"Grainy" picture

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by andy_brehm, Oct 16, 2001.

  1. andy_brehm

    andy_brehm Stunt Coordinator

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    What can be done to cure a grainy picture? Is this something that calibratoin would solve? All my colors, tint, contrast etc.. seem fine, but would fine tuning them take away the grainy appearence I get from my RP56? Now that some have mentioned a calibration dvd, I am hoping that it is something that I can cure without buying a new DVD player. From what everyone else says, the RP56 gives a great picture, Im just trying to achieve this.
    Just out of curosity, what player gives the best picture for around $250 or less?
     
  2. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    What DVD(s) are you playing that makes you think it's grainy?
    For example, if you play a PIXAR cartoon (Toy Story 1 or 2 or Bug's life) - if it looks grainy you've got a serious problem (crappy cables, maybe).
    You mentioned in another thread passing your video through the receiver (and getting same results even if not doing this), are you using component (NOT composite or S-video) connections?
     
  3. andy_brehm

    andy_brehm Stunt Coordinator

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    I am running component all the way through with Monster Video 2 cable. I have really noticed it on Heat, but I dont think that is a good dvd. On Road Trip, Saving Private Ryan, and Payback it shows up pretty good too. Basically all my DVDs seem to be a lot more "grainy" since I went from my RV65 to RP56.
    When I was using my RV65 I was running Monster Video 2 S-video cable, and when I got my RP56 I put the S-Video in the closet and ran component all around, hoping this would give me an even clearer picture. I may try hooking it up to my TV with the S video and see what that does. Hopefully, I can get a better out of the component cables.
    Im still debating whether or not I should pick up a Video essentials calibrating dvd. It would be nice if I could rent one, I might check with Family Video and another place in town that rents dvds to see if I could get lucky. If not, I noticed they are selling around $20 new on Ebay.
     
  4. andy_brehm

    andy_brehm Stunt Coordinator

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    A couple of things that I forgot to mention....
    When viewing the RP56 I notice that people's faces show this "grainy" texture, not very smooth at all. Also, the background is not really all that clear, and again "grainy" I was thinking about taking a picture to help you guys see what I am seeing, but I dont know if it would show up. I know I would have to crank the resolution on my cam up pretty high.
     
  5. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    How high is sharpness or detail turned up on your display? If you've never calibrated your display with a test disc, more likely than not, the sharpeness control is set too high and creating the graininess.
    ----- repost
    AVIA Calibration Tip #3 - Sharpness Pattern
    NTSC video carries most of its resolution in the luminance portion of the signal. Onto this is overlaid lower resolution color information to yield the final picture. By doing this, the designers of the NTSC system were able to provide an image which gave much of the perceived effect of having high resolution in both color and luminance but in a smaller amount of bandwidth.
    Television displays provide a sharpness or peaking control whose behavior is much akin to the treble control of an audio receiver. The control should be used to compensate for the attenuation of high frequency video information that blurs images horizontally. Unfortunately, this control is often misused or not designed in a way that accomplishes this goal. Users often keep sharpness set too high and suffer a picture that appears sharper to the naïve eye, but is actually filled with extraneous image artifacts. Sharpness is perhaps the most difficult control to teach people to set properly.
    There are often recommendations to simply turn sharpness all the way down, but that can be excessive. It's best to actually use a test pattern which points out how the sharpness control is altering the image. Then you can rationally determine optimum setting on your display. AVIA provides a dedicated Sharpness pattern which combines several tests of parameters important in determining optimal sharpness setting.
    1. A horizontal frequency sweep occupies the top of AVIA's sharpness pattern. This is a constant amplitude sweep that goes from low video frequency to high video frequency. If the video bandwidth of your display is lower in a portion of the video bandwidth, then that section of the sweep appears darker. Ideally, the brightness of the sweep is constant throughout its range. As you adjust sharpness up and down, look to see if any portion of the sweep goes up and down in brightness. That is the set of video frequencies the sharpness control of your display affects. If your display's sharpness control is well designed, all you need do is adjust to make the sweep as evenly bright as possible.
    2. Some people find it difficult to compare different sections of a sweep because the gradation of brightness is continuous from one section to another. The frequency bursts at the bottom of the chart provide discrete patches of video frequencies that can be compared. You'll probably find that the rightmost patch is slightly darker than the rest of the patches even on the best of displays. Just try to equalize the other patches.
    3. There are black vertical lines, diagonal lines, and a circle in the center of the AVIA sharpness pattern. These are needed because many sharpness controls not only alter frequency response but add ringing artifacts. Ringing is overshoot and undershoot of the video signal at abrupt luminance transitions. You see this as false outlines next to the actual black lines. If setting sharpness at the point which equalizes video bandwidth also yields visible ringing, you should decrease sharpness to the point at which the false outlining is just barely visible. Otherwise, you will be adding artifacts rather sharpening actual image detail.
    4. There are also vertical lines set against black and white backgrounds. These are also used to look for ringing, but because the luminance transitions are larger than going from a gray background to black, these serve as especially severe tests for ringing. These are primarily for testing display circuit design quality rather than for actually setting the sharpness control, because these are usually too severe a test for consumer grade displays. Setting sharpness low enough to avoid all outlining of black/white transitions will often yield an excessively blurred image on consumer grade displays.
    5. A vertical frequency sweep occupies the left side of the pattern. This is used in conjunction with the horizontal lines of the pattern to set vertical aperture (vertical sharpness) of video processors which have this control. As with the usual sharpness control, adjust to equalize video bandwidth and avoid false outlining.
    Once you have correctly set sharpness, it is very tempting to return to your previous excessively high setting. Don't. Instead, view the picture several days at the new, less artifact inducing setting. You will find that the old overly high setting yields an unnatural picture.
    Properly adjusting the sharpness control is only part of getting maximal image detail from your display. Keeping white level below the point of blooming and controlling room lighting should also be done. ....
    Guy Kuo www.ovationsw.com -- The Home of AVIA Guide to Home Theater
    [Edited last by Guy Kuo on October 17, 2001 at 12:51 AM]
     
  6. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

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    It's also worth mentioning that at least two of the films you mentioned --- "Saving Private Ryan" and "Payback" --- are supposed to have a grainy look to them. They were filmed that way deliberately. I'm pretty sure you'll see this with "Aliens" as well.
     
  7. Jeff

    Jeff Supporting Actor

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    Heat is definitely not a demo DVD either. It's one of the worst I've ever seen for a movie of it's caliber.
    Jeff
     
  8. andy_brehm

    andy_brehm Stunt Coordinator

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    I think Im probably going to pick up a copy of VE and see what that does. Before that though, I will try what you guys have suggested and hope that helps! Thanks for all the great info, I really appreciate it!
    Heat was kinda dissapointing to me. It was one of my first DVDs so I didnt really have anything to compare it to, but once my collection grew I saw how bad it really looked. They should put out a SE version or something with more features and a better picture.
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Andy, I didn't see any reference to what model TV you're using, but one thing occurred to me: Many displays have separate settings for their S-video and component inputs. These settings may not be readily apparent because they're often not meant to be user-adjustable (on Toshiba widescreen sets, for example, they're buried deep inside the service menus). But that might also be a reason why you noticed a major change when you went to component.
    In any case, the next step is to see what improvement can be obtained using one of the calibration discs.
    M.
     
  10. andy_brehm

    andy_brehm Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Panasonic PT-61HX40 if that helps any.....
     
  11. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    Andy - for starters, turn sharpness to the MINIMUM setting, and turn down contrast some. You might find it a bit dark at first, but it will be more accurate.
    And as someone else said, Saving Private Ryan is deliberately grainy.
    Try Toy Story or Bug's Life though.
     
  12. andy_brehm

    andy_brehm Stunt Coordinator

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    There isnt a contrast control, but there is a picture, which seems to do the same thing. I turned the sharpness and picture down to "0" then popped in "Matrix" to test it.
    Initially, I have the same problem that I have always had. I went to the government lobby scene. When his back is to you, the picture looks really cloudy and you can almost pick out white "fuzzies" Kinda like what you get when there is no signal. Anyway, still dissapointed, I decided to see how bad it would look in interlaced mode. To my surprise it actually made it look better! It was much more clear, better defintion, and it got rid of the cloudy appearence. Doing this though, darkened the picture and the actors skin had more of a "rosy" tint to it so Im not sure if it is replicating the picture correctly.
    Is this normal that a interlaced signal would give a better picture then a progressive signal? This whole issue is really baffling me. Your input is appreciated!
    Thanks
     
  13. Steve Schick

    Steve Schick Stunt Coordinator

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    Andy, If you plan on getting VE, wait until November when the ALL NEW Digital Video Essentials comes out.
    They have added some more elements for calibration and tweeking.
    click here for info on what the differences are
    and click here for Amazon's price
    Just my 2¢
     
  14. andy_brehm

    andy_brehm Stunt Coordinator

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    I know it would be beneficial to get both, but which would you choose between AVIA and the new Digital VE?
     

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