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The "Soap Opera Effect" on modern displays

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Dan Gill, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Dan Gill

    Dan Gill Stunt Coordinator

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    A few months back I picked up a Vizio sv470xvt (the 47" LCD) and have been thrilled with it, but when I first got it, my girlfriend and I were constantly saying that things looked "too real." I knew it had something to do with the incredible frame rate that modern LCDs have, but I wasn't 100% sure what was going on. I also found that after adjusting the color settings considerably, I was much better off.

    Anyway, browsing around another site today I came across a great explanation. The full article is here:
    http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/08/12/help-key-why-hd-video-looks-weird/ and a great excerpt:

    This overly smooth effect is called the "Soap Opera Effect" because the soap operas were often shot on cheaper film at 30 fps instead of 60.

    Anyway, I'm satisfied to know why I was so confused, but now my eyes are used to it and I just love that TV.
     
  2. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    That's not accurate, backwards actually. Soap operas are shot on *videotape* at 60 fields per second, rather than film which is 24 frames per second. Film is expensive, which is why the low frame rate, it's the lowest that was considered practical for smoothish motion + sound. Video is faster but cheaper. The interpolation basically makes the film look more like video.

    You can get rid of the effect by turning off the "smooth motion/real cinema" interpolation features.
     
  3. Dan Gill

    Dan Gill Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the correction - my mistake...was typing too fast.

    Yeah, the factory settings for the Vizio were absolutely horrendous, but I ended finding much better ones...while the exact numbers may not match for every TV, the ratios are potentially similar...lower backlight, lower sharpness, and low on the smooth motion as you mentioned. Thanks Stephen!

    Picture Mode: Movie

    Backlight: 18
    Brightness: 49
    Contrast: 52
    Color: 42
    Tint: 2
    Sharpness: 3

    Advanced Video
    Noise Reduction: strong
    Color enhancement: off
    Advanced Adaptive Luma: Off
    Enhanced Contrast Rato: off

    Color Temperature: Normal
    Red: 121
    Green: 128
    Blue: 118

    Smooth Motion Effect: low
    Real Cinema Mode: Precision
     
  4. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Dan,

    I suggest turning off *all* the "enhancements". These normally don't enhance anything but the marketing materials. Get a copy of Digital Video Essentials or AVIA II and use it to tune your TV. I think you will be much happier with the picture afterward (even if you like it now).
     
  5. Dan Gill

    Dan Gill Stunt Coordinator

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    There are quite a few versions on Amazon...just to be clear, is this the one you're suggesting?

    http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Video-Essentials-Basics-DVD

    [​IMG]
     
  6. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Yes, that is it (assuming you have Blu-Ray).
     
  7. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Screenwriter

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  8. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Todd,

    Nice catch. I looked at the cover and it looks the same as mine (except for the HD DVD part).

    Dan, make sure you get the version that works with your equipment. If you don't have Blu-Ray, I suggest AVIA II since it is newer.
     
  9. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    I second the recommendation for Avia II. I've used both it and DVE, and while I think DVE is an exellent product (it is what I normally use to calibrate friend's TVs and audio systems), Avia tends to be more "user friendly" for people who are not total HT tech-heads. Even my friend Amy, who has a digital audio studio at home and is very tech savvy, found DVE confusing and switched to Avia II to calibrate the plasma she bought about a month ago.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  10. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Interesting. I was in Best Buy awhile back and they had a high-def system set up playing clips from various films. The first thing that popped into my head was that they looked like "soap operas" and that if that was how high-def was going to look, I wanted no part of it. It made all the clips look really cheap, like they were on video instead of film.

    I should've known better than to assume that Best Buy had set up their display correctly.
     
  11. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Unfortunately, some people think all HD should look like Discovery HD Theater's shot-on-HD-video footage, and these motion sickness inducing interpolative algorithms and the washing of film grain on BD disks are the result. But at least we can turn the Cinemotionsickness stuff off; unfortunately, nothing can be done to restore the original 70mm film grain to washed out video game looking BD disks like Patton.
     
  12. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    On MOST sets. On many sets however these are now hardcoded in and not user defeatable.
     
  13. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    So which ones are these so I can avoid them?
     
  14. Dan Gill

    Dan Gill Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Nathan Eddy

    Nathan Eddy Second Unit

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    [Edit: post deleted, answered in the O.P.]
     
  16. Dan Gill

    Dan Gill Stunt Coordinator

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    Finally got the configuration disc and am hoping to run the diagnostics this evening...will report back with my results ASAP. Thanks again for the recommendation.
     
  17. Aminul

    Aminul Auditioning

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    I will make it short. Do this: Go to your tv's Picture option then look for Auto Motion and Turn it off.
     
  18. Pigumon

    Pigumon Auditioning

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    WOW. This has been bugging me for about as long as this thread has been going. To me it looks like when you play something in reverse, It just constantly looks unnatural, and now thanks to you, I know that IT IS! I was worried that when I upgrade from my 5 year old LCD I would no longer want to watch TV. I'll make sure to check that that horrible feature has an OFF switch. Thanks a lot! :D
     

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