BenQ Knowledge Center

The Secret to How Movies Move You: the Importance of Colour Accuracy

BenQ
2021/05/13

Regardless of whether you are talking about movies, pictures, or any other visual medium, for any creative work that is based on visuals colour is an element that plays a vital role on which the whole work is centred. A good use of colour allows the viewer to understand the intentions of the director or discover their individual style. Sometimes they may use vivid, rich colours, while other times they may use dark or pale colours. Even if there is no dialogue or no person on screen, and the image is just scenery, colour can affect the audience’s emotions.

 

Conversely when a scene with a rich palette features inaccurate colours (such as colours that feature an overall blue or yellow tint) that do not line up with what we imagine in our mind, we might get a sense that something about the film’s style is “off”. Outside of letting us know that our video equipment is lacking, this phenomenon will also bring down the quality and level of enjoyment we get from the film.

Cool Palette

Warm Palette

In our time, movies have become a necessary staple of life. Given this, how to get the most precise and accurate colours out of our audio-video equipment has become a question of growing importance, especially when you are talking about the many consumers who dream of creating their own customized home theatre. Whether it be for space where they can relax after a long day at work or a place to enjoy movie time with their loved ones, these home theatres need projectors that can ensure that the colours the director envisioned are properly translated, thereby making the cinematic experience something that can’t be missed.

Is a wide colour gamut the same as color accuracy?

When resolution was still stuck at 1080p Full HD, a wide colour gamut usually meant covering 95% of the Rec. 709 colour range. But with the development and maturation of 4K UHD and 8K UHD resolutions in recent years, the UHD Alliance, with the approval of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), released specifications for their definition of Ultra HD Premium, requiring that certified equipment cover at least 90% of the DCI-P3 colour space.

 

A “wide” colour gamut, however, does not necessarily meet these requirements, because the colour gamut’s coverage is more important. In the past when testing colour gamut, one would often see the description, “XX% of the NTSC colour gamut”. In reality, this type of description was not very accurate because this type of colour gamut description was more a measure of area, for example, 100% of the Rec. 709 colour gamut is roughly equal to 72% of the NTSC colour area but of that number about 4% of the colour gamut range is not covered as seen in the image below (the solid line in the image represents the Rec. 709 colour gamut, while the dash line represents the NTSC colour gamut).

 

Because of all of this, when a colour gamut is said to cover the Rec. 709, DCI-P3, Rec. 2020, or any other colour space, it does not necessarily mean that its colours are accurate. More importantly, outside of having just higher coverage, colour accuracy needs professional calibration before a projector can truly be called colour accurate.

Can a colour gamut that achieves Rec. 709 be considered colour accurate?

Having discussed colour gamut, the next step is to discuss the requirements for Rec. 709 colour accuracy as defined by the ITU. The ITU declared that the Rec. 709 white balance’s colour temperature must accurately display all the colours of the D65 colour temperature. However, beyond white balance (W), the six RGBCMY colours must also be calibrated accurately and must conform to Rec. 709 standards including its requirements for colour coordinates and colour brightness. Thus, only when a calibrated projector’s dE2000 value is below 3 can it be properly called a color accurate projector.

How do you explain how accurate a given colour is?
What is CIE dE2000?

When asked whether a projector is colour accurate or not, it is often times difficult to explain in words the accuracy of colour. An easier way to answer this question is to ask how small the difference is between the projector’s colour and that colour’s standard version. As a result, once a projector’s colours have been professionally calibrated, we judge the performance of the projector using a colour difference standard that's as close to the human eye as possible. 

dE2000 value lower than 3 after professional color calibration (by CalMAN)

Delta E (dE) 2000 is a way of calculating colour difference that is very close to what the human eye sees. It represents the difference between two colours with a numerical value where the lower the value, the smaller the difference between the two colours is. In theory a dE2000 value of 1 represents the limit at which the human eye can differentiate 2 colours. In other words, if the value is lower than 1 the human eye will not be able to tell the difference between the two colours. Generally speaking, when the dE2000 value is between 3 and 6, the colour accuracy is good enough for commercial use, but not quite good enough for professionals working in the print or video production fields. 

Properly calibrating projectors using professional technology can ensure that each purchased projector’s dE2000 value is lower than 3, and once the dE2000 value is lower than 3 the projector is considered colour accurate. 

The following list defines the different dE2000 value ranges:

• 13 - 25: Deemed as different colour tones, if the value exceeds this range the two colours are considered two different colours. 

• 6.5 - 13: The difference between the two colours is observable, but the two colours are considered the same colour tone. 

• 3.2 - 6.5: The difference between the two colours is observable, but the impression given by both is basically the same. 

• 1.6 - 3.2: From a given distance, the difference between the two colours is basically indistinguishable. Most of the time the two are considered the same colour. 

In terms of colour accuracy for the human eye, dE2000 is used as a means of calculating the difference between two colours as well as standardizing the range and tolerance of colour perception in humans. In general, a dE2000 value between 3 and 6 is a difference in colour that is acceptable to most.

How do you ensure the performance, with regard to colour accuracy, of each projector?

Every home theatre projector is made up of mechanical, electrical, and optical components. Only a solid design that employs superior optics allows the projector’s colours to flourish. Furthermore, during the production phase each projector must be processed by special instruments and calibration software in order to fine tune its colour accuracy, including calibrating its gamma, black level, white level, neutral grey, RGBCMY colour tracking, hue, saturation, brightness, and other qualities.

 

Software Optimization

Production Line Quaility Control

.When choosing a projector with high colour coverage, we recommend choosing projectors with 100% Rec. 709 coverage or even coverage that achieves DCI-P3 levels, such as BenQ’s Home Cinema series of projectors

.We recommend choosing a projector that before leaving the factory has undergone strict inspection and provides a full colour inspection report. BenQ’s Home Cinema series of projectors which have 100% Rec. 709 coverage or above have all undergone factory colour calibration and provide calibration reports.

.Double-check your projector’s surroundings and lighting conditions. If the space is dark or the ambient light is low, we recommend using an RGBRGB colour wheel DLP projector, as its colour ratio and colour accuracy will be better.

.If your home theatre features light interference, we recommend using BenQ’s Home Entertainment series projectors, as they use an RGBW colour wheel that has undergone colour calibration by BenQ’s team of professionals and can perfectly balance the execution of brightness and colours, thereby ensuring that even with ambient light present images will feature properly saturated colours.

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