Wegas: Question about 16:9 mode after calibration

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Todd K, Feb 11, 2003.

  1. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    Hello all,

    I'm in the midst of doing a lot of reading up on things before I make a calibration disc purchase (probably the Avia within a month or so).

    I own the KV-32FS13, and this question would apply to all who have the basic non-HD Wega sets and who also use the 16:9 mode.

    As you know, using the 16:9 mode right out of the box will create 2 sets of black bars when viewing DVDs -- one created by the TV, the other native to an (usually 2.35:1) DVD picture.

    After a proper brightness/picture calibration, should these sets of bars blend in with each other, making them indistinguishable to the naked eye?

    I fooled around with those settings and got the bars to blend in together, but it did seem a bit dark. The picture setting seemed to have no effect on it, but the brightness had to be turned down low to achieve the desired effect. I was watching in a totally dark room.

    Well, that's my question. And if anyone's interested in contributing their settings (i.e. how many notches their picture, brightness, and sharpness are at), I could give them a whirl before I do my own tests with the Avia disc.

    Regards,
    Todd
     
  2. Ronn.W

    Ronn.W Second Unit

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    In a completely dark room I would think it would be very hard for the blackness levels to match, and you would have to set the brightness down extremely low. I do not watch DVDs in an entirely dark room (an impossibility at my house) but it is dark enough so that my calibrations make a nice blend between the letterboxing.

    As for using other people's settings, that may be something to experiment with, but keep in mind that different players will put out at different levels, so 2 TV's that look exactly the same may have very different settings based on what player the calibration disc was run on. Also, out of curiosity, how is your player hooked up to the TV? If not component, you will definitely want to go that route as I've noticed increased blackness compared to Svideo or composite, which may be just a quirk of the player.
     
  3. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Ideally, you would not see two sets of bars. The brightness setting is for black levels and is the correct control to adjust this. If you are not used to this setting, it may seem dark until you get used to it.

    Calibration to the point where you only see one set of bars should be in the same lighting conditions as when you do your viewing.

    Having said all that, most DVD players have two different black level settings, and / or a brightness control of their own. And, some DVD's are not properly calibrated for a 0 ire or 7.5 ire black level. These issues combine to make a set of variables that does not lend itself to proper calibration.

    Take the plunge and purchase the calibration disc. All is explained and the proper procedure for setting black levels is on the disc.

    -Scott
     
  4. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    My player is indeed hooked up with component cables. (AR Pro Series to be exact.) I have a Sony DVP-NC600. I read the manual thoroughly and it seems that the only video feature it has is the block noise reduction (bnr), which I don't use.

    I did these tests late last night, which is when the majority of my DVDs are viewed. The TV screen itself is the only source or light in the room. So, of course, in brighter scenes, the black bars blend in better anyways.

    And I realize no two setups will be alike, I just wanted to get a ballpark range for peoples' configurations (e.g. if everyone's setting their contrast at 30% and I'm putting mine at 90% or something.)

    Thanks guys for the replies. You can bet I will be getting that disc soon, I just need to make sure I can afford it -- I don't actually have a job right now. [​IMG]
     
  5. nick_rh

    nick_rh Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi...I too have a Wega and have asked myself the same question. When I was first using the 16x9 mode, I figured that the second set of black bars shouldn't be there, and turned the brightness down until they disappeared. The overall looked a bit dark but I figured I'd get used to it. I didn't. It just looked wrong, and I confirmed this using the THX calibration utility on one of my THX-certified DVDs. I set the picture levels exactly to the disc's specifications, and lo and behold, there were two sets of black bars.

    I think part of the reason the bars don't blend together is because the "bars" generated by the 16x9 mode aren't really bars; the TV is effectively OFF on the unused portion of the screen, and there's a difference between a black picture and no picture. (Of course, there's a good chance I'm wrong about this, so anyone who knows more than I do can feel free to correct me.)

    Ultimately, I found it easier to get used to two sets of bars than to get used to an artifically dark picture. YMMV.
     
  6. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    But, in an ideal world, black is black...

    A DVD player set at 0 ire (not an option on some players) on a properly calibrated set, viewing a properly calibrated disc on a set capable of holding proper black levels... you shouldn't see double bars.

    Black is the absence of light, so the video black on the DVD should look the same as the black area outside of the 16:9 in the 16:9 enhanced mode.

    That said, there are many, many variables listed above. And even some otherwise incredible looking DVDs have improper black levels.

    I think much of the issue is that the NTSC spec calls for black at 7.5ire, while the DVD spec allows for blacker-than-black at 0ire.

    Check your DVD player settings for an "enhanced black" or "0 ire black" setting. This would make the blacks black without losing shadow detail.

    -Scott
     
  7. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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  8. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Specifically, LOTR is a disc that, while a very nice transfer, people have written about its black levels in the forums before.

    You are right, that many DVDs are imperfect.
    If you calibrate to your calibration disc, only DVDs as well mastered (in terms of black level) will have the same levels.

    I have reset all my Wega's picture modes to suit my own preferences. The "Standard" mode is set exactly as calibrated with VE. The other modes allow for easy access to a couple of brightness levels, and a couple of saturation levels with little fuss. I click through my picture modes until I get one that looks good to me.

    While I am a firm believer in calibration as a baseline reference, the variables in source quality demand alterations. Most (but not all) of my DVD's look good at my "standard" setting (and only exhibit one set of bars), but I switch to another setting that ups the brightness 3 or 4 clicks for DVDs with lower levels, or for viewing in different light. This may make my blacks brighter than 0 or 7.5 ire, but at least I don't lose shadow detail.

    The moral of the story is, calibrate for a baseline, and make adjustments for your source when necessary. I would never suggest that someone live with the calibration settings on a source for which those settings are inappropriate.

    -Scott
     
  9. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    Well , here it is months later. I held out for Digital Video Essentials and over the past few days I've made some calibrations. I find some of the stuff quite confusing. However, after I was finished with everything I noticed that the black bars do blend together. However, the effect is the same as before -- in many cases, the picture is just too dark.

    For example, I put in my "Superman" disc and in the first minute, when they show that little comic book filmstrip, I could barely see and details in the curtains off to the side. After turning the brightness up I could see it much better. There was a similar thread here a few months ago about the movie "Signs."

    Maybe I'll pick up the Sound & Vision calibration disc to see if that's a little more dumbed down. In the end, though, I guess I'll just have to learn to compromise on black levels.

    To end on a lighter note, the color tests worked well for me and I'm happy with those!
     

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