My look at the i1 product line has taken course over several articles that began with the i1 Basic. In this installment I am going to look at the i1 Beamer Module Upgrade Module. The use of this module works much in the same way that the basic works to profile your monitor. This time though you have to work with a projector and so the spectrophotometer has to be aimed at a distant screen to measure the colors. The goal of this module is to build a custom profile that you can use on your computer for use with your projector.
There are two fundamental paths that you can take with the i1 line: i1 Basic and the i1 XTreme. The i1 Basic is marketed as an affordable, upgradeable, professional spectral color measurement solution and monitor profiler that will allow you to add on additional features as you need them. Once you own the i1 Basic, you own the capabilities of the other modules, you only need to purchase an access code to activate them. Here I will look at the ease of use of the i1 Beamer Module Upgrade Module. This will enable the i1Match software to calibrate and profile your projection display (beamers), and will allow you to accurately match the colors that your projector displays on the screen with what was captured from your camera or scanner, as well as accurately represent what is displayed on you monitor. This module comes standard comes as a part of the i1 XTreme.
What does it take to run the i1 Basic? Either a Windows 2000, XP, or Vista with a 300 MHz PC or better, or Mac OS X (10.3 or higher) Power G3 or higher processor, a powered USB port, 128 MB RAM, and 100 MB of hard-drive space.
Once you have your module installed, you need to make sure that you have your monitor calibrated as in part one of this series. With your monitor calibrated, you fire up the Eye-One Match software. When it starts up you will choose the projector module. Please note that although there may be other modules visible, they will not be active unless have purchased the add-on functionality, or have purchased the i1 XTreme. Also note, on the right of the screen there is context sensitive help that can guide you if you are having some problems. If you have the i1 Basic and purchased the Beamer module and your projector module is not active, make sure that your access code was properly installed.
With everything installed, the first thing that you need to do is to determine if you want to use the easy or advanced mode. The only difference is that the advanced mode will require you to select your white point. If you choose advanced then you will select the desired white point. The white points range from a warm (5000) to a cool (7500) Kelvin. Typically, 5000 (or D50) is the recommended viewing condition for proofing. You then place the calibration module in the beamer assembly and perform a calibration.
Next you will need to calibrate the spectrophotometer. To do this, with it in the beamer stand, close the dark slider device and press calibrate. This will make sure that the unit is ready to go. Once successful, you then position your Eye-One for projector measurement. You will probably set it on top of your projector, but it can be anywhere as long as you are able to target the area of the screen that the software shows you. Next, you must remember to open the dark slider device, or you will not get a proper measurement. You will need to also reset your projector to factory settings and dim the room light as much as possible to achieve the best results.
When everything is ready, you press start and the spectrophotometer does the rest. It will display a series of colors that the unit will compare against to calculate the right measurements for your projector. When this is done, you will be presented with the ability to name the profile for your projector on your computer. Once done, when you want to use that projector with that computer, you will just set it up to use that profile.
Just like my experience with the other modules, I found the i1 Beamer Module Upgrade Module extremely easy to work with and easy to get professional results from. The only issue I had was remembering to slide the dark slider open after calibration of the device; it would give an error that said it was not able to calculate a gamma measurement, but outside of that, everything was pretty straightforward.
Remember that the spectrophotometer is a precision instrument and should be treated as such. Not only should care be taken when handling (don't throw it down or otherwise mistreat it), but it also should be kept in its case when not in use. The i1 Match software is so intuitive to use with the easy mode, it's almost a no-brainer that anyone can use.
At $199 USD, i1 Beamer Upgrade Module is reasonably priced for someone who has the need to use a projector in a professional mode. As the i1 Basic makes for the perfect entry point to professional quality display profiling, the i1 Beamer Module will take you to the next level and so I very highly recommend this product.