Spears & Munsil 4K/HDR Benchmark Disc Is Key Tool
Anyone interested in getting the proper performance out of a modern television set will be familiar with the excellent series of Hand Forged Video Bench Mark calibration discs from experts Spears & Munsil. The good news is that the tandem has finally released their first 4K Ultra HD/HDR 4K Blu-ray version to home users.
The Spears & Munsil Hand Forged Video UHD HDR Benchmark Disc ($39.95) was developed for home theater novices and professional calibrators, alike. It provides one of the most comprehensive collections of test patterns and sample imagery yet available for 4K Ultra HD and HDR in a disc format.
We’ve been using some of the excellent tools available in a beta version of the disc for the past few months and have found things like the moving star field pattern (great for evaluating blooming and dark shadow detail, and showing off the merits of self-emissive displays against black-lit ones), a local dimming zone counter (great for determining areas with weak control spots in LED LCD TVs with full-array backlighting) and color banding (quantization) moving test patterns that we now find indispensable in testing and evaluating a 4K television’s ability to render lifelike color transitions in backgrounds like the sky or underwater.
UPDATE: The disc producers recently posted a deep dive tutorial into using the various charts and what they mean here.
Just because a television is said to have a 10-bit panel doesn’t mean that banding artifacts totally disappear, and the condition presents one of the more noticeable and reality-shattering distractions that surface. These patterns will help you see for yourself.
In addition, the disc provides a range of patterns that can be used to evaluate high dynamic range (HDR) performance at a range of peak luminance volumes, ranging up to 10000 nits, allowing home users to see where their display’s tone mapping and clipping ceilings begin and end for primary colors and various shades.
Although this won’t take the place of a true professional calibration, the test disc will help anyone with a moderately good eye adjust some of the peak brightness and contrast settings of a television for excellent results under the ambient light conditions of the room.
This can help a user adjust a set to a perceived optimal level to avoid crushing blacks or clipping peak brightness in images mastered in a variety of resolution levels.
It will also provide some interesting lessons on how to evaluate a 4K Ultra HD television and HDR, while providing some basic tools to get the best possible result without expensive meters or calibration software.
Other key features include:
Calibration patterns to help set up displays for optimal clarity
Evaluation patterns for motion, sharpness, color alignment
Original demonstration material finished in 8K HDR
Demonstration material provided in HDR and SDR for evaluation
Extensive selection of patterns for the professional calibrator
All HDR patterns available in 600, 1000, 2000, 4000 and 10000 cd/m² versions
We give the$39.95 Spears & Munsil Hand Forged Video 4K UHD HDR Benchmark Disc five out five hearts as a calibration disc useful to experts and novices, alike.