View in total darkness or some light?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jim Peavy, Aug 21, 2002.

  1. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Just replaced my aging (over 10 years old-!) 27" Mitsubishi with a new Toshiba 32A42. I'm in the process of improving my viewing conditions with the thought of calibrating the set. Was wondering how some of you more experienced folks watch stuff: in total darkness, or with some ambient light? The set seems to be best in total darkness, but then I think maybe a little light would be better. Basically, I want to get my viewing conditions nailed down before I calibrate it.

    Any opinions/advice will be appreciated!
     
  2. Andrew_Sch

    Andrew_Sch Cinematographer

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    I always prefer to watch in total darkness whenever the sun and others in the house allow. It's really the only way to keep glare and reflections off of my screen completely.
     
  3. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, Andrew, I think I do too. Thanks for your response!

    Just got back from the Avia calibrating disc site and on the DVD it addresses this very question! Looks like I'll be getting it sooner rather than later.
     
  4. jacob w k

    jacob w k Stunt Coordinator

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    I try to watch in as dark conditions as I can but that can be hard during the day. In summer it is worse since the sun doesn't set until about 10 or so. What ever makes you feel comfortable.
     
  5. Bill_Weinreich

    Bill_Weinreich Second Unit

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    Jim,
    Obviously the darker the room the better but....
    Total darkness can cause severe eye fatigue, especially in rapidly changing brightness scenes. I would recommend some sort of ambient or bias lighting. At minimal you can try a low wattage night light directly behind the set but a light with the correct color temperature, such as the Ideal-Lume can be a bit more beneficial.
    Bill
     
  6. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, Bill, you hit it right on the nose--this is exactly what I've noticed (without being able to put it into words). I like total darkness, but the switching from dark to bright light is uncomfortable.

    Now I just have to decide how many "extras" (Avia calibrating disc, Ideal-Lume, etc.) my somewhat entry level set is worth! Oh well, that's half the fun.

    Thanks much, all!
     
  7. GeorgeAB

    GeorgeAB Second Unit

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    Location:
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    G. Alan Brown
    The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) conducted human factors research, under Joe Kane's coordination, back in the mid '80s as part of their professional monitor standards committee. They discovered many critical principles involved in viewing environment conditions that related to eye strain and perceptual anomalies. The use of backlighting to "bias" the iris, preserve and enhance image perception, has been standard practice in telecine facilities and professional monitor environments for decades now.
    Joe Kane discusses the importance of viewing environment conditions in his precedent-setting DVD, 'Video Essentials'. These issues are also handled to a lesser degree on the other leading system setup DVD,'Avia Guide to Home Theater'. Proper viewing environment conditions still today remains as one of the most frequently overlooked elements of TV viewing and home theater design.
    Just for giggles some time, turn your TV on and all the lights in the room off, turn your back to a typical TV broadcast and see how frequently and dramatically the light fluctuates in the room. Often times it very much resembles a strobe light. These dramatic variations in light play havoc with your iris muscles.
    All TVs look their best adjusted to not exceed their linear light output capabilities. In almost all cases this renders them too dark to compete with high ambient light levels in the room. Any light striking the front of the set will wash out the blacks and color saturation to some degree, not to mention the glare and reflections issues.
    The light allowed in the room should originate from behind the frontal plane of the screen. Most residential lighting is incandescent and offers lousy color rendering. Using a light that matches the "color" of white specified for video will enhance rather than skew your color perception. A 6500 Kelvins "daylight" fluorescent is the illuminant of choice for critical viewing by professionals.
    Please check the new "Sponsors Area" at the top of the forum for the ultimate solution to your questions.
    Best regards and beautiful pictures,
    G. Alan Brown, President
    CinemaQuest, Inc.
    www.ideal-lume.com
    Insist on HDTV![​IMG]
     
  8. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Total darkness. I have no problems with eyestrain
     
  9. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    25w lamp on somewhere in the room...more for the Excorcist...[​IMG]
     
  10. GeorgeAB

    GeorgeAB Second Unit

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    Jeff,

    Have you ever really tried properly implemented bias lighting? Of the over 2,000 units we have seen go into the field, only one has ever been returned due to a lack of satisfaction. Most people, even the uninitiated, recognize a significant improvement to their viewing experience. Maybe that one person was you. I don't recall. Some folks have an instant impression while others take a few days, but when they watch without it they go back. I wouldn't promote the principle if I had not seen it help people over and over again for years. What is your display, anyway?

    Best regards,
    Alan
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i can't do total darkness. it hurts my eyes too much.
    i like alan's idea to watch the walls with just the tv on...it reminds me of looking inside someones bedroom window (uhh...don't ask me about that) with just the tv on. (always reminds me of the movie "poltergeist".) okay, sorry 'bout that tangent.
    anyway, i think he's right. there's so much flashing and light variations that it's hard to handle.
    but, the way my 32" tv is setup (on an "open" stand - you can see the wall behind it) i can't use a backlight - it just causes a "glow" behind the screen. so i opted for a floor-standing lamp (behind my couch) hooked up to a dimmer switch.
    i like the setup a lot. the light floods up & behind me, doesn't shine on the screen and is unobtrusive.
    oh yeah..don't forget to calibrate under the conditions you'll be watching! [​IMG]
     
  12. Vlad D

    Vlad D Screenwriter

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  13. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Vlad said:


    I tried watching with a nite-lite on behind the TV and I really liked it (can't believe this never occured to me...), but can definitely see the need to have it color corrected. The nite-lite appeared as a sorta' orange color that played havoc with the TV's output.

    Ideal-Lume, here I come!

    Do you have the 18" model, Vlad? Did you get the dimming kit? Any additional advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks again, guys.
     
  14. Vlad D

    Vlad D Screenwriter

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  15. Darren Mortensen

    Darren Mortensen Stunt Coordinator

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    When watching our 60" Hitachi RPTV I have to have some illumination in the room or my eyes will hurt. I am 38 and have had corrective laser surgery. Although, my eyes fatigued before the surgery. Now, when we watch the FPTV on the 14 foot screen, the reflective light from the screen illuminates the room just fine.

    My neighbor who also hase a similar Hitachi RPTV just added low watt Halogen lights behind his TV. He says it helps alot with eye fatigue.
     
  16. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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  17. Jim Peavy

    Jim Peavy Supporting Actor

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    Well, I just ordered the Ideal-Lume; sounds like just what I need.

    Got the filter set, too. My walls are white and sounds like I will need this to get the best picture; and what the hell, it was only another $13...!

    Putting a small-ish light behind the set is such an obvious idea can't believe I haven't thought of it before. Been watching movies for so long and this has never once occured to me.
     
  18. James Zos

    James Zos Supporting Actor

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    I'm of mixed feelings about this. I haven't bought the ideal_lume, but after reading about positive experiences with back lighting I did buy a fish tank light. Not exactly 6500k but I just wanted to try something out.
    Can't say if it has improved things, now I'm just used to it. Before that, watching in total darkeness (I even made matts to block the readouts on my amp, dvd player, etc) I never had a problem and never had any eye strain. Darkness also seems more "theater" like to me (except I don't have the glowing red EXIT sign down by the side of the screen.)
    I might go back to darkness or I might cough up the forty or so bucks for the ideal_lume. I'm on the fence.
    (I do plan to buy a projector eventually though, which I guess will make the whole issue moot.)
     
  19. David E Smith

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    I just finished installing a 57" JVC RPTV. Between that and my front mains stand two black halogen 6' floor lamps. Not only do they look cool, but sit just to the rear of the screen, shine up to the wall and ceiling, AND can be dimmed to your liking. I am glad I chose these for my room lighting.

    Dave Smith
     
  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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