How To Calibrate Projector: Detailed Guide


By Arindam Roy

Projectors are a very popular option in the modern classroom. Teachers can use any combination of animated PowerPoint slides, interactive whiteboards, and projectors to engage students. Unfortunately, for some reason projectors can be difficult to work with. We’ve put together this article on how to get your projector calibrated so that you don’t have any issues in the future!

  • 1) Turn off anything on your computer that is using a lot of power (e.g., Spotify).
  • 2) make sure that all cables are plugged in securely and correctly into the projector and computer.
  • 3) Ensure that the projector is on and that the power indicator has not turned off.
  • 4) Turn on the projector, and adjust it so that all of the images are equally bright.

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If you bought a new projector, make sure to follow these steps to get it properly calibrated.

Have your computer screen adjusted for brightness and contrast so that there isn’t any black areas in any of your slides or images. Preferably have your picture settings on Cinema 1 rather than Cinema 2. You will need to adjust this later in the process but don’t worry about this step right now since we will be adjusting these later. Adjusting the contrast and brightness on the projector will help make your slide images brighter. On a laptop, go to “start” type “control panel” and open it. Select the settings for “display”, if it is not already set to “Best Picture”. You may want to check that “Contrast” and “Brightness” are also set at whatever level of brightness you desire.

Before we start, let’s talk about calibration. This is a very under-appreciated process that goes over the top of your computer’s picture settings. For this, we use a special tool called an ICC profile. These profiles help us adjust the colors of our images in our projector so that they are exactly the same as the images on our computer screen. The tools used to create these profiles take time to create, but they are essential if you want your projector to display accurate images. We’ll go over how to calibrate your projector for color in a moment.

Read here: Best Projector under 10000 Rupees in India 2021

However, because we are paying thousands and thousands of dollars for our projectors, there should always be at least a little bit of effort put into calibration. If you have purchased a high-quality projector, it should already be calibrated. However, if it’s possible for you to adjust any of the settings on the projector (color balance, contrast), it will result in a better overall picture quality. For example, projectors like the Epson 2350 can be adjusted with a small remote control. I personally use this feature when I want my projector to display more accurate colors.

Once your projector is all turned on and ready to use, you are ready for the fun part: Calibration!

To begin calibration, we need an image that has solid colors that go from near-white to near-black (basically these colors have numbers above 60 and below 40). For computer screens, this is when the entire screen is white (with no black areas) and a black and white image. For lower-quality projectors, an image with solid colors shouldn’t be as necessary because the images will not be as bright. However, I make sure that my projector brightness is set to the maximum setting, for both Cinema 1 and 2. You can adjust this later on in the process but don’t worry about it now since we will be doing so later on in this article.

I use a picture of The average screen (all pictures are 123×123 pixels) to calibrate my projector so that all of the images look properly displayed on my screen. Below is an example of this. This image is exactly the one that I use to calibrate my projector.

Also read: Best 4k Projectors in India 2021

How to put in your screen/screen attachment

Once you’ve chosen your image, look at it through the projector. If you have a good-quality projector and the brightness is set at maximum, you should see this image above (as long as both are set to Cinema 1). If you have already calibrated your computer screen for brightness and contrast, then ensure that your computer screen and projector display similar pictures (if possible). If the images look different, please adjust your computer settings so that the screen is as close to what you want it to be. This is the best way to make sure that you are thoroughly adjusting your projector’s brightness and contrast. If you already know how your computer screen should look (based on brightness and contrast), proceed to Step 3. If you are not sure, go back and read this entire guide again!

Once both your computer screen (if possible) and projector display similar pictures, we can begin calibration. Since I’m going through a specific tutorial, I’m going to explain exactly how I do it in front of my projector.

Take a screen shot of the images so that you have a reference for later. Once in front of the projector, first open up “Options” in your computer’s control panel (on Windows) or “Settings” in your Mac’s display settings. From there, you can adjust various settings related to color and brightness. For example, my projector is calibrated for sunlight colors which are fairly close to the colors on my computer screen. Therefore, I adjust the “Color” setting on my projector so that both are set to the same value: 0.0 (“Gray”). This will ensure that both go into the factory-set state of calibration with each other once you start adjusting things later in this guide.

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This image is exactly the one that I use to calibrate my projector. Take a screen shot of this image and look at it through your projector.

Once you’ve calibrated your computer screen (if possible) and your projector, you should be able to see a very similar picture on both screens. In this case, because I set my projector’s brightness to maximum and mine and my computer’s images are almost exactly the same, the colors closely match up! However, it is always best to adjust according to what you see on both screens rather than just what you think should be done.

This image is exactly the one that I use to calibrate my projector. Take a screen shot of this image and look at it through your projector.

Once you’ve calibrated your computer screen (if possible) and your projector, you should be able to see a very similar picture on both screens. In this case, because I set my projector’s brightness to maximum and mine and my computer’s images are almost exactly the same, the colors closely match up! However, it is always best to adjust according to what you see on both screens rather than just what you think should be done.

Now that your computer screen and projector are calibrated, which will make sure that all of your images are displayed correctly on both. The next step is to calibrate your projector for brightness. If you’ve chosen a high-quality projector, it may already be calibrated for brightness; the Epson 1520 ($1999) and above have this feature. However, if you haven’t purchased a high-quality projector, you may need to adjust the settings yourself. This is where things can get tricky depending on how well the images display through your projector. You can either do it manually or find an automatic way to do so (which I will explain in the next section). This section will mostly focus on adjusting brightness manually, since this is the most common way to do so.

Relevant reading: What Is Projector Throw Ratio And Why Is My Projector Dim?

If you haven’t purchased a high-quality projector I recommend purchasing it before continuing to the next step (as I’ve already explained in this guide). If you have purchased a high-quality projector, continue to step 5.

To start off, all you need is your computer, projector and screen. Make sure both your screens are turned on and that they are calibrated for brightness and contrast (you may also need to adjust your computer’s settings). Once again, ensure that your projector has been calibrated for brightness as well.

I’m not going to explain how to calibrate your screen since there are many guides out there that will do this for you. Please refer to them if need be. If you haven’t calibrated your screen for brightness and contrast, return to step 4 and continue from there. The only other thing that I want you to keep in mind is that the higher the brightness level, the brighter most of the screen will be. This can help make your images appear brighter on your screen (which can potentially make them look better) or help you see more of the image (which can potentially make them appear better).

Once in front of your projector, open up the “Options” or “Settings” on your computer. From there, you will need to figure out how to adjust the brightness manually. For example, on my computer I have to press the “Fn” button and then press a key that looks like half a star (the paper clip icon). For other computers there are different ways of doing this, so keep an eye out; some computers even have a manual for them somewhere on their websites!

Here is an example of what you should see.

Once you’ve figured out how to adjust your projector’s brightness manually, you should be able to adjust it as required. However, this step is not necessary if you want to use an automatic means of brightness calibration.

There are many ways to calibrate your projector for brightness (and when I say “many”, I mean “lots”). If you want a very accurate method of calibrating your projector, I suggest using a computer software called ColorHCFR.

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