I am a videographer\\cinematographer and a former coordinator of Panavision Canada and hopefully have what is expected to be a honed sensibility for image reproduction.
As I posted earlier, I have been concerned (code for obsessed) with the black levels of the 747i. As a result I spent an evening watching scenes of what I've come to consider one of the best "test" DVDs, Ripley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. It's a very challenging film for displays to render correctly for its varying dark, blue, red and detailed vista, scenes. What I have concluded is this, the 747i weakness is a by product of its strength. In other words the ability the 747i has to render a video interpretation of cinematic dynamic range is incomparable. And in fact displays made by the majority of other consumer brands emphasize the wrong aspects of the movie image.
I took my DVD player and "Kingdom" DVD to 3 stores and watched a variety of the newest Sony, Sharp and Samsung displays. Here is what I solidly believe; the extreme black levels achieved by displays with ridiculously high contrast ratios come at a price. They are being marketed in a fashion similar to the way that digital cameras have been marketed in regards to often irrelevant MPEG ratings. The cost comes in the way of videoish artifacting and what I will now call the "raunchy raccoon effect". In dark scenes on all of these sets the blues and reds were dirty and busy. Shadowed eye sockets in particular were noticeable and the colour was always blotchy. In addition with finely detailed vistas there was consistent video pixel sparkle. None of these artifacts occur with the 747i which is silky smooth while maintaining absolute sharpness like a film negative. There’s no pixel dance, instead a rock solid picture of whatever texture. It now occurs to me what the people at Wired Magazine were getting at in their review.
As I thought about it more I decided that the black levels of these new sets represent an IMPOSED BLACK LEVEL that severely interferes with the natural dynamic range and detail of the majority of cinematography (from a film negative or HD24p source). The fact is those deep black levels don’t exist in the camera, negative, tape or HD recorder and the way they’re being processed has a harmful effect on other elements of the image.
The truth is the 747i reflects the good and bad of what most often goes up on the big screen. That is; beautiful colour, controlled dynamic range AND POOR black levels.
The exception is with CG animated films and graphics which DO provide velvet black levels and is one of the reasons why they look so good on Sharp’s Aquos for instance and are used by sales people. When I see the majority of displays now in the stores they come across as glorified TV’s with fake blacks and I realize I was blinded by that single obsession when first analyzing the Olevia at home. I had to take the time to make a “big picture” comparison and to take into consideration all factors.
The 747i is the filmgoers display and its silky yet sharp offering of motion picture imagery provides the truest and most accurate reproduction of what is actually on a film print when compared with most other LCDs or plasmas. In fact it has an uncanny ability to evoke the emotional response of watching a projected film.