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Here's How Movies Look On A PLASMA: - SCREEN SHOTS !!!

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#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Rich H

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Posted March 14 2003 - 09:16 AM

Hi folks,

A while back I started a thread asking for people to post screen-shots from their home theater set-up, and people posted some very cool pictures. Despite the obvious problems and caveats that come from trying to show a display's image quality through a photograph, I find screen-shots strangely compelling. While the full quality of image is compromised, the general essence of the person's display tends to make it's way through the photograph: RPTV screen-shots look like RPTV images, Front Projection and CRT images look like themselves also. It's not all that hard to imagine sitting in front of someone's display from some screen-shots.

Plasma displays have been woefully under-represented, as it's very hard to find plasma screen shots. I decided to make a screen shot gallery of 14 different films being shown on my Panasonic Plasma. The motivation was twofold:

1. For the fun of it! To see how much of the image quality I could capture in the photographs.

2. To help show that the latest plasmas DO produce wonderful picture quality. I'm constantly scratching my head reading (seemingly mis-informed) statements that plasmas produce sub-par images, and are not for the "serious" video enthusiast. I'm a very "serious" enthusiast about PQ, and I bought a plasma simply because I felt it provided the most life-like, dimensional picture I could find. PQ evaluations are ultimately subjective, so I'm definitely not saying "Plasma is best," and the pictures here are unlikely to "convert" the skeptics. But at the very least I hope one can see that the plasma image must have been pretty good to begin with before it became degraded through the photographing process (for instance, high-lights and shadow detail that are visible on the plasma get lost in the photos). Check out the smooth reproduction of actor's skin in, for instance, the Spider Man gallery. I find the images I get from my plasma look less artificial, less like "pixels" or a projected image, and more like I'm viewing an actor's real skin - like I could reach into the screen and pinch someone's cheek.

The links at the bottom of the page lead to two Plasma screen-shot galleries:

Films in the gallery are:

Spider Man
Jurassic Park 3
Sinbad Movies (Vintage Harryhausen)
Monsters Inc.
Attack Of The Clones
North By Northwest
The Fifth Element
Wizard Of Oz
Toy Story 2
Chicken Run
Willy Wonka
Men In Black 2

The images were optimized for 1024 x 780 resolution. Some are large, so if you are using Internet Explorer I advise pressing your keyboard's "F11" button to give your browser more screen real estate. IMPORTANT: When you click on a thumbnail to expand it, make sure the expanded image comes up with "ORIGINAL SIZE" selected (you'll see the image size options beneath each expanded screen shot). You can expand an image and then simply press "NEXT" on the upper left hand of screen to view the successive full sized images.



- I advise you start with this gallery, as it gives sample images from each film. If you want to see a lot more images from a certain film, proceed to:


Home Page For Both Galleries:


>Whew< (Wipes sweat off brow.) Enjoy.

Rich H.

#2 of 22 OFFLINE   Jason_Els



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Posted March 14 2003 - 12:16 PM

Many thanks Rich! Plasmas are a treat to watch and I'm pleasantly surprised by how good your shots turned out. Gives me something to think about. Hmmmmmm
For beauty is only a step removed from a burning terror we barely sustain, and we worship it for the graceful sublimity with which it disdains to consume us. - Rainer Maria Rilke

My DVD Collection

#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Rich H

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Posted March 14 2003 - 01:21 PM

Jason, My pleasure. In regards to plasmas, stores tend to set them up as badly as they do all other types of displays. Unfortunately, plasmas really need to be set up "right" to display what they are capable of. The Panasonic plasmas (like my 4UY model) in particular actually have quite satisfying black levels, so I enjoy all the glories of the plasma picture, without regretting the loss of my CRT. BTW: It looks like the gallery is being viewed by quite a few people. I'd certainly appreciate any feedback, positive or negative. (Plus, I'd enjoy seeing other people's screen shots). Thanks. Rich H.

#4 of 22 OFFLINE   Leif Wall

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Posted March 14 2003 - 01:44 PM

I'll throw up some pics of my 53" Panny rptv. Tweaked by myself. What's the best way to take pics? Should I pause the movie, then take a picture? Lights on or off, flash, etc...?

#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Rich H

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Posted March 14 2003 - 01:51 PM

Leif, Great, I'd love to see your pics! Yes, pause the DVD movie on whatever frame you think looks nice. Don't use a flash. Make sure to take the picture with the lights out, as any light contaminating the screen will wash it out. USE A TRIPOD !!! Also, make sure you use a long enough exposure so you don't pick up the scanning pattern of your CRT. Try below 1/30 second. I don't know if this is only an issue with plasmas, but I found the distance between camera and display to be critical. If I was too close the pictures would display picture anomolies (weird geometric patterns, for instance). Experiment by placing the camera were you view from, not too close to the screen. You may have to zoom it in just a tiny bit, as I did. Then, if possible view the picture "original size" in whatever photo software you have, and just crop the picture (that's what I did). Best of luck. That's a nice display you've got there. Rich H.

#6 of 22 OFFLINE   Vincent_S


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Posted March 14 2003 - 02:07 PM

Awesome! That Goblin fire one is very cool!

#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Ottis Fletcher

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Posted March 14 2003 - 03:01 PM

I heard some first gen plasmas had problems with black levels, but those shots look spectacular. Very nice Posted Image

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Rich H

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Posted March 15 2003 - 08:31 AM

Ottis, Some still do not render deep blacks. However, plasmas based on the Panasonic glass do have deep blacks, like you see in my screen shots (this includes all Panasonic models, the 50" Fujitsu plasmas, Bang and Olufsen and, I think, Toshiba might use the Panny glass too). I personally value deep black levels and would not buy a display that could not provide them. Rich H.

#9 of 22 OFFLINE   Deepak Shenoy

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Posted March 16 2003 - 01:27 AM

Rich, The screen-shots are very nice indeed. Do you watch any B&W material on your plasma, and if so, are you happy with the rendering of B&W images ?

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Rich H

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Posted March 16 2003 - 02:53 AM

Deepak Shenoy, Yes I watch a significant number of black and white movies, as I love old flicks (especially old horror and sci-fi movies). These films look STUNNING on my plasma. These are films I've seen my whole life, projected and on countless CRTs. I've never seen the films come so alive, look as rich and textured as they do on the plasma. Black objects, say a phone, pop out of the screen like you can reach in a grab them yourself. Rich H.

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   Parker Clack

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Posted March 16 2003 - 05:44 AM

Rich: Which model Panasonic are you using? How much did it set you back? Parker

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#12 of 22 OFFLINE   TonyD


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Posted March 16 2003 - 07:06 AM

rich the screen shots look great. i looked at the spider-man shots, i never noticed that there are so many head shots in this movie. are there more action shots you could post instaed of so many heads shots?

#13 of 22 OFFLINE   Rich H

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Posted March 16 2003 - 08:00 AM

Parker Clack,

I have the Panasonic TH-42PWD4UY 42" plasma. This is the model preceding the current TH-42PWD5UY - essentially the same display. Here's the TH-42PWD5UY, which shares the same specs:


My 4UY plasma is 852 x 480 pixel resolution. Many have found it puts out one of the best DVD images you can buy, especially in the plasma market. It's been surmised this is because this plasma's resolution so closely matches DVD's native resolution that very little scaling is needed of the image at all. Combined with the nice blacks and solid color performance, it makes for a particularly "solid," smooth, artifact-free image. I find the image more artifact-free than any I've seen on CRTs (including the Loewes).


The screen galleries have many close-ups because those translated best for screen-shots. It's very difficult to photograph a plasma because unless you are at the exactly right distance, really strange geometric distortions occur in the screen shot. Therefore there was quite a distance from camera to plasma, which softened the image somewhat.
This meant really wide-shots in films were not captured as accurately - they'd look super-sharp on the plasma, but grainier and blurry on the screen-shot.

I do have more distant shots from Spiderman that look nice, but my gallery is set for now (it took a while and I'm taking a break).

However, if you go through the various galleries, you'll find quite a few wide shots with more scenery etc. (Look in the Attack Of The Clones, Sinbad, North By Northwest, Jurassic Park etc.).


Rich H.

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   Scott Wong

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Posted March 16 2003 - 06:04 PM

Rich: The amount of work you've done for your gallery is phenomenal. I really appreciate that idea. It's cool being able to see all of those screen shots! Did you order from Plasma Depot? How was their customer service? Any problems or was everything really cool? Thanks again for the great images. Scott.

#15 of 22 OFFLINE   Rich H

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Posted March 17 2003 - 01:13 AM

Thank you Scott. Yeah, it was actually a long haul doing those silly shots...I didn't know what I was getting myself into.:b No, I did not buy on-line, I bought locally from a supplier. The great on-line prices are from the US and I'm in Canada, so I didn't want to chance such an expensive cross-border purchase that wouldn't have a Canadian warranty. Members of the plasma forum over at AVSforum.com rave about one US particular dealer, who many buy from (I think her products are on-line too). If anyone's interested I can provide a little more info. Thanks again for the encouraging comments. RIch H.

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   Christian_R



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Posted May 30 2003 - 08:03 AM

Hi Rich!

I just purchased the TH-42PWD5UY this week and will be setting it up this weekend. You've only added to the excitement. At first, I was somewhat disappointed that the native resolution is not 1080i or 720p but from what I hear, IT DOESN'T MATTER with the Pannys! I have read nothing but fantastic reviews thus far and your gallery showed me they look great.

I must admit that I did take a chance with the cross-boarder purchase. I too live in Toronto but saved over $3000 CDN by buying in the US. It is a risk I admit, if something goes wrong, but at least Panasonic Canada does support the model for components, such as the new DVI card.

Anyways, great pictures my man.
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#17 of 22 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted May 30 2003 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for the pic's! And answering a post I did on another forum. Which read; Does a 480p plasma outperform a >700p plasma, for 480p DVD? You answered yes, and I can't argue from your shots! Great blacks, as well. Enjoy!
Movies are: "The Greatest Artform".
HD should be for EVERYONE!

#18 of 22 OFFLINE   Phil Levy

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Posted May 30 2003 - 11:41 AM

Another Torontonian here, I'm in the market for a plasma and was wondering where you two purchased yours.(And how much they cost you, if you don't mind divulging that info) Thanks a lot! Phil

#19 of 22 OFFLINE   Christian_R



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Posted June 02 2003 - 01:57 AM

Hi Phil. I don't mind. I paid $3200 USD plus shipping through Bestbuyplasma.com. It arrived within 2 weeks. The currency exchange right now is quite favourable. Even after the exchange and shipping, I saved at least $3500 CDN compared to buying it at Futureshop. The warranty in the US is one year anyways. It's the risk I take because I don't think the warranty covers Canada. Chris

#20 of 22 OFFLINE   Wes



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Posted June 02 2003 - 10:37 PM

I must admit I have never seen a Plasma look like your screen shots. Guess I have not looked at the Panny! Wow that looks great, when will they make a 110" so I can retire my CRT PJ? Wes
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