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i1 beamer attachmenti1 Beamer
Projector profiling - Review

An attachment for the i1 Pro to profile projectors.

The X-rite i1 Pro spectrophotometer can measure reflected light with it's own built in light source, or emitted light, such as when profiling monitors or sampling ambient light.

The Beamer

The i1 Beamer attachment is a holder for the i1 which in conjunction with appropriate software, allows you to profile digital projectors.

Keith has been looking at this part of the i1 family of devices and software. He has covered all the other parts of the family in other reviews, covering monitor, camera, scanner and printer profiling.

There is a complete list of all his other reviews at the end of this article.

Projector Profiling

When asked about colour management I always tell people to start with calibrating their monitor.

Without this first step you are most likely building your colour managed workflow on sand.

If you can't be sure an image looks right on your own monitor, then what can you be sure of?

i1 beamer projector profilingLet's say that you've some images you want to display to clients (or other member of your photo club) and you want to show them at their best with your new digital projector?

Accurate colour and projectors never used to go together...

Digital projectors are now relatively cheap and of higher performance (brightness/contrast/resolution), so that people are more often looking at using them them for 'serious' use.

Just like monitors, they can be calibrated and profiled, although in this case you are profiling the combination of projector and the screen you are projecting on.

  • Just in case you are still wondering just what this 'Colour management' stuff is, I've a very short guide to colour management page that might be of help.
  • It includes links to other articles on this site and elsewhere.
  • There are also links to further information at the end of this article.

What do you get

The i1 Beamer is the holder for your i1 Pro spectrophotometer.

i1 pro and beamer attachmentIt's very easy to clip the spectro into place, and the solid metal base gives a sturdy feel to the unit as a whole.

i1 beamer attachmentThe flip up arm that holds the spectro can be tilted for when it comes to setting up the device for measurement. The holder fits in a space in the i1 carry case.

The second part of the setup, is the software to carry out the profiling. This is actually the Eye One Match software I've looked at in previous reviews.

Eye One Match already has the required features built in, they just need activating with a code corresponding to the serial number of your i1 Pro

Your software licensing information is actually held inside the i1 device itself.

The i1 diagnostics application is used for updating the license. (I'll have more to say on pricing options and the like in the conclusions)

If you look at the underside of the base, you can see a standard 1/4 inch threaded tripod fixing.

The knob sticking out of the side locks the support arm (folded flat in this case).

base plate and tripod fitting

Data projectors

The screen shot below shows all the various profiling options available in Eye One Match (V3.6.2 in this instance)

  • Note that I'm looking at the Apple Mac version of the software. The Windows version looks almost the same and has the same functionality (see also the conclusions for other slight differences)

I've selected projector profiling...

select projector profiling

The spectro needs calibrating first of all.

dark calibration for projecter measurement

This is where the little shutter in front of the sensor comes in.

If you move your mouse over the image below, you can see how the shutter blocks the sensor view and allows the software to calibrate the spectrophotometer output in complete darkness.

calibration shutter for i1

For taking measurements I've mounted the device on a small tripod

tripod mount for projector profiling

The tripod allows you to point your i1 accurately at the screen.

You start the positioning process by pointing the unit at your screen

aiming beamer for projector profiling

The screen will flash a few colours and display the view below

If you look carefully you can see a small dot, which marks where the software thinks you are pointing the device

beamer aim point

If you move your mouse over the image above you can see what happens as you move where the unit is pointing.

After setting the centre of the screen, some black circles are displayed - there's no reason given but I assume it's part of the software making sense of the data from the positioning step.

alignment check for projector profiling

Then the screen goes lots of different colours, and after some activity, the software invites you to save a named profile for the projector.

saving projector profile

That's it ... your projector is profiled.

sucessful projector calibration

Advanced features

There are a few more advanced options available, which -might- produce better results for your particular projector.

You can choose the white point of the setup, and the gamma of the display (move your mouse over the screen to see the options)

advanced projector profiling settings

Conclusions

The i1 Beamer allows you to calibrate projectors quickly and easily

profiling options explainedDefault settings are native white point and a Gamma of 2.2

Using native white point generally gives a brighter output, which is more important with projectors than normal LCD monitors (which people often set too bright anyway)

The advanced options have some additional info on choices.

You might well find that with some projectors, the display looks better at another setting.

Another issue is lighting in the environment where you are working. The software suggests doing profiling in darkened surroundings.

One slight issue I've had with i1 Match for some time is that I feel the on-line help could be a bit more informative. Don't get me wrong, it's fine for many people using the software, but I've felt that a bit more effort into providing help and explanation would not be wasted.

There isn't a before/after option in the projector profiling, so you might want to use a known test image for evaluation.

  • Do note that although it may be tempting to use your own images to test a projector, wait until you are sure it is OK with known images first - I won't ever test anything with any of my own colour images.
June 2012 - X-Rite are shipping updated i1Pro 2 with i1Profiler 1.3
Reviews: i1Pro 2 Basic - i1Pro 2 Photo

April 2010 X-Rite ship V1.0 of i1 Profiler - Full i1 Profiler reviews and information

May 2010 X-Rite annouce new profiling software for Q4 2010 - i1 Match and ProfileMaker Pro will be superseded by i1Profiler later in 2010. We have some notes and press info in the X-rite information section of the Northlight blog. For purchases after April 1st 2010 here will be free upgrades, along with other offers when the software is available.

Sept. 2008 X-Rite and the i1 range

From Sept. the range is simplified to two options. The functionality is the same as we have reviewed, but exactly what you get varies. As a result of this rationalisation, the i1Photo, i1Photo SG, i1Proof and i1XT have all been discontinued, and the i1 range now consists of:

With the i1XTreme you can calibrate and profile:

*Requires Digital ColorChecker SG Chart - available separately.

PowerPoint and Windows

Microsoft PowerPoint is well known for having no great respect for colour management. It's perhaps better to say that its approach is poorly understood ;-)

Buying the i1

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Well, while things are getting better in Vista, it's still not the program of choice for presentations requiring accurate colour. Good PowerPoint use takes care (not to mention the stultifying effect its wanton use has had on audiences the world over ;-)

If you get the Beamer upgrade from X-rite then you can also get the "i1ColorPoint Plug In, which turns PowerPoint for PC into a ICC compliant application."

This from the ColorPoint PDF

"This software is an add-in to Microsoft’s PowerPoint (Windows only) in order
to display your PowerPoint presentations color managed on a digital projector. That means, the colors on
your monitor will be the same as the colors on the projector. i1ColorPoint converts all colored objects of
your presentation into the color space of the digital projector. All you need is an ICC monitor and projector
profile, generated with GretagMacbeth’s EyeOne Match 2.0 software
." [My emphasis -KC]

Some more info on MS use of Colour

Since Northlight Images is an 'Apple Mac only' organisation I've not had a chance to see just how all well this works...

Summary

An upgrade for the i1 to enable projector profiling

i1 Requirements

There are two parts to this product, the actual hardware in the pictures above (~£120 in UK) and the activation code to unlock the appropriate software module in Eye One Match (~£240 (sic) in the UK or a MSRP in the US $295).

Given the not insignificant cost of upgrading hardware and software, it is probably best to buy an i1 solution at the outset, which includes projector profiling if you need it.

I'll include the chart of options from X-rite that I had in the i1 LT review (which does not include projector profiling)

Note that you don't -need- the Beamer holder for the software to work, it just makes it easier to use.

range of i1 options

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