, sharpness etc are trivial.
If there are noticeable errors, I can usually improve greyscale somewhat by eye too. (most displays are at least 500K off with their presets) I'm fine with a 2pt control, but with 10pt you're more likely to be introducing errors by eye unless the display has real problems to begin
I agree. If there is noticeable tint to gray scale, especially with 2-point, a correction can be made. Sometimes, if a particular IRE of two is so far off as to be visible, it too can many times be corrected a bit to smooth out the viewable gray scale in a 10 point.
If there's no CMS and just colour controls (chroma & hue) I can get them spot-on every time, if I have access to reference material that I am familiar with.I agree. Very doable also
Films and other content are enjoyable to watch in this state... but they look much better when calibrated.Agreed. . . the video quality will be much better than out of the box. And a full calibration will most times look somewhat to appreciably better depending on the TV or monitor and the range of available adjustments.
The biggest difference for me with calibration is always gamma. Gamma presets rarely measure flat, especially if you're targeting 2.4 for film. So while you might have the preset chosen which best approximates your target, you need
a 10pt control to get it accurate. I have years of experience, and this is something you cannot set by eye. Gamma presets I can get right, but not 10pt controls.You are very right on this that gamma can not be done by observation without instrumentation. However, the controversy between the 2.2 (or 2.25) and 2.4 gamma curve will always be an issue. So which to choose without compromising some program material. Therefore, unless a display is chosen for one use (say film or video) it will not be optimized for all program material anyway.
Gamma is the most important picture control to have a filmic image rather than a "television" one. Even if I can't pinpoint exactly where the problem is to set the controls by eye, anything other than a "flat" gamma looks wrong to me and impacts my enjoyment of watching a film.I find that on some films and but others are just fine. I am wondering if it has to do with whether the "film" was first shot on video or if there is moderate or heavy CGI and/or post processing?
And if a display has a CMS? You cannot set that up by eye at all. Secondary hues I find easy enough to get right, but pretty much anything else needs instrumentation.
Factory calibration has improved dramatically in the last couple of years, but they're all targeting 2.2 gamma rather than 2.4, and are less accurate than I would like.
If you want to see a film as the director intended—or at least as close as your display is capable of—you need it properly calibrated with instrumentation, either a Spectro, or a Spectro & Colorimeter combination.
Something I don't really agree with though, is paying someone $300+ to come out and calibrate your set, or worse, a projector, once when you first get it.Yes, I agree with that also. I wouldn't really suggest a calibration with equipment until at least a few hundred hours on most LCD or plasma. The "100 to 200 HR." point is oft times not long enough. And, after about 1,000 to 2,000 hours things will have drifted. But still not as bad as out of the box "torch mode".
Displays drift over time, and projectors are particularly bad for it. (they sure are dragging their feet when it comes to solid-state lighting) If you are considering paying a professional to come out and calibrate your display, pick someone that will do discounted touch-up calibrations on a yearly basis, or better, buy the tools and learn to do it yourself.
Maybe it just comes naturally to me, but I wouldn't consider calibration to be a difficult
thing to do. A lot of it does come down to experience, and that's what you're paying a professional for, but if you have time, the will to learn, and especially if you have multiple displays, it pays off buying the equipment to do it yourself. (I would say your cheapest option is either a ColorMunki spectro, or ideally an i1Pro) I have so many displays, and have changed them so often, that my calibration equipment has paid for itself many times over.
And at the end of the day, calibration just lets you relax. Ever find yourself reaching for the remote when you see something on your screen that doesn't look quite right, to tweak the colour control, gamma, or something else just a bit to get it looking better? I don't.
My display is calibrated, so I know what it's showing me is as it was intended to be seen. Sometimes a disc is just badly mastered, or the director intended there to be a colour tint or other strange look to be there. With a calibrated display, you aren't left wondering if things could look better, you just watch the film and enjoy it.I don't find myself wondering at all even of I just did a media assisted setting with most TVs. I find more issues with program material such as mastering compromises on a disc, artifacts of various compression or post production issues, or differences in video levels on OTA, cable, or satellite broadcast.