Regardless of how much you invested in your home theater system, there are often lingering doubts about its performance. Is the picture washed out or is it supposed to look like that? Is that actor really as pale as he looks? An entire scene has a green tinge - is that on purpose or is there something wrong?
There are ways to address this problem. An array of commercially available products provides standard performance tests and guidelines for adjusting a full range of video performance parameters. Purchasers of a THX Certified home theater system from a Certified Home THX dealer can rely on the installer to properly align the system. As for software problems, titles certified by the THX Digital Mastering Program carry our commitment to provide a product that adheres to the strictest technical standards in the industry.
But none of these measures can compensate for the variations encountered when switching from one video source to another. Picture quality and characteristics will change when switching among broadcast television, cable, satellite, DVD and VHS. We can all make minor changes in contrast, brightness, etc. to compensate, but there's no guarantee that this "seat-of-the-pants" approach delivers the image the way that it was intended to be seen.
What's more, settings that work for one DVD release might not be optimal for another. A filmmaker might, for example, shoot particular scenes or even an entire movie with a certain color cast to create a desired look or evoke a mood. In that case, it's very likely a viewer might try to adjust the picture in an attempt to "correct" it. Even tests based on a universal reference standard can't guarantee that the settings derived are best for each individual movie. For that, you need reference levels specific to each movie, and that's exactly what THX Optimizer provides. As part of the Digital Mastering Program certification process, THX engineers place the THX Optimizer test signals on the same digital videotape master as the movie. Both the movie and the test signals then follow the same path during the DVD production process. As a consequence, adjustments made using these signals relate directly back to the reference levels set during the mastering of that specific title.
In order to set-up your monitor correctly, it is very important to set-up all of these video test patterns in the same lighting that will be used to watch the feature.
© 2002 Lucasfilm Ltd.