The Software: Tying It All Together
Along with whatever type of meter you choose to calibrate your display, you’ll need some type of software to crunch the numbers coming through the meter’s USB cable. The software is the brains behind the whole operation. It controls the meter, and sometimes the patterns too. But more important, it turns the data into a usable form. Some packages, like CalMAN, can control your display directly and set the controls for you. Spyder4Elite doesn’t offer display control. However, it'll create a look-up table (LUT) for your video card. This extends the capabilities of any display that may be lacking in factory-provided calibration adjustments.
The main function of the software is to receive the data from the meter and turn it into something useful. Let’s say you want to measure your primaries. The fin-shaped area on the graph below shows the spectrum of color visible to the human eye. The two triangles inside represent the color range, or gamut, of the Studio RGB (sRGB) and Adobe RGB 1998 standards. sRGB is also known as Rec 709 in the HDTV world.
The meter measures full red, full green, and full blue patterns, then the software plots those values onto a gamut graph to show you how close your display’s color is to whatever standard you’re trying to match. You’ll notice there is a white area at the center of the CIE chart. This is where the color temperature of white is plotted. The standard for nearly all video and computer content is 6500 Kelvin, or D65. The CIE chart coordinates are x=.313, y=.329 and the RGB values are R255, G255, B255. This is the adjustment found in pretty much every type of display from computer monitors to projectors. By adjusting red, green, and blue levels, it is possible to achieve a color temperature of 6500 Kelvin at every white level from zero to 100 percent.
We’ve mentioned two major suites that can do everything necessary to calibrate your monitor. Today, we’ll run through the steps needed to achieve great results at a reasonable price with Datacolor’s Spyder4Elite package.