How To Dramatically Improve Your Calibration Results By Creating Profiles in CalMAN

Are Low-Cost Colorimeters Compromising Your Calibration Results?

November 24, 2017

Colorimeters age and become unreliable after a few years. Learn how to extend the life of yours, using CalMAN Profiles and a reference colorimeter.


Testing The XRite Colorimeter Against More Expensive Colorimeters

Do you want to do more, for less? Or to put it another way: Do you want to ‘punch above your weight’?

Of course, you do. We all want to get better results for less money. And in my 25+ years in this business, the long trend line is exactly in the direction of ‘doing more for less, with less’. The power we have in the modern versions of Final Cut, Premiere, Avid and Resolve totally eclipse the capabilities of the most expensive suites I learned from, in the ’80s and ’90s. And even without comparing inflation-adjusted costs, the purchase price for a modern post-production suite is a dime, for every dollar we spent back then.

And the super-niche skill of reference display calibration is following this historic trend line.

10 years ago, even if you could buy a low-cost colorimeter – it was amazingly expensive to buy the rest of the gear you needed: the test pattern generator plus the analysis software. Of course, today, even the free version of DaVinci Resolve has a built-in test pattern generator. And as you know from our earlier series on profiling your reference display, you can download and use free versions of CalMAN and LightSpace. And you can buy a low-cost, reliable colorimeter for under $300 (the Xrite i1D3 OEM).

But if you go the route of the relatively inexpensive i1D3 OEM (or it’s close relative, the SpectraCal C6 HDR2000), are you giving up calibration accuracy for low cost?

Are low-cost colorimeters compromising your calibration results?

In this Insight, we’re wrapping up one bit of business from our previous Insight in this series and we start testing the accuracy of the low-cost colorimeters:

  • We start by finishing our 1D and 3D calibration LUT tests. You see the results of a full 6,000 patch calibration, after loading a custom 1D LUT – and compare that calibration to the 6,000 patch calibration without the custom 1D LUT.
  • We end by using a 4-year-old colorimeter to determine if it’s still accurate. And you learn how to create a custom profile in CalMAN Studio and if that makes the colorimeter any more accurate?

Next In This Series: Calibrating With A Low-Cost Colorimeter

We use the SpectraCal C6 to create another set of calibration LUTs and see if the results are equal to the results from the much more expensive Colorimetry Research CR-100. And we’ll discuss the implications of what it takes to get a low-cost colorimeter to match the results of something like the CR-100.

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