How to calibrate cinema display with MacBook?
March 8, 2010 8:28 AM   Subscribe

How to calibrate cinema display with MacBook?

I have a MacBook Pro (aluminum, about 2 years old) and just bought a 23" cinema display for it (aluminum, about 2 years old). I naively thought the display would simply display the exact color/brightness settings as the MacBook.

So when I go into System Preferences and select the same color profile for the display as the MacBook, the result looks terrible.

Is there an easier way to sync them more precisely?
posted by deern the headlice to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You need a hardware monitor calibrator. What you are trying to do (correct me if I am wrong) is to get the same image to look as close as possible on both screens. I use this.

You will also want to read this to help you understand the world of color management.
posted by kenbennedy at 8:49 AM on March 8, 2010

The only way beyond the eyeball approach to custom settings (which only goes so far) is with a hardware colorimeter as ken said. If you are remotely serious about this, they are well worth the price. The X-Rite is excellent but, I find that Spyder3 does a fine job for about half the price on my system.
posted by drpynchon at 8:59 AM on March 8, 2010

If you can't afford a hardware option, you can use SuperCal for a software option. Obviously, it's not going to be as exact as a hardware calibrator, but you can get some pretty good results with it.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:06 AM on March 8, 2010

You're misunderstanding how the system works. But that's OK, you're not the only one.

In a nutshell: The computer works with idealized color values internally. These are values that should span the entire range of where that color could ever be displayed (be it on screen, on paper, on the web, whatever.) Then, when it comes time to actually display those colors on an output device, like your monitor, it uses the device's "color profile" to translate.

So you need to tell the computer what color profile is appropriate for each of your displays. This will NOT be the same for both of them.

The built-in list should include entries for each one of your displays (click the "Show profiles for this display only" checkbox to narrow down the list). Choosing the right one will get you part of the way there. It might be good enough for you.

However, it might not be good enough, because individual panels may vary, and the lighting environment around your computer makes a difference too. So your next step would be to press the "Calibrate" button and create a custom profile for each display. This should end up giving you a new profile which you can choose.

If that still isn't good enough, then the next step is to try some custom software (SuperCal) or a hardware colorimeter.
posted by xil at 10:35 AM on March 8, 2010

There is buillt-in monitor calibration in the control panel. You will probably never get an exact match as that older MBP is probably backlit with older (CCFL?) tech, not the new LEDs you find in the cinema display. It will probably always look yellower than the cinema display.
posted by chairface at 10:43 AM on March 8, 2010

The built-in calibration tool in OSX is a sad remnant from OS9 (perhaps even OS8)...seriously. It's not very good, even in expert mode. Avoid it if you can.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:31 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

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