Color and brightness calibration in video walls

One of the most valued benefits of Barco’s video walls is the automatic calibration technology. This unique solution automatically synchronizes the display color and brightness settings. Both for the individual panels and the entire video wall. The result is an assured better visual experience at any time. It avoids downtime due to frequent intervention visits to tune the video wall panels. On this page, we will tell you all about video wall calibration, and its benefits.

What is brightness and color calibration?

Calibration is the comparison of an actual metric against a standard of known accuracy. For displays and monitors, the most important parameters to be calibrated are the brightness, color and white point settings. This means adjusting both the light output of the screen and the primary colors.

For traditional stand-alone screens, including television sets at home, calibration is unnecessary. The quality of the displays is usually good enough to be close to the standard. Both colors and brightness will remain sufficient to provide an acceptable image quality. There is thus no need for calibration tools. For professional displays however, calibration is crucial. Medical displays for example, where a slight nuance can have severe medical consequences, really need perfect calibration. This is why all of Barco’s medical displays feature a calibration device.

Also in video wall applications, perfect calibration is required as it impacts the viewing experience. Panels are calibrated in the factory. This means that the wall will normally look good upon installation. However, there are slight changes in color, brightness and contrast over time. This is barely noticeable for stand-alone screens, but when the panels are located close to each other the slightest difference in color perception and brightness shift is clearly visible. This downplays the message the video wall wants to bring across. Without perfect calibration, the complete video wall will seem out of balance.

Traditionally, video walls need to be calibrated manually multiple times a year in order to remain in perfect balance. This is a time-consuming and expensive procedure that requires system downtime. With the introduction of its renowned automatic calibration solution, Barco has revolutionized this procedure. Calibration is no longer a time-consuming burden now. The image quality of the video wall is taken care of automatically, and brightness and color balance is perfect. This gives the needed peace of mind to the IT staff.

Now over to automatic color and brightness calibration

Barco is a pioneer in automatic calibration. The first products that featured an automatic calibration option were introduced over 20 years ago. These were in fact stand-alone professional monitors. They allowed you to calibrate your monitor upon the push of a button. The monitor settings would then adjust automatically, and adjust the brightness and screen colors. We have been fine-tuning the calibration process ever since. Products that have featured automatic calibration include:

  • Professional design monitors
  • Broadcast reference LCD monitors
  • Medical displays
  • LCD video walls
  • Rear-projection video walls
  • High-end projectors (designed for use in blended applications)
  • ...

For video walls, automatic calibration was introduced with the Sense6 system in rear-projection video walls. This system is part of Barco's video wall management software solution (read all about this unique solution on this page). The main goal of video wall calibration is that the individual displays are calibrated in reference to each other. So not in reference with a common standard. It is for example perfectly normal that the light output of a display lowers a bit over time. Instead of boosting the brightness levels up it is more important that the brightness is synchronized over all panels. In this way, the video wall will remain perfectly balanced.

The logic behind Barco’s automatic calibration algorithm is quite straightforward. A high-quality spectrometer detects the primary color temperature and brightness values, and sends these to the calibration software. There, the values are analyzed, and compared to both the standard values and the values of the neighboring displays. If needed, the settings of the individual primary colors and brightness are adjusted to the values defined by the calibration software.

Automatic calibration in LCD video walls

For LCD video walls, there are sensors integrated into the panel. These sensors detect the color and brightness settings and feed the values to the calibration software - which is called Sense X. This video explains it all...

The difference between real-time calibration and continuous real-time calibration

Barco’s automatic calibration systems work in real-time, which means that the calibration occurs directly when running the system. The triggering of the calibration system either occurs automatically on a scheduled basis, or manually in an ad-hoc manner. Typically, this is done in times of low operations. For example at night in control rooms, or when no broadcast is taking place for studio backdrops.

The introduction of Barco UniSee, on the other hand, saw the introduction of continuous real-time automatic calibration. This means that the calibration does not need to be triggered and runs continuously in the background. A big advantage of this way of working, is for example when introducing a new panel. Upon introduction, the system immediately starts to calculate the optimal settings for the panel. After some initialization it automatically takes the perfect color profile and brightness settings. No manual action is needed. This video of Barco UniSee's panel replacement procedure clearly shows this. The Sense X automatic calibration comes into action on 0:57.

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