Blu Ray letterbox bars not the deepest black - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-04-2013, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Has anyone else have any issue with the letterbox bars not being the deepest black that can be displayed on your set?

I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but this is clearly the case. The one example I use that's undeniable is on the Samsara blu ray, the dark city scene (I believe it's 10) where there is pure blackness that rides right up to the letterbox bars. Pausing this and seeing the letterbox bars next to the night scene, the black from the scene is clearly darker than the letterbox bars. I was led to believe the bars should be the blackest your set can go.

I use a Sony S5100 Blu Ray player and an LG PA6500 plasma, which I tweaked to get better blacks.

Has anyone else run into this?

Is there a way to remedy it?
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-04-2013, 05:15 PM
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This a problem with your tv not being able to produce deep inky blacks, not the bluray.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-04-2013, 05:30 PM
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It's normal. I also had an LG plasma which I've tweaked for better black as well.
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-04-2013, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I was talking about the relative black levels, ie blacks in the scene are blacker than letterbox bars, not absolute black levels.
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-04-2013, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KOF View Post

It's normal. I also had an LG plasma which I've tweaked for better black as well.

Thanks. Too bad there's no way to adjust it.
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-05-2013, 12:31 AM
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If the content between the letterboxing is darker than the letterboxing itself, that sounds like you have a calibration error.
Below black content should not be visible under normal conditions, so you will have to adjust your brightness.
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-05-2013, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

If the content between the letterboxing is darker than the letterboxing itself, that sounds like you have a calibration error.
Are these video-material created letterbox bars (embedded in the video file), or player-created letterbox bars (created by the player)?

Letterbox/pillarbox bars created by a Blu-Ray player tends to be 0 IRE instead of 7.5 IRE. At least, that's been my experience. So the letterbox bars are likely coming from the video itself.
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-05-2013, 08:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Rejhon View Post

Are these video-material created letterbox bars (embedded in the video file), or player-created letterbox bars (created by the player)?

Letterbox/pillarbox bars created by a Blu-Ray player tends to be 0 IRE instead of 7.5 IRE. At least, that's been my experience. So the letterbox bars are likely coming from the video itself.

Interesting, but it does seem like every blu ray has the same shade of black for the letterbox bars. Perhaps it's the TV set, itself, creating the lighter letterbox. I've heard somewhere that this is done sometimes to age the phosphors more evenly on a plasma.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-06-2013, 12:08 AM
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I think letterbox bars encoded into Blu-rays will usually be like RGB(16,16,16). So if there's video content under that it will show as darker than the black bars - unless you adjust the settings on the TV so that below 16 doesn't show.

Though really, if there is video content below RGB(16,16,16) and you adjust the TV controls (brightness etc.) so that video below that (the colour of the black bars) doesn't show and that the black bars are as black as possible, you also throw away part of the video picture. A better standard would probably have been for Blu-ray to know where the letterbox bars should be (eg. for 2.35:1 content) and automatically generate them in the Blu-ray player so they would always be the darkest part of the output image.
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-06-2013, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

Though really, if there is video content below RGB(16,16,16) and you adjust the TV controls (brightness etc.) so that video below that (the colour of the black bars) doesn't show and that the black bars are as black as possible, you also throw away part of the video picture.
Anything which is below black (i.e. 16, 16, 16) should not be visible. It's not valid picture content.
The only time you want to see below black content is either during production, or during calibration. During calibration, it's only used to set your brightness control to the point where anything below black is not visible.

Black (16, 16, 16) should be the deepest black your display is capable of producing.
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post #11 of 14 Old 12-06-2013, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

Anything which is below black (i.e. 16, 16, 16) should not be visible. It's not valid picture content.
The only time you want to see below black content is either during production, or during calibration. During calibration, it's only used to set your brightness control to the point where anything below black is not visible.

Black (16, 16, 16) should be the deepest black your display is capable of producing.
But when there is video content below standard black (16,16,16), actual video content (eg. actual visual data from the recorded scene) you're still losing that recorded data from the scene if you reduce your TV settings to make everything below that not visible.

How do you know it's not valid video content? It could contain actual video from the scene. When they record video unless they set everthing < RGB(16,16,16) to something other than what was recorded during some stage (eg. 0 values) it should often contain picture values from the scene.
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post #12 of 14 Old 12-06-2013, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

But when there is video content below standard black (16,16,16), actual video content (eg. actual visual data from the recorded scene) you're still losing that recorded data from the scene if you reduce your TV settings to make everything below that not visible.
There should not be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

How do you know it's not valid video content? It could contain actual video from the scene. When they record video unless they set everthing < RGB(16,16,16) to something other than what was recorded during some stage (eg. 0 values) it should often contain picture values from the scene.
Because content is created to certain standards, and valid ranges are 16-235.
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post #13 of 14 Old 12-06-2013, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

There should not be.
.
Have you tried looking at video content and looked at the RGB values?
eg. I looked at them and the dark areas of a recorded video file are eg. RGB(7,7,7), RGB(4,6,3).etc - or is that because the program I'm looking at them in has done a conversion between 16-235 and 0-255 and showing values for them in the 0-255 range?

How are you determining (by evidence) that there is no picture content recorded outside the range 16-235?
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post #14 of 14 Old 12-06-2013, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

eg. I looked at them and the dark areas of a recorded video file are eg. RGB(7,7,7), RGB(4,6,3).etc - or is that because the program I'm looking at them in has done a conversion between 16-235 and 0-255 and showing values for them in the 0-255 range?
That's the most likely reason. If you load a test disc, is below black content visible, or is it clipped in your player? (It should be clipped if you're using a PC for playback)
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