Tip by Michael TLV: (circa 1999/2000) "I
wont pretend that there is supposed to be any order to what I am about to write
about, but there will be a basic structure and I will try to separate out the factual
items from things that are strictly subjective from my perspective.
I went into this seminar as quite the skeptic, questioning whether or not it might be
worth my time and hard earned money. While I dont come out of this as a firm
believer, I do now have a whole new respect for just what the ISF (Joel Silver & Jim
Burns) is trying to accomplish in the industry as a whole. The seminar was very
professionally organized and very slick. Both JS and JB are great spokespeople who know
how to talk to this crowd. What I got out of the seminar was probably much different than
what the others in the room got from it though. I went in with a number of questions about
the entire calibration process that had nagged both myself and many others in the HT
The idea that this was money well spent for me well, lets put it this way,
I believe that it was worth the cost just to talk at length with Joel Silver one on one
regarding all these questions that I had. It was worth it to meet others in the industry.
JS has this personable style to the way he talks that just makes you believe that he
really is passionate about his work.
Now I might caution that JS is not God and do not refer to him as such, but in the area
of image calibration for this industry, hes got a book named after him. The
Book of Joel. The presentation was not infalible as some items presented (Just
a few) were not quite as up to date as they could have been.
Well, then, time to get down to it. First some facts to set up the
environment of the Seminar.
The seminar occurred on June 1 & 2, 2000 at the Doubletree Inn in Aurora, CO. It
consisted of two seven hour sessions each day. The three ISF representatives present were:
Joel Silver (Primary presenter on Calibration items)
Jim Burns (Primary presenter on Digital Television items)
Jim Doolittle (Set up and technical support)
The seminar was held in an amphitheater type setting in the hotel. The equipment used
in the demontrations and presentations were:
CRT FPTV (I dont pretend to know the model numbers.)
Two 32 Toshiba directviews
Hotels 27 Proscan (Dated, but not as bad a performer as originally
People in attendance: Approximately 30 with two from Belgium of all places. (This gets
into the subjective area so I will put it in parenthesis. From what I could gather the
breakdown of this audience was pretty much 25 HT installers, 4 Toshiba Reps and 2
Calibrators. Doesnt add up huh? Well one guy was there for the third time and he did
both already (Also helped to set up the seminar logistics). So this puts me as a stranger
in a strange land. It was harder to get into the conversations of the others because it
was all tech talk and here I was without a common point of reference. But when you
introduce yourself as a Calibrator well, lets just say that I handed out
quite a few tips to these people, primarily telling them to frequent Home Theater Forums
like the DTF to help them in their calibration quests. As well as the KeohiHDTV site. Most
in the audience also worked only on FPTVs with little or no apparent experience with
RPTVs and Direct view sets.)
Fifth Element (Mangalore as Waiter)
Star Trek Insurrection (Opening Credit Scroll)
Sencore Advertising Pitch for their analyzers and the Sencore sponsored lunch on
Freebies: (Not quite free, but unexpected bonuses.)
Magazines Free Samples of Home Theater, Widescreen Review, SGHT, AV Interiors
Brochure on D6500 light for behind the TVSencore Chromaticity Chart (Nice)
D6500 fluorescent Bulb
Robust colour filter plates (RGB) similar to the blue filter included in A Video
Standard Laserdisc from so long ago.
Very well organized Seminar Book
Well, lets get into the nitty gritty of what all went on. I ended up with some
eight pages of notes and I figure that I will just lay them all down in point form so
there is some chronologic order to all this. Ive stayed away from the really
technical stuff since there is no sense reiterating that. Ive kept all the things
that I think most here would find interesting. The stories the tragedies
Also interspersed are the questions that I asked JS and JB either one on one or during the
presentation. I thank them for putting up with me and the list of questions. (Blame the HT
community no wait, blame Canada. Yeah, thats the ticket.) There has to be one
in every crowd and I was the Jerk this time. Gotta make them earn my money,
though I dont think they will be over anytime soon to mow my lawn.
My notes might actually resemble xs and os like Gilligan and the beauty
Notes from the Seminar:
JS mentions off hand the CEOs of companies where he has done HT set ups. Then he
brings up the term CFO who are the bosses of the CEOs. (Chief Female
Officer) This being a decidedly male crowd, expected. Only one lady in attendance,, but
she was part of the local organizing committee, and probably a receptionist for that
DVDOs ISCAN might not be recommended for FPTV systems because of design
compromises in the units internal sharpness setting. Too much edging as can be seen
on FPTVs. JS said that this was a design choice by the DVDO people when they had to
figure out who their primary market would be. They chose RPTVs. JS says the ISCAN is
a great addition for RPTVs, just not FPTVs. (It kind of makes sense as the
device is only $700)
In response to my question about Optimal Contrast settings, Jim Burns showed a way to
determine the optimum contrast setting for a TV, as opposed to the maximum do not exceed
point determined in the various test discs. The plate to use is the pluge with grayscale
bars. This was not perfect, but it was a start. I need to test it out on a few sets first.
It may not be appropriate for sets with line doubling/progressive capabilities.
In response to my question to JS about the Philips Analyzer and light readings off a
RPTV, JS said that the lenticular screen would be messing with the light reading when
trying to get a Ft-L reading. The Philips and others, I believe, were not designed to take
accurate light readings off the lenticular screen. In this case, a recent reading of 3.7
ft-l from the 100 IRE window of my set actually was in the order of 10 ft-l. JS pretty
much said that the reading needs to be tripled. So my maximum light output reading of 8.8
ft-l was actually about 25 ft-l. Exactly where it should be.
From JS, lenticular screens on RPTVs are a major limiting factor in the overall
resolution of the image displayed. The spacing of the ridges affects the visible
resolution. Diffusion screens are better here since they dont have the lenticular
structure. The finer the lenticular structure, the less light output.
JS mentioned that trying to get the geometry of a $4K RPTV set to be perfect was
effectively a waste of time and an unreasonable expectation. (i.e. dont do it
expecting to get perfection, because it aint there at that price point. I took this
as a warning to budding calibrators to not bother offering this service since it will only
make everyone unhappy.) Getting the geometry to be perfect on a > $15K FPTV that
would be expected.
Jim Burns injected some humor here and I think I was the only one in the audience that
got it. He said that everyone should take lightly what some Louis person on
the web says about cleaning the projector lenses. It would seem that they dont agree
with what Mr. Bob. (The proper reference here) does. They suggested that the set should be
junked. This is purely an opinion which I do not necessarily agree with.
JS talked a bit about why CRT projectors are inherently capable of displaying more
resolution than directview tubes. The meat of this discussion was that black and white
display devices show more detail than colour displays. The analogy used was with a car
approaching from a distance you first can tell that it is a car (b/W info), but
only when it gets closer can you tell the colour of the car. (Chroma information) So the
CRTs are just three mono chrome devices
JS mentions that the colour purity of projectors is also inherently better than
directview tube designs.
JS : The use of the Jennifer girl on the VE disc is necessary to determine the quality
of the colour decoder in the TV after setting the colour bars. Use the blue filter to do
the calibration. The red and green filters are used to check the accuracy of the colour
decoder only. They are not used in the calibration process. If bad red docoding is
visible, the answer is sorry, your TV has a crappy red decoder.
Stories of people not touching Jim Doolittles calibrated stuff and his equipment
seem to be true. The guys were heard to be joking about it with JD in the room.
The seminar is addressed to mostly the installer community. I did not hear the word
break in period used once during the entire seminar.
JS Mirrors change the colour of the reflected image.
JS Warm up time tube sets take longer than CRT projection sets.
Convergence is another matter though.
As has been discussed in this forum before, JS confirmed that contrast affects the
bright areas of the image more than the dark areas just like the RGB Driver controls. In
this vein, brightness controls the dark areas more than the bright areas just like the RGB
JS - Video Essentials is friendlier for the Calibrator to use as compared to
the AVIA disc. Told people to go to the web site to get the VE directory. I felt strange
being the only guy raising his hand to say that I already have this thing from the web
site. JS provided an informative explanation about both the VE and the AVIA discs and
their strengths and weaknesses. He did not appear to be biased one way or another. Both
discs were used effectively where needed.
JS DVD is a 4:2:0 format not a 4:2:2 format as we were led to believe. He
questions the effectiveness of 4:4:4 DVD players since the material on the disc is 4:2:0.
The missing 2 in the 4:2:2 structure is derived temporally.
JS Talked about how certain writers helped to kill the WEA Laserdisc pressing
plant way back when. I could relate to this story, both funny and tragic.
Monitors ability to hold a calibration 500 to 1000 hours then drift
occurs. Not what you wanted to hear. However, when recalibrated again, it will stay there
much longer the second time around. And so on.
ISF Optical Comparator has a limited life for the bulb inside. The unit looks like a
cereal box with a hole in the middle. Its actually not a bad tool for setting the
grayscale, but it only does the top end (100 ire). You still eyeball it, but it can get
you close to +/- 300 on one end.
Interesting stories about why it is taking so long to get the STBs to market.
JS told me an interesting story about the Proscan 16:9 set from so many years ago and
the colour decoder in the TV and the line doubler. He said the Line Doubler cost $5. We
had a good laugh about that, especially since I have that set too.
JS showed us how to take colour readings from a FPTV using the existing one sensor
Jim Burns talked about Digital Television and the history of it all. When he got to the
720P format versus the 1080I format I couldnt resist and I brought up the Joe
Kane 720P crusade to get their take on the issue. Needless to say, they prefer more real
detail (1080I in this case.) I apologized to JB after about bringing this up.
JS and JB have an interesting take on the HDTV definition. They approach it on a
pixels/sq. inch basis and not an aspect ratio basis. JBs quick answer was
2.35:1 is not 16:9 aspect ratio. 16:9 is an artistic call.
JS AVIA should not be used for grayscale calibrations. The IRE plates are not
correct. This will be fixed in an upcoming version of AVIA. Use the VE to do grayscale,
however, do not use the VE to do overscan geometry. Use AVIA here.
JS / JB Line doublers in RPTVs have trouble with high resolution detail,
hence the errors.
Sencore analyzers have less of a range than the Philips which in turn is less than the
JB and his quip about the mighty American movie empire directed at the Belgium
contingent was a hoot.
My question to JS about billing services brings up a story about the one ISF failure as
JS puts it. A man who sets all his sets to D5400 because he wants to add his own artistic
flair to his work.
So in summary, I think it was worthwhile. It was certainly a lot of fun and I
cant say enough nice stuff about JS. Man he really looks like David Copperfield.
Im glad that this seminar did not resemble some of what I heard about others. The
billing structure was downplayed and very lowkey. The emphasis was to go out there and to
do good work.
My discussions with JS were worth the price of admission. It enhanced things that I
already knew. And it must just be me, but my discussions with JS gave me the distinct
impression that he knew about some of the things that I did on my end Its too
bad I had to opt out of their visit to some Mexican Bar Friday evening since I had
to drive back.
As the fallout continues I might add more info here."