Calibrate An Sdi Video Signal

Professional video editors use calibrated monitors when making crucial color and brightness adjustments to the animations and videos. When creating high-quality animations, an accurate brightness and color display on your editing monitor is essential to creating the desired effect on the viewer’s screen. Most high-resolution video monitors and test pattern generators use a Serial Digital Interface (SDI) to send video signals to and from the computer and display monitor. Correctly calibrating the signal ensures the color you see on the display monitor is the actual color used in the animation or video.


1. Connect the cable from the video monitor to the input port on the color bar or test pattern generator.

2. Power on the monitor and wait approximately 30 minutes for it to “warm up.” This allows the monitor to reach a normal operating temperature.

3. Power on the color bar or test pattern generator.

4. Press the “Input” or “Mode” selector button on the monitor if it has multiple input ports or options. Toggle the “Input” or “Mode” until the color bars or test patterns are visible on the display screen of the video monitor.

5. Locate three black bars of varying intensity in the bottom right hand corner of the monitor screen. The three bars are known as PLUGE (picture lineup generation equipment) and allow you to adjust the brightness and contrast of the monitor by determining the “absolute black” level.

6. Use the on-screen menu for the video monitor to adjust the “Chroma” level to absolute zero or the setting minimum. Some video monitor makers label “Chroma” as “Color” or “Saturation.”

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7. Use the on-screen menu function to adjust the brightness of the monitor until you are no longer able to distinguish between the two leftmost PLUGE bars and the one on the far right. At this point, the bar on the right should barely be visible. The two bars on the left should appear to be completely black.

8. Adjust the contrast on the monitor until the right PLUGE bar becomes bright, and then start to turn it back down. Continue to lower the contrast setting until the right bar is virtually black and indistinguishable from the two PLUGE bars on the left. This is the correct contrast setting for the video monitor.

9. Reset the “Chroma” setting to its midpoint or center value position. Note: “color only” menu options are usually only available on high-end professional video monitors.

10. Select the “Blue Only” menu option or button on the video monitor.

11. Adjust the brightness and contrast settings using the blue PLUGE bars just as you did with the black ones.

12. Perform brightness and contrast calibration for “grey only,” “green only” and “red only” mode.

13. Disconnect the color bar or test pattern generator. Reconnect the video monitor to the video editing or rendering computer.