Babelcolor – Mac OS X Utility for Eye One Pro and Projector Calibration

I’ve mentioned Babelcolor in the last couple posts about calibration. The application can sample and convert between any color space and profile. I checked it out because it is the only third party Mac application (it’s available for PC too) that can accept xyY readings (important for certain calibration Excel spread sheets) from the Eye One Pro in emissive or ambient modes. I was surprised to find it does everything I need to calibrate my Sanyo PLV-Z3 projector in its trial mode.

Babelcolor’s "Compare" mode lets you track the difference of sampled color patches between two different color profiles. The trial version only lets you use Adobe RGB (1998) and Apple RGB. The cool part is both of these spaces have a D65 illuminant, so you can compare light samples taken in one to a D65 white reference in the other. Babel color will report the xy data (the Y value is not tracking ft/lamberts but is more of an error value away from 100), which of the the strongest cast of red, green or blue, and a DeltaE value.

To take front projection measurements with Babelcolor follow the steps below:

  1. Warm up your projector, position your Eye One Pro with the Ambient head pointed toward the projector lens connect the USB cable to your computer.
  2. Launch Babelcolor. It will ask you to register but you can just click the Try button.
  3. Babelcolor launches into the Compare Mode window.
  4. Pull down the Peripheral menu and select Measurement Mode–> Ambient (w/diff). Then select Calibrate from the same menu and follow the on screen instructions.
  5. On the left side (Adobe (1998)) of the Compare mode window change the L*C*h* pull down to xyY. Check the L*a*b*/L*u*v* input box.
  6. On the right side move the YRGB sliders to the top so the RGB fields all read 255. Change the L*C*h* pull down to xyY, it should read 0.313, 0.329, 100.0.
  7. Leave the DeltaE pull down at *ab.
  8. With all this set you can now start typing cmd-L to take measurements. Each cmd-L press will take a new sample, modifying the xyY data and displaying a color temperature and lux value under the left Y slider. The sample is compared to the D65 reference on the right side and you are given a DeltaE value (when calibrating grayscale you always want to keep your DeltaE under 4). Next to the DeltaE readout is a windowed color patch comparing the reference in the middle with the sampled color surrounding it, visually showing the sample’s cast. In the lower left corner of the patch you’ll see three ticks representing RGB, one or more ticks will change to a vertical bar to indicate which color(s) is too strong and causing the cast.

Babelcolor is a focused tool for taking grayscale samples for home theater calibration. It gives you all the numbers and charts you need in one window to quickly evaluate and then adjust your display’s settings to achieve a D65 grayscale and track to a 2.2 gamma.

I find it especially noteworthy because it is the only third party solution on Mac OS X that gives you xyY, DeltaE, white point and luminance all in one place. If you have an Eye One and a Macbook download and try Babelcolor the next time you need to calibrate your display.

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