Trouble calibrating black level on Toshiba 57H81

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Cal, Nov 7, 2001.

  1. Brian Cal

    Brian Cal Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm getting a little frustrated with trying to find the right black level for my Toshiba 57H81. My white level seems good at 30% (which seems to be right at the spot where the bottom half of the needle pulse pattern becomes white and not grey), and my brightness was originally calibrated at 47% using the black and half grey pattern on Avia. However, this is producing too dark of a picture in a lot of DVDs (Fight Club, Star Wars, and U-571 are some of the ones that are WAY too dark).
    I know if my set doesn't hold black level accurately I need to find a compromise black level setting. On my old 27" this was obtained by using the black and half white pattern on Avia. But on my Toshiba, the black and half grey pattern produces too dark of a picture (at 47%), and the black and half white pattern produces a much too bright and washed out picture (I can't even see the black bars until I'm up around 65%).
    So, should I try to find a compromise level between 65 and 47%? Like say, around 53% or so? It seems strange to have to calibrate my black level to a point where the black and half grey pattern CLEARLY shows both of the moving bars, but 47% is just producing too dim of a picture. I need help!!!
     
  2. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    I'm surprised that the right half gray pattern wasn't enough of a load to make a suitable compromise on your display. One thing does come to mind. Are you watching your movies under the same lighting conditions that you had while doing the calibration? If not, that would throw things off considerably.
    ------------------
    Guy Kuo
    www.ovationsw.com
    Ovation Software, the Home of AVIA DVD
     
  3. Brian Cal

    Brian Cal Stunt Coordinator

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    Yep, I watch in a totally darkened room and I calibrate under the same conditions. I also always remember to let the TV warm up for about a half hour before calibrating.
    So, this may sound like a stupid question, but when I calibrate with the black and half grey pattern should some of the background material on movies be non-visible compared to when I have the brightness too high? For instance, when I was watching U-571 with the TV calibrated using the black and half grey pattern a lot of information in the background was completely black and not visible. Whne I turned the brightnes up, I could see more detail in the background, like the pipes and gauges on the ship, even though black level seemed to be washed out a bit. Is it normal to be cutting off visible information with black level calibrated correctly? Perhaps my contrast is too low and I need to try calibrating the black and half grey pattern with a higher contrast setting? [​IMG]
     
  4. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    quote: I can't even see the black bars until I'm up around 65%[/quote]
    Brian, I know a few people here, including myself, have the Brightness around the upper 50's to low 60's
    I vary mine from 55 to 60 (currently 57)
    I just purchased the 50H81 and i know it hasnt settled in yet, but im getting a terrific picture.
    My Black setting (contrast)is at 42.
    Hope this helps [​IMG]
    ------------------
    [​IMG] "Charlie don't surf."
    [Edited last by Henry Carmona on November 08, 2001 at 12:39 AM]
     
  5. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo Supporting Actor

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    Brian, normally, a higher APL test pattern will force you to select a higher black level. The half gray pattern is usually enough to load the video amps sufficently, but in your case it doesn't seem to be enough. You might do better on your set using the Black Bars + Half White pattern instead. That is an even higher APL pattern and might work better for your set's DC restoration system behavior. You'll end up at a higher setting for black level (brightness).
    On a RPTV you can expect some loss of shadow details when black level is correct adjusted. The internal light scatter in the RPTV often obscures shadow details compared to a direct view or FPTV. You get to choose between better blacks or more shadow detail.
    ------------------
    Guy Kuo
    www.ovationsw.com
    Ovation Software, the Home of AVIA DVD
     
  6. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom Supporting Actor

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    Interesting. My 50H81 has Contrast at 30 and Brightness at 60. I got my best results when using the Half Grey pattern from AVIA.
    My Toshiba has better DC restoration than the Pannny that preceded it but it's still not perfect. You will just need to experiment with the different patterns to see which one works best. You may still need to make the choice between losing a little detail or washing out the picture a little.
    Edit: I use the Bridge scene from VE to double check my brightness. You should just be able to make out the beams under the bridge but still have dark shadows.
    Other things to consider are DVD player settings and your component (I assume) cable.
    [Edited last by Andrew Beacom on November 08, 2001 at 10:23 AM]
     
  7. JohnnyG

    JohnnyG Screenwriter

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    I just finished calibrating a 50H81 and came up with Contrast 47, Brightness 45 for 480p input, and Contrast 47 and Brightness 63 for 480i (both at 0 IRE black level). The contrast was determined by measuring for about 15 ft. lamberts light output with a 100 IRE Window pattern.
    Try raising your contrast to about 45, then re-doing the brightness and see if that helps.
    [Edited last by JohnnyG on November 08, 2001 at 01:11 PM]
     
  8. Brian Cal

    Brian Cal Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks a lot for all the replies. I actually did try turning the contrast up last night, but strangely enough that made me have to turn black level even lower (like, super low) on the half black half gray pattern, which is what I'm trying to avoid. Also, when I turn my contrast up any past 35, it just looks.... well, bad. Contrast seems to be right on when it's set at 30. I honestly think the problem might be that my Sony DVD player is displaying black kind of weird, which is funny since it doesn't have any kind of "Black Enhancement" modes or anything. So, until I get a new player, I'm finding I have to compromise a bit. Contrast at 30 and Brightness at 47 actually looks quite good 80% of the time, it's just that some DVDs are too dark. I'm finding that a compromise black level setting around 49 or 50 yields good results, without washing out the picture too much.
    Thanks again.
     
  9. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    Brian:
    I think you are suffering from simply not being used to a properly calibrated image. A very common response, once black level is set correctly, is that it is too dark. It just _seems_ too dark, because we are used to an inaccurate image where blacks are too bright.
    "Whne I turned the brightnes up, I could see more detail in the background"
    This is a common problem which makes people think the Brightness is too low. Yes, you will be able to see more things as you turn up Brightness. But you are also washing out the image, because you are setting the level of black too high.
    Contrary to popular belief, you aren't supposed to see everything on your screen, all the time. It is very, very common for directors to use various lighting techniques to light their films. You may even find some films where you can't see an actor's face or eyes in a particular shot. This does not mean you should be turning up the Brightness - it was meant to be this way.
    My best advice would be to calibrate properly using Avia and then simply leave the control untouched for a few weeks. You should get used to it.
    Also, make sure your lighting is VERY controlled when watching movies (and calibrating, for that matter). Even the slightest ambient light, bouncing off the TVs reflective shield, will wash out detail. Your TV is accurate and will look great when you set black level correctly, but it will struggle if it is having to compete with other lights in the room.
    Black level on an RPTV can get better, thanks to a few tweaks. Cutting down on internal reflections can make a huge improvement in black level. This is achieved with:
    - lens hoods
    - lining the optical cavity with Duvetyne
    - lining unused portions of the mirror with Duvetyne
    Also, removing the protective screen (the very reflective one) can also help loads. Also, I advocate REMOVING the shield completely, as opposed to putting it at the back of the stack, as most people do.
    I think you will find your TV performing better with a properly calibrated level. Finding a "compromise" is simply creating an inaccurate image. If accuracy is key - then stick with the calibrated level for awhile.
    One final note: calibrated level will be correct only when you watch DVDs. When you watch satellite, cable, VHS or any other sources, you may find it too dark. Use multiple picture control memories on your set to adjust for these sources, while maintaining the accurate setting for DVD.
    ----
    Jeff
    ------------------
    "They're coming to get you Barbara..."
     
  10. Brian Cal

    Brian Cal Stunt Coordinator

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    New development here! I decided to take Johnny's advice last night and turn contrast up and then re-calibrate. When setting the contrast at 45 I re-calibrated black level using the half black half grey pattern and ended up with a brightness setting of 44. As you can see, this is three notches lower than where I had it set with contrast at 30, which seemed a bit too dim. However, this new setting is producing fantastic results! While before I thought a contrast setting above 30 was too grainy and distorted, I'm just not seeing that now. The detail has now come alive and blacks are... well, BLACK. It appears now that I have the overall light output set to the point where the image is clear, and black level set low enough where black is black. I'm very pleased with the results.
    I guess I had fallen in to the trap of "Contrast must never be turned above 40%". I agree that it's imperative to keep contrast low, but perhaps not as low as I'd thought.
    Thanks again to all the members who have steered me in the right direction. I can now "see the light" [​IMG]
     

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