Wednesday evening I had ISF calibrator Gregg Loewen over to tune up my Mitsubishi set. I already had the geometry, over scan and focus set but I don’t have a colorimeter and I wanted my gray-scale to be accurate. Also there is a known red push on my model Mitsubishi that cannot be corrected without some computer work being done to it. Gregg was aware of this and equipped for it so I asked if he would be kind enough to stop by on his vacation swing through Florida and hook me up with a better image.
I’m glad I did!
As I suspected the gray scale was good in the upper ranges but was off in the nether regions. I was getting dark blacks but they had a bit of a blue tint to them. Add the red push already in the TV and I wound up with a slightly purple gray scale. While this was still pleasing to the eye it was not accurate and needed to be adjusted.
Gregg went to work right away while the TV was warming up checking the geometry and over scan. He chuckled a little because he saw that I had hash marks all around the perimeter of the screen that I had used to attach string in the proper positions and do the geometry adjustments myself. I guess he found my settings accurate enough because he didn’t need to mess with the geometry, focus, or the over scan. Now for the fun part. He whipped out a laptop and copied all the data from the “brain” in the TV, corrected some of the values that were causing the red push and then re-wrote the correct data into the brain. PRESTO! No more red push.
I had corrected the red issue for my DVD playback with an attenuator that I had made, but it was only good for the component input and not the HD input. With this adjustment he corrected the red problem for all the inputs quickly and permanently. I will say that he didn’t want to “shoot the bull” during this process, I guess I was getting a little chatty and he reminded me that he needed to concentrate on what he was doing. I looked at the computer screen and saw the program he was using, all the data on the screen and the list he was working from to get the correct data and decided to do as Dr. Evil suggested to his son…zip it!
With that out of the way he taped his color reading gizmo to the TV (Don’t worry, it was not taped to the screen) to read my gray-scale measurements. He took the time to explain to me what he was doing and why, he walked me through the program showing me where each level was and where it should be. Then he ran the test patterns and began the adjustments. Next thing I knew he whipped out a printer and printed up the results. I have an image of the gray-scale settings pre and post calibration printed on some card stock with his name and number on it! That was a really neat trick.
He carried on his magic while I watched. He set the correct brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation and tint and then made the TV controls for these adjustments be in the center position of my on-screen sliders. So now, if anyone ever mucks with the settings, all I need to do is return them to the center position (except the sharpness control) and they will be back in the properly calibrated positions. This is a great thing to have done and I cannot stress how happy I was that he did this. Good thinking on his part there.
So, how are the results?
My image already looked incredible before he began. Now it looks stupendous. Flesh tones are dead on and the color renditions across the spectrum are greatly improved. The best way to describe it is that the colors look pure now. My litmus test has always been yellow. The yellow bars on the color patterns when I look at a TV always look a tad on the orangish side to me. The yellow in my set was the best I had seen on a non-calibrated set prior to the adjustments being done. It is now the best I have ever seen period. It is absolute yellow. No orange, no green.just yellow. Also my blacks got better. How can blacks get better you ask? Well before I had a deep dark black in my image. The picture was not lacking punch. But now, I still see the darkest black areas like before but the gradations between the black and whites have more discernable steps. I see more shadow detail than before. Things that were once lost to the deepest black suddenly appear and have distinction. It was like someone changed a light from a 40 watt to a 100 watt bulb. I still have the deep blacks but I can see into them more clearly now.
I would have to say that even though my set looked great before, it looks a good 30% better now. I had worked on mine for quite some time and I am no rookie to adjusting TVs. Some things simply must be adjusted by instrument to be precise. Youy aren’t going to get there by eye. Even if you have put the time and effort into your set that I had, and especially if you are just watching it out of the box..call Gregg and get him to your town now! This goes for anyone that thinks their set is as good as it can get.I promise you it isn’t. This made a considerable difference in my display and Gregg was meticulous in his craft. He paid attention to every detail and was conscientious about his surroundings and the equipment and could not have been more professional in his behavior. It was a pleasure to have his hands in my display device. I highly recommend anyone wanting to have an ISF calibration to contact Gregg and try to set up a visit. I know he will travel to specific locations if you get a few people together to make it worth his while.
Get this done, and use Gregg to do it. Contact Gregg and tell him I sent you!