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Basic Projector Calibration

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Gary Lightfoot, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    This thread should contain the basics of how to calibrate your projector for best performance, and all that you will need is a test disk - Avia for NTSC, and/or Digital Video Essentials for PAL (though there is an NTSC version of that too). For HTPC use, either should suffice. There are others (Peter Finzell's for example) but those are the most common.

    DVE is available from Play:

    http://www.play.com/play247.asp?pa=srmr&page=title&r=R2&title=121810

    I recommend the Peter Finzel disk over DVE since it is much easier to use, despite being in German. You can get it directly from the author:

    http://www.peterfinzel.de/pftd.htm

    You contact him via email, and he sends you the disk. You then send him payment in Euros. Use Babel fish or similar to translate the page if necessary.


    HD-DVD DVE is currently on pre-order from HMV:

    http://www.hmv.co.uk/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=2041;5;-1;-1&sku=573198


    Excellent avforums video guides can be found here:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=813910

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=813735


    Avia was available from Piero in the past, but not sure if he still sells it.

    To keep the thread neat and tidy with only the necessary calibration info, please post any thoughts, requests or comments etc here:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=193362

    Thanks to Gordon Fraser, Jeff Paynter and others who helped contribute. I just took the pictures. :)

    I'll be adding posts to the thread as I retrieve info and pics from the thread above...

    Gary.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  2. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Adjusting Contrast and Brightness using Avia

    To adjust the black level, you use the brightness control, and to adjust the white level, you use the contrast control. One will effect the other, so you will have to go back and forth between them till they both display correctly.

    If you can't see all the moving black bars in Title 1 Chapter 1, you may have to adjust the brightness or gamma on your player if it has them. Idealy you should do most of the adjustments on the display, but that's not always possible.

    Using the all black screen with the moving bars (T1 chapter 4) will allow a more accurate adjustment of black, as the white moving bars image below it is bright and will cause your eyes iris to shut down so you won't see the black bars so easy. To get the levels correct, adjust the brightness down until the left hand black bar dissapears, then bring the brightness up again until it just becomes visible. Do the same with the white bars. You will have to go between them a few times until all the bars are visible as they should be.

    You will notice that the two moving black bars are labeled 1ire and 2ire above black, this is because black which is digital 16 on the DVD can be 7.5ire for North American NTSC, or 0ire for Japanese NTSC - the voltage for black is different. More on that in a later post on IRE levels.

    If you change other image settings on the DVD player or projector such as Movie, Video, Natural, dynamic, black expand etc, these may throw out your black and white settings, as these other image 'enhancements' may have their own special black/white and/or gamma and colour settings which will effect the black and white settings, so you will have to recalibrate when you change them.
     

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  3. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Adjusting Contrast and Brightness using Digital Video Essentials

    There's more than one way to do this with DVE, so they're both mentioned here:

    Using the SMPTE pattern in title 13 chapter 2, you can set the levels by adjusting the contrast so the inner 100% white box has a darker square within it just visible, and adjust the brightness so the inner 0% black box has the lighter square within it just visible. You'll have to go back and forth a few times until they're both right. This method is easier as you can see both black and white levels on the same screen, and you can calibrate for normal video levels.

    Title 12 chapter 14 allows you to adjust for whiter than white and blacker than black, but with digital BTB is not always a good idea due to image noise that can be highlighted. To set the contrast for WTW:

    Above the white bars you'll see 3 black dots. The white bar to the left of them is over 100ire. You want to be able to see it. On some devices you can't as the information is clipped by the players or the displays processing. You should try adjusting contrast down or input level....or gamma possibly to make it visible.

    To set black level using DVE, you can use the PLUGE pattern in Title 12 Chapter 13:

    The darkest bar is blacker than black and the black background is 0ire. On a plasma or DLP if you stand beside the screen and adjust brightness up and down you'll see the point at which the display becomes as black as it can.....look at the 0ire background and the blacker than black stripe. You'll see the dancing black pixels all around the blacker than black stripe. I'd recommend adjusting the brightness control downwards until the dancing pixels in the background go away and the 0ire section looks silent like the blacker than black stripe. It should be noted that HD2 DLP's and earlier will always have this noise in the 0ire section and in that case you just have to match the noise levels of the blacker than black and 0ire sections.


    Excellent avforums video guides can be found here:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=813910

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=813735



    If using an HTPC:

    From Mr.D:

    Get DVE.
    Bring up a pluge pattern. Raise the brightness on your projector. Raise the brightness on your computer until you can disclose the below black bar on the pluge. Drop the brightness on your projector until the below black bar on the pluge disappears.

    Take a look at the grayscale and ramp pattern on DVE. Drop the contrast on your projector. Drop the contrast on your PC until the brightest box seperates from the background . Make sure you have variation in tone all the way to the end of the grayscale ramp. Raise the contrast on your projector until you start to clip off variation in the brightest part of the grayscale , now drop it until there is at least you have variation past the vertical dot mark ,preferably you want variation all the way to the end of the ramp not just up to the dotted line.

    You might have to revist the brightness control on your projector and then ping pong back and forth between adjusting the contrast, you shouldn't have to readjust the PC settings though.

    The trick with a PC is to ensure you are not clipping or crushing intensities


    How do I navigate to the DVD test patterns?

    Thanks to Gordon, we have these basic instructions:

    TITLE/TOPMENU
    THEN HIGHLIGHT PROGRAMME GUIDE
    THEN NEXT PAGE
    THEN TOP OPTION, REFERENCE MATERIALS (TITLE12)
    then use skip to move forward and backwards.

    Easy when you know how. :O)

    How do I set the levels for off-air transmissions to my tv?

    The ideal way is to rely on a transmitted test card like the BBC and ITV used to put up when they weren't ransmitting tv programs. Since then tv has become a 24 hour service so you're unlikely to see such a test card. I've included a pic of the test card for old times sake. :)

    What may work, is to use your DVD player as a transmitter through your vcr (or set-top box) and use the vcrs UHF output (or the STB's output) as the source. It won't be the same, but it might be better than nothing.

    A ducument with the basic calibration info can be found here (thanks Brogan):

    http://www.zen107222.zen.co.uk/Forums/DisplayCalibration.zip

    You may find it easier to print it out and refer to it rather than use this web site when doing your calibrations.


    .
     

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    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  4. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I've tried to show what effects incorrect settings can have on your image.

    Having the brightness set too low can hide shadow detail so you end up with large areas of black - sometimes called 'crush', and having it set too high can highlight mpg artefacts in dark areas which can show up as dancing dots or 'mosquito noise'. The black level will appear more grey than black which is something you should try to avoid with digital displays as they cannot truly project black so aiming for the best black possible doeasn't hurt.

    Having the contrast too high will 'blow out' white detail such as in clouds and make whites look 'hot'. This is sometimes referred to as 'crushing whites'.
     

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  5. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Here in the UK, PAL uses 0mv for black, and 714mv for white. In North America they have a 'setup pedestal' in their NTSC system which uses 53mv for black. Japan is NTSC, but doesn't have setup, so uses 0mv for black - the same as PAL.

    DVDs store information digitaly, and black is stored as Digital 16. On your PCs paint programs, you may have noticed that colours are represented as RGB values, such as R255, G255, B255 which is white. R0,G0,B0 is black. PC levels are 0 to 255.

    Video, sometimes referred to as Studio RGB (sRGB) uses values from 16 to 235. When a DVD player is presented with Digital 16, it knows it is black and depending on the system, will send out a voltage accordingly (the DVD will have a PAL or NTSC 'flag' to tell the player which system it is). For PAL, 0mv will be sent to your display, so for your display to correctly show Digital 16 as black, it must be set so that is showing black correctly at that voltage, and a test disk (Avia, DVE) will help you to do that.

    The same should be done for NTSC as the DVD player will send a 53mv signal for Digital 16 (black). HTPCs don't have to worry about NTSC and PAL as it doesn't have PAL and NTSC transmission standards to worry about, it just sends out a progressive image via vga or digital via DVI. The software DVD player 'overlay' is the part which displays the video image, and that should be as sRGB video levels and not PC levels.

    As you can see, black levels for PAL and NTSC are different, so if your display has memories for different inputs, or for different signals on the same input (most using DVD players will be sending all outputs down the same component cables for instance), it won't be a problem, because the display will remember the individual brightness settings for either signal.

    If the display doesn't do it automatically, then for proper black level and detail to be correctly displayed, you will have to change settings each time you change from one system to another. Some projectors like the NEC HT1000 will differentiate between 50hz and 60hz so will store the settings for those two individualy. If the pj cannot distinguish the difference on a single input like the Optoma H77, then you will compromise one black level due to the settings being incorrect.

    IRE levels

    These voltages are sometimes referred to as 'ire' levels for easier reference, which are merely a name for analogue voltage levels. Ire's do not exist in real terms and are not on DVDs, and neither are the voltages, only digital values exist on a DVD.

    There are 140 'ires' within 1v peak to peak, so each ire is equivalent to 7.14mv. 0ire will be 0mv, and 7.5ire will be 53mv (7.5 x 7.14), but both can be black when displayed correctly on respective PAL and NTSC systems (more below). 100ire is white as we only use 100ires for video. The ire levels in between are just names given to the voltages that are presented at the different levels of grey. White will be 714mv

    'Below black' refers to the black detail that may or may not be present below Digital 16 (0 to 15), and above white is 236 to 255. You won't see below black if the display is set-up correctly using a test disk for video levels (like Avia) though, but it is possible to see this data if it exists unless the source (player) or display clips that data. DVE allows you to calibrate for whiter than white (WTW) and blacker than balck (BTB) detail.

    Showing below black or having a raised black level due to an incorrect brightness setting on a digital display can also show up image noise such as mpg blocking and artefacts. Whilst a CRT display can happily do this with little negative impact on the image, with a digital, it can become intrusive enough to make the image noise distracting.

    Displaying WTW on a digital has less negative impact on the display, but one possible downside is that for the normal video (D16 to D235), you have reduced the range and therefore the visible contrast ratio. If BTB and WTW data is constantly available and visible, then the available CR can be realised.

    How setting up black for NTSC or PAL can compromise the other.

    If you set black for PAL at 0mv, when you display NTSC, it will send black to your display as 53mv. This will be displayed as dark grey, so you won't ever get black from an NTSC disk and could see artefacts in the dark areas. You may however see BTB data if it's there.

    If you set black for NTSC at 53mv, when PAL sends dark grey shadow detail at anything below 53mv and above 0mv, it will be displayed as black - you've now lost shadow detail and crushed blacks.

    If you can only set-up for one, the other will be compromised in some way, so that's why it's essential to set up for both PAL and NTSC.

    DVD players with a 0 IRE option for NTSC

    Some DVD players like Pioneer have a menu setting for NTSC which allows you to select 0 IRe for it. Some players refer to it as a 'below black' setting or similar. This means that both PAL and NTSC will output black at the same level, and this will be the perfect remedy for those who still need multi-region capability.

    Note. The image below shows black as 7.5 IRE. This is purely because it's an NTSC disk so that is the corresponding IRE value for NTSC black (53mv). If you are able to use the 0 IRE setting for NTSC in your DVD player, then it will in fact be 0IRE (0mv). Either way, the black bar should be black.
     

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  6. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    These test patterns are often found on THX mastered DVDs, so why not use those instead of buying a test disk?

    Well, these test patterns are optimised for use with the DVD they are found on - the Optimode on DVD 'A' will be different for DVD 'B'. Why is this?

    On looking at the varying Optimodes, you will often find more than one below black or above white box which can be made visible when set up correctly. This would suggest to me that there is BTB and WTW data on that particular DVD which the THX DVD authors feel you should be able to see in order to view the image in all its glory. This could be classed as a good thing in some respects as you're getting the most detail fromt that particular DVD and what's wrong with that?

    The negative aspect of this in my opinion is that you have adjust your contrast and brightness settings each time you watch a DVD, and if you don't set them back using Avia or DVE, you could end up with lighter, noisier blacks, crushed whites or an image that is in some way compromised at one end of the scale (see earlier simulated examples). THX disk 'A' may compromise THX disk 'B' unless you recalibrate for example, but who wants to do this on a DVD by DVD basis?

    You could easily use THX to set your display and leave it there, but you run the risk of compromised whites and blacks if BTB and WTW data doesn't exist.

    However, recent tests (thanks to Allan Probin) have discovered that Star Wars DVD "A New Hope" (ep 4) has a THX Optimode which conforms to video levels and so can be used to set the white and black levels correctly.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2008
  7. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Go to DVE title 7 chapter 4, and you should see some coloured squares within a single coloured (reference) background (fig1). Use the blue plastic filter across the pattern (fig2) and adjust the colour control (more info in post below) so that all the colours blend into the reference background (fig3).
     

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  8. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Go to Avia Title 4 Chapter 1 (Blue Bars test) and use the Blue gel filter in a similar fashion to the DVE test, adjust the colour saturation using the displays Colour control until the flashing boxes blend in with the background solid colours. You may not get it perfect, but try to get it as close as possible.

    From Gordon Fraser:

    To keep the thread neat and tidy with only the necessary calibration info, please post any thoughts, requests or comments etc here:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=193362


    .
     

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  9. Kramer

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  10. StorminNorm

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm very new to the Home Cinema experience, but have half-inched a projector from the office and am getting hooked. I would like to buy a copy of Avia so if anyone on the forum has one for sale or knows where to get it perhaps you could let me know. I would rather buy it from someone in the community rather than eBay. Thanks, Norm
     
  11. Michael r

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    Am having difficulty in buying the DVE Test disc. Where can I order a PAL version in UK? Am I correct when I say that DVE is ok to use with a Panasonic 900u projector? Regards Michael r
     
  12. salnajjar

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    I just had mine delivered from Amazon... it's the latest PAL version.
     
  13. JamieD

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  14. TarMoo

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    Also Available from dvd.co.uk for £13.85. I just ordered one. See here.

    P.S. If you register for screenselect.co.uk via the dvd.co.uk website you get a £20 voucher to spend. So you can rent 5 dvds and have £20 to spend and it will cost you nothing if you cancel the screen select subscription. So you could get the DVE disk for free and have £6 left over.
     
  15. Kadders

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    dvd.co.uk now have it at £11.95 - free UK shipping.

    The screenselect voucher (mentioned in previous post) has now dropped to £5 though.
     
  16. Brogan

    Brogan
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    This document is basically an idiots guide - primarily for my own use :D

    It has been compiled using information from the various threads on calibration.
    If anyone notices any errors or omissions or has anything to add, please let me know and I'll update it.

    Edit: I've updated the document to include some basic information on IRE values for both PAL and NTSC.
     
  17. martian1

    martian1
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    I went through a period of calibrating my projector but found due to the vast differance in dvd print quality etc it ended up being a waste of time.
    Until 90% of the material is of the same quality you will always be up and down altering your settings,i found on some movies the calibrated settings were unwatchable !
    Even on HD stuff there is a differance from movie to movie and the contrast brightness colour are all tweaked away from you lovely time consuming calibration...Dont waste to much bulb life worrying about it and enjoy your movies. :smashin:
     
  18. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Not in my experience.

    Gary
     
  19. The Prof.

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    I've found the same thing...I thought it was just me..
    I've calibrated and re-calibrated time and time again using the DVE disc, and can't get anything like a decent picture..
    The image looks dull, lifeless and dark on most DVD's when you follow the instructions for setting contrast,brightness....with the exception of colour and tint which is way over the top and won't give any where near a nice balanced colour setup.
    To get anything like a decent image, I have to increase contrast and brightness ( closer to the factory settings) and reduce colour significantly..

    I'm using a DLP projector and I'm beginning to wonder whether this disc is really suitable for some DLP projectors..

    Has anyone else found a similar problem with the DVE disc?...Oh, And I bought mine about a month ago..
     
  20. Brogan

    Brogan
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    No.
    I would say my image is very good after calibrating with DVE, on both projector and plasma.

    I find that I do have to increase both contrast and brightness for Sky HD though.
    I do wish they'd start broadcasting basic test patterns.
     
  21. Monster

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    It would be interesting to see if your opinion changed if you:

    1. Set the picture how you like it now. Write down/save the settings.

    2. Set the picture correctly using DVE.

    3. Stick with the DVE settings for a few weeks.

    4. Go back to your old settings and see which you prefer.

    You may find that when going back to your old settings, they look washed out.

    Might be worth a try...
     
  22. The Prof.

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    An interesting idea...and I would have tried that, except yesterday I watched the whole of the video section on the disc again to see if I had overlooked anything..
    One thing that I noticed was in the tv setting section, that mentioned not to use any embelishment settings such as "Sports" "Movie" etc..just use the standard settings when calibrating..

    I had been using my projector in the "Home theatre" mode, which is one level above the basic "Cinema" setting.
    I set it to "cinema" and re-calibrated..
    This time I found that the correct colour and tint settings were infact almost identical to the settings I had done by eye.
    The other thing I noticed was, that there was not as much leeway in the brightness setting as previous and it was very easy to get it set just right.
    I found some variation on my previous setting for brightness..

    The end result is the image now looks to be even better than previous,(doing it by eye) particularly with colour balance, and has brought back that lifeful image...I'm a very happy camper..

    A trap for young players maybe?!!
     
  23. harlanz

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    A really, really basic question - can someone tell me where the edge of the picture should be, relative to the white part and black part of the screen.
    Thank you.
     
  24. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I presume you mean the projector screen.
    If so, the projected image should completely fill the white part of the screen (depending on aspect ratio and screen dimensions).
    The black borders are there simply to frame the image.
     
  25. harlanz

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    Thanks, I do mean the projector screen. Do you mean there should be no image overlapping at all on the black? Should it perfectly fill the white but not go into black at all? My installer is telling me it should overlap into the black - he can't get it not too unless we move the projector closer (which he's not keen to do, of course. There's about an inch to 2 inches overlap).
     
  26. Brogan

    Brogan
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    It's personal preference.
    Ideally you want the image to fill the whole screen and the black border to frame it perfectly.
    However, in the real world, screen dimensions and projected images are not 100% perfect so it may sometimes be preferable to overlap slightly to ensure there is no white visible.
    It won't do any harm and at worst you'll lose a tiny amount of image but as it's at the extreme edges, it's unlikely you'll lose out on any content or detail.

    If your installer is unable to get the image small enough to avoid the black border then it sounds as if he hasn't sited the projector or screen correctly.
    It may be that the projector is too far back and you need to move it closer to the screen and then use zoom to increase the image size up to the black border.
     
  27. harlanz

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    Thanks. He's moved it closer once after initial set-up but I think he may have to do it again to avoid the 1-2 inches overlapping into the black on each side. It's been a struggle to get it to not display off the screen onto the back wall.
     
  28. Timbo21

    Timbo21
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    Harlanz,

    Ideally, something like 1/4" is ideal. But I have a fixed-frame, which has light-absorbing black velvet covered frame, which is never a problem. However, with electric screens, which don't have this, it must be more of an issue. You should be able to alter zoom to tailor it to your needs. Can't you do this without re-positioning the pj itself?

    T.
     
  29. harlanz

    harlanz
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    Hello Timbo. Gosh, you are a good contributor to this site, it seems every time I ask a question (dumb one or not) you are there to respond.

    The projector is already at its max zoom or focus, ie projecting the smallest possible picture, and yet it is still covering most of the black border on the bottom, left and right. It's an ok screen, nothing too fancy, and I can see the picture on the border. It's a question of living with that or having the installer move the projector forward again, which is what it sounds like I need to do.


    (Other than this issue, the install has been good and conscientious thus far.)
     
  30. samhain

    samhain
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    what's the best way to test and correct settings on a 1080p lcd projector.

    I have DVE SD PAL version but desparate for the HD version.

    would the sd version actually work?

    Thanks
     

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