Blast From The Past … Genesis of a Calibrator … Part 5

Letter-AThis is a series of writings that I did from 1990 to 2002 reviewing and putting to “Paper” my thoughts about the movies I collected at the time on Laserdisc and then DVD.  (And there were a lot of movies too.)  Within these writings are elements that ultimately paved the road to the world of professional calibration.  The total collection of writings came to about 100 MB of material at the time so be prepared for something that will be long.  It may actually be amusing to see how I use a particular film as some spring board to talking about calibration.

The writings also play out like a diary of sorts as it is possible to piece together just what type of person I was at the time and my frame of mind.  My daughter started to go through some of these and she got a good laugh out of it.  Most of it was written before she was even born.  I made it a rule not to change anything that I wrote when I was doing this.  I would only correct for spelling and grammar and nothing else.  Because this material was not originally intended for others to look at, the paragraph structure is pretty messy so be warned.

It’s raw and it’s also potentially offensive at times.  Onto Part 5.


THE AVENGERS                                     Warner



1.85 16×9; 1.33




Category: Science Fiction / Fantasy / Comedy

And yet another 60’s series turned into a theatrical movie.  I purchased this one at A & B Sound for $21.79.   Extras on this disc include some six trailers.  The cropped version of this 95 minute film is on the other side.  Interesting that the standard version gives a lot more on the top and bottom and only loses a sliver of information on the sides.  The enhanced and 1.85:1 images show the identical amount of information on the edges.  The few special effects shots will show more in the widescreen versions.  I must say that the way the two characters are portrayed, it is as if they were also just observers in a play making commentary as events are played out in front of them.  The trailer does end up looking considerably more interesting than the film itself.


AVIA – Guide to Home Theater:                       Ovation Software






Category: Science Fiction / Fantasy / Comedy / Documentary

This one came from Ken Cranes for $37 U.S. or so.  The disc sells locally for $70 plus.  This is an all new audio and video calibration disc that addresses some of the shortcomings of the Video Essentials disc and presents an altogether different take on A/V set ups.  The program is actually a running documentary with video patterns and a lot of text material included.  There are no demonstration video segments like in Video Essentials.  Many of the patterns are a different take on what the VE disc used.  The Brightness plate has moving black bars.  There is actually a sharpness calibration setting and adjustments for red and green push or at least a way to see how high the red and the green and the blue are set from the norm.  The new resolution pattern is also a great help because you can finally see the capability of the DVD player itself compared to the TV and you know that the weak link is the DVD player this time.  The disc clearly shows over 500 lines of horizontal resolution for both the SD-2109 unit, the SD-3006 unit and the DV-600U Sharp unit.  The packaging includes green, red and blue filters for determining the accuracy of the colour decoder.  The Toshiba SD-5109 progressive scan unit resolves the entire 540 lines on the chart which is an amazing feat.  The resolution chart is based on TV lines which is per picture height.  In this case, the 540 lines are based on a square area and not the 1.33 aspect ratio.  By extension, taken over a 1.33 aspect ratio, the lines of resolution should therefore be 720.  But it is a given that resolution tends to drop off on the sides of the image.  So for a DVD, the TP61H95 set is displaying the full 720 lines by 480 lines of image detail.  The SD-5109 player does have a little trouble reading the disc though and it is annoying at times.  The way around this is to turn off one of the multi-angle icon in the set up menu.  The gray scale patterns apparently are not encoded properly so they should not be used for grayscale calibration purposes.  The work around for this problem according to Guy Kuo is to turn the colour of the TV down to zero or to unplug the red and blue component cables to work only with the black and white information.  The non-freeze frame problem also carries on through to the Pioneer player I was using in the store for calibration processes.  There is a frame repeat function in the menu system that has to be manually activated for the disc to stop skipping to the next frame when you are using it.  I have a second copy of this disc having received it at the ISF training seminar in Denver.  I look to turn around and raffle the disc off or sell it to someone for $50.  The blue filter in this package do not match the ones in the Video Standard/Video Essentials package.


Continued in Part 6 … the Letter B.

Michael Chen

Michael Chen is the only THX Video Systems Instructor in Canada, and beyond these borders, is one of just two THX Video Instructors in the entire world.  He has actively consulted with Spectracal and ChromaPure and has created numerous education videos on the calibration process with still more to come.  His Video Calibration Training Series has quickly become the most comprehensive and simple to understand learning tool on the market today.  He has also taught classes for both the ISF and Spectracal as well and is now spearheading his all new TLVEXP calibration training program. Let Michael teach you Video Calibration and add that additional income stream to your installation and integration business

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