DSC Labs' ScreenAlign Calibration Puck Ensures Your Monitors Match

The ScreenAlign Calibration puck is a new way to calibrate your multi-monitor environment.

DSC Labs' ScreenAlign Calibration puck is an interesting visual comparison tool to help you calibrate monitors. Each control box can have up to 6 combinations of color temperature and brightness. Calibration settings range from 5000k-6500k and two luminance levels of 100nits (for standard monitors) and 1000nits for HDR displays.

Price is situated between $4,000-$5,000 depending on your needs and it's shipping now.


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4 Comments

Have to admit, I was not expecting the $4 to $5K price tag on this!

April 27, 2017 at 10:45PM

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Clayton Arnall
Camera Pointer
167

Yeah especially for something that doesn't solve the problem. I feel the human guess work that come with calibrating your screen to a reference screen is where the problem is. We need a something that is exact, to do it for us.

April 28, 2017 at 9:54AM

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bp
674

Seriously, I was expecting 400-500, he just blew me away..You can just buy a monitor pre-calibrated or have someone come do yours for cheaper.

April 28, 2017 at 7:17PM

12
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Shaun Ryan
Director
230

As the demo-dog in the video, let me throw in my two cents. I was a paid presenter for DSC Labs at NAB and I consult with them on various charts, but I have no material connection with DSC and I don't stand to profit from the success of ScreenAlign. This is me representing myself, not DSC Labs.

The theory behind ScreenAlign is that there is no more discriminating—and adaptable—measurement tool than the human eye, whereas sensor pucks tend to be more limited. A ScreenAlign can be used in front of any display technology with equal ease, while sensor pucks don't work equally well on different kinds of screens (e.g., full-white backlight vs. RGB backlight vs. OLED), and aren't useful for projected images, for which you typically need a projection colorimeter or spectroradiometer (and those run around $5000 and up: https://store.portrait.com/meters.html).

For example, my HP Dreamcolor display uses wide-gamut, narrow-bandwidth RGB backlighting, and it needs a custom X-Rite puck with wideband filters for calibration. I get good results from it. But when I use the same puck, or a Datacolor Spyder, on my other HP CCFL-backlit display (with an old and pinkish Samsung LCD panel), the results are poor; I get a better result using the visual calibrator in my Mac's Display Prefs, and the best result is when I manually fiddle with the RGB gains in the display directly, comparing it to the Dreamcolor.

Wide-gamut laser projectors are another problem: to get beyond P3 primaries and out towards Rec.2020 primaries, the RGB lasers are getting so far away from the white point and from "normal" colors that calibration is very tricky.

So what happens if you have a facility with a few RGB-backlit monitors, some full-white backlit displays, some OLEDs, a laser projector and a xenon-lamped film projector (remember them?) in the grading theater, and maybe even the warm glow of a plasma in the client lounge? What probe or puck can you get that accommodates all these different kinds of displays?

The whole point of the ScreenAlign is that it's a calibrated *visual* reference: it doesn't care what the spectrum of the display illuminant(s) is/are: you set it in front of your screen, display the digital pattern, then tweak the screen until it matches the ScreenAlign.

Yes, you can buy a pre-calibrated monitor, but the dang things drift, so recalibration is needed from time to time. Even my Dreamcolor, with active internal feedback to maintain color stability, nags me for recalibration every 1000 hours. And the last time I updated its firmware, I had to recalibrate it from scratch anyway; it forgot all its existing calibration settings.

You can have someone come in and do it for you cheaper, too. Quite true, and much more sensible! The target market for the ScreenAlign isn't the indie filmmaker, it's the large facility or the calibration-service business. ScreenAlign, like those projection colorimeters/spectroradiometers, doesn't make economic sense unless you're constantly testing and tweaking large numbers of differing display types.

And I agree, $4k-$5K is mighty spendy. DSC Labs charts have never been cheap, but this does seem high. In the end, the market will determine whether that price is realistic or not. Beyond that, deponent sayeth not. ;-)

May 9, 2017 at 6:15PM

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Adam Wilt
253