Lucasfilm THX’s Optimode Makes HT System Calibration Easy

When serious home theater fans want their systems calibrated, they often have to call in highly paid experts. Even then, variations from one DVD to the next mean that even perfectly calibrated systems may not be perfect for all films.

Now there’s a cure. San Rafael, Ca-based Lucasfilm THX has announced a powerful new DVD software feature that allows home theatre systems to be optimized for individual DVD releases. Called THX Optimode, the software presents a series of tests that make it easy for consumers to fine-tune the audio and video performance of their home components. The Optimode tests offer standard technical procedures for adjusting all video monitor settings and sound system performance parameters---with reference signals that are equal to the final reference levels set during the mastering of each individual release. Instead of adhering to some theoretical standard, which may or may not be correct for any given film, each home theater system can be set up as closely as possible to the monitoring equipment used in the production of each DVD, letting movie lovers experience films as the makers intended.

“System performance can be tailored to each specific movie, a capability that consumers have never before been offered,” says a Lucasfilm press release. “As a result, the consumer sees the movie as the director intended. A filmmaker, for example, might shoot particular scenes or even an entire movie with a certain color cast to create a desired look or evoke a mood. THX Optimode, available only on THX certified titles, reassures the consumer that these effects are accurately rendered.”

"We first integrated these tests into the program material as a way to streamline our mastering process," explained Charles Busslinger, Sales and Operations Director, THX Digital Mastering Program. "Now, we've gone a step further by passing these capabilities along to the public, empowering consumers by allowing them to get the most out of each DVD release and their system." The first DVD release to offer THX Optimode was Twentieth Century Fox's Special Edition release of Fight Club on June 6. Other releases with the feature include T2 from Artisan and Repoman, Hell Raiser and Hell Raiser II, all from Anchor's Bay. Many more will follow, according to Lucasfilm.