Looking for Dale Earnhardt
I’m a NASCAR guy. (Your correct response: “So what? Your supposed to be talking about projectors.”) Stay with me. In stock car racing circles there is an oft talked about phenomenon called the “trifecta”. Yes, I know that is more often associated with horsies. And yes, I know Dale passed nearly twenty years ago.
The trifecta we talk about is the one that almost guarantees a racing win. It’s when an A-team driver gets in a near-perfectly prepared car and is supported throughout the race with flawless pit stops. But should any one of those three main elements falter, the whole effort gets filed in the “also ran” folder. We’ll get ‘em next week!
I see a parallel model for success in our amusing little avocation—home theater. The inspiration for this topic comes from a discussion I had with a group of interested folks gathered in a just-completed theater I had done for a client in Southern California. You would know his name, but I’m still under an NDA. After three days of installation, my client invited one of his neighbors and two contractors who helped with the carpentry on the project to witness the maiden voyage.
Fingers crossed, I told the group they were about to see and hear an A/V trifecta. This is where a reference-quality source (the Blue Planet II nature documentary at the time), meets an excellent high-end projector ($45,000 Runco) and the whole system was calibrated by someone who knows what they are doing (yours truly). When those elements come together, then and only then, is the experience as good as it can be.
So what’s it mean for you? From time to time we get in a critical mood and decide something is lacking with our systems. This is the point where I’d like you to think about the three-legged stool analogy. (Sorry, another mixed metaphor). Before you start writing checks, think about which of the three legs is too short, because it’s most likely one of those three elements not keeping up. Let’s review:
- The source you are looking at (and don’t like) is poor quality. Find a better reference source. I recommend any of the BBC series.
- Consider upgrading the display to today’s standards (4K/HDR).
- There can be several “buttons” set to the wrong position or just wrong for your environment. Consider calibration—make sure you find an ISF-certified calibrator with good equipment.
If you share my NASCAR addiction, you probably saw Kevin Harvick accomplish a trifecta a week or so back on August 9th in Michigan. It was a really good visual presentation, especially if your “stool” was level! Go #4!