Dark scenes and TV shows (DVD) on calibrated display

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Holadem, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    My pj (Infocus 4805, DLP) was calibrated with the original Video Essentials. I found that I didn't really have to deviate from it's original settings, it was pretty much calibrated out of the box.

    I haven't watched many movies on the setup yet, but what little I watched was fine wrt to dark scenes.

    TV shows on the other hand, like Firefly, are another story. It is often impossible to see any sort of details in dark scenes. Sometimes facial expressions completely dissapear, large sections of the screen are just black, without any details. This at night in a picth black room. I know the shadow details of this entry level projector is not the best, but I am thinkign something else is amiss.

    Is it possible that since TV shows are intended to be displayed on bright and high contrast CRTs, they do not follow the same ligthing standards as movies, which are intended to be projected in big dark rooms? Is the calibration we perform on our displays appropriate for television shows?

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  2. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    The calibration rules apply to all NTSC programming as long as it uses the current display system. The production monitors in the studios are all set up to this spec.

    Variations occur in the transmission/retransmission process resulting in some channels looking too bright and some too dark.

    When it comes to TV broadcasts ... just be prepared to vary the settings ... because if they don't play by the rules, then you can't either.

    Regards
     
  3. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Thanks Michael, but I would think those variations would be absent from DVDs, which was my question?

    I did read around a bit and I quite a few others have found the Firefly DVDs too dark many scenes. Perhaps the problem is limited to this particular show.

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  4. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    Although DVD is far more consistent than broadcast formats, there are still the odd transfers that don't follow the rules because someone was asleep at the wheel or they wanted to save money and not get it transferred properly.

    It wouldn't be the first time a transfer was not done right ... and it would not be the last time either.

    Speaking of which ... I am about to watch this series on DVD on my Benq 8700+ system which is fully pro calibrated and I will tell you if I find the material to be unusually dark.

    If it looks okay on my system ... then it would then just be your set up. Do you have a particular episode in mind?

    Regards
     
  5. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Well the 14th and last ep which I watched last night comes to mind but you're not there yet [​IMG].

    Really any dark scene on the ship as far as can remember. Some of the exterior shots of vessels in space as well.

    Awesome series BTW.

    I appreciate the help.

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  6. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    You're not going to make this easy on me are you?[​IMG]

    Regards
     
  7. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Oh, I am sorry, I meant ANY dark scene from the begining, including the pilot!

    I have seen no variation between episode, the pilot should be fine, especially the war scenes a the begining.

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  8. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Holadem

    I've hit this a few times on my X1. Specifically Buffy/Angel could be a real problem, rarely. It does seem like TV is a bigger problem. I have the brightness a notch or two too bright, as Halo 2 & Devil May Cry 3 get pretty tough to see on the projector at times.

    My wife and I are going to trade Firefly up for B5 Crusade soon, so I will be able to comment.
     
  9. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Just getting through #1 ... the daylight scenes are fine ... the ship scenes are fine ...

    the lit sequences of the war are fine ...

    Conclusion ... it looks the way it does because that is the way it is supposed to look. Dark ... artistic intent.

    That's what the blacker than black is all about ... you are not supposed to see it.

    Yes there is detail there ... but it falls into the BTB category and you are not supposed to see it.

    I thought the darkness helped the mood of the sequence quite a bit. It was uncomfomtable to watch ... and supposed to be.

    It is still possible that you have not set your brightness on the projector quite right. Use a 50% black/white pattern with the pluge bars.

    Regards
     
  10. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Thank you very much Michael. I am fairly confident the device is properly calibrated, on brightly lit outdoor scenes, the pj is the proverbial light canon. I will just leave it like that. Many have complained about the dark scenes, but if it's the artistic content, then so be it.

    Dave, I haven't played any games on the projector yet, but even on my bright, non calibrated CRT TV, Halo 2 was too dark at times.

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  11. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    If your DVD player has an enhanced black setting, turning this off may make shadow detail more visible. This raises the voltage level or digital level of the darkest passages at the DVD player output to spread over not so dark ranges of the gray scale as the TV is calibrated to.

    The enhanced black setting is not to let you see or not see material. Rather this setting is to better match the DVD player to your TV.

    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/blacker.htm
     

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