Those pesky white flecks..

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Nick White, Sep 2, 2001.

  1. Nick White

    Nick White Stunt Coordinator

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    This one has probably been asked before, but for my own peace of mind I'd like this bit of info confirmed...
    When I watch DVDs on my regular TV (all I've got for now), I'll notice an occasional white tiny speck (or multiple specks) appear somewhere on the picture. These are even present on brand new discs that have been reviewed as having reference quality transfers (i.e. O Brother, Where Art Thou?).
    Now my best guess is that these flecks are simply part of the source material of any film and cannto be avoided. My worry is that something may be wrong with my set up or my software. Seems unlikely that it's a problem with the discs, seeing as I notice it even right out of the package. But sine tese are on transfers that are reviewed as having no film grain, etc., I am perplexed.
    Anyway, confirmation on this would be nice. Thanks.
    [Edited last by Nick White on September 02, 2001 at 03:04 AM]
    [Edited last by Nick White on September 02, 2001 at 01:27 PM]
     
  2. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Nick, welcome to the forum!
    First I have to ask you how you have your dvd player connected to your monitor, is it composite (RCA cables), s-video, or RF (the worst way)? Depending on the way your player is connected, it may introduce some unwanted artifacts into the picture, esspecially if it's connected through the RF cable input.
    And second, what's the brand of your player? If you have a player that is defective somehow, you might be seeing a phenominon called 'Pixelation', but you described white flecks, 'pixelation usually presents itself as colorful blocks that pop up all over the picture, and even causes the picture to freeze up, the early Panasonic players were notorious for this, but this doesn't sound like your problem.
    I've never seen any of what your describing on my discs, if it's practical, you might want to try playing the disc on a different player to see if it's still their. It sounds like a player problem to me though.
    ------------------
    So madly in love with Estella Warren!
     
  3. Sam Hatch

    Sam Hatch Stunt Coordinator

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    It's probably on the film itself. This stuff rarely gets mentioned in reviews, but I've seen all sorts of funky stuff
    (black and white) on certain discs.
    'Elizabeth', which is currently undergoing another thread - has some nasty dirt and whatnot on it. When Walsingham deals with his traitorous manservant you can see all sorts of crap on the print.
    'The Portrait of a Lady' is rife with those white flecks. It was one of the earlier discs I bought, and it looked so much like laserdisc rot that it freaked me out. I finally found a use for the pan & scan side, since I memorized where the flecks were in one scene and flipped the disc to check them out enlarged.
    Sure enough, they were in the identical spots - only larger, and obviously on the film itself. So they are apparently part of the source material. I do think that 'Widescreen Review' might mention when a print has some anomalies though, so I'll have to give them props.
    What other discs have you seen this on? Maybe I can check too and give you some peace of mind! [​IMG]
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    "Negative. I am a meat popsicle."
    [Edited last by Sam Hatch on September 02, 2001 at 06:52 AM]
     
  4. Nick White

    Nick White Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm using S-Video on a Toshiba 2109. I've seen this on most all my discs, and I know it is not pixelation and I doubt that it is artifacting. The flecks look very much like some sort of dust on the film.. similar to what one sees during theaterical presentations but far less frequent.
    Some particular discs I've seen it on:
    The Rock Criterion
    Dogma Special Edition
    O Brother, Where Art Thou?
    Those are the ones in recent memory, but I'm sure there are more. Nothing has been mentioned of these flecks in reviews. Beware that I only notice it upon heavy scrutinization. Thanks again for your help.
    ------------------
    "Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance."
    -Will Durant
    [Edited last by Nick White on September 02, 2001 at 01:26 PM]
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Older films will usually exhibit black and white speckles of the type you describe; sometimes you see it on newer ones as well. These are either dirt on the film, or damage to the film itself. Sometimes, they reflect damage to the negative that was then printed onto the film intact. They are not a problem with the transfer or the disc or your equipment. The black speckles are just as common as the white, but are far less noticeable since you seldom have a pure white picture but there is often a fair amount of black in any given frame.
    Sometimes (Criterion on occasion does this) the DVD producers will have digital restoration done to clear up these specks and extrapolate to fill in the holes. Generally, this can be done seamlesslly. I don't know for certain but I'd guess that Anchor Bay uses this technique a lot, considering how many of the older films in their catalog look completely flawless.
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    "This movie has warped my fragile little mind."
    [Edited last by Mark Zimmer on September 03, 2001 at 12:43 PM]
     
  6. Nick White

    Nick White Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. It still just confuses me why the specks aren't mentioned in reviews, if it represents damage to the film/negative. Oh well.
     
  7. Flasshe

    Flasshe Agent

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    I was noticing this the other night on my Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon disc. I've seen the flecks before on some older transfers, but this is the only time I've seen it on a newer one that should be flawless. There was a single fleck every few minutes or so. If I rewound and watched the scene again, the fleck would be in the same place. The friend I was watching it with noticed it also, but not until I pointed it out to him. Then it was bugging us both. I figured I just got a defective disk.
    --Rog
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    quote: It still just confuses me why the specks aren't mentioned in reviews, if it represents damage to the film/negative. [/quote] Because that's the nature of film. An "occasional" speck isn't worth mentioning, because there's no film source in the world that's free of them. A reviewer will mention them when their number becomes excessive.
    Do you still go to movie theaters? Try watching films projected on a screen with the same minutely critical eye you're applying to your DVDs. You may be surprised at what you find.
    M.
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on September 03, 2001 at 05:48 PM]
     
  9. Matt Everett

    Matt Everett Stunt Coordinator

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    Do the specks seem to appear like a tiny hole in the film itself? If so, it's probably a dust speck or something on the film itself. If the speck seems pixelated I would guess it could be a problem with the transfer to DVD or could be a defect in the player itself.
    "For a Few Dollars More" has TONS of these specks in the opening minutes of the film. They are part of the film itself. If you list a few more examples and give me the chapter and time when they occur, I'll look and see if my discs have the same specks. Hopefully we share some of the same DVDs.
    I don't have "Tiger" or "Brother" yet.
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  10. Nick White

    Nick White Stunt Coordinator

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    It seems to be on the film itself, and I'm almost positive that's what it is. Like I said, I was just asking for confirmation from people here. [​IMG]
    I'll take a look tomorrow and jot down some chapters and times. Thanks for the offer to help.
    ------------------
    "Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance."
    -Will Durant
     
  11. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Sometimes "reel change markers" (I don't know the official term) are retained when a DVD transfer is made. These are a small circle or oval hole that appears in the corner for one frame every 15-20 minutes or so. You'll see these in the theater, too.
    Also, virtually every film (esp. older ones) will have speckles from time to time, and they aren't always "erased" when transferred to DVD.
    KJP
     
  12. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Reel change marker is probably the official name, but I think everyone calls them "cigarette burns."
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    "This movie has warped my fragile little mind."
     
  13. Michael Boyd

    Michael Boyd Second Unit

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    It's always been my understanding that a white speck meant there was dirt on the negative when the film was printed. Black meant there was dirt in the camera when the film was exposed during shooting. Or maybe it was vice versa . . .
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    Michael Boyd
     

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