An Interview with the Winner of the IET's Best Young Professional Award 2017

05 Sep 2017

This year the IET's Best Young Professional Award has been awarded to Jaclyn Pytlarz for her paper 'How Close is Close Enough? Specifying Colour Tolerances for HDR and WCG Displays'.

IBC interviews the winning author. 

Tell us a little about yourself and what you like to do outside of work.

Outside of work, I’m an outdoor enthusiast. About a year ago I started rock climbing. As of now, that’s my biggest sports passion and I go to the climbing gym at least twice per week. It’s a great meld of balance and strength and I’m working up to doing more outdoor climbs. Aside from climbing, I also really enjoy backpacking. There are many opportunities within driving distance, so every few weeks I try to get out into the back country. My favourite trip thus far has been hiking through the Grand Canyon. I also really enjoy team sports. I play both on a women’s and on a co-ed soccer team. I’m a fairly competitive person and I’ve played soccer as long as I can remember, so it’s nice to keep playing.

What do you find most rewarding about working in vision science?

I thoroughly enjoy the combination of science and entertainment. I love being able to take theories, experiment further, engineer a solution, and see a product that the average consumer will benefit from. This field is ever-evolving, so I have to stay current – there’s no end to my learning. Melding theory and practical application is the most difficult, but rewarding part of my job. I get to take an idea and make it a reality. It’s like magic – where no one knows how it’s done, just that it works and it is amazing.

Your paper with Elizabeth Pieri describes how you set about defining a calibration tolerance guideline for HDR/WCG displays.  How challenging was it to develop the methodology for your study?

Developing the methodology wasn’t extraordinarily challenging, but it was time consuming and required a lot of background research. We began by recreating well known colour difference experiments and adapting them with modern techniques. From there on it was a bit of trial and error. We ran a number of pilot studies to find the balance between time, reliability, and comfort. Every technique had its fair share of flaws. In the end, we settled on a technique that melded elements from previous well-known experiments with modern efficient techniques. It was a long and tedious planning process, but I’m happy with our end result.

Would there have been any advantage in combining projectors with more closely matched primaries?

The main advantage of having two projectors with more closely matched primaries (or a brighter projector/closer screen) would be to have wider-gamut colours. Having two sets of primaries offset as they were in this experiment brings in the chromaticity of the colours being tested. That being said, the colours that we were able to create were still very wide-gamut colours. So, yes, it would have been nice having projectors with matching primaries, but I don’t believe it would have improved the experiment significantly.

You briefly mention metamerism. What is this and what influence might it have had on your results?

Metamerism is a word used here to describe the phenomenon when two observers (when looking at the same screen) see colours differently. This could affect the colour differences tested during this experiment. The narrow primaries inherent in testing wide-gamut colours tend to have large differences compared with traditional projection. The effect of metamerism would have a direct influence on the error statistics. There was only slightly greater inter-observer variation than there was intra-observer variation. This suggests that metamerism didn’t play a large role in the collection of this data.

How relevant are your results for consumer applications, where commercial pressures may dictate supra-threshold tolerances?

Our results are extremely relevant for consumer applications. In fact – they are being used today in commercially available consumer calibration software. We’ve already received positive feedback as to the reliability of our new metric. When talking about very large differences – well beyond consumer calibration tolerances – then it is true that these results would likely not correlate with subjective appearance. However, within the consumer applications space, the supra-threshold tolerances are small enough that our results still correlate well with colour difference perception.

To-date most of your work has been concerned with HDR and WCG. What other areas of vision science in media technology interest you?

Very little of vision science doesn’t interest me, but one area I find particularly interesting is frame rate perception. It’s one of the most hotly debated topics in media technology and it’s one of the few topics where many people find technical advancement objectionable. There is obviously still a lot to study and learn. On more of a research front, light field and its application towards holographic display is extremely interesting as well – albeit much more theoretical.

Tell us about your personal preferences as a consumer of audio-visual media and as a user of display-based technologies.

I consume majority of my entertainment via OTT services as it gives me the best quality to cost ratio. I have fast enough internet available where online subscriptions make the most sense. I prefer to watch and listen to media in my home theatre set-up although I do occasionally watch shows on my laptop or tablet when traveling. As someone who works with images majority of my day, I’m particularly attuned to image artefacts. This can be quite frustrating when I’m trying to relax and watch a show, therefore I tend to be more critical than normal with my home viewing set-up.

Display technology is advancing very quickly.  How do you see domestic viewing changing over the next 20 years?

I agree that display technology is advancing very quickly, and I’m not certain how this will change domestic viewing. My guess is that viewing patterns won’t change much from where they are today, but the advancements will elevate all technology. People will still watch shows on a tablet, phone, computer and television, but the overall quality and experience that those devices give will significantly improve. Over the next 20 years imagery will continue to become more immersive and life-like. Screens will get larger, and the use may transition to include more interactivity. I’m excited to see what the future holds.

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