That makes total sense to me.If anyone is curious, this should be the answer.
I missed the detail that Michael is in Europe, which uses PAL. North America uses NTSC. What's important with that is black levels. NTSC has a "blacker than black" region, which PAL doesn't. In other words, with 8 bit digital video, which has levels from 0-255, NTSC black is at 16. Everything below 16, logically, is also black. In PAL, black is at 0. After taking a direct, digital capture from Pan's Labyrinth and manipulating it in Photoshop, I found there was blocking, but it's entirely in the 0-15 "blacker than black" range. So, it's invisible on a properly calibrated for NTSC monitor. There was also ZERO film image in the 0-15 area. There were only blocks. No grain, no details at all.
I just think it's funny that such obvious and significant issues like this seem to be out of the realm of knowledge of even "experts", including those who critique things like this for a living. I don't remotely pretend to be educated about video, but I know just a little bit. This morning I was thinking about this, having closely analyzed images in Photoshop, and the phrase "blacker than black" popped into my mind. I had to research it, because it was only something I was vaguely aware of. What really jumped out to me is when I discovered that there is no "blacker than black" in PAL. So any TV calibrated for one will look really bad with a source that's in the other. Clearly this "problem" doesn't exist with PAL releases of the same titles. So, I learned something today. It's amusing that so many "experts" aren't aware of the same stuff. Not surprising though. I run into it daily with photography, which I genuinely do know, and the many clueless "experts" these days.That makes total sense to me.
You encouraged me to look into this further. I'm trying to figure this out, because I have limited knowledge in this area. I think you are correct, and that with digital video, both NTSC and PAL have black set at 16. The point is that Pan's Labyrinth has some kind of noise around 9-10, so a properly calibrated monitor shouldn't show it. So, it still sounds like improper calibration to me. BTW, I looked at some other video from other studios, and none of them had artifacts in this area. The one thing I am quite certain about is that I was able to isolate the noise (blocking) in a still from Pan's Labyrinth, and that it's entirely within the "blacker than black" area, with a few levels between it and correct black.But the specs for HD video are the same in Europe and North America, aren't they? So any PAL versus NTSC differences wouldn't apply to 1080/24 video.
It's all very confusing. Analog PAL had black at 0, but apparently digital PAL has it at 16, but I'm not certain if that is only HD. NTSC in Japan had it at 16 as well, but it was changed to 0 in, I think, 1985. I recall that most TVs in Europe are capable of displaying both PAL and NTSC, so I don't know how that plays into everything. I wish someone with reliable knowledge would chime up.Could be maybe be a side effect of a TV in a PAL region needing to have settings that work with both HD and PAL? That some calibration that’s ideal for the PAL signal is still sticking around when it’s displaying HD?
Indeed, there is absolutely no difference between Blu-ray video specs for European or North American display devices. Any mention of Europe vs. US, or PAL vs. NTSC does not make sense here, I'm afraid.But the specs for HD video are the same in Europe and North America, aren't they? So any PAL versus NTSC differences wouldn't apply to 1080/24 video.
Indeed, this is correct. Both player (or player software/graphics output on an HTPC) and output device (e.g. OLED TV) should be set to the "Limited setting" (range 16-235). If there is any mismatch, black and white level calibration will be off, and blacks will display as gray.One extensive article I read commented that higher end current TVs tend to have two options of where black is set. It says they tend to call them "Extended" and "Limited" and that people incorrectly set it to "Extended " because why would you set it to "Limited" if you didn't know better.
That would indeed be great, since, as I said above, compression is the art of removing details, while making this loss not visible to a human observer. I find it funny, though, that a few Criterion discs, such as Pan's Labyrinth and Blue Velvet, are among the only (or very few) discs where this particular extreme macroblocking effect in the dark color range can be observed, on certain types of output devices, apparently.The bottom line is, I find it absolutely impossible to believe Criterion would make such an obvious mistake as to master the noise into the proper range of the image. I have determined it is there, but it is definitely outside the range of what is supposed to be visible.
I already corrected myself regarding that detail. I am genuinely trying to figure this out, and I have already admitted that video is not something I know a lot about. So I'm trying to learn very quickly. Plus, what I originally stated wasn't outright incorrect, it used to be correct, but it no longer is. There's a difference. We live in an age when so many people state a conclusion, and then double and triple down on it when challenged, rather than have the willingness to accept new information and knowledge. When this detail was questioned, I immediately looked into it and immediately admitted that what I said did not appear to still be true, though it used to. I'd also like to point out that I have already put a lot more effort into exploring your complaints than you have done yourself. By your own admission, I have found a detail you were unaware of and need to explore more, despite your apparent infinite and unassailable wisdom. Pardon my sarcasm there. When I couldn't find what you claimed, I kept looking, then when I still couldn't find it, I kept looking some more.Indeed, there is absolutely no difference between Blu-ray video specs for European or North American display devices. Any mention of Europe vs. US, or PAL vs. NTSC does not make sense here, I'm afraid.
There's a lot of "US vs. Europe" and "NTSC vs. PAL" mentioned earlier that that is just not applicable to Blu-ray sources (but might have been applicable in the DVD era). I wasn't trying to imply anything else.It seems like most of the comments you just quoted weren't incorrect speculation.
I wasn't necessarily unaware of this detail, but was and am quite confident that I have a correctly set up Blu-ray viewing chain w.r.t. all settings that could influence this, and I have very much double checked these.I'd also like to point out that I have already put a lot more effort into exploring your complaints than you have done yourself. By your own admission, I have found a detail you were unaware of and need to explore more, despite your apparent infinite and unassailable wisdom.
It's good that we're not talking on the basis of "different people see different things, so you'll have to agree to disagree" anymore, as suggested by another participant earlier. That would be getting into voodoo territory, not a technical exchange. And I'm very happy that it's now also clear that severe artifacts are in fact on the disc, no matter the range, something that was heavily disputed earlier.As far as the range of the artifacts, which I need to state again, I put quite a bit of effort into finding, even though I doubted their existence, appear to be quite narrowly limited to the 8-11 range, and maybe less than that.
Sounds good. Trust me, I am too.I am not "right fighting" here, which should be abundantly clear. I am genuinely trying to find what I can about what's going on and I have been abundantly willing to accept new information when I'm made aware of it. Please forgive me if I've had moments when there were details I was unaware of.