Exactly what goes into an ISF calibration?

David Ruiz

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Aug 13, 2001
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Sorry if this has been asked before but now that I've got my Sanyo Z4 projector, I am seriously considering getting it ISF calibrated, but I want to know in advance exactly what I'm getting by doing that. Does the ISF tech just calibrate simple settings like color, shaprness, tint, etc with DVE or does it require him to go into the service menu and adjust/fine tune certain settings?

After an ISF calibration, I will not need to go in and adjust anything like color or tint myself, will I?

Also, how much does it cost?

And finally (and most importantly), I guess I should say that right now I'm using a really cheap projection screen that I bought on Ebay. It isn't very good and actually cost less than $50. I'm only using it for the meantime. Should an ISF calibration be performed on the screen that you intend to keep for the rest of your life, or does it not matter at all? In the future, I'd love to afford a really nice Carada gray-screen and right now, I'm using a matte-white screen.

If and when I get the new screen (way in the future) will I need to have another ISF calibration or will the first calibration still be good for whatever screen I decide to use?

Also, does calibration differ/change with each lamp change? Right now, I have 60 hours on the lamp, but when it goes out and I have to put a new one in, will I have to get another ISF calibration?

Thanks in advance.
 

Joseph DeMartino

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It depends on what needs to be adjusted on your set and how. The main thing about an ISF calibration is that the tech uses instruments, not just his/her eyes, to bring your display device as close as possible to industry standard on each input. Some displays require extensive adjustments in the service menu to acheive this, some don't. And there are some settings - like convergence, that apply to certain display technologies, but not to others.

If all they did was come out and run DVE, I don't think many people would hire ISF techs to do professional calibrations.


I'll leave Gregg Loewen and others to answer your more specific questions, since they know a lot more about the subject than I do.


Regards,

Joe
 

ChrisWiggles

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Basically what's already been said.

What a user can adjust well with the aid of a proper test disc, are basically the user accessible adjustments for white level, black level, color saturation, color balance, and sharpness (peaking).

In addition, there is also the all-important grayscale, which is the foundation of an image. This is difficult to get accurate by eye, which is where a great deal of expensive colorimetry equipment comes in. Aligning grayscale is the major addition that a proper ISF or professional calibration does (or should) include, that is practically impossible for an end-user to do.

There are also set-specific adjustments and tweaks that can be done which can vary depending on the display. Things like gamma will also be checked or adjusted if necessary (this is getting to be more significant now with digital displays which often have too low a gamma response).
 

Michael TLV

THX Video Instructor/Calibrator
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Greetings

And don't forget about the new feature buzz word for TV sets. Color Management Systems.

Gotta have the right instrumentation to even attempt to do this correctly and puck type probes don't cut it. Manufacturers may not know why they are putting this feature into the TV sets, but they know they have to because the competition is doing it.

Professional calibration ...

When you want a picture to be as "accurate" as possible ... since the marketing of a TV set has nothing to do with accurate images. It has everything to do with selling TV sets.

Professional calibration gives you the equivalent of 2+2=4 ... in a world where we have been conditioned to think 2+2=9.

Regards
 

David Ruiz

Second Unit
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Aug 13, 2001
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349
Thanks for all the answers so far, but how does the lamp affect an ISF calibration? Should a calibration be performed with every new lamp change?

What about screen color? Like I said before, mine is white now, but I plan to get a gray screen in the future (to improve black levels), will I have to recalibrate then, since the colors and contrast will most likely be thrown off by the gray?
 

Michael TLV

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Greetings

As light output goes down on the lamp ... a recalibration is recommended for those wanting to maintain top notch performance.

(Typically ... recalibrations done by the original calibrator are much less expensive on the rebound)

Screen color affects calibration. A proper calibration must take into effect what the screen does to the projected image. Instrumentation (proper type) works best here.

Calibration is like tuning up a car ... and as we do not only tune up our cars one time ... the same for calibration. As the unit wears ... and new pieces of equipment are changed in the system ... the system has to be recalibrated.

Regards
 

Gregg Loewen

Founder, Professional Video Alliance
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gee....my answer to the original question is:

"blood sweat and tears" :)
 

Tim Jin

Supporting Actor
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Jan 12, 2003
Messages
529
ISF is a like a good set of headphones. I always see people using those cheap white thin earbuds that came with their $250-$400 player. At first they sound great as they blast out their ear drums, but once you listen to real headphones, you will hear the difference from what you have missed in your music.

The same goes for your HDTV. You don't know what you are missing until you see the difference.

I had my set calibrated twice by Gregg and each time I can see the difference.

By the way, I use high end headphones with my player and they make a big difference from what you can hear.

Just like ISF, it was money well spent.
 

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