Mattes. Big Deal?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Wolters, Jan 10, 2002.

  1. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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    I have read a lot on here about mattes. I have also seen many brag about the difference it makes matting off the black or greay area on a 4:3 set. I decided to try this. My conclusion: It does make a difference. Big enough of a difference to have everyone look at you like you have lost your marbles? IMHO no. I do have black already on the background of my Toshiba 36" TV. The mattes were darker, but not worth all of the fuss. Just my opinion. [​IMG]
     
  2. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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    Im gonna guess that you dont watch in a darkened room. Put those mattes on, turn the lights off and then see what all the fuss is about,

    Mike
     
  3. David Baird

    David Baird Extra

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    The effort to make and use mattes is definitely one of the least expensive (less than $10 in my case) and worthwhile tweaks available. I agree that the improvement is most visible in a darkened room.
     
  4. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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    My HT room is in the basement. It is DARK, no windows. My only visible light may be an occasional fire in the fireplace. Don't get me wrong. I thought it made a difference. I just don't think it is great enough to compromise the looks of the TV set and I also don't think it is all that it is cracked up to be. I have read where these mattes were the talk of an HT meet. I don't see that being possible, unless everyone was pretty hard up for something to talk about. If given the choice of fiddling with placing the mattes on the TV before watching a DVD, or not I will most likely choose not most of the time. Maybe it is because my background on the TV is already black. (although I know not quite as dark as the mattes.)
     
  5. Jordan Jensen

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    I was going to make some nice mattes for my Mits due to the fact that the bars were buggin' me. Then, I had my set calibrated by Craig M and low and behold, with proper grayscale and black levels, you do not need the mattes! Also, you do not want to watch in a completely darkened room. Try some backlighting, the old eyeballs will deal with the whole HT experience much, much better.
     
  6. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    My problem with mattes is with the mounting. How would one mount mattes on a fixed screen? Also, will any plain black cardboard do?
     
  7. DavidMich

    DavidMich Stunt Coordinator

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    On the tv in my bedroom HT, I put some small velcro tabs on the sides of the set. You don't even notice them. Then, I just place the mattes where they need to be and press.

    This allows me to adjust them for different aspect ratios.
     
  8. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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    I have spent more time with the mattes. They are starting to grow on me. I admit it when I am wrong, and I think they can be a worth while pursuit.

    For a tube type television..... my mattes are very low tech and very cheap. Materials needed..... 2 Glad 33 gallons trash bags. Put in a DVD and then take one of the bags (unfold it) and place one edge of it firmly on the screen only covering the black areas. Take a pair of scissors, and with one blade lightly trace the contour of your screen frame onto the bag. Cut out the area, and there you go! The static holds them in place. You will need to make a couple different sets depending on the screen size. When not in use just pull them up and throw them on the top of the tv.
     
  9. Alf S

    Alf S Banned
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    When I heard everyone touting the new "wonder-tweak", I decided to try it out on my Toshiba 35" Directview TV.
    I too found out that it really made little to no difference for my viewing (in dark room). I put one black piece of poster board (cut to fit screen) on the top half and left the bottom as is. I just could find enough difference (between the test image)to warrant all the setting up time and the unsightly mounting stuff (stuck to the TV)needed to take them on and off.
    For some it may make all the difference in the world (especially those with big screens), but it didn't for me and now all I need to worry about is popping in the DVD, turning off the light and sitting back to enjoy the show. None of the "honey we can't watch the show until I get this matte lined up just right!" [​IMG]
    Alfer
     
  10. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    On my 32" JVC I watch most of my widscreen/anamorphic DVD's with tv set to anamorphic squeeze. This way the black lines above and below are just the screen and the picture is made with all the guns of the tube.

    Kevin
     
  11. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I made a set of mattes last year but ran into a problem with light reflecting from the back of the mattes across the plexi screen protector on my RPTV.
     
  12. Mike Knapp

    Mike Knapp Supporting Actor

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    I suppose it just depends on how picky about your image you are.

    There is no TV that will make real black. None, nada, zip, zilch. The black bars on your set cannot be made darker than the black in your image. The idea behind the mattes is to seperate the bars from the image so that all you see is image and dont percieve the bars as part of the image.

    I will say with confidence that if the mattes do not make a difference to you then you have done something wrong in your set-up.

    Also, the mattes need to be non-reflecting. If they reflect any light you will see them, thus nullifing thier purpose.

    Mike
     
  13. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Mike,

     
  14. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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  15. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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    I can see the difference with the mattes. It is a nicer image with a seemless blend between the black of the room and the screen. However I don't think I will put the mattes on the screen every time I put in a DVD. It just isn't practical. Around our house it is common to have to stop a movie for a phone call, crying kid, doorbell etc. Often my spouse has to leave the room for awhile because of one of these reasons. I stop the movie, turn on the lights (by remote)and start surfing the TV. This doesn't work with the mattes on.
    In conclusion, I can see putting on the mattes only if I were having a "special" viewing. One like where I know I am not going to get interupted etc. This doesn't happen very often at my place! [​IMG]
     
  16. Jerry Gracia

    Jerry Gracia Supporting Actor

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    I have an AVIA calibrated 61" RPTV that I routinely clean and maintanence...let me tell you one thing, I will never watch another movie in the dark without "mattes" again, EVER!

    It's no hassel at all. Once my copmany is settled, I start up the DVD, wait for a good scene that lights up the widescreen image, pause, then I place the mattes on.

    Heck, my better half even notices the difference! One time I caught her watching a movie by herself with the mattes on! She rarely sees differences I introduce her to in the world of home theater tweaks!

    Mike Knapp is correct, there is no TV out there that can hold absolute black, none. On top of that, during bright scenes, the bars light up a bit more.

    It's not an issue of ill-calibration, which is usually the first thing the naysayers use against us since they can't understand why we love'em.

    I love the mattes because they completely blend the widescreen image into the dark room eliminating the "TV". They show the viewer the widescreen image isolated in total blackness, not a 4:3 image with black bars around it.

    The mattes matter most in darker rooms. Mattes become just about useless in a room with lighting brighter than the light output of your TV.

    During the day, I don't use mattes.

    But hey, if you still enjoy your letterboxed DVD's without the mattes and/or won't give them a try, god bless you!

    I use sturdy black foam-core for mattes. They can be found at any arts and craft store.

    Try'em, you just might love'em!
     
  17. Gary_E

    Gary_E Second Unit

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    Mattes, two pieces of black foamboard with velcro on the edges, were the single most inexpensive and effective improvement in my HT. I use them everytime I watch a 2.35:1 movie on my ISF'd 16:9 Toshiba 40H80, 53" Sony 4:3 RPTV and an RCA squeezed 27" TV. If makes a HUGE difference when watching a DVD on each of those sets.
    The second best inexpensive tweak I ever did was using rubber doorstops under the center speaker to tilt it downward towards the listening area.
    Both tweaks came from HTF and both are winners.[​IMG]
    -Gary
     
  18. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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  19. Jerry Gracia

    Jerry Gracia Supporting Actor

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    Scott,
    Foamcore poster boards are just like regular poster board sheets, they are about the same size...except foamcore has a layer of hard foam sandwiched in-between two sheets of poster board. They come in various colors but ofcourse you'd want to get the black ones.
    As far as your concern about sticking velcro on your TV...well, for me it doesn't matter...I'd do anything to obtain the best home theater experience, even if it means putting velcro on my TV.
    Others have found different ways of attaching mattes onto their TV's. Velcro isn't the only way, but I find its the easiest way.
     
  20. Scott-C

    Scott-C Supporting Actor

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    I'm more interested in doing what is necessary to achieve the best home theater experience, but along the way I just figured if there is a way to do this without permanently affixing anything to the TV, I'd try it. This morning I was thinking about this and am wondering if anyone tried using blue-tak to affix the mattes? That's very removeable. My Mits has a plastic frame on either side of the screen to hold the protective screen in place, and I was thinking I could affix the mattes to the frame with Blue Tak. Thoughts?
     

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