A Day in the Life of a Hollywood Los Angeles-based Monitor and Reference Display Calibrator

Click to play Part 1 or right click to download.

Click to play Part 2 or right click to download.

David Abram’s AIVCAL site for display and monitor calibration services for the Los Angeles area. Dave is located in downtown Burbank CA.

If you’re from the Los Angeles area, you’ve likely heard of David Abrams and his company, Avical, located in Burbank,
Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 8.00.38 AMbecause he is the go-to guy for high-end video post production work in that part of the country.  If I’m working at a production or post-production house, and I need my most important monitors made as absolutely perfect as they can be made, I call Dave at Avical.  What a fascinating clientele he must have, and oh the stories that could be told. Let’s see if we can eek out a few of those in our conversation about the state of the art of reference display and monitor calibration for the Hollywood media houses.

On a personal note, I learned a great deal from Dave during the conversation. I’m keenly interested in display calibration and the impact it has on color correction and color grading.

The key points I was most curious to learn were why he uses SpectraCal’s CalMAN software for display calibration, how he sets gamma, and his views on the evolution of adopting the BT.1886 standard in the post-production industry. I got my answers! If you want to jump to that section, start at ~36 minutes, though I highly recommend you listen to the whole conversation. There is a useful write-up on the topic here.

David has a fascinating job. I wonder if he gets a chance to see movies before we do.

Here are the questions I asked him:

1. What’s a  typical day for you, with your higher-end movie clients in particular and video post-production folks?

2. I imagine your clients are asking you to make two very different technologies match in the same suite.  Like an LCD and a plasma or OLED, for example.  How do you do that?

3. Has business increased or decreased over the years?

4. What equipment are you using these days?  Why are you using SpectraCal’s CalMAN calibration software?

 5. What are you thoughts on using a tristimulus colorimeter versus a spectroradiometer? Which do you use the most day to day?

6. It seems to me that BT.1886 is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for gamma.  Is that what you’re seeing as well?  And why should someone calibrate to BT.1886 versus a power curve like 2.2 or 2.4?

7. Where do you see 3D LUTs being used the most? Do you have a favorite LUT box in the studio you find is better than others?

8. Let’s talk trends. When you look at 2014 from  your perspective of being inside the studios and post houses, where do you think we are on the 4K adoption curve?  Is display technology moving toward OLED, or do you think Dolby will be a player?

David Abrams – www.Avical.com  or @AvicalTweets  Twitter
Burbank Los Angeles CA area.