In home cinema terms, THX is a well-known and highly regarded brand when it comes to quality-guaranteed home theatre audio.
As you may know, THX is a high-fidelity sound production method that was originally developed by George Lucas' production company Lucasfilm in the 1980s for use in the Star Wars movies.
THX is not actually a recording technology or format. Instead, it is defined as a quality assurance system so you know the sound you're listening to is the same as it was when it was mixed by the original filmmakers.
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There is, however, another certification standard, which, if adhered to through calibration, does much the same for video; helping bring the colour, contrast and brightness to a home viewing standard that the original filmmakers had intended.
The Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), originally created by Joel Silver and Joe Kane (of Digital Video Essentials fame), is dedicated to improving the quality of electronic imaging, specifically in the display market. Its ISF/professional calibration training for AV dealers, and the access to advanced picture parameters that ISF-enabled kit provides, are big news for any AV enthusiast looking for the best possible picture performance, and who want the most natural-looking images displayed on their home theatre setup.
The reason for this is that correctly ISF-calibrated displays tend to look more natural when it comes to colour because the display is matched to the same D65 (6500K) standard of white as the original lighting and cameras. (See below for more on D65K).
While calibration is possible on any type of conventional screen - using contrast, brightness and colour controls - it's only TVs and projectors with the ISF C3 (Custom Calibration Configuration) feature that can be accessed by trained calibrators for total conformity to the original.
TVs are generally shipped with typical picture settings or, worse still, intentionally over-tuned for a retail environment, which
invariably overcooks the colour gamut (or range), and blasts the brightness to counteract the typical bright shop lighting).
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Of course, accurate measurement and calibration must be done in the ambient lighting conditions in which the display will be used. Indeed increasing or lowering your room's lighting will have an impact on the perceived levels of brightness/contrast that are being displayed on the screen.
In the case of Pioneer ISF-enabled plasma TVs for example, fine tweaking with software such as Datacolor's ColorFacts Professional, which interacts with the ISF C3 controls, will allow the setting of an ISF day and night mode, already embedded and laying dormant within the TV's menu. Although this software must be purchased, there are many websites around that will give you a free trial of it as well.