Even after a monitor has been fully calibrated for maximum precision out-of-box and stabilizes quickly after being turned on, it will still need to be recalibrated at regular intervals to maintain accuracy over time. To do this, a sensor is used to measure the state of the monitor and adjust the values from the reading to match a predefined standard or specified target via dedicated software. There are two main methods of calibration: hardware and software calibration. While software calibration is widely accessible for any display device, this process modifies the signal from your video card to map the color output, which provides inconsistent results and often losses in gradation steps. ColorEdge monitors uses hardware calibration, which controls the hardware of the monitor directly by utilizing its LUT (look-up-table) to offer higher precision and better gradation characteristics. This is the preferred method for color-critical applications.
Using an external sensor for regular maintenance inherently comes with the caveat of greater downtime, as the monitors need to be “checked out” for a period of time, turned on, stabilized, and then recalibrated one-by-one – the calibration process alone could take up to 10 minutes per unit for conventional solutions. This is especially a concern for studios and post production facilities which use multiple color critical monitors throughout their creation pipeline. Recognizing this as an issue, EIZO introduced a solution to address this with its ColorEdge CG Series in 2010 (first model: ColorEdge CG245W). This marked the debut of the first monitors in the world to have a color calibration sensor built directly into the unit.The ColorEdge CG Series built-in calibration sensor eliminates the need for a third-party colorimeter when it comes time for recalibration. With it, the monitor can be set to automatically recalibrate at designated times, even when the monitor is not being operated – this saves time and costs of recalibration and eliminates related downtime.
EIZO develops and manufactures its ColorEdge monitors in-house, including the built-in sensors of the CG Series. Using EIZO’s expertise in color science, the ColorEdge CG Series built-in sensor is calibrated using a high-end spectrophotometer to achieve high precision when deployed to end-user environments. Thanks to EIZO’s patented DUE technology, ColorEdge monitors achieve high uniformity across the screen so no matter where the sensor is placed, precise measurements are taken. The built-in sensor of the modern ColorEdge lineup is positioned inconspicuously in the top bezel to minimize any imposition on the creator’s visual line of sight. EIZO’s engineers conduct extensive testing and research of the mechanical components of the sensor as well, ensuring the mechanism that moves the sensor into place operates correctly throughout the life of the monitor. Furthermore, the sensor is carefully positioned at a nearly imperceptible distance from the screen’s surface so as not to allow ambient lighting to interfere with readings. Operators can rest assured the sensor will measure accurately, even when not in a darkroom.
Many post production, VFX, and broadcasting studios define a specific spectrophotometer as the master sensor for their internal color management framework. This ensures each project meets certain international standards and achieves expected levels of accuracy. EIZO’s CG Series built-in calibration sensor can be correlated to any high-end spectrophotometer using EIZO’s propriety ColorNavigator color management software.
EIZO tested its ColorEdge CG Series built-in sensor after correlating it to a Konica Minolta CS-2000 spectroradiometer. The below graph shows the measurement results. Using the EBU Tech 3320 requirements as the benchmark, the built-in sensor shows a delta u’ v’ of less than 1.3. This low variance means that post production studios can rest assured that correlating to their preferred sensor will produce accurate results, allowing them to take full advantage of the convenience and savings afforded by a built-in solution.
In the post production workflow, image and video data is handed off to several editors and artists as it passes through each stage of production. It is imperative that at each stage – be it motion graphics, VFX (visual effects), color grading, mastering, etc. – the editor’s eyes can trust the project as it appears on screen in the way the editor before them intended. This need extends to not only in-house creators, but external and remote locations as well.
EIZO offers a color management solution called ColorNavigator Network, which provides centralized quality control of ColorEdge monitors on the network. This makes use of CG Series monitors’ built-in calibration sensors to maintain settings, even from remote locations. An administrator can set the color modes, schedule automatic self-calibration, activate key locks, register or adjust asset management settings, and import/export monitor settings for each monitor. For large-scale projects with several production steps, such as games or feature films, this ensures that the appropriate color standards are used, and administrators can even assign custom settings for specific projects or jobs. Furthermore, EIZO hosts the server on a secure cloud so there are no additional investments or running costs needed to provide a server at the studio.
Using an actual example from one of the world’s most prominent production studios where 80 ColorEdge monitors are adjusted every 200 hours, approximately 176 hours per year are spent on recalibration. For other solutions in the market which take up to 10 minutes to calibrate per unit each time, the total hours would increase to more than 3 times as much to 587 per year. This results in 411 hours saved per year by using ColorEdge.
Color Navigator Network support for CG3146 is planned for 2021.