Calibrating the iPad display

As I'm using the iPad with the wonderful Air-Display from Avatron, I was wondering, if I could calibrate the display to get even better color accuracy when editing photos "in the field" on my Macbook Air.

Turns out, I can.

Here's how to do it.

First activate Air Display and make sure you don't select "use Retina Resolution if available" or otherwise you'll end up with a Spyder3 window that is far too small to be of any use. After calibration turn it back on again as it is just marvelous to look at pictures on a nearly 300PPI display.

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Set the brightness of your iPad to a mid-range level. Cranking it all the way up may look great, but tends to seriously fuck up the calibration and gives me a headache.

Now fire up the Spyder3 application (or whatever software you use) and select your iPad as calibration-target. The application window should move to the iPad display.

Lay the iPad flat-down, place the sensor on it and start the calibration.

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That's it. Just wait a few minutes and you'll have your color-profile.


I think there really is no need to go through all of this. The calibrated output varies so little from the factory preset, that you'll only see a difference under optimal lighting conditions and in a direct comparison.

The iPad display (at least from the iPad 3) is just fantastic. Color reproduction even for highly saturated colors is accurate and the gamut is mind blowing.

Just take a look at these charts:

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Red: iPad 3, blue: Apple LED Cinema Display 27"

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Red: iPad 3, blue: Wacom Cintiq 24HD

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Red: iPad 3, green: sRGB, purple: AdobeRGB (mostly NTSC)

Remarks to a small percentage of readers: This process does not calibrate your iPad display per se. It only works when acting as an external display with Air Display. There is no need to tell me this in the comments. This may be what you're looking for: Datacolor Spyder Gallery.

Also, you do not have to ask me "Why did you do this when you say later there is no need?". There are other ways to prove that you're an idiot. Be creative.

Nikon D800 and 1080/30P HDMI output

The Nikon D800 is a great camera for video. At least in a studio setup. One of the reasons is the ability to output uncompressed 10 bit video via HDMI. Just add a Blackmagic Intensity to your system and you're good to go.

Having uncompressed video that can be captured as Apple ProRes422 is fantastic for keying. And the better your key to begin with, the less work in post.

Setup is fairly straightforward, the D800 outputs video via HDMI without any on-screen-menu in exactly the same format you chose for recording. Except... it does not.

Here's the catch: When you choose "1920x1080 30P", it's really an "1920x1080 29.97P" output.

When you KNOW this, all is good. If not, you'll be swaping cables, rebooting your system several times and scratching your head why the hell you don't get a picture with the Intensity.

That said, select "1920x1080 29.97P" on the Intensity as input-format and have fun!

Nikon D800, iPhoto for iPad and 36MP pictures

When Apple announced iPhoto for the iPad I was really excited. Although I use Aperture for my day-to-day editing, having an alternative on-the-go seemed nice. But then there was this "and you can edit pictures UP TO 19MP".

In your face! Damn it. Now that I couldn't use it, I wanted to :)

As there's (most of the time) no harm in trying things out, that's exactly what I did this morning.

I shot some pictures with the D800 as RAW, took out the camera connection kit and tried to import them.

After inserting the memorycard, started on the ipad and... showed my pictures. Ok, showing a thumbnail and importing a 42MB imagefile are two different things, so I hit "Import all". That's where I expected some sort of message like "You idiot! Do you think we just say "UP TO 19MP willy-nilly??"

But then... it just kept going and imported all the files. No warning, no insult, no nothing.

Next thing: I fired up iPhoto and after a brief second of "Updating library" my recently imported photos were there. And a quick look at the info panel showed this:

So, it looks like everything worked. But then, there's this odd crossed-out-RAW-icon I cannot explain. The file SEEMS to be ok, it SEEMS to be full resolution. When trying to export it though, it gets scaled down to approximately 12MP and only exports as JPEG. I don't know if this is the default-behaviour of iPhoto for iPad, but I will investigate this a little further.

Apple releases Aperture 2.1.2

Apple released a minor new version of Aperture 2 today.


"Printing of commercial products through Aperture has been improved. Apple has released Aperture 2.1.2, which "improves the printing quality of books, cards and calendars ordered through the Aperture printing service."

I downloaded it this morning and none of the annoying errors from the previous version are gone (namely the bug where Aperture doesn't start when you have a vault-backup on a mounted network-volume).

Get it via Software Update or download it here.