A.I looks bad on my HDTV

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Neil Middlemiss, Mar 7, 2002.

  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Any thoughts on this. I watched A.I on my Toshiba 65H81 HDTV last night, and the lighter colours on the screen had an enormous amount of digital grain(?).

    The whites especially looked bad, I have not seen this before?

    Can anyone suggest what the issue might be and how to fix it?

    Thank You

    Neil

    (A.I was WONDERFUL, BTW)
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Neil
    I also bought and watched AI on my Sony KP57HW40 and was struck by the same thing--lots of graininess especially in some bright scenes. It's on the disc, and not a malfunction of the set or dvd player. These HD-ready sets are capable of so much resolution that film grain and digital artifacts due to the transfer of the dvd are much more evident than on analog sets, especially those with smaller screens.
    Buy or rent the Godfather Trilogy and you'll see even more of this graininess.
    In that case it was intentional on the part of the director and cinematographer--they even say so on the commentary.
    The next few times you go to the theater, pay close attention and you'll probably notice that most films do show some graininess. Phantom Menace looked a bit grainy when I saw it in the theater, and sure enough it was also grainy on the dvd.
    Video based stuff, especially HD broadcasts of live sports or just about anything on HD-Net will not show this graininess as there's no film involved.
    The Toy Story movies were transferred directly to video from the digital elements, not from the film, so grain is practically non-existent. Final Fantasy was similarly transferred, but has some grain because that was the "look" the moviemakers wanted.
    For evidence that your gear is not to blame, try Fast and Furious--said to have had the film grain digitally reduced for the dvd transfer, or one of the Toy Story films. They will look very clean in comparison.
    I've been reading a lot of threads from new owners of HD-ready sets concerning graininess. Some is caused by misadjustment of the set, usually too high a sharpness setting.
    Best thing to do if you haven't already, is to get AVIA or VE and calibrate the set, a fairly easy setup needing only the user controls.
    Once this is done, any graininess you see on a dvd can be assumed to be a characteristic of the particular disc, not a malfunction of your gear.
    The fact that you can see this is an indication of the set being capable of superior resolution compared to the typical analog direct-view 27-32" set, not a malfunction.
     
  3. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Thanks!!!!
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Steve pretty much said it all. "Grain" is an inherent fact of celluloid life. If you're seeing it, you're experiencing something that's close to the commercial-cinema experience. The higher the resolution of your display, the closer you're coming to achieving cinematic reality. You're very fortunate, if you think about it. How many other people in your neighborhood have the technological capability to see what you are seeing?
     
  5. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    LOL

    "You're very fortunate, if you think about it. How many other people in your neighborhood have the technological capability to see what you are seeing?"

    Jack - that really sounds like you are trying to justify being able to see grain. LOL - I've never heard people say they LIKEED grain before :)
     
  6. Dylan Savage

    Dylan Savage Stunt Coordinator

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    I had to use this same argument to tell my fiancee why DBS and Cable look like crap on big screens. It's because the display is such high quality, you can see how bad the signal is. She says "so why buy a high quality display?" I had to quickly maneuver out of that one, let me tell you.
     
  7. Rod Melotte

    Rod Melotte Stunt Coordinator

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    LOL - I HOPE you guys know I'm just having fun!!!!
     
  8. Christopher Collins

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    Neil,

    I was not impressed with the transfer either. I watched it last night and to make sure it was the dvd that had issues, I slapped in 5th element, Apocolypse Now Redux, Fast and Furious and Aliens... they all looked great... AI was alone in its grain filled scenes.
     
  9. Brian Vaughan

    Brian Vaughan Stunt Coordinator

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    I think that this introduction of grain was intentional and based upon the theme of the movie having three distinct parts. I'm at work so I can't check right now, but I recall being really dissapointed by all the grain when I first started watching. By the middle of the film I didn't notice it at all. I don't believe that I got used to it, but in fact, the grain was gone on purpose because it was no longer part of the intended artistic impression of the film. Try, as I will when I get home, and put in the DVD and watch some scenes towards the end of the film and see if you notice any grain.

    Here are some of the production notes that lend to the idea that the film was supposed to look different at different times: ""The movie has three distinct looks," Kaminski explains. "In terms of lighting, the first act is sterile and a bit clinical. The second act is a bit of an action adventure, and the third act is extremely emotional and innovative in terms of drama."

    Of course, I could be totally wrong.

    Cheers, Brian
     
  10. Andrew_Ballew

    Andrew_Ballew Second Unit

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    Grain is an issue with me as well. Fox DVD's seem to be the worst for grain (or best, depending on how you look at it.)

    The Phantom Menace was to me an unimpressive viewing experience on DVD, due to among other things the prominent film grain. It seemed to be a notch worse in the grain department than anything else I own on DVD.

    Andrew Ballew
     
  11. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    I think the transfer on A.I. is excellent and accurately reflects the theatrical presentation. Janusz Kaminski uses that overall look often, and that's the way it should be seen on DVD. In fact, look at Kaminski's directorial debut LOST SOULS if you want to see a movie presented similarly. He also likes to use the skip-bleach process to bring out very silvery grainy contrast, and that's going to be noticeable on the transfer if it is done correctly (which I feel it has been).
     
  12. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    The last few movies I have seen at the theater (Training Day, Lord of the Rings, Collateral Damage) all had grain present - obviously more noticable the closer you are to the screen. A lot of seeing grain depends on whether or not you are looking for it. When I actually looked for it, I was surprised so much was present.
     
  13. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Thanks for the great responses. Some interesting ideas raised about the intentions of the filmmakers. I did notice that the grain issue lessened toward the middle of the movie but believed it was the result of the theme of that part of the movie (lacking the sterile feel of the first act). It did not hinder my appreciation of this fantastic film.

    thanks again.

    Neil
     
  14. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    This is more of a software discussion so I'm moving it to that forum.
     
  15. Alex Morrow

    Alex Morrow Stunt Coordinator

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    I think Jack had it right. I personally love film over video any day and seeing that grain in front of me gives the movie a sense of life. There's a few options for the source of the grain; the first source would be the film stock that the film was shot on, the second would be the interpositive stock, then the contact print and then a release print (depending on where in the food chain they took the transfer from). Maybe they grabbed a bad print along the way with excessive grain but if you can't see the grain in the movie anyways then you're not seeing the whole film and they're just softening the movie.
     
  16. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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  17. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  18. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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  19. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    There is a big difference between the accurate translation of natural film grain and the pixelated mess that results from poor filtering, DVNR and overcompression. I want my grain to look like grain, not random blockiness.
     
  20. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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