ISF calibration is the professional practice of fine-tuning and tweaking advanced settings on a TV or a projector to bring out the true potential of the screen.
Many people think they are getting the full visual experience when they buy a TV off the shelf. They think that "set up" consists of plugging it in and turning it on. The reality is that modern visual products are highly engineered, sophisticated pieces of technology that need to be correctly set up to enable them to deliver their maximum intended picture quality.
Why Do I Need to Calibrate?
You will have already noticed the main reason for the need to calibrate in your day-to-day life without even realising it.
You will have undoubtedly at some point walked into the television department of an electrical store, which has the same channel playing on all their demo TVs. You will probably have noticed that the pictures look very different on each TV. How is it possible that the same show can look so different?
It’s because the televisions need to be calibrated.
Manufacturers set up their TVs to look best in the lighting conditions of a retail store. This is where most people will make the decision to buy a television, and if it looks its best in the store - they sell more TVs.
The large number of super bright, super white overhead halogen lights requires the manufacturers to set up their TV to look its best in these non-normal conditions. However, without individually calibrating each television, to each specific location in each specific store - it's not easy for these technology giants to get right every time.
Some look better in some stores, others look better in other stores.
Now, relatively speaking electrical stores usually have similar lighting, but despite the similarity - the difference is still easily visible. Next time you are at a shopping centre, why not go into different TV departments and see this difference yourself.
Now consider this.
If the slight difference between two electrical stores is enough to make a noticeable difference in picture quality – imagine the difference between the lighting in an electrical store and the lighting in your home.
Unless you have overhead halogen strip lighting in your home, your TV is going to look vastly different to how it was intended to look. Almost all televisions ship with retail lighting optimisation, even the ones that are not on display.
This is why you need calibration.
The TV that is sitting in your home right now is still set to the default setting designed for retail lighting conditions. The colours will not be displaying correctly, the gamma will be skewed, the white balance will be off, and the dynamic range will be wrong.
You may think that your uncalibrated TV already looks great. And you might be right.
But with calibration, it could look a whole lot better…