What is the easiest way to calibrate all of my computer monitor displays so that they have the same approximate colorspace/representation in all my edit suites? ie: the Graphics station Monitor does not project the exact same color of an image as does my edit suite computer monitor. Is there calibration software or system settings that can be used to more closely calibrate these. The lighting scenarios are different in each room so this creates an issue as well. Has anyone paid for this type of service? Is it worth it?
For print work, there are products such as the Colorvision Spyder that will calibrate your monitors (it's the cheapest, not necessarily the best). You may need a high-grade monitor like a Sony Artisan or Barco. I don't know all too much about this, but you can try Google, http://www.westcoastimaging.com/wci/page/info/articles/computer.html
For video work, the best monitor to get is a BVM-series Sony monitor with the (calibration/color) probe. The calibration probe will help counteract color drift, which occurs from the CRT's phosphors wearing out as electrons hit them (the phosphors get darker). I don't have much experience with that, but you might get some useful information from search the TIG mailing list. tig.colorist.org (registration required I believe)
Ikegami makes similar monitors which may be just as good (minus Trinitron/aperture grille tubes).
*The Sony probe may not actually be all that good if I read correctly. Read the TIG for more information.
Video monitors should be calibrated to color bars. see http://www.videouniversity.com/tvbars2.htm
*The color gel method may not work that well unless you have the specific gel they mention. I have a filter sample book from Lee filters (doesn't have a ""blue-only"" filter), and they will lead to results that are a little off.
**Some monitors have a auto-calibrating feature, and it looks like it works just as well as blue gun. You may need to adjust brightness and contrast though.
You can/should also calibrate with a color probe if your monitor supports that feature.
Other things you should do:
A- Make all light sources in the room the SAME color temperature. Your eye's natural white balance can shift depending on what you see. This can make some whites not look white (or have a color cast).
Look for computer monitors with RGB controls.
Lighting fixtures should be the right color temperature and of reasonably high CRI (some florescents have low CRI ratings, which makes their light green-ish). Or turn the lights off.
Windows are also light sources, and the outside light's color temperature will change throughout the day. You can get drapes or something to that effect.
B- If you can, the line of sight area around the monitor should be a neutral color. This is a vision perception thing, where colors around an object can change the object's perceived color.
C- If you can, the area behind the monitor should be lit so it's around gray. This appropimates real-world viewing conditions (most people don't watch TV in a dark room with lights off) and may lead to less eye strain.
*Some colorists view in a darkened environment, so there's a different side to this. A dark environment would be appropriate if your target audience is a theatre or something.
D- Ideally, your video monitor would be at 6500k color temperature because that should be the standard. I am guessing a different color temperature will affect the monitor's color gamut.
(The videouniversity.com article doesn't mention this.)
In practice, this may be too much effort?
E- Minimal glare on your monitors would be nice. Colored back and side walls may add a color cast to your monitor if they reflect off your monitors.
F- Use the same monitors. For video, using the same broadcast monitors will ensure reasonably-similar colors. One thing you should try for at least is to have the same phosphor types (SMPTE C or P22 are two major types).
G- 7.5IRE setup if you use consumer or prosumer DV equipment (i.e. DSR11, PD150)
A lot of the things above would happen in an ideal world. However, there are some pragmatic things you may want to consider:
1- Cost; Some of the things above may be expensive to achieve (i.e. BVM-series Sony broadcast monitor with calibration probe)
2- In practice, the majority of consumer TVs have high color temperature (definitely above 6500k), are overly bright, are overly contrasty, and have 'mystery' phosphors. They may also have a few cheats (excessive edge sharpening, flesh tone "correction") which is why broadcast monitors are worth getting.
Consumer TVs' colors are typically quite different from your broadcast monitor.
A broadcast monitor with SMPTE C phosphors is supposed to be the standard. In practice, no consumer TV uses them so you may not really need SMPTE C phosphors. P22 may be ok??
Also, perhaps a properly-calibrated broadcast monitor is a little dark and desaturated compared to the "average" TV??
(Sorry, I don't know the answer to those two things above.)
3- What is good enough?
Yes, this was good enough, thanx!