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FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?

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Robert Ruffo
FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 4:37:11 am

Hi all, I know this is a provocative heading. I mean no disrespect to anyone

But... On the Lightspace forum Steve Shaw, who designed Lightspace CMS, says that "he has never seen Flanders monitor with accurate color" and recommends Penta HD2line instead.

When I go to high-end suites, all I ever see is plasma and CRT. It's the corporate and weeding guys who seem to have Flanders. Alex Von Hurkman uses a calibrated Vt30 and h'es doing this with a $30 000 BM panel, and he is also, I think few would argue, a very smart guy who knows color.

I also have never seen an actual technical report on the color accuracy of Flanders products. Just anecdotal "I love my monitor." "Great service" etc. This at at some level doesn't mean much. My aunt loves her TV, even though it has so much Red push all actors look like are blushing at all times. It certainly doesn't necessarily mean they are actually accurate.

It seems most people buy Flanders because tehy don't want to bother with calibration, so we have almost no feedback as to their actual measured, delivered accuracy.

I've also seen a few complaints here about yellowish highlights - and then a response that they are "perceptually different" from a plasma. I find this suspect., A perfectly calibrated plasma should look more or less the same as a Flanders if the Flanders is indeed perfectly calibrated. One has more contrast, OK, but highlights should look the same color, Otherwise one is wrong. People say "in that case trust the flanders" but based on what? The fact that they say they are accurate? How do we know this is true unless someone objectively measures them?

Sure they us amazing probe technology to calibrate, but what is the accuracy of the result? No matter how good your calibration gear, all monitors have limits. I can use $500 000 of equipment and hire the head calibrator from Company 3 and still not get good color from a monitor which is not physically up to the task.

I've seen a picture that showed all Flanders models together, fed the same 8 bit source, and the different models did not have the same color - to the point where I would make different grading decision based on each. This really, really worried me as they claim all are accurate - which necessarily could not be true from that picture (which was part of a very enthusiastic, pro-Flanders review).

Which makes me wonder....

All feedback welcome. I am here to learn, not to accuse.


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Kevin Cannon
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 5:31:07 am

Hi Robert,

The way you put it, I think you'll provoke a few responses...

I color with a Barco DP2K-P DCI projector on a Stewart matte screen - I have it professionally calibrated more often than it needs (we shoot the colors, but it never drifts except after lamp changes). I consider it the "ground truth."

When I work in Rec. 709 (which is often - and not for wedding videos), I output the same signal to a Flanders 2461w in the suite, just off to the side. We test it occasionally, and I send it back to Flanders for calibration occasionally. The Barco and Flanders, while they have inherent differences being different display technologies, basically match and reinforce each other (I'll let somebody else tackle why two correctly calibrated displays can look different).

I can say that in two years with this set-up, I never have to make grading decisions based on one and not the other, they line up well. I'm not familiar with the HD2line, are they comparable in price? The high-end suites I've been discussing with people are springing for the Dolby PRM4200.

KC

Prehistoric Digital


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 6:38:41 am

This is great info! Thank you!

So the Flanders, right next to a know "perfect" source, looks the same?


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Kris Merkel
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 6:56:43 am

Hi Robert,

What you are referencing is what is known as Metamerism Failure. This happens when we view different displays with different spectral distributions in close proximity to each other. This short video might help shed some light on the subject as well as provide a brief description of what you can expect from each of the FSI models in relation to their specific types of spectral distribution.

http://www.flandersscientific.com/index/tech_resources.html

As far as objective measurement go, FSI uses over $50,000 worth of industry standard equipment to align and measure each unit. We start with a Minolta CS2000 Spectroraditiometer to measure the panels native response curves and then create model specific offsets that are input into a Minolta CA310 Colorimeter to align each unit to industry standards. We then use a Photo research PR655 with a 5 nanometer bandwitdh option to measure the alignment. The link below will take you to the tech resources on the FSI website and give you the information in much greater detail.

http://www.flandersscientific.com/index/calibration.html

We do have quite a few customers who use the LM2461W in high end finishing suites, using Barco's and Christie's, that swear by that unit being as close to a perfect match to their projectors as they have seen with an LCD monitor.

You bring up good points and this is not a sales pitch, I'm just sharing information and I'm sure others here may have more valuable insight on their actual use of the FSI monitors in their suites.

"Think of everything in terms of building capacity."

Kris Merkel
twitter: @kris_merkel
Product Manager, Flanders Scientific Inc.
http://www.shopfsi.com
Co-Founder, Atlanta Cutters Post Production User Group
http://www.atlantacutters.com

2.2Ghz MBP core i7
16Gb RAM
CS 5.5
FCP7 and Studio
Blackmagic Design UltraStudio 3D
AJA IO XT
FSI LM-2340W





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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 7:08:42 am

Hi Kris! I'm sure you use excellent methods for profiling your monitors. But what I would love to know (and am learning better here) is how accurate is the result, seeing the inherent limitations of any hardware technology to which even the most immaculate calibration is applied. Are we talking Delat-E of 1, 2, 3, 4, 0? You must have measured this too (the success of your careful calibration).

No display device can be perfectly calibrated by any method - it's always a matter of degree. Sometimes that degree is beyond the limits of human vision, sometimes it is not and can lead to colorist being misled by a false representation of the image.

I would also love to understand better why, side by side, the various FSI monitors look truly different. Are the lower end monitors less precise? What is their level of accuracy vs. the flagship model?

I am learning a lot here. Thank you all for your contributions.

(And by the way, just because I see plasmas at the high end suites I happen to visit doesn't mean I was implying that Flanders do not exists in other ones I have not happened to visit.


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Bram Desmet
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 8:01:45 am

Robert, Delta E, with respect to greyscale, is typically less than about 1 as measured at 10 IRE increments throughout greyscale range when we do our QC before a unit ships, if it goes over 2 at any level we realign the unit. Keep in mind this is Delta E as measured by a secondary probe (other than the one that did the calibration as we use different calibration and QC probes). If we were to do the QC report with the same probe that did the calibration then delta E would be as close to 0 as makes no difference, but by using separate probes we have a fail safe to make sure the probes haven't suddenly got out of calibration for some reason. Of course the probes don't agree perfectly so a delta E tolerance of 2 is actually quite strict as that is as attributable to the probe variation as calibration accuracy.

The video that Kris linked to explains precisely why you can have two units with equal measurements that still look perceptually different, and different to different observers for that matter as well. This is NOT unique to FSI monitors and is true of any monitor brand that utilizes different types display technology (different spectral distributions). I think sometimes we are a bit honest to a fault here as we make it a point to divulge this information instead of sugar coating it. This is actually an important issue we try to stress with people in talking to them about their specific needs for a monitor and here are some important things you can take away from this:

1. A HUGE number of consumer TVs on the market, especially newer ones, are using a basic white LED backlight. These, even when calibrated to objectively (according to spectroradiometer) match a xenon bulb projector, CCFL backlight LCD monitor, CRT, or Plasma display tend to look warmer/redder to the majority, though not all, observers.

2. White LED backlight monitors tend to be particularly problematic when trying to get something that perceptually matches a high-end projector. Again, the numbers can be identical according to the measuring device, but most people perceive the white LED units as looking significantly warmer.

3. Wide Gamut CCFL, EEFL, and RGB LED backlight monitors tend to perceptually match high-end digital projectors for most observers. This is why, IMHO, you see so many manufacturers opt for solutions other than white LED backlight for their 'premier' color grading monitors.

4. The big conundrum in all of this is finding one monitor to rule them all. If you are doing high-end DI work then perhaps white LED backlight is not ideal. If you are doing mostly work destined for broadcast TV maybe you could argue that with the proliferation of white LED backlight LCD TVs that having a professional White LED backlight monitor is ideal, even for color correction. Though there are certainly a lot of other consumer technologies with significant market share. What we find in real world use is that when it comes to white LED people are starting to know and expect white LED LCD TVs to look perceptually redder.

5. Most importantly keep in mind that the differences are most dramatic when you make the decision to place displays of different spectral distributions next to one another. If you just color grade on one and then go from display to display individually, instead of side by side, content tends to overwhelmingly look normal as your eye quickly adapts to these perceptual white point differences.

6. If you are going to mix LCD with Plasma, CRT, or Projection my suggestion would be to use LCD with RGB LED, CCFL, or EEFL backlights. White LED is less ideal in such mixed use environments in my experience.

Again, I think the video Kris links to explains this well despite my southern drawl way of pronouncing Metamerism. At the end we even specifically tell you what to expect with respect to how our various models may match various types of other technologies.

Hope that helps.

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 8:12:30 am

Your video was great! Thank you for your answer as well!

II will think about all this. Probably smart would be to have both a well calibrated plasma and a Flanders so that one could see how both will look - at least, that is where I am leaning.


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Steve Shaw
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 11:55:03 am

As I was quoted at the beginning of this thread by Robert I probably should add a comment or two...

First, it is true that we have been called in to calibrate a lot of displays all over the world, and we have come across FSI displays many times.

What we have seen is a lack of consistency, and a lack of accuracy time and again.

I'm sorry to be saying this - we have nothing against FSI specifically, and have seen the same problems with many other manufacturers - but that is just our findings - and that includes new displays direct from the factory and others that have been returned for re-calibration, as well as others that have been in use for a while.

We saw similar with Penta originally too.

This was not down to the probe, but the calibration system used by Penta to calibrate the display from the probe data.

Penta agreed with our findings and have changed their in-factory calibration to be much, much more accurate - they use LightSpace CMS now, with the same probes they were using originally - which prove my point above.

We have also seen very good consistency with the Sony LMD series - if a tad low on Gamut.

But, we do not recommend Plasmas at all for colour critical grading applications. The ABL (Auto Brightness Level) caused by plasma's power saving operation (which can't be turned off, regardless what some suppliers say!) causes major problems with colour accuracy.

See: http://www.lightillusion.com/forums/index.php?action=vthread&forum=8&topic=...

As just about all LED displays use screen from a small number of manufacturers calibration is down to the associated image management used, as well as the image processing electronics.

It is true that different back-lights do give different results, and some technologies to suffer Metamerism Failure, but this is more with different display technologies, not different back-lights. OLED vs. LCD for example.

But, with the correct probe offsets you can overcome all but the worse effects.

Often, you get far better results by turning off all the manufacturer's internal processing, having the panel work in raw native mode, and perform all calibration via an external LUT box.

For HDMI connections the eeColor LUT Box is good.

For HDSDI the Tcube, Pluto or Davio boxes are needed.

Light Illusion is always happy to answer questions on calibration, etc, and we have some truly advanced colour scientists that perform our colour development work - I'm just one of the team!

Steve


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Joseph Mastantuono
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 3:42:58 pm

I personally care less about that last 2% of color accuracy that I think we're talking about here, and I think we should try to refocus towards the Display manufacturing industry, where every TV & computer monitor (and mobile display device) is a completely different image.

I'm dealing with more and more clients remotely, and post budgets are not getting bigger. I would just kill for a relatively inexpensive & simple radiospectrometer / calibration suite that could be in the hands of consumers. In a world where a teranex costs 2000$, I don't understand why there isn't a good prosumer level calibration tool I can give to a relatively tech savvy producer to make sure we are at least looking at similar things.

Joseph Mastantuono
http://www.goodpost.net
Color Grading & Post Production Consulting


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Steve Shaw
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 3:54:56 pm

The problem is we are not talking about 2% errors in our experience.

And more of a problem is the procedure needed to get a good level of guaranteed calibration.

See: http://www.lightillusion.com/display_calibration.html

This is just to set-up a display BEFORE calibration.

We have actually run calibration over the net, using a virtual USB protocol, so only requiring a probe and a LUT box at the client's location - or using SpaceMatch DCM for OS connected displays.

It works, but if the initial set-up is poor, the results will always be poor.

Steve


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Gustavo Bermudas
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 7:05:10 pm

I also want to to add, the the Flanders 2461 is an incredible monitor. The commitment the guys at Flanders show to create the best product in the market is outstanding.
Having saying that, I've seen differences between the 2460 and 2461 on factory settings, the last one looks greener but truer to a Barco 2K, the 2460 way redder. For what I understand they changed the calibration equipment, but you can send it for recalibration.

But also we had them side by side with a few Panny Plasmas, and what we found, and we don't know of this is being a limitation of the Plasma technology and the Flanders being a 10bit panel, is that strong red tones, like the ones found in women dresses, nails or cartoons, tends to look more orange in the Flanders than in Plasmas, everything seems to match except when we enter the strong reds. One thing that got me baffled is that the red in the plasmas seems to be the right one as far as color tone, I mean, we al know how red nails should looks like, unfortunately I have no pics to show, but they do look more towards orange in the Flanders. I was wondering if someone in this forum also noticed something similar.


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Steve Shaw
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 7:24:16 pm

Yes, that is an example of the inaccurate calibration we have seen.

Profiling with LightSpace showed 'red' to be off-axis, and under gamut.

What would be really good, would be for the LUTs generated via LightSpace to be able to be directly loaded into the FSI displays, replacing the factory calibration.

Assuming the problem with the displays is as we found with Penta this would be a good solution for user calibration - and accurate (assuming the underlying display gamut was good enough).

Any FSI management reading this?
We would be happy to help.

Steve


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Bram Desmet
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 8:30:40 pm

Hi Gustavo, if you switch to monitor wide gamut mode you will see that the unit is very capable of making a very saturated Red. It is not that the monitor cannot make these types of Red, it is that In our experience when properly calibrated with a CS2000, PR-735, PR-680, or 5nm spectral bandwidth PR-655 the Rec 709 primary is indeed orangey compared to many consumer / prosumer displays operating in somewhat wider than Rec 709 color gamuts. Also, note that when we released the LM-2461W we transitioned to 2nm, 4nm, and 5nm spectral bandwidth reference spectroradiometers. We had previously been using only 8m spectral bandwidth spectroradiometers. This is the reason there was a change between 2460W default setup and 2461W default setup. The 2461W is more accurate and as you correctly note and most 2461W owners can attest to this provides a very good perceptual and objective match to high-end digital projectors working in the same color space. We made this all very public at the release of the 2461W and any 2460W can be updated and re-calibrated with the higher end reference instruments to match the 2461W.

Please note that all FSI monitors offer a wide variety of manual toggles for customers that want to make small adjustments (for example if they have their own preferred reference instrument) and we even offer the ability to essentially put the monitor in a 'blank slate' mode with essentially all of our color management turned off. This allows customers that don't want to use our own calibration the ability to use external color management solutions/boxes without having to 'compete' with our built in systems. A very tiny percentage of customers go this route and those that do seem to find that sufficient as far as playing well with third party color management solutions. I would only caution that we regularly test just about every probe we can get our hands on and if you elect to use calibration other than what is built in we strongly recommend using at least 5nm spectral bandwidth spectroradiometers. We find significant deviations when going to 8nm and especially 10nm spectral bandwidth spectroradiometers. If we felt we could use a $1,000 probe to calibrate our units we certainly would, we don't invest in the significantly more expensive probes because it is fun, it is just what we find is necessary to get good results.

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Bob Cole
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 9:06:50 pm

Hear, hear. This is especially problematic when the client is not in the suite, and views the edit on his own computer. When I deliver a .wmv file with a highly-saturated blue background, and the client says it looks "muddy" on his never-calibrated laptop, I'm at a loss.

Is there a simple way for clients to calibrate their own monitors?

Bob C


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 11:36:10 pm

[Bob Cole] "Hear, hear. This is especially problematic when the client is not in the suite, and views the edit on his own computer. When I deliver a .wmv file with a highly-saturated blue background, and the client says it looks "muddy" on his never-calibrated laptop, I'm at a loss. "

Why be at a loss? Just explain the problem! Or offer to calibrate his/her laptop a bit with your own kit (what we do).

BasicColor is a pretty good ICC profiler. Not for pro use really (no 3D LUTS) but very good to help clients' home computer screens be less crazy-awful.

Clients thank us for the added bonus to their daily lives.

You just have to be respectful - clients are not colorists - you are - it's normal that they know less than you about these things.


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Mel Matsuoka
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 7:26:58 pm

[Steve Shaw] "For HDMI connections the eeColor LUT Box is good."

Hi Steve,

Any updates regarding the use of the SpectraCal ColorBox version of the eeColor box with Lightspace CMS? I know you were having issues getting it working right before?



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Steve Shaw
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 7:38:30 pm

I think that with the instructions listed on the Light Illusion website eeColor page it is possible.

As far as we can tell Spectracal do not alter the box firmware, just re-badge it, so there should be no problem.

Steve


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 9:19:41 pm

So in potential defense of FSI - were the models you tested Steve, this year's 2461?

But... It also seems to me that ABL is a far less serious sin than incorrect reds, if I had to choose, in terms of how it might misguide a colorist. Things like image brightness are a place where at least I tend more to look at scopes than the image - but color rendition is when I am always just looking at the image, with the scopes only an afterthought.

If the ABL only comes on after all the image processing on the plasma panels - so a 3D LUTs that says a 70% bright green needs to be 10% less saturated, for example are still working as expected, even though later in the chain that 70% bright green is auto-dimmed to 50% - then we can still use 3D luts to correct panels in a box or inside DaVinci - color will be correct, and only brightness curves will be affected. (We only need to use small squares for calibration - say 30% of panel size or less)

If not then the 3D luts cannot be accurate with a plasma. Also, if not, then maybe even the internal calibration settings of the panel cannot ever be made to be correct - and would be to some degree meaningless (in terms of color, the brightness tapering off for very bright scenes I can see as not too much of a problem.

Then I have another question - Steve, with $5000 or less for a new monitor, what would you recommend, assuming a user is also empowered by your software and a reasonable probe?


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Steve Shaw
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 9:33:00 pm

We have calibrated many models - recent and older - and of varying screen sizes. Our customers have also calibrated many FSI displays and have reported the same/similar results.

Unfortunately ABL can be a bigger problem than a fixed colour error... the problem is you can't trust the detail you are seeing - especially in the highlights, as well as totally variable color.

As ABL is variable it can not be easily countered for, and no, a 3D LUT cannot calibrate a plasma totally accurately due to ABL - no calibration can, including internal, 1D, etc!

The ABL causes very, very poor and variable RGB Separation, and that is key to any accurate calibration, by any method.

As for monitor recommendation - the best you can get that shows the ability to calibrate well.

I would go for a display that has no internal calibration, except the basics, and has a 'natural mode' that just shows the panel's native colour, and use an external LUT box.


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 10:05:15 pm

Thank you Steve! But have you ever seen particular models under 5K that meet this requirement in your highly numerous travels and experiments?

Also, are you saying that even plasmas like the Bt300, that claim to have a "monitor mode' that skips ABL still have ABL?

If I am understanding correctly, if I have a 3D lut for a plasma that says "when you see a Red color of 80% brightness, shift it 3% to green (or whatever) that 3D lut would be completely thrown off by ABL, so say an 80% brightness red that fills the screen would be considered, by the LUT, to instead be a 60% Red (or whatever the ABL shifts it down to?) and thus not shifted to green, as it "should".

That would basically mean that you cannot use 3D luts with a plasma at all as they would be utterly disjointed from the panel's true nature. The minute a patch size changed or content represented more or less total brightness than the patch size used to make the LUT, it would render the LUT calibration 100% useless, maybe even counter-productive. Hopefully I am missing something here!

That would also mean that the very many high end suites that correct plasmas with 3D luts have been looking at wrong color all this time - which would be a bit shocking for the people who paid $500 an hour for said suites. Is this actually true?

The BT300 plasmas, apparently can be calibrated to almost perfect Rec709, as reported by independent reviews which covered gamut accuracy as well. Is this calibration false for reasons I am failing to understand? Would it suddenly be shown to be off off if say the patch sizes used by the reviewer were different?

Sorry, a lot of questions, I know, but this is all quite shocking to me, and I'm sure quite a few other son this forum (and hopefully I am overestimating the problems above)


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Steve Shaw
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 10:19:55 pm

Can't really recommend any displays at that price point, as we focus on the higher-end... But, as I say, most 'screens' in all displays come from a very few manufacturers - find a good IPS screen and then see who uses it.

As I say, ABL causes calibration issues due to poor RGB Separation.
There is no way around that with any calibration technique!

The so called correct Rec709 calibration is with a fixed set of test patterns - change the test patterns / patch size and the results will change. So when using real images the calibration will not be accurate.

But, having good 3D LUT calibration (as good as it can be) is better than the alternatives, if the profiling is done correctly. And this means calculating the ideal patch size for that particular displays the amount of ABL it suffers from. Good luck with that!

And the BT300 plasmas do indeed still suffer ABL - all the 'Monitor' mode does is reduce the screen output (brightness) to a point where it is less obvious. They also suffer a real 'smear' effect on motion.

Steve


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 14, 2012 at 11:21:57 pm

Thanks Steve!

I will measure inaccuracy based on varying patch sizes and report back here. To keep it simple, I will use Calman (not as powerful as your software, for sure, but just to get simple delta-E reports easy to post here). If the problems are subtle, then maybe we can live with them.


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 6:10:37 pm

FSI: Please respond to this thread re: Red gamut issue described by Steve Shaw and others, and casually observed by me, but I wasn't sure (disclosure - why I started this doubt thread was that one reason.)

I will be blunt and say: I was going to buy an FSI 2461, and now I have decided that it is a poor idea, due only to this issue.

Projectors running in P3 space (or optimized for P3 space) are not a fair nor good reference to Rec 709 space. I often hear often how projectors are a good match - but when working in Rec 709 CRTs and Dolby monitors are the reference - and when these are compared - the Red issue comes up.

Put the 4061 next to a Dolby - the Reds are indeed orangy.

I am thinking instead of buying a Dreamcolor, keeping it is "full" gamut", and taming it with a 3D LUt from Lightspace fed through a LUT box. Total cost of this with Lightspace and a probe is much higher than a 2461, not to mention way more work and fuss on my end, but unless I hear from you guys that the red issue is being looked at seriously - I can't feel good about an FSI investment.

(Steve, would a Dreamcolor in Full mode (CMS bi-passed by sending a 10bit YUV HDMI signal) and a LUT box work well? Are 3D-Lut tamed Dreamcolor panels acceptable?

I need to see the color red properly, especially since we do a lot of work related to cosmetics here.

Steve Shaw works at the highest of high ends of this business - his clients include legends and household names who swear by him and his assessments - teh head of THX standards will coem out and say "you can trust Steve Shaw and Lighspace CMS" -

If Steve Shaw says FSI red gamut is off - then as far as I am concerned - it is off and there is some issue - with the panel, the backlight or the way you are interpreting probe data - I don't know where, but somewhere. Maybe this issue is not present in 8 bit - not sure.

EIther this can be fixed by a software update that you are examining - in which case I will buy one now and wait for it to get better - or there is a hardware problem not covered by warranty - in which case I will get the Dreamcolor.

Oddly, it would seem that the lower end models you offer are MORE accurate for Rec 709. (?) as they are "redder".

So my question to the very obviously well-meaning and honorable FSI guys is: are you looking into the red gamut issue, or not?

Anyway, in the old days, you bought a calibrated Sony CRT and you were done. This was before my time, but i'm sure many here miss the simplicity and assuredness of those days.


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Bram Desmet
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 7:04:11 pm

Robert,

Attached is a screen shot of a simple Cal-Man report of the LM-2461W in Rec 709 mode vs Rec 709 color gamut reference as measured by a 5nm spectral bandwidth spectroradiometer. As you can see the Red primary is not inside or short of Rec 709 at all. However, if you put this next to an LM-2140W (our 8 bit White LED monitor with Red primary at exactly the same chromaticity coordinates) and compare 100% Red vs 100% Red on both displays most, though not all, observers see the White LED backlight unit's red primary as perceptually redder (and see the white balance as redder for that matter as well). The issue is different spectral distributions and the limits of standardized color science models to truly predict/provide perfect metamers when dealing with such disparate spectral distributions. Search around and you will hear the same type of feedback with respect to OLED monitors and other new display technologies in that perfectly matching (according to very high quality probes) displays still look different when comparing different display technologies. In the days of CRTs all Grade1 CRTs had essentially the same spectral distribution so things were indeed simpler.

When FSI customers discuss perceptually matching to their high-end projectors we are talking about matching when operating in the same color space (for example Rec 709 to Rec 709 not Rec 709 vs DCI P3). The LM-2461W matches these projectors very well, the LM-2340W and 2140W less so perceptually. However, these less expensive White LED units do look like reasonably well calibrated consumer devices also using white LED backlights. If you are unhappy with our selection of backlight technology in the LM-2461W accounting for its spectral distribution and ability to perceptually match such projectors that is something I can live with, but what we won't do is intentionally make the Red primary objectively wrong by pushing it out even further in Rec 709 mode.



Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 7:48:13 pm

I am very sorry if I in any way made you feel you were doing something wrong.

I WANT to buy a Flanders, and I want to just be able to say to myself I can simply trust it and not worry. i want the Flanders to be that legendary Sony monitor from before my time.

$5000 is not a lot to pay for that kind of piece of mind. I also like to support small businesses who push the envelope like you. We are a small business, and try to do just that.

But... Steve was referring to objective measures with a probe, using Lightspace CMS - not perceptual observations.

I have met you guys at tradeshows, and I have rock-solid instincts form an entire adult life spent in show business - there is no possible way you are dishonest - and I can smell a bad vibe right away, very, very precisely. Whatever you are saying here is your direct true experience- I have zero doubt.

But I also have trouble accepting that Steve is just wrong. So I am confused. How can both realities be reconciled?

Could this be a Calman vs Lightspace issue? Does Lighstapce's LUT algoythm maybe better emulate human vision than Calman's and somehow account for perceptual differences rather than just observe "technical correctness"? Isn't perceptual color what we use to make grading decisions and thus what is most important? Have you tried Lighstspace? Do you use Lightspace? What are Lighstapce's results on your monitors?

Maybe Steve can chime in here: Let's assume (and I think we can safely assume) that Calman report of the is true. Does your Lightspace software work differently from Calman? Can it observe things that Calman misses, or does it somehow look at displays in a different way from Calman? (Assuming both are using adequate probes).

I can tell you that I just tried growing a white box on a number of high-en plasmas - the ABL effect makes them unusable for grading - it just does. So on that you and Steve both can agree - and we can conclude that we absolutely need a Grade-01 LCD to do our work - a plasma won't do.

Like I said, I WANT it to be yours.

It may seem like I am prodding unpleasantly, but my goal in doing so is to assuage my concerns, mine and those of others here. I want the end conclusion of this thread to be that the informed user, regardless of their budget, wants to buy FSI.

Side question: Can I send a YUV HMDI signal to your monitor vis a DV-HMI simple/cheapie adapter?


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Drew Lahat
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 8:55:03 pm

Steve, can you post a chromaticity diagram of yours that shows the FSI red to be off-axis and under gamut?

Bram, can you clarify the diagram you posted? Does the diagram describe the CIE xy space or Rec.709? (I see the x and y values don't go near 0.8 and 0.9 as I'm familiar with in CIE diagrams.) If it is CIE, do we see just one triangle because of the close overlap between the FSI and Rec.709?

So far it seems to me that the different opinions arise from different approaches to measurement.

Color is probably where the interaction between science and video production is the closest. If anyone wants to resolve these debates (which exist online by the thousands), there's no feasible way but the scientific method, no matter how boring or daunting it is to us production folks.


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Robert Ruffo
See a Lightspace Rec 709 CIE chart of a new 2461 here.
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:18:45 pm

I have tracked down a friend in London with a Hubble, Lightspace and a Flanders 2461.

This is his report of a 2461 - using Rec709 factory preset (he did it very carefully, and works in an extremely high end context):



As can be seen the green is over gamut, and blue is off axis.
Also, the white point is too blue, and was visibly so compared to a known reference.

The green is folding back on its self as Luma increases, as is Red to a lesser extent.

This could mean the internal calibration is controlling the peak gamut, but not the lower gamut levels.

It would seems to show that the technical level of calibration being used by Flanders is problematic.

I hope Steve can elaborate on why Lightspace can show problems that Calman does not seem to be able to, based on FSI's reports, as this is beyond my knowledge of how Calman and other software work.

He has since recommended removal of 2461s from grading suites.

Since he has no vested interest in knocking FSI I see no reason to mistrust his findings.


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Bram Desmet
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:29:44 pm

Again, let me say that if we could use an inexpensive probe and get accurate results we would. There is a reason we use higher end probes and as the CS-2000 measurements results I posted show the results with that probe are entirely different. Same thing when we measure with a 5nm PR-655.

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Bram Desmet
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:23:38 pm

As I mentioned much earlier, but perhaps did not clarify enough there was a change when we released the 2461W as a replacement for the 2460W. We upgraded to several much higher-end and precise spectroradiometers than what we had been using before that time. Anyone with a 2460W could (still can) have their units updated with the new LUTs and have their unit aligned with these higher end tools to obtain an even more precise result. To put this into perspective below is are graphs of the old calibration result as measured by a Minolta CS-2000 and the new calibration result as measured by that same Minolta CS-2000. By the way, these measurements were taken by a third party using there own probes (TV Station evaluating display).



However, I don't want to confuse the issue here. Even with the newer calibration there will be a perceptual difference between a CCFL backlight unit and a white LED backlight unit, even if they objectively measure 100% the same. Again, I think the video we posted early in this thread explains this as well as we can explain what is ultimately a rather esoteric issue. Long story short we offer different display technology options to meet different needs (and even preferences), but the reality is that we live in a world where there are an ever growing number of spectral distributions that even given identical calibrations as can be measured will lead to perceptual differences.

What is even more troubling is that different people can perceive the same spectral distributions differently. Best case I ever saw of this was walking into a room where two guys were looking at an OLED monitor with a flat white field on it. The one guy kept saying it looks green to me, the other keep saying it looked magenta. Same screen, taking turns sitting perfectly on axis, two very different perceptions. FWIW it looked green to me, but to my colleague (4th person to walk in, it looked magenta as well).

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Bram Desmet
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better?
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:34:05 pm

Sorry, i see those earlier images may be hard to see. Hope this is better:

OLD CAL


NEW CAL


Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 15, 2012 at 9:40:44 pm

I understand these perceptual differences - but that does not explain the Lightspace report I posted which you have not responded to.

Your eyes do adjust to slight backlight temperature issues when they affect the whole image unilaterally, as long as that issue is subtle, but not to a particular color being under-gamut to a varying degree based on its brightness level.

This was done with a high-end probe - it is not just perception. The fact that the probe's findings match observed perception does not take take anything away from them - on the contrary.

We grade based on observed color. EIther a monitor "looks right" compared to a very carefully calibrated rec 709 standard Dolby used to grade 100 million Hollywood features (the reference here) - or it looks different. If it looks perceptually different it is not much helping the colorist, regardless of why. If you are using some form of backlight tech that distorts perception then you should stop doing so. When all is said and done I grade with my eyes, not Calman and probes - so it's what those eyes see, for whatever reason, that matters.

I guarantee if anyone here probes their Flanders with Lightspace and a high-end probe they will get the same report. Many of the world's top facilities rely on Lightspace (much less often Calman)

If you do a probe on a calibrated Dolby at Company 3 you will get a virtually perfect report - not one like this.

They will ALSO perceptually look right - a properly white-balanced Alexa/Epic/F65 etc shot will show a red dress and stop sign known to be red as properly red, not kind of orange.

FSI, please respond to my London feeind's calibration report of your new 2461, recently purchased.

BTW - here is the FSI monitor with the internal CMS turned off (i.e. the "automatic calibration feature" that lets you pick Rec 709, P3 etc.) turned off rather than set to Rec 709, as was the case in my post further above.



As you can see, it is still off, but less bad. Something is going wrong with the CMS electronics, the measuring method, or both, or something else altogether.

If anyone else has an adequate probe, a high-end profiling software (Lightspace, Cinespace, etc. - Calman I cannot comment on as to me it is more of a home-theatre application, but I could be wrong) and a recent 2461 please feel free to post your results here. I and my London friend are not making this up.

Steve Shaw, if you could please explain how these great calibration reports made with other software seem so different from those made via Lightspace - and why Lightspace seems to better align with observed color than probe reports from other software (such as Calman by F.S.I shown above - not sure what the TV station used). It would be much appreciated.

I for one am learning extremely valuable information from this thread and would like to continue doing so.


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Drew Lahat
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 12:42:41 am

Robert, is it just me or are your diagrams in xy space while Bram's recent diagrams are in u'v' space?


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 12:47:01 am

A cie chart is always x-y.


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Michael Cinquin
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 12:48:29 am

When I received my 2461W, I was very surprised at what the colors looked liked. In short, it felt colder.

I then took the monitor around in quite a few film-rental firms here (Brussels), to compare the FSI and other top-of-the-line monitors. I was always surprised at the results, FSI vs. the rest of the world. Then I compared to one of the best DCI projection in town (Cinémathèque Royale), and guess who was right.. the FSI.

But this was almost an insult to me, so I dug into this quite a bit. How come my carefully expensively calibrated projector was wrong when the factory-calibrated FSI was right ? I exchanged dozens of emails with Bram, but I took nothing for granted, I had to check for myself. The answer "you need a high end spectro" did not satisfy me.

So in the end I rented a CS-2000, and compared it with my Hubble.

I then put the Hubble for sale (http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/277/11184#11184), and kept the FSI (I don't own a probe anymore, I rent high end spectrometers every now and then).

With the CS-2000, you can aim a very very precise portion of your monitor : I used a 1 pixel cross to be sure to be at the exact center. What I found out was that by moving 30px away from this cross, you could have variations of several .001 xy (which translated into several delta-E -calculations by calman-).

I was not doing all this for the sake of science. I just needed monitoring I could trust. FSI won my trust through their support (which you're experimenting right now), through comparison with the best digital screens here, and through measurements with the mother of all reference probe which showed a tolerance inferior to the tolerance I would get by being 30px off axis.

More simply than metamerism failure, I found out you can have good looking calibration data, and a poor image. So I became less crazy about Delta-E.

A few figures :
the spectral output of my FSI :


see how spiky it is ? Very difficult to see the color for a colorimeter or a low-end spectra.

the graphs of my measures. Please note I'm not claiming this is the truth about FSI (be it to defend or attack the product). This is what I measured, read above to why measures should be taken with caution when not done in a scientific lab.



They are not perfect, there are some quite big dE on the gamut. But overall I trust the image I get, I never have unpleasant surprises when our work is going in nice screens outside, and the FSI match my new projector (Projectiondesign).
Both projector and monitor are used without a LUT for Rec-709 monitoring, without gamma curves, and without playing with Color Hue Tint Saturation.
That said, more than a year has passed since my purchase of the FSI and the measures I post here, and I can see looking at my test pattern (http://www.charbon-studio.be/resources) that in the darks there has been a little drift, so I'm going to send it back for recalibration for free + shipping costs.


I can feel the heat in this subject ; I'm both a client of Steve and of FSI, and I've started a few threads on this board that went all wrong with some people bashing and contempting. So apart from this post, I will stand aside and watch, hit me if you must ;-)

Michael Cinquin


Final Cut Pro - Avid Media Composer editor
DaVinci - Color - Baselight colorist
Color profiles for Color
http://www.michaelcinquin.com/tools : tools for FCP | Color | RED | subtitles | Cinema Tools | Timecode - Keycode calculator



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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 1:05:35 am

Look again at the two charts below - top one is with Flanders CMS "off" and bottom one is with Flanders CMS "on".







The "on" has all kinds of odd kinks in it - the off version does not - yet both were done by the same probe, on the same day.

it is my understanding that Calman misses a lot of issues in the way it looks at color - issues that have real practical implications for high-end work - it can fail to catch a lot of problems. The green gammut folding over itself is a clear example that can be missed by Calman when calibrating any monitor, not just the Flanders. Calman was designed to do 10 point grayscale calibrations for home theater - it does that very well. The other features, like gammut evaluation, are brand new, and work to a degree that has not yet been well-evaluated by anyone. People just assume they work - but I don't know if they do or not - perhaps someone has tested them on this forum?.

it is my clear knowledge that an "inadequate probe" to the degree that anyone would call a Hubble inadequate - will make little difference - maybe a few tiny misreads here and there off by an almost or fully imperceptible amount - not this kind of kinked up mess that very coincidentally matches my eyes looking at a Flanders, and very coincidentally also matches the tell-tale signs of how a calibration using software like Calman can fail (although Steve probably knows way more about this than I do, so I hope he can chime in).

It's not the probe that really matters, it's the CMS circuitry to which the measurement is applied, and the software methodology used to create those measurements, and how the two work together.

A probe's quality level, beyond a certain point, and the Hubble is well beyond that point, (you'll see above I was questioning whether maybe even an i1Display Pro is good enough) - will only make an extremely subtle difference - and that difference will be located almost entirely in the darks. What you see above is not subtle, and is not contained only to darks. It can't be a probe issue (if the probe was wonky, it would have delivered wonky data on both the "native" mode and the "Rec 709" mode - but only the calibrated 709 mode is squiggly - the native mode is actually in some ways better, at least, it's perfectly linear, even though the primaries are off - in other words increasing luma arriving from the input creates smoothly increases luma being displayed without a color jump back - it doesn't fold over itself the way the "calibrated" mode does. This folding over itself would mean that at some point, a brighter pixel in your source would be wrongly displayed as not just brighter, but another color using the Flanders "rec 709" setting).

Still don't believe me?

Try this - make a gradient in photoshop of the pure color green - 20% luminance on the left, 100% on the right- but with hue and saturation left the same from left to right - Now look at it on your Flanders in the Rec 709 setting. Does it look right? I guarantee not. Now switch to "native" mode. See how it's smooth with the processing turned off? (Even if the color itself is the wrong gamut, it's now transitioning smoothly from left to right, as it should, as it is a linear gradient.)

It is possible that the Flanders is not properly calibrated due to poor software methodology used in measuring data and sending that data to the CMS. I hope that is not true, but it is looking that way.

I don't think the Flanders guys are bad people and I'm sure they use the best probes available with superb intentions toward their customers, but until I see an evaluation done with truly high end software here (Lightspace being a good example, and I'm sure there are other examples, Calman no) I am reluctant to believe that their product can meet the very high standards I have for our gear.

Flanders probes are great - and they are great guys for sure - their software methods I have real doubts at this time.





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Robert Houllahan
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 3:54:38 pm

It seems to me that $5k is fairly inexpensive for a monitor and that a simple way around these calibration issues for FSI would be to make a new firmware which allows for external calibration LUTs to be loaded into their monitor. That way an end user could have the choice of using the FSI calibration or loading a LUT from Light-Space, Cinespace or Truelight, etc.

On another note has anyone done a side by side of the FSI and the Sony PVM-2541 OLED? They are in the same price range.

-Rob-

Robert Houllahan
Director / Colorist
Cinelab Inc.
http://www.cinelab.com

MAHC-PRO 6-Core 3X GTX285 20Tb SAS Wave Panel Panny 11UK SDI Plasma. Light-Space CMS + Hubble


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Eric Johnson
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 6:19:55 pm

Maybe I don't know, and that's cool, but as I understand it, the 2641 is a "wide gamut" display... and rec709, is again as I understand, a much narrower gamut than say P3/DCI/XYZ... So if you turn off the mechanism that controls the color space, you are going to get a "wider gamut" report.

And though I don't have the spaces committed to memory your non CMS report looks very close to the P3/DCI/XYZ spaces.

So to me, the comparison of the CMS on/off is a moot argument. Because you're arguing clamped vs unclamped.

It is also worth mentioning, there are a bunch of people on this forum that use FSi for Rec709 work, and I have not heard any similar complaints. I would mention some names, but I don't want to drag anyone into this.

And it seems to me, that you are discarding answers that don't align with your findings, which if that's what you want to do that's great. But after reading through the entire thread, it seems to me that FSi has gone to great length to answer your questions, though maybe not the answers you want.


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Andy Winter
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 6:43:56 pm

i love my 2461w! i am doing mainly color correction for cinema, and i never had an unpleaseant surprise in the cinema, on the contrary... i grade in rec709 and let the post-facility do the dcp.


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 8:05:55 pm

Lots of people trust Flanders monitors. The question is "Why do they?" I do not know of anyone who still trusts them after having a look at their actual performance via Lighspace or Cinespace.

In most cases, they trust them because they believe that they have been "super calibrated" at the factory and because the company gives great service and is run by quite obviously great guys. They do not check this "super calibration" in a technically rigorous manner, if at all - because part of what they are paying for is the impression that they do not have to.

But technical evidence points toward Flanders monitors being highly flawed. Now these flaws will not be obvious at every turn - only when you hit those particular colors that are in the worst parts of the kinked response curves, highly saturated reds and greens being among them. Maybe your clients won't later notice an issue, maybe they will. Maybe you will never land on a highly saturated red color in your work. But to say that you can "absolutely trust" a Flanders monitor all the time is not actually true, according to technical, measured evidence.

It might appear to be true if you test just one image - an image that does not contain the problems we discuss here - and compare it to a more high-end offering. That image, free of the "problem areas" of a Flanders monitor, will look great "compare to a Barco" etc. and thus the reports. But when you compare it using the "wrong" image - well, thus the less stellar reports also found on this thread. In that way, they do not contradict each other. Both sets of people are truthfully reporting their experiences

Flanders has not actually addressed my concerns at all. They just keep telling us how expensive their probes are, and showing us charts from software such as Calman that, while very good at the specific things they do, are also lacking in any ability to reveal many serious potential color issues. (One could say that the philosophy behind Calman predates the digital display era, when kinked gamut curves were impossible to create, even on the cheapest CRT tube, as they contained no advanced digital electronics to potentially create them, and primaries were impossible to correct for the same reason - you could only control the mix of red/green/blue not the accuracy of those colors themselves as they were color-gel hardware placed over the three tubes. If the blue tube was actually closer to teal - well, there wasn't much you could do)

As mentioned, even million-dollar probes mean nothing if you are not applying their measurements within a good software and good CMS circuitry context. So Flanders responses are not actually responses, they are topic switches.

The sad truth is, it is my current opinion that while many of us here very much want to believe that you can buy a "true" reference monitor that is $5000 and does not require any knowledge of calibration to use, that is simply not true. You can't have it, not yet. Many others here very deeply DO NOT want to believe that their treasured $5000 Flanders is not as reliable as they thought it was, and that to some small degree they have let their clients down. Nobody wants to believe unpleasant news. The first stage of grief is always denial. I think this is why so many here do not want to accept simple technical observations, even if they happen to match their perceptual ones.

The good news is that the second stage of grief is bargaining - and my guess is that bargaining with Flanders will be easy.

I genuinely believe that the guys at Flanders have excellent intentions, and will do everything they can to make this right. The Penta guys, I have learned, made exactly the same error until recently, also in 100% good faith - they weren't aware they were making the mistake, because their calibration software was not up to the task of informing them. But there were frequent reports that certain colors "seemed to look wrong" to which they replied, because this is what they firmly believed at the time "That's because you're not used to seeing a truly calibrated monitor." or "LCD technology inherently looks different" Sound familiar? Yes, maybe those statements are true, but they should not actually have THAT much noticeable effect.

Truth is, the only response from Flanders that would satisfy me is at this stage is "We will look into this. We will fix it." I mean, if I can afford Lighspace or Cinespace, so can they, although maybe fully fixing the problem would require new CMS ASIC chips - not sure (hopefully not, as I wish them well and wish them easy solutions to the problem). Whatever they are using now is evidently letting them and their customers down. I doubt they'll want to continue on that path - even though even they, for a while, will not want to accept that they have made this mistake. They are obviously good people whom I expect in no way would find it fun to realize they've been misleading their customers, even if it was due to a 100% honest mistake.

P.S. "Clamped vs unclamped" yes that's what it is. But here you are seeing unclamped - revealing/proving the ability of the probe to generate smooth readings, vs badly clamped and full of kinks and errors. A well implemented CMS system, based on good probe readings interpretation and good programing of LUTS into the circuitry would clamp the colors to something aligned with Rec 709, but just as smooth. Using a very cheap probe to do the job, but still otherwise good methods, you would also get a smooth clamp, just somewhat mis-aligned from the ideal - even a cheap probe would not generate kinks like this if the rest of the process was working properly. Again, Calman can't properly show you problems like this.


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Robert Houllahan
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 16, 2012 at 8:25:06 pm

I think there is a question being asked here and it is not how good the actual FSI monitor is but how good the FSI calibration is. From what I have seen the FSI is a well made LCD monitor for a reasonable price. I suggested that they allow for externally created LUTs to be loaded into their monitor so that end users could either use the FSI calibration or load a LUT from another calibration system, Cinespace, LightSpace, Truelight. FSI could call it a feature something like an "open" LUT standard.

Easy.... probably a firmware update as their monitor already supports 64x64x64 LUTs of FSI's making....

-Rob-

Robert Houllahan
Director / Colorist
Cinelab Inc.
http://www.cinelab.com

MAHC-PRO 6-Core 3X GTX285 20Tb SAS Wave Panel Panny 11UK SDI Plasma. Light-Space CMS + Hubble


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Alejandro Arriaga
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 2:22:51 am

I was saving money to get a FSI monitor... now I'm confused and concerned.

Confused about the monitors and concerned about FSI reaction.

I would love to see the FSI guys asking for time to check the situation and come back with a real and honest answer.

Never love a filmmaker...


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Robert Houllahan
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 2:51:34 am

I don't think there is anything at all wrong with the FSI monitors, the questions are about profiling and calibrating them. I got the impression that FSI is trying to get the best our of their products. Remember a Dolby is about 10x the price compared to the top end FSI.

-Rob-

Robert Houllahan
Director / Colorist
Cinelab Inc.
http://www.cinelab.com

MAHC-PRO 6-Core 3X GTX285 20Tb SAS Wave Panel Panny 11UK SDI Plasma. Light-Space CMS + Hubble


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 3:12:57 am

[Robert Houllahan] "I don't think there is anything at all wrong with the FSI monitors, the questions are about profiling and calibrating them. I got the impression that FSI is trying to get the best our of their products. Remember a Dolby is about 10x the price compared to the top end FSI.
"


Well if you have to profile them yourself, then a large part of what you are paying for is not there. You can profile any 10 bit LCD - and the Flanders does not have an internal way of sending your own LUT to it.

A Dreamcolor is just as good a 10 bit panel, and has internal LUTS - as do many other panels that are all way cheaper. WIth Flanders, you are supposedly paying extra for the "calibration certification" - saving you the time and expense of buying and learning software, and buying and maintaining a probe. That's a lot of time and money. If Flanders delivered on their promise, it would actually be a really great deal.

But genuinely scientific evidence, as well as perceptual observations which concur with that evidence, show you that they do not deliver this. When I get both together, I tend to trust both.

Unfortunately Flanders has not said "We will immediately investigate this", let alone "We will fix this" and none of their answers, which are their usual pitches about how great their probes are, along with displays of Calman charts (which cannot reveal many real potential problems) have directly addressed the issues our Lighspace examination revealed.


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Bram Desmet
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 4:13:00 am

Folks, take a deep breath. FSI always has been and will be open to feedback, criticism, and an unyielding drive to further refine and improve upon our products. This is no exception.

I think perhaps some of you imagine a conflict and animosity between Light Illusion and FSI that simply does not exist. I have personally begun a very friendly and informative dialogue with Steve Shaw and we've even purchased a Light Space license to learn more and have a better common ground for understanding and future discussion with Light Illusion and customers using their software. However, it would be extremely premature for me to start discussing specifics because we are not sure yet where this is taking us. The one thing I learned long ago from a variety of software and hardware developers even well before I helped start FSI is not to utter the phrase "well this should be easy." Truth is if it was easy everyone would do it and the simplest looking things can often be the most difficult to tackle. Best example of this was our recent addition of 12 bit signal support, it was previously only 10 bit, via a simple and free firmware upgrade. This seemingly simple update actually required a 9 month ground up rewrite of our firmware, but we saw a growing customer demand for it and wanted to address that demand.

What I think FSI has managed to do over the years is provide an affordable range of monitors (remember, they start at $2K with the most expensive currently being $5K) that for the vast majority of our clients get the job done at a fair price day in and day out. We've never aimed to be the company that makes the $30K pushing-the-limits-of-what-is-possible monitors and with that come limits as to what the displays can do. That being said there is ALWAYS room for improvement and we've never suggested otherwise. Our first wide gamut monitors had internal LUTs that were 128 times smaller than what we use now. We then stepped it up with the LM-2460W with a much larger internal LUT. Then we stepped it up with the LM-2461W by investing in truly high-grade probes ($15,000 to $35,000 a piece) that by all indications available to us provided much more precise results. And you know what? At every step of the way we offered inexpensive or free upgrade paths so you could get the latest and greatest technology on these older units.

So again, let me stress that we are always keen on improving what we can where we can and again without discussing specifics, which I just won't do here, this is no exception. That being said we can't ignore the fact that day after day thousands of FSI customers around the world feel they have a tool that already gets the job done. Many of these customers have evaluated our solutions closely compared to other competitively priced options and come to the conclusion that for the money we offered the best tool for the job at hand.

Lastly, please be kind to our employees. If you are frustrated at a lack of public posts here please blame me directly, not them. I have asked that they refrain from further commenting here because I think we have said our peace and I really don't want us to come off as sounding like a company that refuses to believe there is any room for improvement in our products or calibration. In my mind there is always room for improvement and refinement in these respects and we will, as we always have, continue to pursue these avenues of improvement.

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 6:01:23 am

Dear sir, you have my respect by your response. I will keep a close watch on your progress, and likely become a near future customer when the issue is resolved and/or verified as some form of anomaly with an explanation we did not expect.

I never meant to imply any animosity toward you, not between you and Steve Shaw.

All I want is a perfectly reliable monitor, and if I can get that monitor from a small business with a great attitude, then you will have my support and purchase order for sure, as well, I woudl imagine, as the support of many people reading this. Like I said, a verifiably accurate monitor, that I don;t have to fuss with calibrating myself, is in my opinion worth substantially more than $5000.

I share information not to hurt anyone. I share information because I think knowledge is empowerment for all of us.

As I have said many times, it is my firm belief, from having met you, that you have nothing but good intentions, and never meant to deliberately deceive anyone, and you last post shows this well.


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Robert Houllahan
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 5:09:46 am

The Dreamcolor is a decent 10-bit panel but let's be honest it is a PITA to use as a video monitor and was not really ever intended for that purpose. Also the HP is/was not exactly inexpensive at $2k (or so) without any video I/O so once you add a Gefen or Aja interface it adds up.

A $5k LCD monitor with proper high bit SDI video I/O and scopes and other video centric features etc. is a long way ahead of feeding a panel with an external box IMO. Many people seem to be happy with FSI and their products and the apparent willingness of FSI to take suggestions as to how to improve their product and their calibration seems like a good sign. Also they are talking to the LI guys and that looks like a great active response from this particular manufacturer.

I am using a Panny Plasma and I like it although I see the obvious problems with it as a Grade-1 replacement. The Sony PVM-2541 is a serious contender in this price category and it's users seem to absolutely love it. So there are certainly choices in this price range.

-Rob-

Robert Houllahan
Director / Colorist
Cinelab Inc.
http://www.cinelab.com

MAHC-PRO 6-Core 3X GTX285 20Tb SAS Wave Panel Panny 11UK SDI Plasma. Light-Space CMS + Hubble


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 6:14:18 am

[Robert Houllahan] "The Sony PVM-2541 is a serious contender in this price category and it's users seem to absolutely love it. So there are certainly choices in this price range.
"


When Flanders resolves their issues, and Steve and/or other proven technical experts tell us "all is well now" based on a process of thorough testing, it will be in my opinion a better monitor than the Sony Oled. The Sony suffers from real off-axis issues, much more than the Flanders which is excellent in this regard, as well as strange motion characteristics (weird way of refreshing the frame which does not resemble how your audience will look at things and is annoying in my opinion.

As far as I know The Sony is also NOT properly pre-calibrated. When the Flanders will fix/resolve any potential calibration errors in the Flanders, it will save you a lot of time and money over buying something you have to calibrate yourself.

What I've learned is it's not important what other people love. For our purposes what is important is proven, thoroughly measured technical accuracy in a monitor that objectively shows us our images truthfully, warts and all, without any artifacts. You'd be surprised how few people "love" something like that, even though really they should positively adore it.


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Kevin Cannon
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 8:42:14 am

Hi Robert, in response to a few things here:

"In most cases, they trust them because they believe that they have been "super calibrated" at the factory and because the company gives great service and is run by quite obviously great guys. They do not check this "super calibration" in a technically rigorous manner, if at all - because part of what they are paying for is the impression that they do not have to."

Of course many of FSI's customers test the calibration a technically rigorous manner. I have the 2461w shot, adjusted and reported alongside every other display we color with, projector or plasma or LCD. How else would one know when it's time to sent it to FSI for recalibration? And I have it shot when we get it back from Flanders, just to ensure they didn't screw it up. I'm not shy about telling a manufacturer they screwed up. I sent 6 consecutive Dreamcolors back to HP.

"It might appear to be true if you test just one image - an image that does not contain the problems we discuss here - and compare it to a more high-end offering. That image, free of the "problem areas" of a Flanders monitor, will look great "compare to a Barco" etc. and thus the reports. But when you compare it using the "wrong" image..."

I'm on year two of comparing them daily with extremely varied material. I haven't found an image that suddenly breaks the 2461w.

"The first stage of grief is always denial. I think this is why so many here do not want to accept simple technical observations, even if they happen to match their perceptual ones."

I think if you want to make technical observations, just about everybody here would be interested. Getting several high-quality spectroradiometers and probes and a number of displays from different manufacturers, like the Dolby and the 2461w and the usual Plasmas, the Sony OLED etc. then shooting them all and posting the results and your methodology would be extremely welcome (and eliminate potential error from comparing different panels and different probes, perhaps sorting out why our results shooting the 2461w are nowhere near your friend's in London).

My off-the-cuff prediction for that kind of a shootout? That the FSI doesn't hold as rock solid as the (emmy-winning) Dolby or Digital Cinema projectors, but that it beats out a whole class of under (and maybe over) $10,000 monitors. But I would love to know what options can compete - like Steve Shaw said, there's not a lot else to consider at the $5,000 price range, and the current state of things, asking for more precision puts you in the very high-end. I'm very happy with the two 2461s in our place, and excited that Bram and FSI are exploring ways to make it better. Thanks!

KC

Prehistoric Digital


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 4:53:14 pm

Hey Robert!

I've seen Flanders fall down when it comes to saturated red primaries while watching our familiar material at a friend's studio. You just eyeball, say, lipstick (we shoot a lot of fashion, and we know what particular lipsticks should look like). Those perceptual observations matched my London friend's findings. If you do that green gradient test, you'll see it fall down. I do not have as keen an eye for foliage (there are not many trees where I live, which resembles a cross between Manhattan and a French small city, and I have almost never shot in nature). However, likely greens would also visibly show an issue.

I never meant to claim that Flanders were crap in general, only that they needed to fix real issues we found. I'm sure once they fix those issues their monitors will be excellent and I will be eager to buy them and recommend them to others. I'm sure they were not aware of those issues until now, otherwise they would have already fixed them.

I made an open call to all users here to measure their own or friend's Flanders using Lightspace, Truelight or Cinespace (Calman cannot show you many problems) and post their findings (reports) here. I doubt their results will be any different, but I am 100% open to the possibility. You are welcome to do so yourself if you have access to any of these software that is able to analyze and display those aspects of probe data.


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Joseph Mastantuono
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 6:53:19 pm

Can you name another company that will sell you an individually calibrated monitor at a very reasonable price, provide free firmware updates and re-calibrate the monitor any time, for free?

Are there any other options on the market that are as accurate in the same price range?

I'd love to know one if there is one.

If you're working in Rec-709 land... I really don't see a better deal out there. I have never had any issues or complaints.

Sure I'd love to have a the Dolby or the sony OLED with a Davio box, but I'd also like to grade every film in a 60 seat 4k theater.

Joseph Mastantuono
http://www.goodpost.net
Color Grading & Post Production Consulting


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Omar Godinez
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 17, 2012 at 11:28:28 pm

Robert,

Perhaps I missed it. What monitor are you currently grading with? Dreamcolor?

Omar Godinez
Colour Cafe, LLC
Dallas, TX

Resolve 9.0.3 for Mac












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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Nov 18, 2012 at 4:37:01 am

Hi Gomar!

We have 3 screens here.

Dreamcolor
Panny Plasma
Front-Projection DLP

Each reveals something unique about how out footage will be perceived under different circumstances.

Of course the Panny has floating whites, so its gamma is never to be trusted, but it can be fine in terms of color after a Lightspace 3D lut is fed to it. It's also great for seeing focus and noise issues.

The DLP is just for previewing what material will look like projected in a cinema - its rarely on during sessions - just at the end to preview. Clients love it.

I recommend using Lightspace for calibration. All three monitors have issues visible to the eye that Calman missed in it's way of measuring and presenting probe data, but that Lightspace saw and showed me. Trusted friends tell me that Cinepsace and Truelight are also good choices, although they too use Lightspace.

If there's one thing I've learned it's that calibration as as important as monitor choice.


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Mike Nagel
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Dec 1, 2012 at 3:59:52 pm

I would only caution that we regularly test just about every probe we can get our hands on and if you elect to use calibration other than what is built in we strongly recommend using at least 5nm spectral bandwidth spectroradiometers. We find significant deviations when going to 8nm and especially 10nm spectral bandwidth spectroradiometers. If we felt we could use a $1,000 probe to calibrate our units we certainly would, we don't invest in the significantly more expensive probes because it is fun, it is just what we find is necessary to get good results.

Bram,

can you go into more detail regarding the probes you are mentioning here... I'm assuming by the US$1,000 probes you are referring to the i1Pro spectros (10nm)...

Obviously, proper calibration equipment is as important as the capability of the screen, but if you're saying one needs a US$11,000 (or higher) spectro to do a decent calibration on the FSI screens (as in: correcting the default color inaccuracies) then this is a very important consideration...

Can you elaborate on the deviations you found when using a 10nm spectro and how severe it was for the FSI screens ? Obviously 2nm / 5nm meters are more accurate, it would be interesting to know how much of a difference you guys encountered...

Low light capability is less of a concern, as any spectro will be used to profile a colorimeter...

Thanks.

- Mike Nagel


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Steve Shaw
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Feb 25, 2013 at 7:45:43 am

FSI has just announced they have added LightSpace CMS compatibility to their 10bit displays!

See: http://www.lightillusion.com/zippdf/fsi_adds_lightspace_compatibility.pdf

The LM-2461W, LM-2460W, and CM-170 now feature custom calibration 3D LUT import capabilities! These units can now import calibration LUTs created in FSI's 64x64x64 3D LUT format. Specifically, we are are pleased to announce that customers using the latest version of LightIllusion's world-renowned LightSpace application can begin exporting 3D LUTs in this format right away for easy import and use on their monitors! This adds a whole new level of flexibility allowing for custom calibration, user created color spaces, integration with a wide range of popular probes, and custom LUT manipulation.

Steve


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Feb 25, 2013 at 3:05:12 pm

Hi Steve!

Could you clarify:

Do FSI monitors now come pre-calibrated using Lightspace and/or your certification? Or are they still, "out-of-the-box", the same as before?

If they now use your methods to pre-calibarte, they just became truly excellent value in my opinion.

New FSIs should also have some kind of "Lightspace Certified" sticker.


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Bram Desmet
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Feb 25, 2013 at 3:37:10 pm

The LM-2461W and CM-170 now feature 3D LUTs for color space management created within LightSpace. You can instantly switch between these (e.g. Rec709, EBU, etc.) and you can also load additional USER created color spaces from LightSpace so you can retain both our LightSpace generated LUTs (based on our reference instruments and LightSpace settings) and your own LightSpace generated LUTs (based on your own reference instruments and LightSpace settings).

At FSI our Direct Connect Automatic Alignment system is still used in conjunction with this process for automated white balance, peak white luminance, and gamma setup before the 3D LUTs are applied. This just simplifies the process during production as it provides an optimal 'neutral' starting point before the application of the 3D LUT. Of course if you want to use your own reference probes for calibration or account for monitor drift over time or even environmental variables then the monitor still features manual gain/bias and backlight (luminance) adjustment so you can also manually set this per the standard LightSpace instructions before profiling to get optimal results according to your own probe's readings.

So yes, the default color space selection LUTs (Rec 709, EBU, etc.) were generated in LightSpace, but this does not necessarily mean that you have to use the default LUTs we created as you can load your own from (USER1, USER2, USER3) LUTs. Basically we tried to make this as advantageous and flexible for all customers. Hope that makes sense, but email our support team if you have more questions: Support@FlandersScientific.com

Bram Desmet
FSI (Flanders Scientific, Inc.)
http://www.FlandersScientific.com


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Feb 25, 2013 at 4:41:16 pm

THAT'S AMAZING NEWS!

A further question:

Can existing FSI customers get their monitos re-certified via Lightspace calibration?

And a suggestion:

Now that your electronics support 3D LUTs fully, it would be great oif you added monitor emulation, like Dolby does. You could have a Sony Bravia, a Panny plasma, Old LCD, Typical Torch Mode and so on, so that clients could see how some consumers will view material, and correct problems like crazy banding (plasma) lost dark regions/faded blacks (many Best Buy LCDs) etc.


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Steve Shaw
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Mar 26, 2013 at 12:42:15 pm

Now that your electronics support 3D LUTs fully, it would be great oif you added monitor emulation, like Dolby does. You could have a Sony Bravia, a Panny plasma, Old LCD, Typical Torch Mode and so on, so that clients could see how some consumers will view material, and correct problems like crazy banding (plasma) lost dark regions/faded blacks (many Best Buy LCDs) etc.

With the LightSpace integration you can do that by default. Just profile any other display and then build a matching LUT to that profile using the FSI profile as the source.

Simples!!!


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Clark Bierbaum
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Mar 9, 2013 at 1:27:34 am

Better get in on the NAB B-Stock deal ASAP! Bram and all the FSI folks are the best! I put my order in for a 2361w a few minutes ago. Love my 2340w!

Not paid by FSI, just know what a good bunch they are!

Clark Bierbaum
Color Grading / Post Consultant
GarnetColor.com
Charlotte, NC


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Robert Ruffo
Re: FSI - trustworthy or not? Maybe plasma better? (Updated with Flanders measured CIE chart)
on Mar 9, 2013 at 1:31:52 am

We plan on getting a panel soon. I hear now with the new approach to calibration, they are way better than ever before - on par with just about anything out there.


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