SpectraCal Announces Innovative Test Pattern Solution Using AJA Video Products

SpectraCal Announces Innovative Test Pattern Solution Using AJA Video Products
Makes accurate video calibration available to a much wider audienceSpectraCal Inc. has announced a software pattern generator using video playback technologies from AJA Video Systems, Inc.

The software package, called VirtualForge, makes professional reference-quality patterns available at a fraction of the cost of standalone hardware pattern generators.

“Even though SpectraCal already made the best hardware pattern generators available, their price put them out of range for too many people who know they need to calibrate their displays” explained Derek Smith, SpectraCal’s founder and Chief Technical Officer.

“VirtualForge lets you fit video calibration into your budget without sacrificing accuracy,” Smith said.

The VirtualForge uses a Macintosh as a software engine to create the test patterns, and relies on video output hardware from AJA Video Systems to deliver the patterns accurately.

“You have to be able to completely trust your pattern generator, or your calibration is worthless,” Smith explained. “People frequently ask why they can’t just use a PC to generate patterns. The answer is that you can’t trust the video card to pass the patterns through perfectly. The difference here is that you can trust AJA.”

Nick Rashby, President of AJA Video Systems complimented SpectraCal on its introduction. “We never cease to be amazed at the clever ways our products are put into use, and we are really impressed with what the VirtualForge can do,” said Rashby.

The VirtualForge may be employed in two different configurations. For tower style Macintoshes with internal adapter cards such as AJA’s KONA family, the VirtualForge uses the KONA adapter as its output.

For users with a MacBook, the new AJA T-TAP™ allows the same quality output over the Thunderbolt interface.

“Using a $295 AJA T-TAP, you now can get reference level video quality that used to cost thousands of dollars,” Smith explained.

“Before we started using the VirtualForge, the first thing we did was measure its output on a scope,” said early field tester Doug Jaqua. “What came out of the T-TAP was bit-perfect,” Jaqua said.

SpectraCal expects the VirtualForge to greatly expand the reach of video calibration. “Recent advances in colorimetry have delivered extremely accurate meters at previously unimaginable prices, so the high price of test pattern generators remained the primary obstacle to wide adoption of defensible calibration practices in the industry” explained Joshua Quain, SpectraCal’s Director of Marketing.

“With the VirtualForge, there’s no longer an excuse for not making sure your monitors are telling the truth,” Quain said.

Some of the calibration patterns available in the complete set are:

• Brightness patterns

• Contrast patterns

• Color Bar Patterns (75 and 100%)

• Color and Tint patterns

• Overscan patterns

• Resolution patterns

• SMPTE Patterns

• Black to White Gradient patterns

• Checker Field (ANSI patterns)

• Sharpness patterns

• All Grayscale patterns (1% increment small/med/full window sizes)

• All CMS patterns (primary and secondary’s at variable stimulus)

• Complete RGB triplet output control including:

• Luminance Ramp patterns

• Saturation Sweep patterns

• ColorChecker Classic patterns

• ColorChecker SG patterns

• Custom: Skin Tone patterns

• APL and Constant APL patterns

• And thousands more…

The VirtualForge is driven over IP from SpectraCal’s CalMAN, the video calibration software used by nearly every professional calibrator today.VirtualForge is available for free download evaluation from http://studio.spectracal.com/support/downloads.html .

List price for the software-only version of the VirtualForge is $499. In the month of July, SpectraCal is selling an introductory bundle including the AJA Video Systems T-Tap for a combined price of $695.

About SpectraCal

SpectraCal is the worldwide leader in image fidelity solutions. SpectraCal provides everything needed for calibrating video displays in broadcast, production, post-production, commercial A/V, home theater, and industry. SpectraCal’s flagship product CalMAN is the mostly widely used video calibration software in the world. Please visit http://www.spectracal.com for more information.

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Contributor Gary Adcock specializes in creating and streamlining workflows for Episodic and Feature Production and Post-Production. Gary's extensive knowledge in Camera Technology, Image Acquisition and OnSet Data workflows is regarded by many as one of the most knowledgeable resources in the industry. With emphasis on understanding camera and production technologies and how they relate to post production and delivery. Gary assisted in writing the Data Handling Procedures and Best Practices documentation for IATSE Local 600 (Cinematographers Guild) as part of an ongoing education initiative project. Gary also regularly contributes to Macworld Magazine, as well as now being a regular contributor on Zacuto.com, he is also a moderator and blogger at CreativeCow.net Gary’s client list includes: Adobe, Aja Video, Apple, Arri, Autodesk, Sony, Panasonic, and JVC. Media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, Discovery Networks, MTV, WGBH (Antiques Roadshow), FOX, National Geographic Inc. and the Nat Geo Networks worldwide. Commercial clients include such prestigious brands as McDonalds, Taco Bell, HBO, MLB, NASA, Citibank, NBA Entertainment and NFL Films. Recent Production Work has included Transformers Dark Side of the Moon 2011 (3nd unit), Just Like a Women (2012) (data and dailies colorist), NBC's Playboy Club (camera tech), ABC's Detroit 187 (remote recording technologies). Gary can be followed on Twitter @garyadcock or on his new Wordpress blog about Technology and the Chicago food scene at http://garyadcock.com

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