Project excellence requires the finest of finishing details to be dialed in to the highest degree. Think of all the critical elements at play: is the control surface as user-friendly as it needs to be? Is the infrastructure flawless? Does the lighting color and temperature strike just the right note with your finicky customer? The list goes on, but be honest: how much time and effort do you devote to perfecting the video calibration?
If the answer is “not as much as I could,” you’re missing out on an opportunity to not only stand out from your competition, but to flex your extraordinary level of skill and expertise. If your calibration skill set needs to be built or refreshed, read on, to find out how a powerhouse partnership can get you the knowledge you need. But first, take a deeper dive into why highly skilled video calibration is critical.
The Key Question: Why?
To cut to the heart of the why, Imaging Science Foundation Inc. Founder Joel Silver (imagingscience.com) appeared earlier this year on the CEDIA Podcast to break it all down. “We have to be able to make good pictures, no matter where and when people watch, and no matter what they watch,” Silver said. “What I want our clients to understand is we will take care of you. We know what we’re doing, we will pick the right display, and we will ask you about your lifestyle.” Those questions revolve around location of the display, the type and amount of lighting present, the time of day, and the content being viewed.
Silver, a CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, continued: “Your TV has all the adjustments necessary to have me take care of your lifestyle and make good pictures if the windows are with blinds up, blinds down or lighting control turns the lighting up or down… It’s just customer service.”
The ISF was launched more than 25 years ago to create calibration standards and set the bar and the processes for how screens — no matter which model — can be viewed at their best. At the highest level, the ISF says, the benefits of calibration are abundant, and include: increased image clarity and sharpness; increased detail in the darkest and brightest part of the picture; deeper and darker blacks; better color purity and picture quality; and significantly reduced energy consumption and less heat output. All of these elements are crucial to total satisfaction in a finished job and they also represent powerful selling points to your customers about your expertise. Are they buying the technology built into the screen? Sure. But they’re paying for your expertise — your skills that will help deliver the best performance possible on any screen imaginable.
The Field of Play is More Level
Whether your customer needs a $300 television or a $10,000 television, you should be able to expertly calibrate it thanks to technology that has become a whole lot better and far more uniform than even a few years back. Silver explains: “Most of the brands have most of the manufacturing tolerances under control now. Things are much better, unit to unit, but the software that’s written for the high-end TVs usually… very closely goes into the basic TVs. So, if you learn the $7,000 television from one manufacturer, don’t be surprised if the $700 TV has almost the same adjustments.”
The more premium product will have more light, allowing you to put it in brighter rooms, and it will also have more contrast and deliver finer HDR performance, but price alone doesn’t preclude you from providing a killer viewing experience. “This is one competitive business. It’s tough out there for the manufacturers,” Silver said. “They’ve gotta give us good performance at every price point.” TVs are getting exponentially brighter and we’re moving toward the day when they’ll be in the neighborhood of 100 times more powerful than the old tube-technology TVs. The result is more power, more control – and more color.
Peeping At The Future, Now
Silver says the future holds consumer-level UHD models that can deliver performance that would rival movie theater reference quality. He also adds we’re right on the cusp and in some cases, already there. Silver has worked with top names from Hollywood studios on calibration. These facilities will include consumer-level monitors in their production studios so the entertainment-makers can see what the consumer sees. Remarkably, Silver says, these monitors in some cases are discernibly close to reference.
World-Class Calibration Collaboration
CEDIA and ISF have joined forces to launch a hybrid calibration course that uses CEDIA’s globally responsive CEDIA Academy (cediaacademy.net) education platform to deliver a hybrid version of ISF’s renowned calibration training. The blend of online and hands-on training encompasses the first level offered through the partnership. Level II and Level III courses will be hosted later this year at the CEDIA World Headquarters and Training Center in Fishers, Ind.
Level I, a prerequisite for the higher-level courses, is self-paced and offers 11 modules on topics such as color science fundamentals, display standards, and tutorials on the ISF CalMAN workflow collaboration software. Level II and III will explore ISF software-guided solutions for advanced calibration and system parameters, including EDID/HDMI verification, 3D color management, multipoint color balance, and the latest on current innovations.
Turn Your Knowledge into Business Opportunities
As you continue the quest to separate yourself from the pack, possessing expert-level knowledge on how to deliver the best picture possible for your customers makes business sense. Silver says TV technology has advanced so much, consumers can now afford TV models that are in the same performance ballpark as what studios use to make movies.
Highly skilled integrators — who bear the right training — are the key to making it work. Put yourself in the driver’s seat.