HDTV - shows too dark and murky, inconsistent?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Patrick Sun, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    It seems to me that the nicely lit sitcoms are the shows that look the best in HDTV.

    Otherwise, shows like:

    Alias
    Angel
    CSI (clean and dark)
    Joan of Arcadia
    Karen Sisco (in some scenes)

    are pretty dark and obscure a lot of the detail otherwise apparent with HD resolution.

    Smallville seems too oversaturated.

    The Handler is okay in day scenes, somewhat better in the night/dark scenes

    Everwood looks a bit overly grainy (as does Alias)

    Without a Trace is usually too blue (by choice).

    One Tree Hill is a little too bland in color

    CSI: Miami is too red/orangish

    L.A. Dragnet is too purplish/bluish
     
  2. WadeB

    WadeB Stunt Coordinator

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    I’m fairly new to HD. I don’t watch any sitcoms (except Seinfeld reruns) so I can’t comment on those. Of the first 5 dramas you mention, I only watch 2 of them: Alias and Karen Sisco. I got to watch Alias for the first time in HD last night, and it reminded me a lot of the PQ of the DVD, very grainy and dark for the most part. The daytime overhead city flyovers are really sharp though.

    Sisco is quite a bit better by comparison. The thing that really stands out on this show is the sound. I get awesome dynamics and surround on this show. The music really stands out. Overall, these 2 shows are just dark though and that’s part of the mood I guess. Digital and dark just don’t seem to mix. My low light digital camera shots also look grainy and lack detail. Anyhow, Both Carla and Jennifer look great, and I much prefer them in HD over the washed out compressed image from Directv.

    I’ve been wanting to try Vegas in HD, and may give it a shot tonite since there is a break in WS action.

    The thing that really impresses in HD is of course sports. MNF has a great wow factor, and CBS’ football games are most impressive. In the recent LSU FLA game those purples and oranges were just jumping off the screen. If I wanted to show of my display, that’s what I would use.
     
  3. Garrett Adams

    Garrett Adams Supporting Actor

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  4. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Isn't a lot of the grainy stuff shot on film (vs. HD video)?

    //Ken
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Interesting Patrick. While I’ve not watched all of the shows you list in HD (or at all for that matter), I think that some of your observations go to style (I infer that you may suspect that as well).

    For example, I’m certain that the color balance in CSI: Miami and Without a Trace are deliberate choices. I expect that to be true of L.A. Dragnet as well. It is pretty clear that CSI is meant to be shot as we see it in HD. In fact, dark as it is, I think that you get more detail in HD than you do in SD. True there is more contrast in HD, but I see more in HD than SD in this show.

    I’ve not watched Angel in HD as we have been time-shifting it. I’ll give it a try this week and see if I think that more detail is missing in HD or SD.
     
  6. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    CBS usually does a better job on HD shows for now. I paid attention to CSI: Miami last night, and its HD performance/quality is actually pretty solid, with less grain than I remembered of older episodes.

    FOX's EDTV broadcasts tend to be oversaturated, but perhaps that's what they think their demographic wants (the bright vivid colors). Skin looked pretty good for EDTV, though some detail is lost in the dark scenes.

    Monday Night Football looked pretty good last night (and most nights - except when the Bears and Packers play - their uniform colors are simply ugly with pitted against one another).
     
  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Jay Leno's show looks pretty damn good. Unfortunately you have to watch Jay Leno in HD (AHHHH!!!), but the colors in the backdrop behind his desk are amazing.

    The US Open and Football games also look great, but I assume that's because of the sunlight?

    I did notice how some of the HBO movies are pretty dark. "Enough" (J-Lo) has been on quite a bit and it looks dark, as well as that movie "Real Women have Curves" (I think that's the title?)

    Maybe a lot has to do with the source material? They broadcast the local news (with the black bars on the sides) and the compression is horrible. [​IMG] It's better through regular cable.
     
  8. Michael Hughes

    Michael Hughes Second Unit

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    CSI is really stunning, I make time to watch that one live. I only can get CBS and Fox right now, and fox only broadscasts widescreen so they are still a bit grainy.
     
  9. Tim K

    Tim K Second Unit

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    Not being a viewer of many of these shows I cannot comment (no CBS-HD). However, I will say that most of the Law and Order shows and Alias are very dark. I think, though, that these shows in general are supposed to be dark. Much like Lew said, I believe that most of that is intentional. CSI Miami is really orange on my regular 27" TV.

    As for the clarity/detail...
    Someone will surely correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that NONE of them are shot in HD and are all upconverted instead hence the lack of detail. Sports and Jay Leno are the only things I know of that are currently shot with HD cameras.
     
  10. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    Alias may not look the best, but the 5.1 sound for that show blows me away. There's just way too well done. Did anybody notice the 5.1 Spanish (or whatever it was) music mix this week?

    Back to the point, Alias looks pretty good to me. There's a lot of subtle shadow work - very nice.

    Martin.
     
  11. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    Most of these seem to be stylistic choices, or atleast not limited to the HD presentations. Smallville, for instance, is way over saturated on the WB no matter which resolution you watch it in. The Season One DVDs are highly saturated as well, though not to the extremes of the television presentations.
     
  13. WayneG

    WayneG Stunt Coordinator

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  14. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I watched Angel in HD last night instead of time-shifting. My attempt to experiment by switching back and forth from HD to SD was thwarted by my wife, who wanted to know why I was messing with her show.

    In any case she thought that there was much more detail in the HD telecast than what we had seen previously. So do I, but I did not have a chance to directly compare.
     
  15. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Oh, there's detail, so Angel is so dad-gum dark, though. Not a visually appealing show to watch, detail and all.

    One of these days I'll post some so-so shots I've taken with my digital camera. The shots are darker than what it looks like in real life, but given the lighting situation, and the movement on the TV, it's tough to show the true video quality with the screen shots even with some manual control over shutter speed and aperture size.
     
  16. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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  18. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  19. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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  20. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    3 questions:

    - Why can HD video keep 2 things differing in distance in focus and film can't?
    - Isn't this all just dependent on the lens? In a film class one of the technical achievments brought up was how a new lens for film could keep more things in focus at the same time.
    - Will film EVER go 30fps or more? If not than I can see it getting phased out in several years. THat is the biggest disturbance to me when watching a movie; when the camera pans and the material looks exteremely choppy.
     

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