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Old November 8th, 2005, 12:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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NTSC Monitor Color Balance

Hey all,

I just picked up a used sony monitor, and i'd like to set the proper color settings, how can i do that myself?

Mike Rinkunas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 8th, 2005, 07:18 PM   #2
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Turn on the monitor and leave it on for 30mins-1hour. Point is, let the electronics inside warm up.

If it has a color temperature setting, put it to 6500 for now.
*You can set a manual white balance so that the monitor matches room light in your room, like light fixtures and computer monitors (especially computer monitors IMO). Ideally, having everything at a consistent color temp means no white balance drift.
The standard color temperature is D6500 (which is slightly different from 6500K, but that's not too important).

Feed color bars into your monitor. The bars may be different between cameras and test pattern generators and DVD players, so your monitor may only be accurate for one source. This is because of the 7.5IRE setup issue. If your devices vary in terms of adding setup, then only one source will display correctly.

Setting PLUGE:
The three little bars in the bottom right are the PLUGE bars. Pump brightness (black level) control to see them.
The bars are supposed to be blacker-than-black, at black level, and above black level. So manipulate brightness until you see the leftmost bar disappear while you can still see the rightmost bar.
Leave the room in its normal lighting condition, because you want to see blacks and don't want ambient light to cover it.

Setting contrast:
Turn the contrast control. Watch the 100% white bar in the bottom left "bloom". It goes out of focus.
Something else also happens: The geometry of the image changes.
It may help to stick some gaffer tape or static a piece of paper onto the monitor to help you spot this. Leave a sliver of the bar visible.
Tweak contrast until the monitor is just before the point of blooming and geometric distortion.
In bad situations, do a compromise between brightness and the image defects.
Make sure white appears white, not grey or dull.

Go between brightness and contrast until it's right.

Engage the blue only/gun switch on the monitor. Tweak saturation until the bars on the right and left match up in brightness. Tweak hue until the middle bars match up in brightness.
You should see four large vertical bars now.


Re-check the monitor every once in a while.

2- You can also fiddle with the "gain" and "bias" controls to get better grayscale tracking. The monitor needs to be in user color (or something like user white bal) for these controls to work.

Take a real-world image with good distribution of levels and desaturate it completely. I find real-world images work better than chip chart/patterns. Feed that to your monitor.
Gain affects white balance, bias affects black balance.

Gain should be adjusted to match some other color temperature /light source in your viewing environment. To test, look away at something you'd normally look at for 7 seconds. Look back at the monitor and see if the brightest white looks white.

Bias affects black balance.

3- Room lighting conditions also affects the appearance of images on your monitor.
Minimize specular reflections by re-positioning things (lights, the monitor) and by building yourself a monitor hood.
I would block windows completely with black drapes.
Minimize diffuse reflections by having little light from the back and side walls. Black fabric or paint would work, as would keeping light off those walls.

4- Lower end models dont have all these controls.
Higher end models can auto-calibrate to color bars. Still need to set white and black level via brightness and contrast however.
Glenn Chan is offline   Reply

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