SIGNS - About the "correct" settings on your display device . . .

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Sam R. Aucoin, Feb 9, 2003.

  1. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

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    There is what some people may consider a "spoiler" about a particular scene, so please be aware as you read further . . .

    Last week, I purchased this movie on DVD and we all (wife and kids) watched it one Saturday night. Pretty darned good movie.

    But one scene particularly caught our attention: the one where Mel Gibson's character is telling his daughter that there are no monsters outside of her bedroom window when suddenly, he bolts upright from the bed as though he saw something standing atop the nearby barn. We reversed and reversed the scene and none of us could see what he supposedly saw.

    We then went on to the deleted scenes section and saw that the scene in the movie was reshot. The alien in the deleted scene was clearly visible, and we all assumed that the point of reshooting the scene was to not make the alien so apparent.

    For several years, my wife has complained that our TV is "too dark" - a comment many of you are probably familiar with after you calibrate your TV using one of the calibration discs (I used AVIA and Video Essentials). I told her (as I was told on these boards) that it was "supposed to be darker" and that after a while, you would be able to see "more detail" and "better resolution". Keep in mind that she is also in the category of people who does not understand why an explosion is louder in the same movie than a normal conversation (uh, because explosions are SUPPOSED to be loud - but I digress).

    Well, yesterday, while sleeping late after pulling an almost all-nighter working, the rest of my family again watched SIGNS. This time, one of my kids (accidentally) had changed the picture mode of the TV (a Sony WEGA 36XBR250) to "standard" instead of "movie". This time, in the same scene as I described above, they clearly saw the alien - and made sure I knew by running into my room and shouting "it's there - it's there". I went into the room and saw for myself that the alien was, indeed, there. In fact, as I thumbed through the picture mode settings (going from standard, to sports, to vivid), the alien's presence became more and more apparent.

    Now here is my question: Does this mean that my "movie" settings are too low (e.g., contrast, picture, brightness set too low), or does this scene "prove" that a properly calibrated set accurately "hid" what was supposed to be almost completely hidden (having seen the alien in the other settings, I can now faintly detect him in the movie setting)?

    Thanks for any responses.

    Regards,

    Sam
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Sam,
    Have you rechecked your brightness setting in "Movie" mode lately?

    I remember that particular scene quite well--on first viewing on my AVIA calibrated rptv, the alien on the roof was visible, but it was one of those "did I just see what I thought I saw?" things, which after watching the special features appears to have been the original intent of the director.

    I took the disc over to a friend's house and in the same scene the alien was almost totally invisible, even though I was watching for it. My friend's tv is not calibrated, but I adjust it from time to time just by eye. I turned up her brightness just a tad and reran the scene and we both saw the alien.

    If you haven't already done so you might want to put your calibration disc back in and see if your set's maybe drifted a bit off your old calibration setting.

    If you're using AVIA, it might be best to use the "black bars with half gray" pattern for adjusting brightness rather than the bars with half white.
     
  3. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    I find that calibrating brightness with AVIA makes it a pinch too dark. I raised my brightness by 2 notches from what AVIA's test pattern gave.
     
  4. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

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    I've found that Avia's suggest method works great for TV's connected via S-video/composite to a DVD player outputting 7.5 IRE as the lowest black (by setting it so that the left bar is invisible and the right one barely visible). However, for a DVD player hooked up via component (which normally uses 0 IRE as the lowest black), I've found that you have to turn brightness up to where you can delineate both bars clearly in the black bars half-gray pattern. SIGNS is an excellent example, since that scene is so subtle. It was that way when I saw it in the theater though, so it was nice to see that they did a good job of it on DVD.
     
  5. Dick

    Dick Lead Actor
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    Well, the damn thing doesn't play correctly AT ALL on the Apex 600A. The widescreen image comes through as a squeezed 1.33:1. That's it. Gotta buy a new player.
     
  6. Rocky F

    Rocky F Second Unit

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    Works fine on my 600A, but we couldn't see the alien either. We rewound it and still couldn't see it, but I haven't watched the deleted scenes yet.
     
  7. jonathan_little

    jonathan_little Stunt Coordinator

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    While watching the VHS version on my super-duper Walmart special 13" Sanyo set, I could see the alien on the roof. Then again, I haven't adjusted this amazing display to meet AVIA specifications, so I must be seeing stuff that I'm not supposed to see. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jeremy Allin

    Jeremy Allin Supporting Actor

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  9. JohnnyHK

    JohnnyHK Stunt Coordinator

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    Ahhh...so that's what he saw on the roof that got him so excited. Guess my Black Level is too low because the wife and I couldn't see what he was reacting to. Now that I think about it, I think I already boosted my black level up a couple notches since then while watching Gosford Park. Thanks for the info.
     
  10. Andy Kim

    Andy Kim Second Unit

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    The "Movie" setting on the Wega is a factory preset and does not necessarily mean this is the best option for movies in your house. Its a general movie setting.
    I calibrated my TV using the "Standard" setting and only use this mode. I never use any other setting (ie. Movie/Sport/Vivid).

    Once in a while I will scroll thru the different video settings just to see how a properly calibrated set differs to these factory presets and what I do notice is that the "Movie" setting IS darker than my calibration.
    And that seems to explain why you couldn't see the Alien on the roof. Atleast on my 36" WEGA, the "Movie" setting is darker than when calibrated with a disc. On "Movie" the brightness setting is at halfway while my calibrated setting has brightness just past the halfway mark.
     
  11. Sam R. Aucoin

    Sam R. Aucoin Stunt Coordinator

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    Andy - one "problem" with what you are doing: "movie" mode on a WEGA is the ONLY way (without disassembling the TV and manually disconnecting a circuit/wire, which I certainly do not suggest doing) to watch movies with the SVM (correctly worded acronym?) turned off.

    From what I recall, almost every person who posts on this board, with a high degree of knowledge about display monitors, states that the "SVM" should always be turned off. Although earlier Sony TVs would allow this to be done in the internal codes menu, this is no longer true. Thus, you are either stuck with "movie" or cutting the circuit/wire (again - I do not recommend doing this).

    Besides, with the movie mode, why not just increase picture, contrast, and brightness to make up for what you gain by going to standard mode, and still disabled SVM?
     
  12. Jonathan Burk

    Jonathan Burk Second Unit

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    I didn't see this movie in theaters, but at home on my AVIA calibrated big screen, I saw the alien, and my wife didn't. I had to back it up to show her.

    I would give your AVIA another spin, just to make sure the settings are still good, and then look at this scene again. (Is there a THX Optimizer on this disc? I can't remember...)
     
  13. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    What is this SVM, and how can you tell it's only in the movie mode that you can turn it off? I'm anxious to pick up the Avia disc soon and I'd like to start researching the adjustments I'll be making.

    Todd

    EDIT: After reading up in my owners manual, I would guess you are talking about velocity modulation. On my Wega's menu system you can turn it off in all picture modes.
     
  14. Andy Kim

    Andy Kim Second Unit

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    If its the VM option where it adjusts the edge enhancement, I'm able to turn mine off on all picture modes.
    I have the KV-36FS13.
     
  15. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Early Wegas did not have the SVM control in the user menu, you had to use Movie mode. Newer ones have the option in the user controls.

    On thier rptvs, there is also no user control, and it's on in varying amounts depending on which mode you're using--
    strong in Vivid, medium in Standard, low in Movie, and off in Pro. It can be turned off or set to any level for any mode in the service menu.
     
  16. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Where exactly is the scene in the movie? I wanna cue it up and see what's what!

    Ric
     
  17. Jeremy Allin

    Jeremy Allin Supporting Actor

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    Ric:

    Chapter 4 - 13:20
     
  18. Alex Dydula

    Alex Dydula Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    I was very curious about this scene and the alien that some tv's are not displaying well.

    I just replayed the above scene on a 8 month old SONY 57" RPTV.

    I watch almost everything in movie mode and have never had the set calibrated....except for the built in setup feature.

    I saw the monster/alien very clearly in movie mode, no problem at all, if your into the movie this scene will make you jump!!

    I tired all the other modes and all modes displayed this alien.

    Besides the RPTV disply modes, you also have the several display mode settings that the DVD player has....I guess by playing with these modes it becomes easy to get confused and understand where your are or are not.

    My dvd is set to 'standard' (sony 755v) and the RPTV is set to 'movie'. This is most pleasing to my and my wifes eyes!

    Alex
     
  19. Vic_T

    Vic_T Stunt Coordinator

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    If the scene looks off, adjust you TV accordinly. If the picture looks too dark, it is. Since not all TVs are the same, final tweeking may have to be done manually while watching a movie (preferibly one you're familier with). Don't force yourself to watch it if it doesn't look right.
     
  20. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Thanks Jeremy,

    Even with contrast and brightnees setting are fairly low, saw it fine on my Pioneer RPTV!

    Ric
     

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