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Why precise projector calibration is crucial for an authentic viewing experience

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Why precise projector calibration is crucial for an authentic viewing experience

Why precise projector calibration is crucial for an authentic viewing experience

The need to calibrate a projector transcends simple aesthetic preference; it is fundamental to ensuring that the viewer experiences the images exactly as the production team, including the cinematographer and colorist, conceptualized them. This reality applies as much to screens used in film and television production environments as to devices intended for the general public, including video games and home theater systems. Calibration of display devices is therefore imperative to ensure a close match with intended color standards, given that video standards specify the expected visual output on a given screen.

It is unfortunate that the majority of displays come with poor quality calibration out of the box, including overly saturated colors, largely inaccurate gamma/EOTF, and inadequate color temperature. not to mention the wrong black and white levels. These setups are often optimized for immediate visual impact in a retail context, at the expense of accuracy.

Although some TVs and projectors offer supposedly professional calibration presets, such as those certified ISF or THX, these configurations often turn out to be mere marketing gimmicks and do not necessarily reflect real accuracy. It should be noted that no factory calibration can claim perfect accuracy, due to the uniform application of standard settings to entire series of devices.

Any display or projector is subject to variations in performance over time, requiring periodic recalibration to maintain optimal image quality. However, modern projectors, particularly those with a laser source, demonstrate increased stability compared to traditional lamp models.

The professional calibration process

Audiovisual calibration (calibration in French) consists of the meticulous adjustment of the color and brightness parameters of a display device in order to achieve image reproduction faithful to professional cinema and television standards. This process is essential for aligning the visual quality of a program with the artistic and technical intentions of its creators.

Calibration objectives:

Color Fidelity: Ensure accurate color representation in accordance with the visions of the director and cinematographer.

Uniformity of Standards: Ensure compliance with international standards such as Rec. 709, Rec. 2020, or the DCI-P3 and its home cinema version P3-D65thus promoting visual uniformity across different devices.

Optimization of the Visual Experience: Improve contrast, brightness, and sharpness for maximum viewer immersion.

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Equipment Required for accurate calibration:

Measuring instruments: Tools such as the spectrophotometer Jeti 1501 2 nm and the colorimeter Small K10A are essential for extremely accurate color measurements.

Generation of test patterns: Pattern generators, such as the Murideo 4Kprovide the grounds for evaluating and adjusting color and contrast performance.

Specialized software: Software like Calman Professional facilitate data analysis and assist in required adjustments.

Benefits of calibration:

Proper calibration significantly improves image quality, making colors more natural and sharpening details. It also allows adaptation to various projection environments for an optimized visual experience.

Case study: Calibration of the Formovie Theater triple laser projector

The Formovie Theater stands out, in my opinion and that of many users, as being the ultimate ultra short throw triple laser home cinema projector. His exceptional performance earned him the top spot in the rankings. ProjectorCentral for two consecutive years, thus ahead of more recent models, a remarkable feat of longevity in this sector.

Although this model is praised for its superior image quality, it features initially cool colorimetry, straight from the factory. In order to illustrate this characteristic, I propose an analysis via a measurement diagram accompanied by a test image, highlighting a notable excess of blue, accompanied by a less marked but significant presence of red, which together give the ‘image a generally cold temperature. To rectify these imbalances affecting gray scale, gamut and saturation levels, it is necessary to perform an individual adjustment on each projector. This step is crucial because the calibration variations are specific to each unit, even if the factory settings applied are identical for all models of the same series.

SDR pre-calibration Formovie Theater

After meticulous calibration, the errors measured in deltaE become undetectable to the naked eye. This correction makes it possible to obtain natural skin tones, an essential element in the perception of image quality, as well as optimal adjustment of brightness, thus preventing visual fatigue. Whites are no longer overexposed, and blacks retain their depth without losing detail, even in the darkest scenes. Ultimately, this intervention ensures an enriching visual experience, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your favorite films or series without the need to constantly readjust the image settings via the remote control.

Post calibration SDR Formovie theater Before and after calibration

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The Precision Imperative: The Limits of Consumer Probes in the Calibration of Laser Projectors

Believing that consumer probes allow precise calibration of a laser projector is an illusion. The video calibration process requires accuracy, reliability and repeatability of measurements that surpass the capabilities of consumer tools. Laser projectors, in particular, require precise measurement of the light spectrum, with a tolerance less than or equal to 2 nanometers (nm). However, consumer devices such as the X-Rite probes, ColorMunki and the I1 Pro, with their margins of error which can reach or exceed 10%, do not meet this requirement.

A color temperature indicated at 6500K by these instruments can, in reality, oscillate between 7000K and 6000K. Such variation has a significant impact on image quality, particularly in terms of saturation and chromatic gamut. In the professional sector, where chromatic precision is an absolute priority, professional calibrators without exception favor the use of spectrophotometers capable of measuring with an accuracy of 2 nm. This requirement for precision ensures faithful and uniform color reproduction.

For comparison, even high-end measurement equipment, such as the standard Jeti spectrophotometer, which measures at 4.5 nm, may prove insufficient for the specific needs of laser projectors, illustrating the inherent limitations of these technologies (see the referenced illustrations). The standard probe will not be able to see the entire upper part of the spectrum of the JVC NZ8 mono laser projector which was used for the measurements.

Comparison Jetis HI Res 2nm for laser projectors and other Jeti 4.5nm

This inability to see and measure the full range of colors will generate significant errors between the readings of the two probes with a deltaE difference positioned at 2.38 with the 2 nm probe and 6.95 with the 4.5 nm probe. .

The notable differences between measurements taken at 2nm and 5nm highlight the critical importance of achieving the maximum level of precision in the calibration of laser projectors. This constraint is less significant for lamp devices, which can be adjusted with a certain efficiency using probes accessible to the general public.

Source youtube

The majority of professional calibrators begin their journey using probes intended for the general public. However, as they gain experience and expand their knowledge, they understand the importance of precision in this area. In particular, it becomes crucial to ensure that, from one measurement session to another, the settings and results remain consistent. To guarantee such consistency, the adoption of professional equipment is obvious. In the current context of video projection, which favors laser light sources, it is illusory to think or let people believe that general public probes can offer effective calibration for this type of device.

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The expertise of mondoprojos.fr

As a recognized calibrator, I have specific and in-depth expertise in the field of video projection, particularly for ultra short throw laser and triple laser projectors. This expertise is based on long experience and exhaustive knowledge of the most advanced display technologies. I am certified by the Professional Video Alliance (PVA), an accreditation that validates my skills and commitment to the highest calibration standards.

PVA level 1 and 2 certification

With years of experience calibrating hundreds of projectors, my nuanced approach to the challenges specific to each type of projector, including next-generation laser models, sets me apart. My expertise in diagnosing and correcting colorimetry, brightness and contrast problems makes me particularly sought after by film buffs and professionals looking for uncompromising image quality. To do this, I use state-of-the-art equipment, guaranteeing precision and efficiency in each calibration:

White and Fresnel screen and measurement probes

Jeti 1501 2 nm spectrophotometer: This high-precision color measuring instrument is crucial for calibrating projectors using advanced technologies, including laser and triple laser models. Its 2nm resolution is ideal for accurately detecting the subtle nuances and color ranges required by professional standards.

Colorimètre Small K10A : Calibrated in addition to the Jeti spectrophotometer for optimal precision and synergy, this colorimeter is appreciated for its speed and reliability in measuring luminance and chrominance.

Murideo 4K test pattern generator: An essential instrument, it provides a wide range of test patterns necessary to evaluate and finely adjust projector performance in terms of resolution, color and contrast.

Calman Professional software: For data analysis and parameter adjustment, I trust this industry-leading software, recognized for its quality.

Through this combination of technical expertise and specialized equipment, I am able to provide calibrations that meet the highest expectations in terms of visual quality and color fidelity and ensure the highest reliability to measurements that appear in the tests published on the blog mondoprojos.fr.

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