Black matte BELIEVER

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James Zos, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    I know most of you know about this already, but after reading several black matte threads I finally decided to give it a try...

    Why did I wait so long? This has to be the BEST tweak I've found so far. It definitely improves the picture image, and I know of no better proof than this: before she actually saw them in use, my girlfriend said the black mattes were a--and I quote--"boneheaded, retarded thing to do."

    A few nights later we were watching a movie and out of the blue, with NO prompting from me, she observed that they made a big improvement.

    If you knew HOW skeptical my girlfriend is about all things home theater, you'd know what a huge acknowledgement this is.

    Now I enjoy the rectangular image floating in the darkness so much I think I want to matte the readouts from my equipment...The darker the better, I say!
     
  2. Masood Ali

    Masood Ali Supporting Actor

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    What did you make the mattes out of, and what did you use to attach them?
     
  3. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    Following the advice of other posters here, I bought black foam board (I think that is what it is called) from a frame shop. It is a kind of cardboard that is flexible enough to fit across a slightly curved screen like mine, yet firm enough to keep a nice straight line. Any non-reflective black material that you can work with will do though, I just happened to go with the foam board...

    I should have paid the extra two dollars to have the salesperson cut it for me, because cutting it was the most difficult part, but I didn't know the exact dimensions I wanted and had to experiment a little first.

    I used a long metal ruler and a matte knife to cut two sets, one for for each widescreen ratio I use. I bought some velcro and cut four thin strips to stick on the sides of my TV and stuck the soft side of the velcro (as it is the most visible and therefore the ugliest) on the backs of the mattes. Now it is just a matter of lining them up with the image when I want to use them.

    One thing that I had not anticipated, is the image seems LARGER now, with all that dead, glowing space removed.

    As at least one other poster has said, I will NEVER go back to watching widescreen DVDs without the mattes. I feel like I have a new TV.
     
  4. Dan M

    Dan M Second Unit

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    I'm gonna have to try this

    I've been putting mattes off too long now

    I hear nothing but great things about them

    I'm getting my set calibrated this weekend by none other than the great Gregg Loewen.

    I think I'll top it off with mattes!!
     
  5. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    For so effective, simple, and cheap a display tweak, it is amazing how much resistance there is to even trying out mattes. The positive effect on the visual presentation is pretty startling, especially on 4:3 RPTV's. This is something that RPTV owners really should add to their system. I could have kicked myself for not trying it earlier when I did it to my RPTV. Are $30 and the risk of ridicule really enough to stop people from doing something that can really make a huge difference on widescreen material? Done right, it looks very professional and like a part of the set. Just do it. You won't be out much if you don't like it, but if you do like it (like so many of us who tried) you'll be enjoying a better picture.
     
  6. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    I should point out, in case this isn't clear, that I have an old, 27 inch Panasonic, and the screen isn't even really flat, but still this made a big improvement for me. So don't think you have to have an RPTV or HDTV for this to make a difference.

    I only wish there was something else as simple as this to improve my setup that I could quit putting off. No other tweak even comes close.
     
  7. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    There is, particularly with that size screen. Backlighting the wall behind your screen with a D65 lamp. The lamp should light only the wall behind the screen, not the screen itself. The Idealume is the correct color. If the brightness of the wall is made to be 5 to 10 percent the peak white of the display, you'll achieve greater perceived contrast and reduce eyestrain. You can check the backlighting intensity using the "Backlighting" pattern in AVIA, S&V's Home Theater Tune-up, or VE.
     
  8. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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  9. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    Every time I do a calibration I mention this simple tweek. If is funny...the looks I get. [​IMG]
    Gregg
     
  10. Jerry Gracia

    Jerry Gracia Supporting Actor

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    Ditto on all the matte praises!
    For such an inexpensive tweak that offers soo much improvement to the video performance of a home theater...it really boggles my mind how many folks simply do not want to try it out because of how weird it seems to put two pieces of black cardboard on their TV.
    Or worse...those who have tried mattes and see no difference! Are you guys blind! [​IMG]
    It's really simple...mattes do what no display device can do, calibrated or not...they eliminate the black bars, completely (in a dark room with little to no lighting).
    I guess it depends on how much of theater-like experience you want.
    I want as much as I can achieve!
     
  11. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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  12. SHAWN SZILEZY

    SHAWN SZILEZY Stunt Coordinator

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    Gregg,
    I believe I gave you that look. With some apprehension I made a set and now I can't watch without them. This is the most cost effective tweak you can make. The difference is night and day. Build a set and see for yourself. [​IMG]
     

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