Light flickering problem with DVD's: is it my player?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Marx, Aug 5, 2002.

  1. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got the Sony NS715P Prog-Scan DVD player to go with my 53" 4:3 SONY HDTV, and I'm noticing something strange when playing DVD's. Sometimes I'm getting odd curves of light on the screen during certain bright scenes, or scenes where lightness suddenly enters a dark scene. The strangest thing of all...is that the light is often extending BEYOND the black bars of my widescreen movie, and onto the bottom of the screen. This happened with "Gladiator" last night, especially during that first battle scene at the start of the movie.

    My main question is this: is this a problem with the DVD player or with the DVD's? This isn't happening during normal viewing of digital cable, so it must have something to do with the DVD process. Also, how normal is this...or is it something I should be concerned about?
     
  2. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    I just got the Sony NS715P Prog-Scan DVD player to go with my 53" 4:3 SONY HDTV, and I'm noticing something strange when playing DVD's. Sometimes I'm getting odd curves of light on the screen during certain bright scenes, or scenes where lightness suddenly enters a dark scene. The strangest thing of all...is that the light is often extending BEYOND the black bars of my widescreen movie, and onto the bottom of the screen. This happened with "Gladiator" last night, especially during that first battle scene at the start of the movie.

    My main question is this: is this a problem with the DVD player or with the DVD's? This isn't happening during normal viewing of digital cable, so it must have something to do with the DVD process. Also, how normal is this...or is it something I should be concerned about?
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    If you're getting picture artifacts in the letter box area, I'd be worried.

    At first this sounds llike Macrovision, which is the overall lightening/darkening of the whole screen due to copy protection... but from your description, it sound less like overall brightness and more like single flash points (??)

    Could you describe what you're seeing a little more?

    -Vince
     
  4. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    This sounds like reflections inside your RPTV. You're probably experiencing this on all your sources, not just DVD, but perhaps due to DVD's darker blacks and letterbox bars it's more readiliy apparent, or you have the contrast set higher for your DVD input.

    Such reflections are common on rear projection sets. There are tweaks that will reduce this, if you're daring enough to open up your set. Some people will line the inside of the set with Duvetyne (a dark fabric) to reduce reflections.

    Calibrating your set with the Video Essentials or Avia DVDs, particularly to set the proper brightness and contrast levels, may reduce this effect. Such a calibration will also improve your picture and extend the life of your set.

    KJP
     
  5. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    Vince, the light I am seeing is not so much "flash points", but rather large light streaks that appear during the movie. They appear during the same scenes at the same time (I went back and played scenes again, and the lighting appears at the same moments), so the problem is not random by any means. Most bothersome of all, the light streaks often extend beyond the black bars in widescreen format, and onto the bottom of the television screen itself. I find this very distracting in certain scenes.

    Someone else wrote about getting my set calibrated. I think that will be a good thing to do. Does it sound like it MIGHT be a problem with the DVD player? Do you think a simple calibration of the set will fix it? I shudder to think of returning this massive tv.

    Thanks...
     
  6. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    I don't think it's the DVD player. It's your TV. It's not a defect per se, but just a characteristic of rear-projection TVs. Inside the set there are three lenses that project the image off a mirror and onto the screen. Some of that light reflects off the back of the screen and back into the cavity, and then is then reflected back onto the screen. Like you said, it's most visible in a dark scene with part of the screen bright (say, someone in a dark room with a flashlight), and these reflections can also "spill" into the dark letterbox bars.

    You probably don't notice it as much watching cable since the image is filling the screen and is usually pretty uniformly bright, masking the reflections.

    An easy and cheap solution for the letterbox bars is to construct mattes. Cut some pieces of cardboard, paint or cover them black, and velcro them to the front of your TV, covering the letterbox bars when you watch widescreen movies. This will make the unused areas totally black and give you a more movie-like experience. When you watch movies of different aspect ratios simply move the mattes, and when watching full-screen material (TV) remove them entirely.

    KJP
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Sounds more like internal light reflections within the RPTV's cabinet, Dave. This is a common occurrence that's remedied by covering the cabinet's interior with non-reflective material.
     
  8. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    Yikes...I am one of those people who's hesitant to go opening up the tv cabinet and fumbling around in there. The set is about 2 weeks old. Is this the sort of thing a technician could do?
     
  9. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    It's not unusual for an ISF tech to do that sort of thing, Dave. But given that you've had the set for only a couple of weeks, you don't want to do anything like opening the cabinet (the warranty, you know).
     
  10. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Although calibration w. Avia and building mattes are a good idea, I don't think this is his problem. I have a 4:3 set and haven't seen anything like the problem he describes (although I do have a very faint, uniform glow in the black bars which is to be expected).

    Dave,
    Could you post a drawing or screen shot of the issue?
     
  11. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    Greg...thanks for the interest. Don't yet have a digital camera, but the best I can describe it is:

    a) the faint glow in the black bar area you mention is also sometimes present. It's like a hazy light glow, especially during very dark scenes where some light is present (a la the first major fight scene in 'Gladiator'). Keep in mind that not all my movies have this problem. For example, I just played 'Almost Famous', and I don't see the problem hardly at all.

    b) Sometimes there is a light curve on certain parts of the screen (not the natural light which comes from lighting in a movie, or even a glow from the film itself). It is usually in the shape of a curve, and it sometimes stretches down past the black bars of the widescreen format. I played the U2 concert DVD last night, which takes up the entire screen, and the light curve is sometimes seen.

    I want to stress that these problems do NOT happen continuously throughout a movie. Maybe they occur about 10% of the time I watch a DVD. It's still annoying, but probably not enough for me to return the set (especially since the first one I got was completely defective). I'm tired of exchanging tv sets at BEST BUY. Hehehe. Perhaps I could get a service tech guy out to look at it, or calibrate the set.
     

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