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Calibration - professional/lumagen/software?

anavfan

Established Member
I'm looking at calibrating my jVC x55 projector and trying to decide which way to go. I could get a professional to calibrate but I'm thinking if I might want to do it again I'd had to pay again. Therefore I'm looking at going down the learn a bit and do it myself. I haven't got hours to spend with this, but I don't mind some time on it. Ideally I'd get a lumagen and I can see that's something I might look to in the future when my funds have recovered. Therefore i've been looking at something like calman 5 with autocal or chromapure. This would probably be a similar cost to getting a professional I suppose.

Anyone got any advice or experience?

Thanks.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Just that you need to spend more than 'a few hours' to learn calibration: I started over 5 years ago and there are still things I'm learning. It requires a fair bit of effort and has a steep learning curve.

I do have a Lumagen and Chromapure Autocal, but it isn't just a question of plugging in and pressing 'go'. You need to do a certain amount of setting up, choosing the best settings on the projector as a 'base' (ie the native gamut tends to be best to start from) and you need to manually adjust the white balance at 100% before starting autocal. The greyscale autocal is now much better than previously with the latest software update (the gamma is now pretty much flat every time), however I still prefer to adjust it manually for best results before running the 125 point colour gamut autocal.

On the bright side; my similar X35 hasn't drifted much at all since I calibrated it at 100 hours (now at 500 hours), because the new lamp is very stable. So if you do go the professional route at least it will last a good while. Many calibrators will give you a 'touch up' re calibration for less than a full one, so it may be worth asking about that option.

If you go the DIY route, then I'd strongly suggest not to buy a second hand sensor, unless it's one that can be sent in for recalbration (such as an i1D3 or i1Pro). Personally I wouldn't bother at all with the older i1LT/D2 (I have one and it's so far off that it is effectively useless except as a leaning tool). Give Ricky J a shout at Kalibrate (forum assured advertiser) as he sells Lumagens and Chromapure, where I got mine from.
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
I went the DIY route as well and as kelvin says, it's quite a learning curve but very rewarding.

His advice about the sensor is excellent and would be the best way to go. You can find some great deals on i1Pro spectroradiometers on ebay sometimes, so might be worth a look.

Gary
 
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stainless-steel

Established Member
I think both Kelvin and Gary have hit the nail on the head. I did exactly what you're thinking of anavfan. I've got an X35 and bought a Lumagen Radiance, chromapure and an i1pro in Feb.

There's a wealth of information and tutorials out there, I'd suggest spending a couple of weekends reading the chromapure and Lumagen manuals as well as some of the 'calibration for dummies' threads. That'll give you a good idea of the tools, processes and issues others have faced when starting out.
You can just plug it all in and run an autocal, but you won't (in my experience al least) get anywhere near the perfect results you see in the advertisements. You do need to spend a good few hours learning the craft. The learning curve is steep, but well documented.

Be aware that Lumagens are aimed at the prosumer/pro install market. The menus are text based, infinitely configurable and incredibly flexible/powerful. You don't get wizards and little Microsoft dogs wagging their tails and offering to help set it up. You need to have some idea what you want it to do, how, and when.

Having said all that, after a good few hours of reading and practising the manual tweaks on my plasma to save bulb hours (and sanity, sat it the dark being hypnotised by autocal lighting up the house with flashing colours!) I'm very happy with the results.

To my surprise it's really brought new life into my 5 year old Panasonic plasma, not the main reason I bought it all, but the solidity of the image and increase in depth of field I've got has really impressed. Whether it's the deinterlacing, the dead flat gamma or the spot on colours I'm not sure but it looks flaming fantastic!

I'm very happy with my decision, especially as I know I'll get the benefit for years to come as even when I upgrade my TV HD broadcasts will still be in 1080i for years to come.

If you like absorbing your self in all the ins and outs (Linux user? :)) you'll love it. If you're more of an Apple plug n play type of person you may find it an uphill battle.

You could give Gordon (convergent av) or Ricky at Kalibrate a ring and see what they'd quote for a full calibration - it will be better then your or my efforts, even after you've practised!
 

anavfan

Established Member
Thanks guys. It sounds like you're persuading me more towards going for a Lumagen rather than just using software straight. I'd looked at the Calman software and it seems it can talk to the JVC range and configure the settings automatically. I've not much idea how this works and it seems more of a US offering than UK so I would need people in the UK who'd got experience with it to give it a go.

I've seen quite a few mentions of Kalibrate and I bought a Darblet from Ricky last year and was impressed with the service so either I'll give him a call or maybe look out for a second hand Mini 3D. I wonder how much I can pretend it's worth to the OH when it appears in the rack. (She believes I bought the X35 not the X55 :D)
 

stainless-steel

Established Member
I'd say that whether or not you want a Lumagen would primarily depend on whether the X55 is the only display you intend to calibrate that has a decent CMS already. If it is then you'll get a great bang for the buck from just software and meter.
If you've got other displays in the system and/or want to take advantage of the Lumagen's other talents then it may be worth the additional outlay.
 

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
OK, I'll chip in here...and be aware i am the Lumagen distributor....but i do think i am not overly pro-lumagen...

JVC projectors, like many devices these days, have CMS built in. I would advise they are used sparingly though as they do not work in a linear fashion. They all tend to work in HSL colourspace. This is done because it's easier than doing it accurately in the much more processor intensive linear RGB colourspace. The end result is that if you do use these controls you can find that you get your graphs looking nice for the actual patches you measure, but the ones you don't will now be out of whack...or rather even more out of whack than they previously were.

Lumagen processors do their maths for greyscale gamma and 3DLUT tables in linear RGB colourspace at up to 12 bit. This means they do not induce non linear errors. Their greyscale and gamma is much more granular too.

Auto calibration. This process has got much better in the latest releases of software from the " usual suspects" However, as has been noted, it's not a case of plugging it all in, pressing GO and coming back in 30 minutes. You could do that and you'd get a better image than you had, for sure (with a lumagen)...but you would not get the best image. Ideally you want to find the most linear preset and then use as few tools in the display as possible to get the gamma and greyscale close, then you use the Lumagen to fix the rest. When i used to use chromapure and calman for that i'd do greyscale and gamma manually in the scaler, then run the cube auto cal. I did this as i always found that i'd get better results faster that way. Nowadays i'd say you can run an auto cal for greyscale and gamma, then go and manually tweak it afterwards,especially as chromapure doesn't actually attempt to adjust 5% stimulus for greyscale and gamma. I don't use calman or chromapure anymore for my professional lumagen calibrations, choosing to use Lightspace by LightIllusion instead. This is a dedicated display profiling and 3DLUT creation tool so it's no use for any other display unless you have a lumagen or some other LUT holder box it can download it's LUT's to. It's also rather expensive so you wont find other dealers in the UK using it. In my tests it has always provided the most accurate images though.

Even though i am a professional calibrator, and the most experienced with Lumagen by a mile, i have no problem with folk doing self calibration. if you are technically oriented and are happy to take the time (And it will take time) to learn then you can do a very respectable job yourself. No doubt hiring a professional will get you better results faster though if you choose the right person...and trust me, just having THX or ISF after your name is no guarantee that a calibrator actually knows what they are doing with a 3DLUT calibration using a Lumagen.....but the names said on here so far are safe hands!
 

anavfan

Established Member
Thanks Gordon. Very informative. I've looked at your website and I think I might speak to you about doing a calibration professionally to begin with as I'm not sure I can afford a Lumagen just yet.
 

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