The Last Step
So, this time around my comments apply equally to flat panels as well as projector/screen applications.
Just for the fun of it, instead of making me type out the 28-characters "flat panel and projector/screen," from here on, let's call any video display a "Binford 9000."
We'll start with this premise: If you installed a new thermostat in your home, would you not want to then adjust it to the correct temperature setting for your environment?
If you installed a dimmable light array above your dining room table, would you not want to turn the knob to your desired brightness for that room?
So what about your Binford 9000?
Yup, this missive is about calibration.
We who perform calibrations often talk about it as being the last step in the manufacturing process. So, when I'm challenged with the question, "So, you know more about the Binford than the guys who built it?," my consistent reply is, "Nope, those Binford boys are pretty sharp. But I do know something they don't—I know where you are going to put it and how you are likely to use it."
Readers of this article don't need to be reminded that if the Binford lands in the pitch black dedicated theater versus the sunroom, the correct adjustments for those respective venues are quite different. And it's not just about setting brightness and contrast to get black level and peak white right for the environment where the Binford lives. An ISF calibration involves much, much more. To my simple and extremely biased mind, to spend thousands of dollars on an ultra-Binford and then not relinquish another few hundred more to make it as good as it can be every day for the next ten years or so is just, well, silly. Not only will calibration ensure enhanced viewing pleasure 24/7, it will likely extend the life of your expensive asset.
Among dozens of other adjustments (too many to mention this time—but stay tuned), one of the most important is color temperature over the entire luminance spectrum, a.k.a. grayscale. Most of you know it as the right place to be with color calibration—"D65" or "6,500 Kelvin color temperature."
When talking to clients I call it "syncing up with Spielberg." If Steven Spielberg is on set with his cinematographer, he might be looking at a half dozen monitors...uh, I mean Binfords. Each one of these is calibrated, or at least checked, twice a day to confirm they are at D65. If your Binford is not at D65, you are not watching the movie they wanted you to see.
Isn't that why you bought the top-of-the-line Binford?
More on calibration coming to this space soon...