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SDR & HDR Calibration - How hard is it to do yourself?


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Looking to jump into the rabbit hole of calibration for my TV and projector and wondering how hard it is to actually do it properly?

 

I have the Spears and Munsil 4k HDR disc and its helped, but feel there is more my devices can bring.

 

So the question is how hard is it to actually do a full calibration yourself if you go out and buy a colour meter like the X-lite models? Will i eventually get it, or will i be struggling and still not happy.

The cost to get my TV & Projector calibrated is significant and frankly much more than i thought it would be. 

 

Also, is there some types of guides available online to walk you through the calibration process?

 

Thanks

 

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To be honest, this is why I became a calibrator.  I had been playing with test patterns since Joe Kane Video Essential in laser disc and had moved on to DVD and BD and now UHD.   

 

I applaud anyone wanting to learn this stuff and whilst a TV is fairly stable, lamps in projectots do change (less with age).  So having both the tools and the skill set is a good thing because you can recheck everything when ever you want.  

 

A new xrite display pro is a couple of hundred dollars.   Look after it, and it will last you years.  These can be referenced agsinst a spectrometer, but are very accurate out of the box.  

 

Software like hcfr is free and easy to use.

 

It does take time to learn how the controls work in relation to it does to the picture.   I find it both interesting and fun to do and very satisfying when I get to the end of a calibration.     

 

As for the "secret squirrel " stuff about calibration, most of what you need has been published for years and in the end, the big arrow on the target map points the way.  

 

 

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It's a bit daunting at first, as everything seems complicated, but once you get your head around the process it's fairly straight forward.

Most people think that the colour on the TV's/PJ's is going to be out, and that getting that spot on is going to give them a much better picture.

The reality is that most if not all modern TV's and PJ's colour is pretty good if you choose the presets that are closest to D65.

It's the White Balance / Grey Scale where that is usually found to be the total opposite.

 

You need to think of a TV/PJ as two separate things, firstly a B&W TV, then a colour TV.

What actually happens is you calibrate the B&W first [Grey Scale - which is also the hardest and most time consuming part of calibration to do], this gives you all your fine gradients, things that enable you to see folds in clothing, strands in hair etc, you wanting to get all the gradients from the darkest to the lightest as equal as possible.

Once that's done the colour information is layered on top of the B&W.....that's the basis of calibration.

 

As mention freeware HCFR is good, I haven't used it in years but from what I've seen it's been radically upgraded over the years, I'm pretty sure it now does UHD calibration.

I'm pretty sure the HCFR software now has inbuilt test patterns, it does I'd recommend using them rather than a test disc, if only because it's SO much easier, especially for first timers [not having to mess about pressing remotes to change patterns on a disc is a God send

TBH all calibration software works exactly the same as each other, the difference between them is UI and varying forms of automation, and that' what your paying for.

 

https://sourceforge.net/projects/hcfr/

 

It will work with a Xrite i1display pro.

 

I recommend using this guide / walk-through.

It's a bit dated RE the screen shots, and meters have progressed and so has HCFR since it was written, but other than that, you do things exactly the same and in the same order as in this guide.

http://www.curtpalme.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10457

 

The hardest thing about calibration is remembering the steps to take, and in which order they are done in, then once done, you have to go back over them again as the controls interact with each other.....this is just for the Gray Scale /white balance, once you have got that as good as you can, calibration of colour is a breeze.

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agree with tweaky that a lot of telly and projectors are getting pretty good out the box. however with projectors particularly you cant jsut get out the box and use... as alls picture is greatly related to setup and conditions of room, lighting, screen size projector throw and such. 

 

i have found can get pretty good results eg with the jvc n7 with some very simple basics... however i wouldnt in wildest dream equate that to a pro calibration that as folks have said is some 4-5 hours work usually. especially where have SDR , HDR and 3D factories in. the one difficulty with projectors is the drift tend to get...so ideally would need a bit of a whip back in shape every some hundreds of hours ... but who can afford that ? thats not to say some dont still do this especially in the us where their roving calibrators do pop by for a quick tune up post calibration and keep things ticking along...

 

with our roving calibrators perhaps thats something could be arranged too...

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That's the beauty of having your own calibration gear, especially as a PJ owner.

You just keep reports of your previous calibration and then just meter what you PJ is currently outputting, it takes a LOT less time and effort to adjust for lessening light output and the usual drifting towards the yellow as a PJ's lamp ages.

If I were running a PJ like I used to [average of at least 30 hours a week], I'd meter and tweak the settings every 3 months.

I do my 4K Panasonic TV every 6 months now it's electronics have settled in, it's usually the Grey scale that drifts with both TV's and PJ's, so it best to stay on top of things before it drifts out too much, otherwise you end up having to do a major full calibration, which takes ages, and is worth avoiding if possible.

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I have previously calibrated my Epson TW2000;  just died after 12 years.  Calibration took a while to learn but well worth it and the picture was fantastic over its life

 

Awaiting to get my TW9400 and use my iDisplay Pro and Chromapure to calibrate it;  although I have never done a HDR calibration.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 04/02/2020 at 7:34 PM, zzkazu said:

I have previously calibrated my Epson TW2000;  just died after 12 years.  Calibration took a while to learn but well worth it and the picture was fantastic over its life

 

Awaiting to get my TW9400 and use my iDisplay Pro and Chromapure to calibrate it;  although I have never done a HDR calibration.

If using Chromapure to calibrate HDR, go to the Chromapure website and have a look in the VIDEOS section.

View the calibration HDR Greyscale video.

https://www.chromapure.com/movies3/hdr_grayscale/hdr_grayscale.html

 

It's not as straight forward as for REC 709, where you can calibrate everything from 10 IRE to 90 IRE.

With HDR your TV or PJ's Tone Mapping circuitry will alter the results of your metering from about 60/65 IRE and upward, to the point when you won't be able to adjust the highlights.

This Tone Mapping varies from manufacturer to manufacturer in it's implementation, and where it's effect kicks in.

 

I'd also recommend reading back through the last 50 or so posts at the official ChromaPure 3 thread at the AVS forum.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/139-display-calibration/2248138-official-chromapure-3-thread.html

 

The truth is, as explained in one of those latter posts it that thread, that nobody really knows how to calibrate for HDR, as there is no standard for a displays NIT output [how bright it can get] or the way tone mapping works.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would not push any newbie towards using HCFR. Unless it's had some massive overhaul in the last 24 months i am unaware of, its possibly the most un-user friendly software I have ever come across.

 

Although there isn't much available in the form of free option for calibration software, so maybe we are stuck with it. I use ChromaPure for TV's, and DisplayCAL for my PC monitors.

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  • 3 years later...
On 08/09/2020 at 1:34 AM, agisthos said:

I would not push any newbie towards using HCFR. Unless it's had some massive overhaul in the last 24 months i am unaware of, its possibly the most un-user friendly software I have ever come across.

 

Although there isn't much available in the form of free option for calibration software, so maybe we are stuck with it. I use ChromaPure for TV's, and DisplayCAL for my PC monitors.

 

Yes, steer clear of HCFR. CP3 (unfortunately Tom is retired) and CALMAN are the two best software options available. Basic SDR calibration using a colorimeter is relatively straightforward, albeit requiring patience. Adjusting IREs 30/80 for grayscale with basic controls using Spears & Munsil can significantly enhance picture quality/blacks/gamma. However, for more advanced CMS fine-tuning and HDR calibration, it's a different story...

 

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After watching Tony O'Brien from @Clarity Calibration spend over 3 hours tuning my Sony VPL-XW7000ES within an inch of its life, I lost a lot of interest in performing the calibration myself. 

 

Getting a pro to set you up is well worth the small expense and I imagine the results would be hard to achieve for a n00b taking their first crack at it.

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Some things are most definitely best left to the pros who have enough experience to know what to do in certain applications and situations, and have all the right (and best) gear to do the job. @Clarity Calibration lives and breathes this stuff.

 

Some say he counts and checks every individual pixel on his phone screen each night, rather than counting sheep to fall asleep. All I know is he's calibrated each projector I've owned and will calibrate all future upgrades for many years to come!

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2 hours ago, Marc said:

Some things are most definitely best left to the pros who have enough experience to know what to do in certain applications and situations, and have all the right (and best) gear to do the job. @Clarity Calibration lives and breathes this stuff.

 

Some say he counts and checks every individual pixel on his phone screen each night, rather than counting sheep to fall asleep. All I know is he's calibrated each projector I've owned and will calibrate all future upgrades for many years to come!

 

Iam with you. Turned my projector image quality into something I did not think was possible.

Speaking of which I now have a 98inch qled @Clarity Calibration - when are u next in Sydney? 😃

 

I also get that for some setups the cost of pro cal does not seem worth it. Probably can get 80-90% of the way there with diy options.

 

I remember looking up  Tony's cal gear, some of that stuff retails over $20k!

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4 hours ago, Marc said:

Some say he counts and checks every individual pixel on his phone screen each night, rather than counting sheep to fall asleep. All I know is he's calibrated each projector I've owned and will calibrate all future upgrades for many years to come!

 

It's true! It has a calming effect. 😉 Always wanted a t-shirt that said 'I see dead pixels' but think the reference may be getting a bit dated.

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1 hour ago, AudioGeek said:

 

I am with you. Turned my projector image quality into something I did not think was possible.

Speaking of which I now have a 98inch qled @Clarity Calibration - when are u next in Sydney? 😃

I'm coming over again in the next month or two. Happy to shoot you a PM when I have dates organized if you'd like? Love calibrating the new QLED's by the way, massive range of controls to dial them in! 🙂 

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58 minutes ago, Clarity Calibration said:

I'm coming over again in the next month or two. Happy to shoot you a PM when I have dates organized if you'd like? Love calibrating the new QLED's by the way, massive range of controls to dial them in! 🙂 

Still have the MadVR Envy as well. So even more fun for you! 😛

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