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User Comments - LightSpace vs. Calman/Chromapure/Argyll/Displaycal

Author Steve
#1 | Posted: 8 Aug 2016 12:53 | Edited by: Steve 
We have had a number of users send us comments on using LightSpace CMS in comparison to Calman. These were unsolicited comments, and show just how different LightSpace CMS is to Calman. Here are just a couple of recent comments.

LightSpace did it!
I'm a very happy man!
I managed to calibrate 3 of our Barco RHDM 2301's (still 10+ to go) and one of our Eizo's CG246 with the 3 days trial of LightSpace PRO
I had a feeling your software was mandatory to achieve this, but guys from our OB-department told me Calman was way better...
They have the probes, they choose...
They have tried for half a year without any satisfying result...
So I decided to buy the trial myself to prove my feeling was right, and it was!!!!
Head of post is very pleased with the results, and will purchase your software anytime soon.

From another user who runs a European isf class.

We had a Lumagen Radiance Pro for LUT calibration there and what could I say: CalMan was much slower and the result *sensored*. Lightspace did a perfect job and I only made a quick profile (not a full display characterisation). All were well impressed.

From a recent LightSpace CMS convert from Calman

I did my first proper calibration job with LightSpace last week and I thought I'd write you some feedback. It was a manual calibration at a client on a Sony VPL-ES5000ES SXRD projector and because I knew the device and had a lot of time, I decided to do it with LightSpace right off the bat, checking the results in CalMan afterwards, just to be sure.

During profiling and calibration I was really happy about the quick setup and that I could do everything in just the one calibration interface window. No switching back and forth between pages of the sluggish CalMan UI anymore! Also, while I'd still like to have some better RGB slider navigation (e.g. keyboard shortcuts, as mentioned in my previous e-mail), I liked that I could just display any color patch I wanted immediately, to quickly take measurements outside of the usual 10- or 20-step grayscale patterns for example. This made me feel like I got to know the device's behaviour - which isn't super great, as you probably know - even better, without losing time and fiddling with the UI again. The calibration went as well as usual and with a little more practice, I can see myself being a bit faster and maybe even more accurate with LightSpace than with CalMan.

From a professional calibrator

There are some major issues with the LG OLED displays for sure, but I'm slowly getting them to be a lot better. Calman can do a decent job but LightSpace seems to have significantly less banding when looking at shallow ramps.

And from a Home Cinema enthusiast, looking to save money

My current Calman Enthusiast is a valid license, but the maintenance ran out in Oct. although this allows me to continue to use the software, I would need to pay $69 US for future upgrades to the software... I'm hoping to quit paying this with LightSpace!

Author Steve
#2 | Posted: 29 Mar 2017 17:37 | Edited by: Steve 
From a professional Calibrator, who has great experience with both systems:

I keep telling the SpectraCal guys your LUTs kick their ass on non-linear displays and they are like, "we're working on making LUTs better", but then I never see it.

Author Steve
#3 | Posted: 14 Apr 2017 16:28 | Edited by: Steve 
We just received a glowing recommendation from a very respected professional calibrator, who works in both the Professional and Home Cinema markets:

I spent the entire day yesterday at a studio where we built a 21^3 Calman LUT and a 21^3 LightSpace LUT for an LG OLED. LightSpace won by a mile...

Author Steve
#4 | Posted: 7 May 2017 18:07 
And a very simple comment from a recent convert from Calman:

I'm enjoying LightSpace very much so far (and also the Discus I recently purchased). Making the jump from CalMAN was a right move, as far as I am concerned.

Author Steve
#5 | Posted: 9 May 2017 12:33 | Edited by: Steve 
And a far more in-depth report on why one Calman user traded-up to LightSpace:

Some background : I was a LightSpace skeptic for a long time, to be honest, especially since I'd been invested in Calman from back when I was just beginning to play around with setting up and calibrating my personal home theatre (circa 2010). I was using Cinetal Cinespace for 3D LUT Calibration and Film emulation LUTs at work (I'm a colorist), but of course the prices for 3D LUT boxes (such as the Davio we were using) were not for home use then, and they had no HDMI path with HDCP anyway.

And then 3D LUTs for home calibration started becoming a reality.
False start - I had the videoEQ Pro (3x1D LUTs are not equal to a 3D LUT, I found out the hard way, but I did learn a lot from that mistake), then came the eecolor (or "Colorbox" as Spectracal marketing called it. That was a pretty expensive faceplate, in hindsight... but I can't fault the box) and the various Lumagen units.

LightSpace came to my attention around that time, but I was already invested in Calman and assorted Spectracal branded gear (C6, Colorbox), and anyway Life happened and calibrations faded into the background, even at the post facilities I was coloring for at the time. I am ashamed to say, but the state of calibration in grading suites here in Israel was pretty dire for a long time. I'm doing my small bit to help improve that lately, which really is what led me to LightSpace.

As I set up my own grading suite, and started to offer calibration services to various other facilities, I was initially using Calman (Ultimate version, by now, and up to date with several maintenance payments).

Now, I want to make it clear that I really appreciate the fine folk at Spectracal - They're really great and put a lot of effort into their product - but for me at least, the results were never entirely satisfactory.

As far back as "autocal" on my home TV using the VideoEQ (an educational experience, as I've said. But also a frustrating one - It was never right, and led to some pretty dire artifacts, though of course that's on me as much as anyone), all the way to 3D LUT generation in the studio today. It works, but always with caveats (To this day I have yet to fully understand Calman's approach to video/data level scaling, for instance, and of course they famously resisted the separate profiling/LUT generation approach to calibration, until not that long ago).

And on my (admittedly not very powerful) laptop, the software was always lagging - enabling the virtual LUT for verification measurements would take forever, for instance - or even outright crashing in the middle of a run. Then came the perfect storm of the profiling bug discovered in recent versions of Calman, my "All Access" needing renewal for the next version and a frustrating calibration session with a less than ideal probe/monitor combination, which led to a LUT whose performance, especially in the shadow region, I was seeking to improve with some further tweaking (which as far as I could tell only LightSpace offers at the moment, through the LUT manipulation options). Seems the time had come to finally add LightSpace to my arsenal.

I have to say that I've been surprised by how quickly LightSpace became my main calibration tool. The software just works. It's noticeably "snappier" on my laptop than Calman (Loads faster, performs better with regards to response time to button presses, probably due to the simpler graphics - but really I prefer a more responsive UI to a prettier/fancier one, especially on time constrained client sessions).
The profiles seem to run just a little bit faster (though this is hard to compare because of the different approaches to patch dispersion within the cube, but as far as I can tell comparing a similar number of measurements) and the LUTs so far really do seem to result (for me at least) in more "organic" calibrations, for lack of a better term.

Less noticeable artifacts, anyway, especially when using the great LUT Manipulation tools (The "Relax" Filter really did help that LUT I was struggling with), and there you have it.

In a matter of weeks, it's become the first tool I reach for in my toolbox, and usually the last as well.

I still use Calman for comparisons and sanity checks, and it still has prettier graphs overall, but where it counts - the core LUT functionality - for my money LightSpace takes the cake and has become, as I've said, my go to tool.

Just my 0.002 nits...

Author Steve
#6 | Posted: 18 Jun 2017 08:16 
And this is feedback from a recent user who 'Traded-Up' from Chromapure/Argyll/Displycal, discussing his initial results:

Thought I'd just drop you a line and let you know how this amateur is doing with his LG OLED TV, eeColor LUT and various home media devices.

Yes, it works very differently to what I'd used before (a combo of Chromapure for the calibration and DisplayCal/Argyll for the LUTs) but after a little initial confusion and a lot of reading I got my Sony bluray player calibrated with Ted's disc on a quick 10^3 test run. The results were instantly better - no colour crushing at the top end and I could actually see a difference between gamma 2.2 and BT1886 2.4 for the first time! I can now see why people are saying they like BT1886... I had a little battle with using the IOS app and my AppleTV at first, but once I set the delay correctly I was able for the first time to create a LUT to deal with the AppleTV correctly and have an accurate video chain. Likewise my FetchTV PVR which is no longer washed out. The only device I can't have a true LUT for is my cable TV box... but with three "proper" LUTs to play with I can now use those to find the one that's nearest and most suitable. Colours now pop - in a good way - on my OLED TV and it's brought a new life to some of my favourite films and programs. And the speed to generate the LUTs! They're ready in seconds, rather than me having time to go and make a cup of tea whilst it's chugging away.

So yes, it does cost more than using Chromapure and Argyll, but the results are worth it. Do I regret purchasing Chromapure initially to save money? Strangely, no, as I don't think I'd appreciate how good LightIllusion is if I'd not used that combo first.

I'm now planning a day off to do a full 17 point run on the bluray player and see how much better again I can get it now I know a bit more about the process.

Many thanks for the cross grade path. I am really grateful for it.

Author Steve
#7 | Posted: 2 Aug 2017 21:05 | Edited by: Steve 
This feedback is from a user who has Traded-Up to LightSpace LTE and SpaceMan ICC from Calman Studio and Calman RGB:

Last year I purchased the Calman Studio. I fear that I went with the wrong package, though. I feel like Calman is clunky in many many ways and treats me a bit like a baby.

...try entering some custom offsets for the meter. You can't even type in 0s unless they have other number around them.

I like the guys I dealt with there a lot. They were responsive and friendly. But I had some technical questions for which I ended up having to talk to a broadcast engineer familiar with Calman.

The thing about Calman I found unworkable is that their workflows are rigid - if you want to do anything outside of the workflow they establish (IE simply taking a manual measurements), you have to jump through a whole bunch of hoops. There are many pages, many custom workflows, so you end up jumping in and out of a whole bunch of things to get simple tasks done.

Try, for example, figuring out how to take a manual measurements for your peak luminance level, and then white color temperature. This should be a simple thing the one might do for a GUI monitor to dial it in for a perceptual whitepoint match to your reference monitor. You end up jumping around a bunch.

I calibrate once every month to couple of months - when I have a delivery to work on. Even though I keep good notes, you have to spend time figuring things out again. I have found I don't calibrate my GUI monitors much at all because it's such a pain to do - and I'm very comfortable with weird workflows in post and animation.

Patrick's tutorials on Lightspace sold me on making the switch. It looks perfectly logical.

I love the way the profiling, characterization, and then translation of this characterization into a LUT works. It means that if I wanted to I could produce a bunch of specific LUTs based on one pass of the characterization. I really appreciate the discreteness of this - it's useful and it makes me understand calibration better.

Author Steve
#8 | Posted: 23 May 2018 12:22 | Edited by: Steve 
There has been a lot of discussion of inherent issues with Calman's 3D LUT accuracy over on the AVSforums.
Direct comparisons on LightSpace vs. Calman show the serious benefits of LightSpac's Colour Engine.

Just a couple of quotes from the discussion thread:

I'm not as optimistic as you that CalMan can ever match the LUT engine of LS.

So everyone who want a accurate picture need two things: a eeColor and LightSpace!
Maybe someone is satisfied with the results that CalMAN is offering but this should not be the standard a seriously calibrator has.

Cannot believe how bad the CalMan LUT is near black. Destroys it completely...
CalMan HAS to change the LUT engine, otherwise I doubt anybody who knows his stuff will ever use it on the LG TV´s/eecolor/LUT-holder...... But first they have to admit that the engine is f**** up, LightSpace and even the free displaycal are miles better when it comes to LUT-profiling. Denying the obvious problems will never help anybody, CalMan would benefit the most if they listen to their customers - or let me say it better, to the real enthusiasts and professionals.


Author funkyworm
#9 | Posted: 25 May 2018 10:07 
Steve - you know I love LS; it's my go-to for making monitoring LUTs with my K10A. However, as more of our customers are starting to tool-up for Netflix I keep hearing the observation that Netflix demand CalMan monitor profiles from those facilities on a regular basis. Do you know if this is the case; my standard response so far has been "I can't believe they wouldn't take a LightSpace profile - presumably these people have more than a passing familiarity with display colourimetry?"

Author Steve
#10 | Posted: 25 May 2018 10:13 
There is no 'requirement' for Calman to be used.
You just have to provide the 'readings' Netflix ask for.
Unfortunately, those that ask for Calman just do not understand why they are saying that...

And as Calman calibration is nowhere near as accurate as LightSpace, there is obviously an underlying lack of knowledge...


Author Steve
#11 | Posted: 10 Aug 2018 10:30 
A quote from a new user, who has only recently 'Traded-Up' from Calman:

I have been reading your guides for most of the day and have learned so much. Great stuff! I am definitely less confused now than earlier . I really like Lightspace as it forces me to know a lot more than Calman (hand holding). I do miss the refine look of Calman a little though. Actually not really because when it comes to performance nothing beats Lightspace!

Author Steve
#12 | Posted: 1 Oct 2018 08:24 
A forum quote from a madVR user, recently swapped from Calman to LightSpace for home cinema use:

I initially made a Lut for the Cinema mode using BT.1886 as the source, and it turned out absolutely perfect as far as i can tell. Best I've ever been able to get this set looking in the 7 years I've owned it. Tested all sorts of content on it and it cleaned up most of the issues I've spotted on it in the past (HUGE improvement over Calman for sure). I used the default Peak Chroma option during creation.

Author Steve
#13 | Posted: 14 Oct 2018 10:27 
A direct quote from a Calman Studio user who has just swapped to LightSpace XPT:

I'm swapping because in my industry accuracy is the only option. I am fortunate to work on some of the largest films, so need the best tools in the business. The most important is customer support.
With Calman:
I don't really have the trust any more.
There's too much variation in my results.
I'm loosing contrast which is extremely important for exposure. I've never been able to make a good gamma 1D calibration LUT. I loose lots of contrast.
The last time I contacted Calman for support it took over a week for them to get back to me. Even though I'm paying $299 a year!

You can find me on IMDB as:
Daniel A Hernandez

Author Steve
#14 | Posted: 15 Nov 2018 20:06 | Edited by: Steve 
From a professional Film & TV industry calibrator, on using LightSpace to calibrate an LG C8 (using the new LightSpace LG LUT format export - but still restricted to uploading the LightSpace LUT into the LG via Calman, due to the LG/Calman restriction).

I got your LightSpace LUT to load and it is F'ing GREAT! I mean 141 Patch came out way better than I expected, but let's be honest, your stuff is almost always on point with LUTs.

Just shows the benefit of using LightSpace, even with the restriction of having to use Calman to upload into the LG display.

Note: Calman has a bug with the way it reads/parses LUTs. It cannot read it's own specified format correctly. To overcome this you will need to replace the # header lines in the LightSpace LUT with those from a Calman LUT. This is not a LightSpace error, and we will not be altering the LightSpace LUT format, as it is correct to Calamn's own specifications.

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