Finally Earn That THX Tattoo You Gave Yourself

I recently changed my cell phone’s incoming message alert to a sonar ping. (“Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please…” And, yes, it has already become as irritating as you might think.) So, last night I received a “Piiiing!” at about 11:00 p.m., with some information that was just too good not to share… Back in
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I recently changed my cell phone’s incoming message alert to a sonar ping. (“Give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please…” And, yes, it has already become as irritating as you might think.) So, last night I received a “Piiiing!” at about 11:00 p.m., with some information that was just too good not to share…

Back in 2008 THX started certifying video calibrators with their Professional Video Calibrator Training Program. Call it wanting to take a chunk out of Joel Silver’s ISF pie or just doing their part to ensure that consumer displays are dialed-in as closely as possible to the studio monitors that films were mastered on. (What you can’t call it is George just looking for another revenue stream; he no longer owns THX… Don’t worry about George though. He’ll do fine when Star Wars 1-6 comes out on Blu-ray next year.)

A huge part of the class is the instruction given by calibration legends, Gregg Loewen and Michael Chen. (Chen is better known in calibration circles as “Michael TLV” (“The Laser Video”) and also happens to be a stormtrooper in the 501st Badlands Garrison.) Chen and Loewen are entertaining and uber-generous with advice, allowing calibrators to benefit from their years of experience earned the hard way through thousands of calibrations.

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The calibration Force is strong with Michael Chen, THX Video Calibration Jedi.


I attended this training class two years ago and was super impressed with how thorough it was. The class was originally an intense three-day program, with each eight-plus-hour day crammed full of lecture, theory, labs, and tons of hands-on time. (Hands-on time is the good part; the nuts-and-bolts of actually getting your hands dirty and putting the information to work, or seeing how totally and completely you can screw up one of their demo displays. Uhhh, guilty.)

The three-day class used to cost more than $2,000, which was cost and time prohibitive for many to attend. And, as someone who has also attended the ISF training, I felt way better prepared to actually leave the class and, you know, start calibrating TVs. The full class offers like 16-times the amount of hands-on time.

Well, the e-mail I received last night detailed that THX has decided to break the class into two pieces; a one day introduction and then two days of calibration. Now, the introduction class normally costs $599 to attend, which, granted, seems a tad high since it doesn’t touch too deeply on grayscale and color calibration -- but THX is running a sick special for calibrators attending CEDIA this year. If you sign up before September 25, this class, and the accompanying THX Certified Professional status, can be yours for less than $50. Yes, that’s fifty. There isn’t a 0 missing off the end. One single President Grant with a Washington coming back your way.

This is an amazing opportunity, and if you are attending CEDIA, I highly recommend you checking it out. Seriously, just hanging with Chen and Loewen for eight hours is worth $49. If you’re the cynical type who needs further convincing, well, there’s a lunch included. Probably a sandwich, some chips, and a soda.

The class goes into the history of TV technology (totally not anywhere near as lame and boring as it sounds), why calibration is necessary, what makes a good image, the calibration process, etc. Plus, according to Chen, “The Video One guys get all the calibration basics of user controls up to ‘Intro to Grayscale.’ And they can stick around in the evening for a bit of hands-on with the gear to do grayscale.”

I’d say, definitely stick around. Besides, Atlanta at night ain’t exactly the safest place to go strolling around…

The class is also a pre-requisite if you ever plan on attending the Certified Video Calibration 2 training class. To sign-up, click here and use the promo code “cedia2010”

The training class is being held on September 26, and the offer is technically only available to the first 30 students to register, but I have it on good authority that they *might* add a second class to accommodate overflow.

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