Tuesday, December 4, 2012

How to color calibrate a television

After having calibrated many TVs of many types (tubes and flat screens), I have come to an amazing conclusion. The manufacturing process is so similar that ALL televisions that I have calibrated have very nearly the SAME settings when finished. What this means is that you will NOT have to spend even more money for a great picture.

If you're not seeing the "WOW" that you have witnessed in other TVs then read on.

First mak sure your signal is STRONG. After making sure your signal is strong (the number one reason for poor quality) you should then calibrate for the final increase in detail.

I started calibrating using the Spyder Pro Colorimeter.  I read many reviews and they all said it was a really good machine, except for one ISF calibrationist who said it left too much red. As I started calibrating with the Spyder Pro, I noticed that the picture was dramatically improved. As my eyes got trained in what to look for, I began to get frustrated that it was so close but not quite right. As the calibrationist said, there WAS too much red.  I could still see the last bit of red in the ears and lips of people that wasn't correct.  After using the Spyder Pro, I would then go back and began tweeking the picture until it was correct. The problem with Spyder Pro is that it has been programmed to use "Warm" temperature setting. Now, everything I had read up to this point was to use the "Warm" temperature setting. This is NOT correct.You CAN NOT properly calibrate any television using the "Warm" setting. It is impossible to have the entire color spectrum available when using the "Warm" or redder hued colors.

So here is a good starting place for calibration. With this formula (and a little help from your own eyes to "tweek") you will be able to see the amazing detail that HD is all about.

1. Temperature Setting
First, you must use the "Cool" or 6500K setting if you are to obtain perfect color and clarity.

2. Contrast and Brightness
These two go hand in hand because when you adjust contrast you will also adjust brightness. Contrast will "wash out" the details when too high and lose them when too low. The proper setting is near the center of the scale. (If the adjustment bar went from 0 to 100, you want to be between 50 - 60) This will make the picture not as bright, but will increase detail. To compensate for the darker picture, increase brightness some. Not too much or you will again "wash out" the details.

3. Color and Tint
These two also go hand in hand to obtain the perfect skin tones. The color in all TVs is way too "hot" or way to red. This is the largest adjustment. On a 0 to 100 scale, move color down to "around" 33. Use your eyes...just a few clicks to far and you will lose all of your color. This brings the color much closer to realistic but leaves a pinkish hue in flesh tones. The remedy for this is Tint. With Tint it only takes 2 or 3 clicks toward GREEN to finish color adjustment. Be carefull to move toward GREEN just 2 or 3 clicks. Which way green is will be determined by your TV. Try both directions if unsure. One way gives the tans and flesh tones, the other way goes toward purples.

Take sharpness down to between 10 and 30. Too high of sharpness adds artificial edges and ruins detail. Off completly is fine, but I seem to like most TVs, overall, in the 10 to 30 range.

5. Noise reduction and Skin tone adjustment
Turn these off.

These adjustments are close enough that anyone who knows what they are looking for will be able to obtain the proper color calibration.

Enjoy the "WOW" that IS HDTV!
God bless,