Is this ISF calibration quote a little high?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by TommyB, Apr 2, 2004.

  1. TommyB

    TommyB Stunt Coordinator

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    I am viewing a Toshiba 50H81 HDTV RPTV. Sources include a progressive scan DVD player, DirecTV HDTV STB, and 3 TiVos. I am running all sources through a Yamaha RX-V1400 receiver to the HD input on the display via one component cable.

    I have been given a quote by a local ISF calibrator of $750 to do greyscale calibration on 3 modes (480i, 480p and 1080i) as well as geometry and convergence (black bars are bowed when viewing 2.35:1 DVD's).

    Is this a reasonable quote for the services I need?
     
  2. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    Let's start with the basics ... $275 for one grayscale. Add two more grayscales at $125 each for $250 ... now the total is $525.

    Add another $225 for geometry and convergence ...

    Now a standard full meal deal calibration from Gregg or myself would run $400 (I'm out of this picture, but Gregg does visit the area)

    This is grayscale on the input signal type of choice ... say 480P and all the physical work ... focusing, minor geometry and convergence work and lens striping ... and screen removal or restack. Essentially $275 for the grayscale and $125 for the rest of the work.

    While this is a free market and one is free to charge whatever they want, you are also free to get estimates from other people if you feel this is too high. In my estimation, it is.

    The work will take about 4 hours ... maybe 5 if they stretch it out.

    I would do one thing first ... do not go into this thinking you need more than one grayscale done for your set. Wait and see. Have it done for 480P from your DVD player and then simply take a look at 480i and 1080i. Chances are ... these two other modes will be so close visually that it won't matter. This saves you $250 off the bat.

    All you need is for 480i and 1080i to be close ... since the source material you feed it is so wildly variable that a specific grayscale setting will still be rather meaningless.

    Think of it this way ... when he sets 480P to D65 ... your 480i / 1080i will be +/- 200 to 300 anyway. This is close enough and you likely cannot visually see a difference.

    Save your cash.

    Hope this helps.

    (If you have not noticed yet, HD is rather variable from program to program rather like SD TV ... so if you would never consider having your cable channels optimized ... why would you do it to HD. DVD as a source is far more consistent from program to program ... and using a TV set with the DVD settings as a base is a good starting point for watching all other sources. You know you have to tweak colour and tint and brightness anyway for most programs.)

    Regards
     
  3. TommyB

    TommyB Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael,

    Thank you very much for the quick and thorough response. After reading through various posts on this and other forums, I thought it was little much, but I did want to consult the professionals for reassurance. [​IMG]

    Thanks again for helping me out with this.

    Tom
     
  4. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    I only work the Greater Toronto Area, but my fee is $425 (Canadian) for a complete job, including all grey scales, full geometry and convergence using an overlay, and centering the user controls for all input types. Takes me about 2.5 hours for a Toshiba (not that it's a race!).
     
  5. TommyB

    TommyB Stunt Coordinator

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    Another funny thing is the amount of time he quoted me vs what you guys are saying. He told me it would take 7 hours.
     
  6. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    It can take 2.5 hours if you are left alone ... but factor in the talking and explaining and the time increases. The jobs are not charged on an hourly basis, but rather lump sum. Whether it takes 1 hour or 10 hours ...

    Regards
     
  7. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    Hi guys

    As you are finding out, pricing, types of services, and time involved can widely vary.

    One of my first full service Mits calibrations (50" analog) took me about 16 hours and I charged $100. I could now perform the same service in under 2 hours for which I would charge $400.

    While spending time explaining things (and shooting the bull) with my clients causes me to increase my time at the location, I find that this interactions is crucial to having the client satisfied and understanding what was actually done and why it done in a particular manner.

    Hope this helped.?

    Regards

    Gregg Loewen
     
  8. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    Don't know why really, but I find a lot of my customers are pretty quiet. The majority of them actually leave the room altogether to do other things!

    Maybe I don't emit a friendly aura? I always smell wonderful, so that can't be it. [​IMG]
     
  9. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    hmmm,

    Totally the opposite of my clients. It is rare that they ever leave the room, except perhaps to check an occasional email.

    Gregg
     
  10. jeff peterson

    jeff peterson Supporting Actor

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    DO you guys mind them in the room, looking over your shoulder and asking questions? Or is it kind of like the plumber who charges $40/hour or $60/hour if you help?
     
  11. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    when gregg did my tv a few weeks ago i spent much of the time in the room with him.
    i found it interesting and informative to hear him tell me about what he was doing.

    also it was fun to watch because he clearly was enjoying what he was doing too.
     
  12. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Since I'm going to buy a new digital front projector soon I should ask, Should new digital FP's have to be ISF calibrated too?, or are they not "tweeked for the showroom" out of the box like a TV?
     
  13. David Abrams

    David Abrams Stunt Coordinator

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    Garrett,

    Digital displays most certainly benefit from a proper calibration. Many companies have tried to advertise that their new digital displays are "plug and play," but this is far from the case. The ISF, as a whole, has never found one display to be accurately calibrated out of the box - there are many reasons why this is so. One of those reasons is because one cannot tell what the equipment in your system is doing. If your DVD Player has a "hot" output, meaning the levels are slightly high, the calibrated image will ultimately be off. With many digital displays we are also finding faults in the DVI connections, causing clipping of the video signal before it even reaches the display. It is always important to take into account the associated equipment being utilized with the display to ensure that they will all work together at their maximum potential.

    A digital display will still benefit from adjustments such as focus, geometry, grayscale tracking, proper setting of the brightness, contrast, color, tint, color decoder, disableing of edge enhancement circuits, ect. All of these parameters are extremely important in achieving an accurate image.

    Regards,
     
  14. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    No, I don't mind at all, but I really don't stop working to answer the questions either. If that's ever been perceived as rude by my clients, it's never come across to me.
     
  15. CalvinCarr

    CalvinCarr Supporting Actor

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    Tommy B,
    I am in Jacksonville also and will be needing this service by the end of the year. Let me know who you end up using please.
     
  16. Tim Jin

    Tim Jin Supporting Actor

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    Some local guy quoted me over $1000 to calibrate my TV, and I only have a Panny 47.

    That's too much. Way too much.

    I would still like to have my set ISF calibrated, but bills [​IMG]
     
  17. TommyB

    TommyB Stunt Coordinator

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    Calvin,

    I am probably going to go with Gregg. He is going to be down in Florida in May, so i am going to try to set something up then. When were you planning on having it done?
     
  18. CalvinCarr

    CalvinCarr Supporting Actor

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    It looks like I may not get my set until late this year. Maybe an early Christmas present...[​IMG] We just got married and built house on 210 so I'm trying to squeeze it in there.
     
  19. JimmyK

    JimmyK Second Unit

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    I recently had my set calibrated by Gregg L. and can recommend him without hesitation.[​IMG]

    JimmyK
     
  20. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    hi guys!!

    Tim, I come to LA every 3 months and I charge 50 travel and 475 to do a Panasonic RPTV.

    Regards

    Gregg
     

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