The Ultimate HCFR Display Calibration Guide

This article contains links to video-calibration and HCFR-related articles at the end for easy reference.


I started my display calibration journey with a lower-end Spyder sensor and HCFR close to 20 years ago. Over the years, I became more and more skilled in using HCFR as I was calibrating displays and graduated to more and more accurate sensors, such as the ColorMunki Display, and later on the i1Display Pro Plus colorimeter and i1 Pro 3 spectrometer.

What has not changed over the years for me was HCFR. While I tried other calibration software such as Calman or Colourspace, I always gravitated back to HCFR as my preference because of its easy to use design and lack of set workflows. I could define the workflow I wanted for the task at hand without the software getting in the way.

Writing the Display Calibration Guide

So years later when I started writing Simple Home Cinema’s Display Calibration Guide, I knew that I wanted to teach people display calibration using HCFR. Firstly, the tool is free-to-use so involves little risk for newcomers. Secondly, due to its lack of set workflows, I could teach people display calibration from the ground up, as opposed to teach just a “tool”.

I think this second point is important: learning software that holds your hand is relatively easy, but the knowledge isn’t going to be very deep or transferrable. You’re simply learning to click buttons and read graphs. While if you have a tool that isn’t holding your hand, you actually have to learn what and why you are doing things.

The Challenge

When I wrote the Display Calibration Guide, there weren’t any comprehensive guides on either HCFR or Display Calibration. There were a few DIY guides out there, but they either skipped the basics or tried to simply direct you through a set workflow using HCFR.

It took me many years to develop the knowledge that I had on top of those guides that made me actually skilled at display calibration. But once I learnt all the other possible display calibration workflows, then even those original guides started making a lot more sense. However, it also highlighted how limited those guides actually were when it came to teaching you display calibration.

So when starting to write the Display Calibration Guide, my main goal was to create The Ultimate HCFR Guide and The Ultimate Display Calibration Guide in one. It was the biggest piece of work I had undertaken up to that point. While the other pro guides on the site started out at around 30 pages, and took 4 weeks for the initial version, the Display Calibration Guide took 6 months to write and landed at more than 200 pages for the initial draft.

I knew this was all work that wouldn’t really pay off for at least a couple of years. After all, I wasn’t really sure if people would even be interested in such a guide.

The Result

While I was proud of the work and effort put into it, it was only when friends – having read the initial draft – reflected on the work that I knew it was something unique. But the most rewarding aspect was when the first round of customers had success calibrating their TVs or projectors without any prior knowledge of display calibration. While a few needed small pointers to help them progress, most were able to complete the task without any problems and got great results.

Of course, the Display Calibration Guide is a reference document, and nobody gets it 100% for the first time. It requires repeated reading and practice of the included workflows to start becoming proficient in them. However, I can rest easy that it is accessible to all experience levels. In fact, I think even long-timers will find something that they didn’t know before reading it.

The Display Calibration Guide

You can get the Display Calibration Guide here. It is available directly from Simple Home Cinema and now also on Apple Books as Volume 1 (SDR) and Volume 2 (HDR).

If you would like to learn more about the content or procedures included within the guide, please refer to the following articles, which either contain excerpt from the guide or give an overview of a particular area:

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: