Why is the Soap Opera Effect Considered Such A Bad Thing? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 09:45 AM
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Some frame interpolation technologies are trying to bridge the gap between OFF and full on Smoothing. Some are trying to provide a middle ground that balances retention of as much inherent motion aesthetic as possible, while eliminating inherent motion artifacts which detract from the content presentation.

IMHO, The latest generation of Sony Motion Flow has made great progress at coding a middle ground (Low/Standard) setting which eliminates a great deal of the bad content motion artifacts while minimizing the observation of the Soap Opera Effect.

There will probably always be viewers who want to see all of the inherent motion artifacts of the original content. They have the choice to run in the OFF position.

I would also note, the observation of artifacts caused by the frame interpolation process have been greatly reduced.

Personally, I would like to see some user controls coded into the system to provide users a bit more control over how much frame interpolation is applied. This wish may be beyond the current capability of the processing.

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post #32 of 357 Old 05-22-2011, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post

You display a total misunderstanding of the technology. Computers do not "guess". They do not think. They only execute code.

The algorithm designed to intemperate what the supposed missing frame is based on various factors, which in human term is a guess. No computers don't think, the people who design them do, some of them just do a better job at that than others.

I have no problem if you love ultra realistic video, have at it. I do have an issue with blanket statements about how it's superior when it's only superior to you.
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post #33 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 04:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt L
The algorithm designed to intemperate what the supposed missing frame is based on various factors, which in human term is a guess. No computers don't think, the people who design them do, some of them just do a better job at that than others.
Its not like going to unknown territory, it partly ''guess'', also we haven't seen good quality Motion Interpolation jet - we know how the cheap stuff looks, we do not know how good quality MI will look.
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Originally Posted by Matt L
I have no problem if you love ultra realistic video, have at it. I do have an issue with blanket statements about how it's superior when it's only superior to you.
I ''guess'' you ain't gonna watch The Hobbit 48fps.

Gary is probably right about that, ultra realistic seem to be to logical next step.
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post #34 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt L View Post
The algorithm designed to intemperate what the supposed missing frame is based on various factors, which in human term is a guess. No computers don't think, the people who design them do, some of them just do a better job at that than others.

I have no problem if you love ultra realistic video, have at it. I do have an issue with blanket statements about how it's superior when it's only superior to you.
I wouldnt call it a guess at all. It takes moving objects halves the distance between them and places the object there directly in the middle. 60 times. 120 times or 240 times per second. at those speeds it doesnt matter if the object is moving in a symmetrical pattern or elliptical pattern. The time frame is so small that the object is properly placed.

The proof to this is watching a sony set side by side with a plasma just as I did before I decided to keep the ex500. I had a 54g10 and a 60ex500 side by side for several hours with all kinds of content. Sports baseball, Formula one racing, Movies it dint matter. There was no (just as cnet states) discernible difference in the image of actual content between the two. There was no difference in perceived motion when the sony lcd is setup properly. This is key as the sony set does not come setup properly and demo mode in store is ten times worse. Out of the box home mode Sony does set Motionflow to standard which is correct. The other setting that grossly effects SOE is cinemotion. When set to Auto1(default out of the box) The system is allowed to use overly aggressive interpolation. Setting to Auto2 is how you eliminate SOE. This simply turns on interpolation and matches frames to refresh properly.

Of note I only say sony because I cannot stand SOE and it is visible on all other sets LG, Sammy, I have watched. I cannot speak specifically for every brand though. Furthermore the Sony is the only set I have side by sided in my home out of store setup bullcrap enviroment.

Anything else stated is utter hogwash, false perception or someone stating opinion based on beliefs rather than actual real world visual testing in a home not a store. If you were to do what I have done you would know this to be the indisputable truth.

One last note to this. The things of which I speak are NOT true of 2009 or older models. Every LCD I have seen in 09 prior does exhibit SOE.
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post #35 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ed3120 View Post
I've seen motion interpolation (such as Samsung's Auto Motion Plus or Sony's MotionFlow) on TVs in stores. To be honest, it looked amazing to me. People's faces shown on those sets seemed to jumped out at me in realism. I know this type of technology gets bashed a lot around here and I was just wondering why people don't like it? It gets called thr Soap Opera Effect. Is it one of those things that looks great in the store and then gets annoying an hour after you own it?

I guess what I really don't understand is why 24 FPS is considered better than the smoothed higher frame rates associated with motion interpolation. I understand that all movies are filmed on film at 24 FPS, but why is that better than if they were filmed using the same film at 60 FPS? Is it just an old standard that we are used to?

It just sounds silly to me that Soap Operas are recorded at a higher framerate (I understand that it is video, not film) than movies, and that framerate is a contributing factor to what makes them look cheaper.

I'm not be critical here...just trying to understand the science behind it.
To be fair, it's not just the smoothing that many of us object to (by the way, if you love the effect, you should buy the TV). It's the insertion of frames invented by the TV into the image. (If you want to see how bad this can look, watch the King Kong/T-Rex fight with AMP or MF turned all the way up, and it will take what was intended by the director to be blurry movements and change it into smooth movements. But in doing so, it adds artifacts into the picture that weren't there before. For a lot of us who object to AMP and MF, this is its biggest sin.

Plus, it's not higher frame rates we're against either. It's that the TV is created what are - in essence - fake frames in an attempt to smooth panning judder and the like. If the source mastered it at 120hz, 240hz, or even the newer 480hz, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

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post #36 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post
Its not like going to unknown territory, it partly ''guess'', also we haven't seen good quality Motion Interpolation jet - we know how the cheap stuff looks, we do not know how good quality MI will look.
Really? so when can we expect to see "good quality MI"? 2012? 2015? 2020?


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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post
I ''guess'' you ain't gonna watch The Hobbit 48fps.

Gary is probably right about that, ultra realistic seem to be to logical next step.
I will watch it. It's not about higher framerates that ARE the director's intent. It's about the insertion of fake frames at the end viewing device that destroy the director's intent.

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post #37 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by RCA don View Post
Gary makes a good point about the familiar look of a CRT film-based image. In January, I replaced my RCA HDCRT with a toshiba g300u as my primary TV. With 120hz and motion control on, the Toshiba does impart a detectable live or "soap opera" quality to film-based programming. With motion control off, the soap opera effect all but disappears. The moral is this: If you experience soap opera effect and don't like it, turn it(via the motion control) off. Dialing the refresh rate down to 60hz eliminates the live look altogether.

My preference is to leave the refresh rate at 120hz and enjoy a bright,ever-so-slightly-live rendition of a film. Occasionally, I miss the hyper-deep black level performance of my RCA HDCRT. Other than that, I'm wild about the performance of my Toshiba CCFL LCD. Don't fall for the specious arguement that plasma is the only technology that delivers superior blacks and the true film look.
You're misunderstanding MI and refresh rate. A 120hz tv will always be a 120hz tv. You can't dial it down to 60hz, but you can turn off the MI (or some of the newer sets let you dial it up and down incrementally.

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post #38 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy View Post
I maintain that "miles ahead" is very accurate when we are talking about two entirely different references for what constitutes "good".

One would be the look of an old NTSC direct-view SDTV, the other would be the real world.

Keep in mind, that the term "soap opera effect" was actually coined when those daytime dramas were shot directly on SD videotape. There is a pronounced difference, enough to see even in such a poor media. I understand why some directors prefer film when the intent is to display a film print in a theater. But so many movies get mastered digitally today that "the look of film" is hardly ever a factor. The facts are, the film infrastructure is rapidly disappearing from both Hollywood, and the local theater.

Thus the preferences of some old school directors hardly matter. If they want to work, and are not independantly wealthy, they will begin making movies on video. I predict that within a decade, few if any movies will be even partially sourced from film, and all will be digitally mastered. A decade after that, film projection will be a quaint technology from the past, on display in museums.
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post #39 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [Irishman] View Post

I will watch it. It's not about higher framerates that ARE the director's intent. It's about the insertion of fake frames at the end viewing device that destroy the director's intent.

+1 a common misconception that 48fps NATIVE is the same as 48fps interpolated from 24fps, or 120fps interpolated is same as 120fps native "video". They are not, just as 480 scaled to 1080 is not the same as 1080 native.

MCFI is an intermediate solution before higher frame rate film or video, just as 720 an intermediate solution for 480 transition to 1080. But it will take much longer.
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post #40 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 08:19 AM
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I both love and hate motion control: beautiful picture, poor motion.

I may be wrong about this, but I think the ideal is to get the same beautiful picture, but solve the motion issue in LCD. I hear OLED is the ideal technology for this.

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post #41 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 08:22 AM
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I am no expert in screen tech,but personally I find the "soap opera effect" to be a very good thing. Images and motion are clear and crisp.

Love it.
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post #42 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 08:49 AM
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The latest Sony Motion Flow and Clear/Clear Plus panel strobing offer a number of frame interpolation and motion enhancing choices. It's not simply On versus Off. There is a more refined middle ground, which tries to balance the benefits of the processing, with the desirable motion artifacts of the original content.

It's worth taking time to demo the hx929, to see Clear and Clear Plus at work, as well as Motion Flow on Standard and Smooth, It's also worth checking out the impact of CineMotion set to Off, Auto 1 & Auto 2 for different approaches to reverse 3:2 pulldown.

I really think there is something in there to please everyone, even if OFF is what you prefer.

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post #43 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bytehoven View Post

The latest Sony Motion Flow and Clear/Clear Plus panel strobing offer a number of frame interpolation and motion enhancing choices. It's not simply On versus Off. There is a more refined middle ground, which tries to balance the benefits of the processing, with the desirable motion artifacts of the original content.

It's worth taking time to demo the hx929, to see Clear and Clear Plus at work, as well as Motion Flow on Standard and Smooth, It's also worth checking out the impact of CineMotion set to Off, Auto 1 & Auto 2 for different approaches to reverse 3:2 pulldown.

I really think there is something in there to please everyone, even if OFF is what you prefer.

The clear setting is enough to get 1080lines of motion resolution and its also has no trace of judder all this without any soap opera effect.Thats a good achievement by Sony.
While enabling the motionflow to standard gets you the Soap opera effect.
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post #44 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by [Irishman] View Post

Really? so when can we expect to see "good quality MI"? 2012? 2015? 2020?

In really expensive LCd TVs, i believe there is allready one on the market, which does not mean that i will like it or would use it.


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Originally Posted by [Irishman View Post

I will watch it. It's not about higher framerates that ARE the director's intent. It's about the insertion of fake frames at the end viewing device that destroy the director's intent.

If you want to see a movie the way the director intended it you really should go to a movietheater and not watch a movie on a LCd or Plasma, really.

I believe 48fps will have a Motion Interpolationish look also my impression of OLED is that its look will appear closer to real life than LCd or Plasma, like i said i believe that Gary is right about that, 5-25 years from now ultra realistic will be standard.
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post #45 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Bytehoven View Post

I really think there is something in there to please everyone, even if OFF is what you prefer.

The problem people have with the Soap Opera Effect is the concept, not the implementation. For us, no amount of in-between settings is relevant.

Motion interpolation is like colorization, pan & scan, or 2D-to-3D on-the-fly conversion. It's a nifty technological achievement, and it may even achieve watchable results. But the end result is still an intentional alteration of the film. Some people may prefer the change--I still know people who crop everything they watch to a 16:9 aspect ratio (just as they cropped everything to 4:3 with their old sets). If you don't really care about fidelity to the original film, all of these things are fine. If you do, they are not. It's about as simple as that.
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post #46 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 11:15 AM
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I actually doubt whether 48fps or 60fps video is close to being a distribution media of choice. For one thing, it at least doubles the file size of the source video. For another thing (compression aside) it requires a lot more bandwidth to stream.

With my 1080p HDTV and 5.1 sound in my every-day viewing environment, I can plainly see and hear the difference between a Blu-Ray movie and anything I can get from NetFlix streaming. My preferred media is streaming but that is for conveniences' sake - I LIKE perusing the "New Arrivals" section and deciding what to watch on the spot, and not waiting several days for the disk to arrive.

480i and 480p source video are plainly discernable. I can (barely) see the difference between 720p and 1080p, but motion artifacts are common, as are resolution scaling artifacts, and even Reverse Telecine problems which must have occurred when the online files were mastered. The number of movies that should have full surround but are actually stereo is a scandal.

I'm thinking, there are several years before we work our way through this mess and everything is presented in 1080p48 with a real surround mix. I think frame interpolation engines for video and effective Dolby ProLogic audio surround synthesis has a role to play for those several years. I will be looking to the AVS Forum for guidance on my next equipment refresh.

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post #47 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatBus View Post

If you don't really care about fidelity to the original film, all of these things are fine. If you do, they are not. It's about as simple as that.

Well, given very few people have a 16mm, 35mm or 70mm projection stand in their home theater, I guess most of us have entered the "compromised zone".

I remember when people were making similar purist arguments against PCM encoding of audio and how it was corrupting the analog form. Dolby gave it their best shot to keep analog recording alive but digital encoding has prevailed.

I suppose you have decide if you will include yourself among those who accept change and then work to identify which processes preserve as much of the original aesthetic as possible.

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post #48 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Bytehoven View Post

Well, given very few people have a 16mm, 35mm or 70mm projection stand in their home theater, I guess most of us have entered the "compromised zone".

I remember when people were making similar purist arguments against PCM encoding of audio and how it was corrupting the analog form. Dolby gave it their best shot to keep analog recording alive but digital encoding has prevailed.

I suppose you have decide if you will include yourself among those who accept change and then work to identify which processes preserve as much of the original aesthetic as possible.

There's a pretty clear distinction between taking actions to try to improve fidelity (to some degree you could call this audio/videophilia), and avoiding actions that decrease fidelity, which is what I'm talking about.

Using a flatscreen display in your house is a practical choice: you get something in exchange for the lack of fidelity. Using frame interpolation is just loss of fidelity without any accompanying benefit (unless that loss of fidelity is for some reason desirable, which is the only argument in its favor)
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post #49 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 03:57 PM
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Back in the 1950's the TV video camera was invented, but videotape was not yet available to record the video signal. TV video cameras were used on many early TV shows (some very early "I Love Lucy", "The Honeymooners", some early variety shows, etc.), but how did these shows broadcast when they didn't yet have videotape? For those of you old enough to remember, there was a process called Kinescope, which is when they would record a TV monitor with a film camera. This allowed the TV station to broadast the TV show until videotape was perfected. I compare the Soap Opera effect to the look of Kinescope, which has a very weird artifical look. I thought I was being difficult while watching a Samsung 240hz LED that exhibited this effect, but both of my sons came into the TV room and without me saying a word, they both asked "What's wrong with that TV?" The look doesn't bother some people but while it bothers others.
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post #50 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 04:31 PM
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More and more directors and cinematographers are learning how to get the look they want using video, which has undeniable cost advantages both from the standpoint of production time and elimination of expensive film stock, as well as better low light performance.

It doesn't automatically follow that the look they want and get out of video is hyper-realism. They still achieve atmosphere by manipulating color and even inducing grain to varying degrees. I've seen any number of movies originally shot on video that did not exhibit SOE or any other hyper-realism.

I interpret SOE as being a fault in frame interpolation that results in a modification from the intent of the filmmakers from the look they intend and toward hyper-realism, whether that originally intended look is achieved on film or video is immaterial.

Frame interpolation was originally meant to fix display induced motion blur due to slow pixel response time, SOE was an unintended byproduct of the process hated by purists and loved by those who think everything on their HD set should look like the Discovery Channel, regardless of how the director and cinematographer (new or old school) wanted thier artwork to look.

Apparently it is now possible to have the best of both worlds--blur reduction without artificiality, or if the user wants hyper-realism regardless of the film makers desires they can have that too.

I'm among those that really appreciates improvements in display technology that make the original intent of the artists that make films more visible. The grain in the Godfather movies is virtually invisible on an old 480i crt set, and the distinct look of those old Technicolor films is much more apparent on modern displays, as is the variance in color timing throughout the Lord of the Rings films (the latter achieved originally via digital manipulation, btw). Any "feature" of a display that obscures these in the name of hyper-realism is a step backwards.

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post #51 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 04:52 PM
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Without disagreeing with anything Steve S said (in fact I DO agree with his comments) once you enter the realm of digital manipulation of the video frames in the post-production phase, the material becomes unsuitable for judging display accuracy, just as would be completely animated material.

Unless you have a scene that exists in real life, you don't have a reference to judge the final movie against. The material I choose to use to judge display quality is the BBC "Planet Earth" series of disks on Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. That was the material where I first saw the ultra-realism that gave the literal impression that the HDTV was a simple window displaying the real world. It instantly became my standard for judging display quality. If instead the image looks like a film recording, then there has been a distortion of the captured image.

Certainly it is within the perogative of a movie maker to have his final production look any way he wants. I'm just saying that if the movie actually looks like film, it's not reference-quality video material. Part of the characteristic "look" of film is the 24fps stutter that does not look like smoth motion. But if a display can remove that stutter via interpolation, or reduce blur on moving objects to a level below the original source recording, the display has surpassed the recording medium and the final image is improved, IMHO.

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post #52 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ed3120 View Post

I've seen motion interpolation (such as Samsung's Auto Motion Plus or Sony's MotionFlow) on TVs in stores. To be honest, it looked amazing to me. People's faces shown on those sets seemed to jumped out at me in realism. I know this type of technology gets bashed a lot around here and I was just wondering why people don't like it? It gets called thr Soap Opera Effect. Is it one of those things that looks great in the store and then gets annoying an hour after you own it?

I guess what I really don't understand is why 24 FPS is considered better than the smoothed higher frame rates associated with motion interpolation. I understand that all movies are filmed on film at 24 FPS, but why is that better than if they were filmed using the same film at 60 FPS? Is it just an old standard that we are used to?

It just sounds silly to me that Soap Operas are recorded at a higher framerate (I understand that it is video, not film) than movies, and that framerate is a contributing factor to what makes them look cheaper.

I'm not be critical here...just trying to understand the science behind it.

Without question, SOE is a very polarizing effect.....its either a love or hate thing......I am like you....I REALLY, REALLY like it......in fact, I am looking for a TV that does it the best with a really strong/smooth Soap Opera Effect.....I have narrowed it down to either the Sony 929 or the Samsung D8000 LED....
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post #53 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 05:59 PM
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My point that keeps getting lost for whatever reason is that on some displays (sony that I know of specifically) SOE no longer exists. This is no longer a defect or arguement against some LCD sets. I can make my sets motion look exactly like a plasma(proven in a true side by side shootout) or original intent. I can also god forbid make it look hyper real( which I never ever ever do)

To make the statement that I buy plasma because the motion issue of lcd is an outdated statement. Anyone that makes this statement against a sony lcd and from what I hear toshiba(though I havent verified) are not up to date with technology. And are just plain wrong.
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post #54 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatBus View Post

There's a pretty clear distinction between taking actions to try to improve fidelity (to some degree you could call this audio/videophilia), and avoiding actions that decrease fidelity, which is what I'm talking about.

Yes, but when I see the film camera pan a scene, and the elements in the image shudder as they move by, was that the intent of the director or DP?

I agree frame interpolation at the maximum setting creates fluid motion everywhere, which completely removes the inherent aesthetic of 24fps, or even 30fps by creating the false realism of high speed frame recording.

But when the process offers a middle ground which removes or reduces judder of elements during a pan, yet completely or mostly preserves the natural 24fps feel of elements moving in the screen, why is that not a welcome compromise? I could understand the argument the process needs further refinement of this middle ground processing. In fact, I would agree refinement should continue by offering user more control of the processing. But having observed from where it started and what is being currently offered, there has been progress.

I would not enjoy watching everything on Smooth. But watching on Standard has become a comfortable choice which does not cause the presentation to feel affected.

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post #55 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 07:54 PM
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^ serialmike: Ill help you figure out why the point you never make gets "lost": next to no one experienced with an LCD/LED in any capacity agrees with you.

Sony, Samsung, whatever...pick your brand, pick your settings and Ill pick it out of a lineup with PDPs from 10' every time. Every single time.

I'd love to learn the validity of this "shootout" by the way, prolly some great fiction. There isn't an engine around that doesn't add some level of artifacting...regardless of the settings.

The notion that motion is now equally replicated on either tech is absurd an easily disproven by anyone with resonably acute vision and wary of the hallmarks of "new and improved" LCD motion resolution.

Outdated my arse.

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post #56 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bytehoven View Post


Having owned the Panny 46ST30, I know both the Sony ex723 and hx929 were better choices for me.

My only regret is some AVS members feel compelled to bully other members with comments like you just posted.

Electronic "bullying". That's rich.

More like a stongly opposed viewpoint.

Ive stated on numerous occasions that I'm wide open to a comparo for those who maintain there is no longer a discernable difference between the two techs from a motion rez standpoint...set up however one chooses. Pick your model, pick your settings, pick your venue, have it all.

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Tech (responding to laughter): "I'm sorry sir, did I miss something?"

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post #57 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
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... I'm wide open to a comparo..

I have made my "comparo". I did see a difference. I choose the ex723 or hx929 over the plasma alternative.

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post #58 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 08:20 PM
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I will quickly add that I have not yet seen the sony 929, but I will give it an honest due diligence this weekend.

Jamed

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Me: "Yeah, a case of Diet Mountain Dew walking across my living room."

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post #59 of 357 Old 05-23-2011, 08:44 PM
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The discussions on this thread have been very refreshing. Keep up the great posts people, it makes great late night reading!


Ian

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post #60 of 357 Old 05-24-2011, 02:15 AM
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My point that keeps getting lost for whatever reason is that on some displays (sony that I know of specifically) SOE no longer exists. This is no longer a defect or arguement against some LCD sets. I can make my sets motion look exactly like a plasma(proven in a true side by side shootout) or original intent. I can also god forbid make it look hyper real( which I never ever ever do)

To make the statement that I buy plasma because the motion issue of lcd is an outdated statement. Anyone that makes this statement against a sony lcd and from what I hear toshiba(though I havent verified) are not up to date with technology. And are just plain wrong.

You need to know the difference in plasma and LCD to come to that conclusion. What is the refresh rate of the LCD you mention that can match plasma?

You also need to know why SOE is evident ie 4 fake frames interpolated for 24fps to 120fps. Just like VCD 240 resolution interpolated to 1080 cannot be unperceivable. I agree it is possible to have no SOE... LCDs produced 5 years ago does not have SOE.
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