About a week or so ago I saw a post on Twitter which made reference to a monitor calibration unit called ColorMunki by X-rite. I did a bit of digging and thought that it was a great idea, especially now that I'm doing more and more photography and composites. Historically I have seen my images differ between monitors/devices. Nothing major really but when you're investing a lot of time and money into your passion, you want to make sure that at least your screen is correctly calibrated.
What do I mean by correctly calibrated? It's basically the action of tweaking the output of colour and brightness from your display so that it is aligned with known/industry standards. When you're colour grading you have a starting point where you look at your image and decide if you want to warm it up, cool it down, make it darker or lighter. While the final image might look fine to you, if your screen isn't correctly calibrated chances are the image will look differently to what you intended when viewed by others on their own systems. Granted there are many monitors which aren't calibrated and images look just fine. But this is about consistency, making sure that your grading is consistent time after time. When you start printing your images or work with a team of image editors then the need for correct calibration becomes even more important.
The Spyder5PRO was recommend to me when I asked around to find out what people were using. It just so happened that the Spyder5PRO is Datacolor's latest and greatest and hasn't been out for long. I bought it from Amazon for around £133GBP (yes, I know I order from them a lot, just trying to make good use my Amazon Prime!). First impressions, I prefer the latest design over it's predecessor, the Spyder4PRO. Mainly because the unit looks more modern and smaller in size.
After downloading the software which only took a minute the installation and setup was a breeze. The calibration went smoothly and only took around 5 minutes. The pro edition factors in ambient light prior to calibration. In my case the ambient light in my work area was deemed too bright and the software gives recommendations on how to correct the problem. There isn't much I can do about that right now so I just continued with the calibration. Once the calibration was finished I could flip between the before and after. What became apparent was that my screen was more red than it should have been.
I couldn't see any problems/major changes with my images after the calibration. Was the unit worth getting in the end? Yes, I'd say it was. Although there were no major shifts in my images, you could see slight tonal changes. It's just nice to know that when I'm colour grading my images I know that I'm using a correctly calibrated screen. When I put my work out in the digital ether or send my work to the printers it will have a better chance of appearing how I expected.