Lord of the Rings (regular 2 disc version) question :black bars and picture sharpness

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Carlos_E, Nov 12, 2002.

  1. Carlos_E

    Carlos_E Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello everyone:

    I recently borrowed from a friend the regular 2 disc set of Lord of the Rings. This movie continues to grow on me. Saw it once in the theater and while I liked it, I was not mesmerized like many others. However, the more times I see this DVD, the more I am falling under its spell.

    My questions concern the following:

    1) This movie is framed approximately 2:35 (2:40?). I have a conventional 4x3 Sony Vega television. On my set, the black bars on the top and bottom are each broken into two parts. For example, the upper black bar is broken into two shades with the upper part darker than the lower part. Same two shadings of the lower black bar.

    I don't own that many DVD's, but I will compare it with my Terminator 2 Ultimate edition DVD. That particular movie also has a similar frame of 2:35. It does not have these double bars top and bottom.

    Is this something that is happening with the newer movies? Or is it just Lord of the Rings? I prefer one shade of black only.


    2) Also, my Terminator 2 DVD is sharper in detail than Lord of the Rings. Lord of the Rings still is beautiful to look at. But Terminator 2 is sharper in detail. What does everyone else think?

    Now remember, I am using a Sony Vega 4x3 set and I don't have the 16x9 enhanced mode like the larger Sony Vega 4X3 sets. So probably Lord of the Rings regular edition will look better with the enhancement but then again so would Terminator 2 Ultimate edition.


    When I say Terminator 2 looks sharper, I mean you can see the pores of the actors on closeups. I can't really see that on Lord of the Rings. Also the picture seems softer.

    Digital Bits reports that the expanded edition of Lord of the Rings (4 disc sets) has more sharpness and clarity because the movie is not as compressed (entire movie is broken into two discs as opposed to 1 disc.

    All responses greatly appreciated.

    Many thanks,

    Carlos
     
  2. Adam_WM

    Adam_WM Screenwriter

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    Well I can answer #1... the two shades of the black bars are because the black bars closest to the movie are those that would appear on the edge of a 16x9 TV. Sometimes you can see the two "shades of black".
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    IMO, it's not a meaningful comparison. They're two entirely different films with two very different looks.
    M.
     
  4. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Terminator 2 UE has a fair amount of edge enhacement to it compared to the softer LOTR. A direct comparison of the 2 disk and 4 disk LOTR is in order (side note).
     
  5. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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  6. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    The initial two disc FOTR DVD release also see's a film of nearly 3hrs crammed onto a dual layer DVD. The extended edition, with the film itself now spread across two discs is significantly better if you know where to look.

    Dan
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  8. Chris Tedesco

    Chris Tedesco Second Unit

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    I've noticed this on a Perfect Storm about a year ago. I was annoyed about it then, but forgot about it until now. Crap.
     
  9. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    We have a Sony 36XBR800 4:3 direct-view television with a Panasonic RP82 DVD player. In a well-darkened room, if you get within two or three feet of the screen, you can just barely discern where the edge is between black of the no-raster area and the black of the black bars within the raster area. Just barely, at best, if you're specifically looking for it. At our normal viewing distance (about 80") or if there's any stray light you'll never see it. This is true of every 16:9 enhanced DVD I've ever examined on this setup, the Theatrical Edition of Fellowship is no better or worse than others.

    Not that it matters. I usually put flat-black mattes over the black bars for watching movies, anyway. But I had checked this out of curiosity when we first got the new TV and DVD player.
     
  10. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Everybody keeps mentioning the black level when it's most likely the white level that's set too high. Well, the two are interrelated.

    Simply put, though, you are overdriving your WEGA. Reduce the "contrast" (white level) and "brightness" (black level) until the "inner bars" merge seamlessly with the dead space atop and below the 16:9 window.
     
  11. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Supporting Actor

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    I think Jack is right. I don't have to slide the white level up very much from its normal setting in order to start seeing quite clearly where the raster area ends. Unfortunately, white level is a judgement call when doing a calibration using Avia or similar DVD.

    I think mine is usually a little on the hot side because when the picture pans across a field of stars there's some smearing, i.e. the stars leave little trails. Fortunately, I can move the white level up or down a couple of notches without having to make any changes to the other settings.
     
  12. Michael St. Clair

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    I've got to disagree with Jack.

    My 4:3 has been ISF'd (by David Abrams who works with Joe Kane) and on 90% of 2.35:1 movies you won't see the 'inner' black bars.

    However, on the 'Fellowship' DVD I bought yesterday, I can see 'inner' black bars.

    I strongly suspect that on a few discs, the 'black' of the black bars is not truly black.

    Tonite I'll double check just to make sure the set hasn't drifted recently.
     
  13. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Please report your findings, Michael. If this is an authoring issue, it would be interesting to find out why.
     
  14. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    And Michael, which version was it you bought "yesterday"? The original question is about the 2-disc set of the theatrical release. If your experiments are with the extended edition released this week, the results will be interesting, but may not be conclusive.

    M.
     
  15. Michael St. Clair

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    dupe
     
  16. Michael St. Clair

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    Michael,

    You are correct. I only have the 4-disc EE. I will still check it out.

    Perhaps somebody with the 2-disc and a 4:3 set can verify if the black bars are less black than on other 2.35:1 discs (of which we all likely have plenty).

    One could even use a PC and take some screen grabs and use a paint program to check out the color (RGB levels) of swatches of the black bars.
     
  17. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    I have a 4:3 TV, and here's my findings.

    I just bought the Extended cut, and there is clearly only one set of black bars. When I put in the 2-disc theatrical version the 2 distinct sets of black bars are immediately apparant (both on my TV and the living room TV).
    On all my other anamorphic 2.35:1 discs (Matrix, Die Hard, Mummy UE, Crouching Tiger, Blade, The Cell, Royal Tenenbaums, T2:UE, Phantom Menace, True Romance SE, Reservoir Dogs SE, Se7en, Memento SE, Fight Club, Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai and a few more) there is only one set of black bars. On every other 2.35:1 anamorphic title I have ever watched or rented, there is only one set of black bars.

    The only discs I have noticed this with is Pulp Fiction SE (which was discussed in another thread) and the LOTR:Theatrical cut. It may be my levels are slightly off, but the only 2 discs that display this problem are the ones mentioned. I'm convinced there is something wrong with the discs.
     
  18. Michael St. Clair

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    I stand corrected.
    I had accidently set my DVD player into 7.5 IRE ('lighter') than 0 IRE ('darker').
    Of course, the set was ISF'd to 0 IRE as is standard.
    So, the extended disc does have 'truly black' bars. My apologies.
    Thankfully Matt has the right discs to verify that the bars (and possibly the film itself) was mastered too light on the non-extended edition.
    Hmmm, maybe I should compare my R1 Pulp Fiction SE to the anamorphic Korean version... [​IMG]
     
  19. Carlos_E

    Carlos_E Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the responses guys. I do think the problem(Not that it is a big problem since you get used to it) is endemic to the Lord of the Rings regular 2 disc set. My television setting was exactly the same when I played Lord of the Rings and Terminator 2 Ultimate Edition one after the other. I did not see the double bars on T2. Nevertherless, Lord of the Rings rocks.

    Thanks again guys.

    Carlos
     

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