As part of the increased educational offerings that are part of the CEDIASTRONG initiative, we recently presented the webinar entitled “The Business of Calibration.” Our hosts were two longtime CEDIA volunteers Gerry Lemay of the Home Acoustics Alliance and Joel Silver of the Imaging Science Foundation. Silver handled the video portion, and Lemay covered audio calibration.
The webinar’s description:
Due to the current recommendations for social distancing, many individuals and families are spending significantly more of their time at home. This change in social behavior has led to increased requests for system tune-ups as clients want their at-home entertainment to operate at peak performance. While these unscheduled maintenance calls may present an immediate opportunity, the bigger picture highlights the need for structured calibration offerings as well as client care programs that include routine performance evaluations and tune-ups.
After the webinar, Lemay and Silver took the time to answer a few questions.
You can find some highlights below the video embedded here.
Video Questions for Joel Silver
Is it true that most Hollywood productions are created in 2K content?
Joel Silver: There is a wide variation right now and we can expect that to continue for some time. Complete 4K deliverable workflows are going to take a while, but upconversion is improving.
Shouldn’t manufacturers of projectors, TVs, and AVR offer calibration to the customer and then pay the calibrator to do the job for them? In other words, shouldn’t calibration be built into the cost of the product?
Silver: No. We need to be onsite with the screen and the source devices to calibrate properly. There are simply too many variables.
What is the minimum lumen requirement of a projector and the relevant screen size to properly view HDR?
Silver: We look for a minimum of 100 Nits off the screen after calibration. Lumens, screen size, and screen gain all impact the equation to get to that level.
I’ve gotten pushback from some architects when it comes to a complete, “bespoke” cinema environment. How do I change that conversation?
Silver: The architects I’ve worked with do understand the term -- but they need to be educated on matching display standards to home environments. It’s our job to help them learn what “bespoke” means in electronic system designs.
Audio questions for Gerry Lemay
Do you recommend calibration by ear alone?
Gerry Lemay: Calibrating by ear is only part of the equation. I rely on my ears to discover or confirm the system’s performance. Listening can quickly point to issues with the calibration or design. Many times, I can rely on pure listening because of my experience -- but only for some issues. These days the best performance includes equalization. EQ is not something even I can do by ear. It requires an instrument to provide the high-resolution data we need to properly EQ. Our ears are our most sensitive tools, but they have limitations to solving certain key problems.
I have a client who insists that Audyessy (or a similar room correction tool) provides the best sound possible, so no calibration is needed. How do I respond to that without insulting them?
Lemay: Calibration, as I outlined in the presentation, is more than just time delays and EQ. The process reviews the entire state of the system from functionality to improvements in seating and speaker placement. In addition, automated tools -- even the best of them -- are not known for consistency, which means they aren't always accurate. A professional calibration can leverage those tools but doesn't rely on them.
What are the best tones to use to perform rattle tests for subwoofers in a home cinema environment?
I use low frequency sine waves. I slowly move through the frequencies starting with the subs lower limit and usually not past 150Hz. Be careful! Some speakers don't behave well with loud sine waves and the test is performed very loudly.