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Brightness flicker on DVDs....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Kolacz, Jul 19, 2002.

  1. Dan Kolacz

    Dan Kolacz Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    I have noticed that on some DVDs there is a subtle, yet easily noticeable brightness flicker during some scenes.

    I was wondering if this is normal or if there is something wrong with my display or DVD player.

    When I pause the DVD, it does not exhibit the flicker during the scene in question, so it appears to be in the source. However, I do not know much about how TVs and DVD players interact with one another, so I don't know what to think.

    If it is in the source, why do they choose to do that? To save space or something?

    Anyways, I put in the recently released Hustler DVD and noticed it quite a bit. It is a very quickly oscillating brightness flicker, subtle, yet annoying in spots.

    I also noticed it in Artifical Intelligence. As a matter of fact, there are some scence in A.I where faces look very odd because of it. Faces seem to "blink"

    These are just a couple examples. Most DVDs I have seen seem to exhibit this flicker in one way or another.
     
  2. Brian McHale

    Brian McHale Supporting Actor

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    Brian McHale
    One possibility: if you run the output of a DVD player through a VCR, you can experience some sort of flickering due to the Macrovision copy protection. I've never actually seen it myself, but I've seen numerous incidents of this come up in the past.

    If you're running your signal through a VCR, try connecting it directly to the TV.
     
  3. Dan Kolacz

    Dan Kolacz Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Brian for the input, but this is not the case.

    I actually came across that when I first got my DVD player though. My old TV did not have S-video. I had it going though my VCR and the output was terrible. Not a flickering, but a slow rolling color and brightness change.
     
  4. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    Well, I have never run my DVD signal through my VCR but I have seen the same thing many times. I have seen it with my DVD player plugged into my big screen TV, as well as using my PC DVD-ROM and outputting to my TV via ATI AIW Radeon 7500.

    Is there an answer for why this happens when you connect the DVD player DIRECTLY to the TV?
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Dan,

    Maybe you can post the scene times where you're seeing the problem? I've seen similar artifacts on my friend's setup, but it turned out it was his TV.

    -Vince
     
  6. Jeff Kohn

    Jeff Kohn Supporting Actor

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    How subtle is the effect? Sometimes in darker scenes, a subtle "pulsing" of the brightness/black-level can be seen in some movies. This is an MPEG artifact called i-frame pulsing, and it has to do with the way MPEG is encoded. Some DVD players may make this artifact look worse than others, but the artifact is in the source material.
    But if what you're seeing is more drastic then it's probably something else. For instance if you were actually running afoul of macrovision protection, the effect would be very obvious.
     
  7. rick bie

    rick bie Stunt Coordinator

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    I have seen this on my 36" TV with cable input, is this a brightness or contrast issue, it seems only during lighter scenes?
     
  8. Dan Kolacz

    Dan Kolacz Stunt Coordinator

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    It's subtle enough that my girlfriend does not notice it unless I point it out to her.
     
  9. Eric Walsh

    Eric Walsh Stunt Coordinator

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    I experience this sometimes but the scene that sticks out in my mind the most is in Jerry Maguire when he and the girl are standing outside her place and he breaks the strap of her dress. It is a real dark yellow scene and it almost seems like the camera is attempting to adjust to the low light situation, hence it will get brighter after a while and then get darker again later if the camera angle changes. This I believe is the type of "flickering" we are talking about here. I was also wondering if there was a way to get rid of it like maybe turning down the brightness on the T.V. or something like that.

    -Eric
     
  10. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    For me, this has been an issue since day 1 of DVD (I got my first player in '97). It is most noticeble in light background scenes.

    I don't know the cause (sounds like Jeff does), but for a good comparison, look at Disney's Snow White. Jeff is also right, that if you have a macrovision issue with a VCR, you will have bigger problems then this.

    I read an article in S&V that said that Snow was mastered in such a way as to totally eliminate this problem, among other things.

    But, if you look at some of the supplemental material, it would appear to not have been processed. I can't give you an exact scene, but you will see that the pulsing is present in the supps, but not the actual film.

    A real good example of a title that has this problem in pades is Disney's Pocohontas. A terrible transfer if there every was one.

    BL
     
  11. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

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    I'd bet it's the way your TV holds (or doesn't hold) black level during light-output changes.

    My RCA F38310 has this problem sometimes.
     
  12. Dan Kolacz

    Dan Kolacz Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is one instance where the problem is REALLY noticeable.

    Jurassic Park DVD

    In chapter 14, 38-42 seconds into the chapter. Look at the left hand side of the screen at the background mountains.

    Many other DVD transfers have similar type flicker, but it is much more subtle than this. Sometimes it is in darks, sometimes it is in lights. Not sure why.
     
  13. Craig Sherman

    Craig Sherman Stunt Coordinator

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    I noticed this flicker during some dark scenes in Gosford Park. And this is on a Toshiba 2150 into a Samsung 27" with component input. 16x9 mode, fwiw.

    Not a terrible problem, but it's good to know it's just a fact of MPEG life.

    Back on my meds,

    CS
     
  14. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

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    I will check this out and post some specific scenes later after I get out of work, but from what I remember it won't take long to find a scene where this happens for others to test out.
     
  15. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    gate jitter possibly?
     
  16. David_N

    David_N Stunt Coordinator

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    This has also happened to me since day one. I find it extremely noticeable during dark scenes. The thing is I think it is my TV. It is a 62 inch Sony rear projection (not a widescreen set). I have my regular DVD player hooked to that (a Panasonic) and the Playstation 2 hooked to a smaller tube TV downstairs. I don't notice the flickering on the PS2.

    Some examples:
    X-Files seasons 1-4. Since most X-Files episodes are dark and shadowy it's very noticeable.
    Boogie Nights: When Dirk opens his garage door and the camera zooms into the dark(the flickering is noticeable), then reveals the car.
    Any white lettering on black background ending credits:All my DVD have a sort of flickering/pulsing on the black background.

    Maybe I should play around with some of my TV settings to fix this. But for some reason, this hasn't bothered me to the point of actually doing anything about it. Though is is sometimes distracting.
     
  17. Daniel L

    Daniel L Stunt Coordinator

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    It's macrovision...

    Daniel L
     
  18. PeteD

    PeteD Stunt Coordinator

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    I get something like this too, except its not related specifically to DVD.

    I find it really noticable during the scene in Empire (THX LD), when the walkers first start shooting at the rebels. In the top left corner of the screen where it's all white, I get this noticable snakey dark shadow.

    I have a Sony 35" Trinitron.

    It happens on certain DVD's too. I used to think that it was a by product of combining too many optical elements but I have since accepted that it's the TV itself. I'm not sure if its a design limitation or if there is something wrong with my TV.

    It's very subtle, people don't even notice it until point it out and then only half the time they see it. I'm sure though most of us here would see it right away.

    Can anyone else picture (no pun really intended) what i'm talking about?

    P.
     
  19. John Boutwell

    John Boutwell Stunt Coordinator

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    Samsung and Akai 27" flat screens have this problem. I went into the service menu and adjusted some setting and it got rid of it. you could try a search in the display forum and you might possibly find a fix for it.
     

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