SpectraCal announced today a software pattern generator using video playback technologies from AJA Video Systems. The software package, called VirtualForge, makes professional reference-quality patterns available at a fraction of the cost of standalone hardware pattern generators.
“Even though SpectraCal already made the best hardware pattern generators available, their price put them out of range for too many people who know they need to calibrate their displays,” said Derek Smith, SpectraCal’s founder and chief technical officer. “VirtualForge lets you fit video calibration into your budget without sacrificing accuracy.”
The VirtualForge uses a Macintosh as a software engine to create the test patterns, and relies on video output hardware from AJA Video Systems to deliver the patterns accurately.
“You have to be able to completely trust your pattern generator, or your calibration is worthless,” Smith explained. “People frequently ask why they can’t just use a PC to generate patterns. The answer is that you can’t trust the video card to pass the patterns through perfectly. The difference here is that you can trust AJA.”
Nick Rashby, president of AJA Video Systems said, “We never cease to be amazed at the clever ways our products are put into use, and we are really impressed with what the VirtualForge can do.”
The VirtualForge may be employed in two different configurations. For tower style Macintoshes with internal adapter cards such as AJA’s KONA family, the VirtualForge uses the KONA adapter as its output.
For users with a MacBook, the new AJA T-TAP allows the same quality output over the Thunderbolt interface. “Using a $295 AJA T-TAP, you now can get reference level video quality that used to cost thousands of dollars,” Smith explained.
“Before we started using the VirtualForge, the first thing we did was measure its output on a scope,” said early field tester Doug Jaqua. “What came out of the T-TAP was bit-perfect.”
SpectraCal expects the VirtualForge to greatly expand the reach of video calibration. “Recent advances in colorimetry have delivered extremely accurate meters at previously unimaginable prices, so the high price of test pattern generators remained the primary obstacle to wide adoption of defensible calibration practices in the industry,” said Joshua Quain, SpectraCal’s director of marketing. “With the VirtualForge, there’s no longer an excuse for not making sure your monitors are telling the truth.”
The VirtualForge is driven over IP from SpectraCal’s CalMAN, the video calibration software used by nearly every professional calibrator today.
The VirtualForge is available for free download evaluation from http://studio.spectracal.com/support/downloads.html
List price for the software-only version of the VirtualForge is $499. In the month of July, SpectraCal is selling an introductory bundle including the AJA Video Systems T-Tap for a combined price of $695.