"Steaming Rat," or "Rich's Method For Achieving A More Realistic Image... - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 226 Old 04-05-2005, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eddy13
what would you say is great quality shows to watch and compare on hdnet or discovery also on local hd channels.. Also heres another question where do you leave your ssettings on the hd receiver at 1080i or 720 p.. to me 720p looks sharper than 1080i ..... also im using hdmi and i sometimes comapre to component and the diff is minimal .. I find that component on 480p looks damn good but hdmi looks sharper....
I haven't seen any "bad" shows, although I have noticed stuff on NBC can be on the dark side (SW pun not intended). Like Will & Grace for example (although Joey looks fine). I watched 24 last night, and just thought it was a dark show overall, not "too dark." I had to turn up the brightness when watching Bernie Mac for the indoor scenes to see their skin tones better.

I enjoy Lost and Desperate Housewives on ABC, and they both have amazing HD pictures. The CSI shows (CBS), Law and Order CSI (NBC), and a lot of the sitcoms also have great picture. The only thing I've seen that seemed "soft" was Die Hard 2 on HBO, and maybe some other older films in HD. But all of the HD sitcoms and dramas I've watched (in my area on Comcast, on my display) seem razor sharp. As good as Discovery HD Theater etc.


As for resolution settings, with my display I try to output the resolution of the source, whether it be 720p (ABC, Fox HD) or 1080i (all the other HD channels we get), and let my display do the conversion. Of course setting the cable receiver to upscale 720p signals to 1080i and then converting them back to 720p on my display doesn't look as good as the straight signal. But I find that I get a slightly better picture on 1080i signals by sending them through as 1080i and letting my display downconvert, rather than having the cable receiver do the conversion. All that means is that my display does a better job of downcoverting the 1080i signal to 720p than the cable receiver.

I imagine that your display may have a better scaler than your cable receiver, so it may be best to output signals at their source resolution. Try different combinations and see which looks better, if you want to experiment.
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post #182 of 226 Old 04-06-2005, 08:25 PM
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Also one thing to report.. I used to have a panny tube hd set and let me say that whenever you had a blank screen it was pure black with the panny plasma whenever you have the tv set to another input with no signal you can see that the black level is a dim black not pure black like tubes.. So plasma still needs some ways to get to pure blacks like tubes
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post #183 of 226 Old 04-10-2005, 06:34 AM
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Rich,

I just wanted to say thank you for this thread. I have a Sharp Aquos 45" and before my cousin alerted me to this thread, I was quite disappointed in the TV. I had gotten the new VE disc and I never could get the picture to quite the clarity that I wanted. Plus the colors were always just plain wrong.

After my cousin adjusted his TV according to your initial post, he told me the settings (he has the same TV) and I applied them. All I can say is WOW.

Just wanted to say thanks.

Thierry Braham
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post #184 of 226 Old 04-10-2005, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
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post #185 of 226 Old 04-18-2005, 05:35 AM
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Now, as a brand new "AV Douche Bag" as my wife calls me I have a question. Do Start off tuning from the factory settings or just from 0? Sorry for such a newbie question, but hey, if you never try.....

Gaming with me is gaming with greatness.
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post #186 of 226 Old 04-22-2005, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eddy13
Also do you use component or s video on your dvd player.. I see that yoyu say that s video provides more clarity
Rich's system is a "famous" anamoly. No one can figure out why his S-Video looks better then component. It's definately his Plasma, having brought my DVD and S-Video cable (same types as Rich) and seen it firsthand.

The "rest" of us, use component -- which matches Rich's S-Video quality. :)

You can really notice this in the fine detail. The pores on the face, the wisps of hair, etc.

Peace

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post #187 of 226 Old 04-22-2005, 01:22 PM
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I hate to answer for Rich, but in THIS POST on the SCREEN SHOTS: 4 Brands Of Component Video Cable Compared thread, I asked him if he was still using S-video instead of component cables, and mentioned some differences (improvements) in the posted pictures when using component cables. 5 post below that, HERE. he responded.
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post #188 of 226 Old 04-28-2005, 11:10 AM
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Rich Harkness

Just got my Toshiba plasma yesterday. Yes the default settings were cranked. Right off the bat I set it to an average of a few other owners of the same model that were kind enough to give me their settings. Then I used your method on a Hi-Def TV channel and was quite pleased. Next switched to a SD news channel and the large areas of black were a horrible black hole. I had to crank the brightness way up to 60 (1-100) to get something close. Now in my two days of viewing I notice I am very sensitive to black. Thanks. :confused:

While doing this this I found it difficult to do adjustments since the picture was always changing. You do not state, but do you freeze the picture with a DVD/DVR pause to do your first major set of adjustments?
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post #189 of 226 Old 04-28-2005, 11:31 AM
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NTSC - never the same color -- pretty true, eh?


I'm not Rich, but I'll chime in here with my own input.



For blacks, try to find some high-quality channels (HD, digital, etc.) with "black" bars like letterbox bars, etc., and find the point where black goes between black and slightly grey. This may be different on different channels, but you might find a close compromise.

Your gamma setting may also be an issue here, making shadow areas above "black" too dark, etc.

But yes, I think pausing the screen with a DVR is a good way to work. I'd say calibrate for the high-quality channels (network HD, Discovery HD, etc.), and accept the fact that analog and to a certain extent digital channels aren't going to look as good.

Two options for analog channels:
1) Keep a memory preset tailored to analog stations, with different settings than for HD channels. Some channels may seem overly dark and you may need to turn up the brightness (black level setting).
2) Split your incoming cable before your cable box, and use your TV's internal antenna/tuner for analog channels. I know my Comcast HD DVR box does a horrible job on analog channels, and I get a much, much better picture going straight through the coax antenna input for those channels.


BTW, here's another "calibration by eye" link you might check out - very similar information to this thread, but in a different context (don't go with their recommended settings, as some displays have defaults at 100 out of 100, 50 out of 100, some at 0 out of -30 to +30, etc.:
http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6463_7-...2.html?tag=dir
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post #190 of 226 Old 04-28-2005, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by ClickCardo
Rich Harkness

Just got my Toshiba plasma yesterday. Yes the default settings were cranked. Right off the bat I set it to an average of a few other owners of the same model that were kind enough to give me their settings. Then I used your method on a Hi-Def TV channel and was quite pleased. Next switched to a SD news channel and the large areas of black were a horrible black hole. I had to crank the brightness way up to 60 (1-100) to get something close. Now in my two days of viewing I notice I am very sensitive to black. Thanks. :confused:

While doing this this I found it difficult to do adjustments since the picture was always changing. You do not state, but do you freeze the picture with a DVD/DVR pause to do your first major set of adjustments?
The unfortunate reality is that different sources often require different calibration for optimization. Which is why a professional calibrator would calibrate for HD and DVD separately.

Like your situation, the black levels are really different between my HD and SD channels. In my case I really have the "brightness" setting cranked down to get correct black levels on my HD channels, but if I used that setting for my SD channels, you get the "black hole" effect - crushed shadow detail.

That's why I have different settings for each input - one setting for SD, one for HD and one for DVD.

BTW, in a professional calibration the contrast/brightness/sharpness will tend to be turned down quite a bit. This is one way in which differing sources may gain an over-all smoother look. I personally, in my "steaming rat" mode, like to optimize the impact of each source.

For DVD I have some movie scenes that I'm very familiar with, which I use to set for contrast/brightness, shadow detail etc. And yes, I will freeze a frame for that when necessary.

HD, I use the local HD loop on my "HD-preview" cable channel. No need for freezing the frame. However, like SD channels, HD sources are also variable in contrast/black level and over all quality. You can stick with one setting, but if I'm settling down to watch a long show and notice it could use a tweak it only takes a couple of seconds to dial it in. But, that's me...

For SD, it's all over the place in terms of quality. But I find a decent channel, tweak the settings and get it looking as good as possible. I can then skip through various channels to see if the setting works ok generally, especially on the channels I like to watch. I've found nice settings that seem to work well over-all, so I don't find myself doing too much tweaking when watching SD these days.

Hope that helps.
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post #191 of 226 Old 04-28-2005, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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post #192 of 226 Old 04-28-2005, 11:39 AM
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Hey! ;) Sorry, boring day at work...
If you have anything else to add, please feel free. I don't have a plasma, so you have a lot of insight compared to my more general advice/experience.

Since this is your thread, I'll have to stop posting replies when people ask you questions. ;)
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post #193 of 226 Old 07-08-2005, 10:22 PM
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Kind of resurrecting this thread...


We just watched Willy Wonka last night - 1971 version. We got it from Netflix and it turned out to be the fullscreen version. But upon comparing it with some of your (Rich) screenshots, it's interesting that it seems to be open matte.

I also noticed that the DVD had amazing clarity and detail. Things were clear, sharp, and I was very impressed.

I wanted to see how your (Rich) screenshots compared to what I was seeing, as far as picture settings, etc. go. That's how I noticed the fullscreen DVD being open matte.

Anyway, I thought the differences between the DVD and your settings (or at least how they appear in the picture) were pretty interesting.


For example, comparing this shot:
http://www.pbase.com/image/14231952
with the screenshot taken off the computer (what I use to watch DVDs):
http://gallery.avsforum.com/showphot...ppuser/7455862 the difference is very clear - and not just in the framing/AR. Notice the color of the boy's hair in mine (clearly brown) compared to your plasma image.

You actually say this about that shot:
"
Adjusting the black level downward will increase the realism and vividness of the boy’s dark hair, and the boy’s face over-all. But some small areas of his hair DO fall into little or no detail. You’ll start to get the “tiny patches of black whole†effect in his hair - particularly the patch of hair in front of his left ear (screen right for the viewer). If I notice this, I’ll notch the black levels up a tad; evening things out to were my eyes don’t notice the too-black areas."

However, at least with how it appears on my display (haven't checked a computer monitor factory tuned for accuracy), the boy's hair is brown as can be seen on the top half of his head. And at least in the screenshot taken off my computer, the dark patch above his ear reads at something like 23-19-18 up to low- to mid-20s (r-g-b) rather than black or almost black.


Another comparison:
http://www.pbase.com/chunkofunk/image/14231955/original
compared to the actual picture off the DVD:
http://gallery.avsforum.com/showphot...ppuser/7455862
What's really obvious with this one is the difference in the brightness of the reds and blues, the color of Wonka's purple jacket, and the difference in overall brightness (blown out). The reds and blues seem to be glowing to the point of strain, covering up detail in the clothing. The purple jacket barely looks purple either, maybe due to a cooler (higher) color temp.

Here is another comparison, this time from Toy Story 2:
http://www.pbase.com/chunkofunk/image/14230819
and
straight off the DVD - not altered:
http://gallery.avsforum.com/showphot...15525/size/big

Note that if you save all the images and play them back as a slideshow in the Windows image viewer, you can see how they appear with a black background. This totally changes their appearance compared to being surround by white or other colors. (The plasma screenshots of the group picture appear blindingly-bright
when viewed with an all-black border in the dark).

Here's another one, from Spider-Man
http://www.pbase.com/image/14239041
and
http://gallery.avsforum.com/showphot...ppuser/7455862
Here the difference in color temp is very evident - the plasma screenshot seems very cool (higher temp, bluer - like the purple jacket looking blue in the WW group shot above), as is the difference in detail in his hair above his ear.
The difference in actual contrast (not Contrast white level setting), with the brights and darks, is also clear on his hands and on his shirt/camera strap.



I wonder what this shot from Finding Nemo would look like with those settings - at least how they come out in the pictures (which may be quite off from how the picture actually looks). I know on my DLP, if I get my contrast (white level) and/or color setting up too high, it creates serious banding in a lot of Finding Nemo scenes, especially this one.


This difference reminds me of your (Rich) comparisons here:
http://www.pbase.com/chunkofunk/isf_comparison_shots_2
where you show the ISF settings plus your own Steaming Rat-derived settings.

Although the movie is different, the differences seem about the same in what I am seeing on my display with its settings, between looking at your screenshots of WW and seeing it through my DVD playback software.

On a small computer screen in a well-lit room, I agree that your settings, as they appear in the screenshots, appear to give a bright, rich picture, and that the ISF settings seem dull in comparison. However in thinking about it, I think that in a dark room, where you would actually be watching, the ISF-settings (or like the screenshots - taken off the computer, not a picture of what comes through on my display) produce the more life-like, natural picture - and the SR screenshots (pictures as they are, and not entirely reliable), look artificial, neon-bright, and more like "torch mode" than I can imagine. Again, I know this is probably at least partly to do with the camera, etc., but you did say that you tried to adjust them on your computer screen so they match what is shown on the plasma. I wonder if the difference could be partly due the viewing environment you made your settings at (completely dark room, during afternoon, etc.)


Personally I like my settings, which I got through calibrating with test discs, test pattern software, a small does of Steaming Rat here and there etc., when viewing DVDs, compared to how your screenshots look like through those same settings. If I were to calibrate my display to look like your screenshots in my DVD software (by looking at them on another monitor, properly calibrated and at 6500K), I can't imagine what your screenshots would look like again on my display.


I know this is an issue of going for "faithful reproduction of how it is supposed to look" versus "going for what looks good to the eye". Personally I think my settings look better (in a dark viewing environment) look better on my display, than how these screenshots look (on my display). So for me ISF-levels look great. I think the Steaming Rat method is great for dialing in things in certain cases, and I don't know if you (Rich) have changed your settings since these shots were taken (or how accurately the represent what is being shown on-screen), but it's easy to see
how the DVDs should look on a computer monitor, since most seem to have presets for 6500K and proper adjustments. Whether one wants to view tham as they should look or not is a whole nother things. ;)

Anyway, I just thought this was an interesting comparison, something good for discussion, if anyone cares to discuss... I don't know if your settings are still the same on your plasma, Rich, or if you have since changed them - so I'm of course just drawing comparisons with your screenshots and the images taken directly from DVD playback on my computer.
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post #194 of 226 Old 08-03-2005, 01:54 PM
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I have been trying this method of calibration and I am still not satified. I also have Avia, but wow, way too much color and brightness. I must be too much of a noob. Is it possible for someone to post their setting on their Panny? I have the TH-50PX50U.
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post #195 of 226 Old 08-04-2005, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Whoa. I missed cyberbri's response way back when, so I'll get to that.

ScooterZ,

Unfortunately someone posting their settings is not likely to work for you, because the front end equipment and viewing conditions all influence the calibration of the picture settings (which is one reason why an ISF calibrator will ask you what kind of lighting conditions you watch you display in).

Yes, the steaming rat method does depend on developing a decent eye for acheiving quality. But short of hiring a professional calibrationist, why don't you start with AVIA and then adjust from there. At least you should get the colors closer to "correct" and have a decent starting point. Then if it's too much color and brightness - hey, you are in control, not the TV. Adjust the color and brightness intensity until it looks best to you.

Best of luck.
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post #196 of 226 Old 08-04-2005, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri

Anyway, I thought the differences between the DVD and your settings (or at least how they appear in the picture) were pretty interesting...
Indeed, that was a very interesting post. Thanks. I appreciate the effor that went into it.

Before I typed this reply, last night I revisited those same shots (Willy Wonka etc) again on my plasma, just to make sure. I looked at them via my ISF'd settings and my own settings.

The main issue is that my screen shots are deceiving both in contrast and color, which I've mentioned before. The camera just can't capture the contrast so it crushes shadows and high-lights, and also adds a red-push. But I wanted the clarity and vividness to come across, so what I did was attempt to capture as much of the image "impact" as possible in the mid-tones. If I evened out the plasma contrast so nothing would be crushed in the screen shots, I'd loose some of the impact I was trying to capture.

The upshot is that the details that are missing, for instance in the Willy Wonka boy's black hair, are perfectly visible on the actual plasma image. All the details visible in the shots you posted are there on my plasma. So the screen shots deceive that you'd be watching a really pumped-up looking image, with too-high, video-like contrast. Whereas the actual image I view is remarkably like the screen shots you posted in terms of the detail, smoothness and evenness of the image. Except it has the vividness more akin to the screen shots I posted. (I think you'd really be surprised how much my plasma image looks like your screen shots ).

Another thing, btw, is as I've mentioned before my S-Video connection which I used for the screen shots does crush blacks a tad compared to my component connection. Although, I think the effects of the camera itself crushing blacks over-whelms the difference.

In terms of color temp, yes I run the Panny somewhat higher than D6500. However, again, the screen shots decieve (as I again compared them to the real image). My image looks much more naturally toned than the screen shots. Skin tones look realistic and Willy Wonka's coat is definitely "purple." (Although, on my ISF'd settings the purple gets closer to the image s you posted). It's really amazing to me, though, how much clearer my image settings appear than my ISF settings. For instance on the group shot from Willy Wonka, wherein you pointed out Wonka's purple coat: on my ISF settings that image looks somewhat blurry, like looking through a brown filter (I actually see some of this effect in the shot you posted). On my settings it clears right up and looks quite striking. Some of this is definitely due to the higher contrast settings I am using, which aids the perception of sharpness (and which I try to control so that it does not edge into artificial or "video" looking contrast).

One thing I always complained about after getting my plasma ISF'd is that I actually lost shadow details. When I view the Willy Wonka kid on my ISF settings his hair does go into the "patches of black holes" effect, whereas his hair is entirely visible throughout the shadows on my settings. That's not to say all who get their set ISF'd will end up with the same result. My calibrator, like many, did the final touches of contrast by eye. And he is a very well regarded calibrationist. But I just found the settings I was left with were a bit frustrating (even after a long attempt to acclimatize). But any good calibrationist will tell you that contrast settings are not set in stone, and that you are free to tweak them to taste if you wish. The greatest benefit of pro calibration is an eveness of gray scale that is almost impossible for most people to achieve on their own.

Also, as some here know, I'd been using my S-Video connection because, for whatever reason, on my set it rendered an amazingly sharp image with reduced image/color noise. But since the screen shots I've been using my component connection a lot more. In fact, most films I watch on my component connection. That's because:

1. With further tweaking (of things like overscan and other controls) I have got my component image clearer and tighter than it was before.

2. The component image offers a slightly more even picture in terms of contrast and shadow detail

3. The progressive scan output of my DVD player is better than the de-interlacing in my plasma, so the progressive/component signal suffers far fewer artifacts than sending my plasma the interlaced S-Video signal.

But I have to admit sometimes when I switch back to the S-Video input (which I also continued to tweak), man oh man what a clear image!

Finally, you make a good point about how image settings will have different effects under different viewing conditions, which is why a good calibrator will calibrate for your viewing conditions.

Yes, torch mode would be pretty brutal under "lights out" conditions. That is why my contrast and brightness are set-up up for such conditions. (The lower the lights, the lower the contrast settings, for instance...I can also get away with lowering brightness settings too, because when the ambient light goes away shadow details are easier to percieve and retain as the brightness control is reduced).

These days I am black-masking my plasma for 2:35:1 films (and even for 1:85:1 and other almost 16:9 formats that leave a little black on the bottom of the image). And I have a black cloth that I hang behind the plasma that obliterates any visual distractions and makes the image float in a black space. That really has done incredible things to make the image "pop" and to add dimensionality to the experience.
The only minor is that placing the plasma image in pitch black surroundings does challenge the plasma's black levels - you can see they are somewhat brighter than the surrounding black. And in fact this is an opposite approach than many take, in that a lot of people are going to bias lighting behind their plasma to make the black levels look deeper. But I've found the Panasonic black levels to be sufficient without bias lighting, and I've found the overall benefits of watching the image surrounded by pitch black (and under low lights) easily outweigh the negatives.

It's possible you might find the plasma still too bright under such conditions. But I have no problem, and I have recieved only positive comments from guests who watch under my maniacal set-up (several stalwart movie-watching guests have remarked at the increase in being "sucked into the image" under such viewing conditions)

Over 'n out.
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post #197 of 226 Old 08-04-2005, 10:18 AM
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Cool. Great reply.

I had a feeling that some/a lot of it had to do with the process of trying to capture the image with a camera, processing that on the computer, and then viewing that in different conditions (computer monitor in brightly lit room). It goes to show that sometimes how/where you view an image is just as important, if not more, than the image itself.

I know I've tried to take pictures of my display, and they never look like what I'm actually seeing. If you have any tips on lighting, camera settings, etc., I think a lot of people would be very grateful (new how-to thread somewhere, like in the general ht topics forum).


I also dig your black cloth idea. I read a long time ago a thread or posts or something you had about velcroing black cloth to the screen to cover up the bars - but I never got around to it. Maybe I'll have to do that one of these days. I notice that less-wide movies (ie., 1.78/1.85:1, or HBO HD cropped movies) seem to "pop" more - either because they are bigger visually, and/or because they don't have the black bars that are much brighter than the pitch black edges of the screen in the dark. Now that you've mentioned it again here, I'll have to see about trying that out.

I've had the upgraditis bug lately, recently upgrading to a better subwoofer, and a new upgraded receiver coming today (HK AVR330, upgrading my AVR125). Maybe the black cloth would make it that much better.
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post #198 of 226 Old 08-04-2005, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness
Whoa. I missed cyberbri's response way back when, so I'll get to that.

ScooterZ,

Unfortunately someone posting their settings is not likely to work for you, because the front end equipment and viewing conditions all influence the calibration of the picture settings (which is one reason why an ISF calibrator will ask you what kind of lighting conditions you watch you display in).

Yes, the steaming rat method does depend on developing a decent eye for acheiving quality. But short of hiring a professional calibrationist, why don't you start with AVIA and then adjust from there. At least you should get the colors closer to "correct" and have a decent starting point. Then if it's too much color and brightness - hey, you are in control, not the TV. Adjust the color and brightness intensity until it looks best to you.

Best of luck.
Thanks for your help
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post #199 of 226 Old 08-04-2005, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cyberbri

I also dig your black cloth idea. I read a long time ago a thread or posts or something you had about velcroing black cloth to the screen to cover up the bars - but I never got around to it.
Yep. That was me rambling about that procedure.

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I notice that less-wide movies (ie., 1.78/1.85:1, or HBO HD cropped movies) seem to "pop" more - either because they are bigger visually, and/or because they don't have the black bars that are much brighter than the pitch black edges of the screen in the dark. Now that you've mentioned it again here, I'll have to see about trying that out.
My tests indicate it's because of the image being bordered with the darker black. Masked 2:35:1 films actually have more pop than an unmasked 1:85:1 film. And even when there is a relatively small black letter-boxed bar on a 1:85:1 film masking it helps the image pop more.

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I've had the upgraditis bug lately, recently upgrading to a better subwoofer, and a new upgraded receiver coming today (HK AVR330, upgrading my AVR125). Maybe the black cloth would make it that much better.
I have no doubt it will. That is, unless you have already got pitch black behind the plasma, which I doubt (most people don't).

My plasma is mounted on/in a sort of large built-in bookcase/entertainment unit. The unit is an ochre yellow. I'd always watched with the lights very low, often right off. The entertainment unit goes into deep shadow - visible but not even remotely a distraction, under such lighting. So I figured the lights-out experience was as good as it gets. Then I tried the black masking for 2:35:1 films and found that making the image appear against pitch black really did amazing things. After a while I realized that even with the lights off the light color of my entertainment unit meant it really wasn't pitch black. So I tried the black cloth and WOW was I surprised at the effect. It just pushed the image to another level. When the image is against black there is absolutely nothing competing with the image for attention. So my eye perceives even richer color details - all details really. It also takes away subtle cues of objects near the plasma, which my brain I guess uses to say "this is a smallish image." So the image seems more generous and cinematic. As well, there is a sort of "freeing" up of the entire image. By that I mean that with absolutely nothing to distract from any point of the image - no black bars, no bezel, nothing beyond the bezel - it's like my eye feels more free to roam the image all the way out to the corners. Whereas even subtle visual distractions like a bezel or anything that frames the image tends to act as a "stop" for the eye....in which you are looking at the image/frame/plasma bezel vs simply the image and nothing more.

Finally, the dimensionality of the image when placed against black, at least with the Panasonic model, is just amazing. You only have the image to provide depth and size cues, so the peering-through-the-image effect just takes off. You perceive more 3-dimensional relationships between the figures on screen.
Blue skies don't look flat, they look deeeeep, more like really peering into the sky.

It's a bunch of subtle things that add up to a very worthwhile upgrade in the viewing experience, to my eyes.

However, I don't expect many to go to the trouble I have. I know that the next plasma set-up I get, probably in another room, will take all these experiments into consideration and I'm going to have a deep-hued (dark grey perhaps or black), distractionless background for the plasma. (I'm dreaming of what Panasonic 65" plasma would look like under such conditions).

I've had the upgraditus too. But the masking/cloth thing has gone quite a ways in providing a balm until I get cash for serious upgrading. Because I rarely see something in the stores that offers as amazing a viewing experience as I get at home, even with my lowly 42" ED plasma.

Cheers,
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post #200 of 226 Old 08-27-2005, 10:41 PM
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I really enjoyed reading your Steaming Rat article and I am interested in achieving the same results. I am a newbie at this as I recently purchased a 50PHD7UY and connecting a Samsung 850 through HDMI. I'm familiar with calibrating with DVE but I seem to be have a lot of problems using the Steaming Rat method. Please forgive me if this has been addressed before.

I started with Color and that seemed to be easy enough. My setting was -10. I used your screenshot of Green Goblin's face (surrounded by flames) to set my Black Level and my initial setting was -8. I looked at your screenshot and noticed that you lost a lot of detail of the lines on the left side of his neck. One of my first confusions was whether you really want that. Don't you want to see the details of his armor? You just lose seeing a lot of it by increasing black level. Anyways, I attempted to reproduce the same black level as the screenshot and my setting was -12. I played a bit of the movie to see what it was like and in the scene where everyone was gathering for Thanksgiving dinner, everyone wearing dark clothes had almost no detail. Mary Jane's black dress was just a black blur and Norman Osborne's suite had no detail. I tried "Dafoe lab intense" just now and to get it that dark, especially on the right side near his eye, my Black Level would have to increase to abut -14. If I tried that setting with Green Goblin's mask again, I wouldn't be able to see through the screen in front of his mouth.

Ok...I kind of left that and went to Contrast. When set at 0, everything looks way too dark. This confused me the most as your article said to start at 0 and go down from there. I was going the opposite direction. I found that changing the Contract produced subtle changes and I would have to increase it quite a bit to get some "light" (for a lack of a better term) back in the picture. I used the "Control Dude - Big" (from Fifth Element) as a guide. Though I had all the shadow detail in his rough skin (compliments of a high Black Level), I couldn't get the front part of this face to been very bright. I increased my setting to +10 and see what happened. I watch Sound of Music and when they were outdoors, everything looked like they were always under overcast skys. If I increased the Contrast to above 10, I almost feel like I'm doing something wrong.

What am I doing wrong? Any input or advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

Ken
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post #201 of 226 Old 08-28-2005, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Ken,

I don't have time for a detailed response for the moment. I'll get there. But in a nutshell:
You aren't supposed to be calibrating to my screen shots. As is mentioned within this thread,
the camera I used to take the shots could not reproduce all the detail in the dark and hi-light areas, that's why those details, like part of the Goblin's suit, are missing. They are not missing from my actual plasma image. That's why you are supposed to use your own eye, with a mind to achieving as dark blacks as possible without sacrificing too much detail.

More later, I hope....
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post #202 of 226 Old 09-05-2005, 03:02 PM
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Ken,

I don't have time for a detailed response for the moment. I'll get there. But in a nutshell:
You aren't supposed to be calibrating to my screen shots. As is mentioned within this thread,
the camera I used to take the shots could not reproduce all the detail in the dark and hi-light areas, that's why those details, like part of the Goblin's suit, are missing. They are not missing from my actual plasma image. That's why you are supposed to use your own eye, with a mind to achieving as dark blacks as possible without sacrificing too much detail.

More later, I hope....
Thanks Rich. As a someone who is relatively new to this, it is a little tough for me to produce what you describe without having photos as a reference. Ideally, I would look at your screenshots and then try to produce the same thing on my display. This goes with brightness and contrast. Without the photos as a reference, at least for me, the settings I come up with are just a "guess" of what you are saying they should look like. Any input would be appreciated...when you get some time. Thanks.

Ken
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post #203 of 226 Old 09-05-2005, 05:02 PM
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Uhmmmm...it's in his sig. ;)
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post #204 of 226 Old 09-05-2005, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Ken,

Given how detailed my "steaming rat" post was I'm not sure I can do more to help. But, do you have the Spider Man (1) DVD? Perhaps we could start there.
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post #205 of 226 Old 09-09-2005, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness
Ken,

Given how detailed my "steaming rat" post was I'm not sure I can do more to help. But, do you have the Spider Man (1) DVD? Perhaps we could start there.
Rich,

Yes, I do have both Spiderman DVD's. I used the firey scene of Green Goblin as a reference. I looked at your screenshot and turned down the brightness to try to duplicate it. I know you said not to use your screenshots but what other reference do I haveto refer to? Anyways, in your screenshot, the right side of GG neck is basically black (when the brightness is higher, you can see all the lines on his neck) and in order to get this, brightness is at -12. Everything else is too dark when I'm watching a DVD, even when I try to compensate by increasing Picture to 20. I increased brightness to -8 so there was more detail in the neck but overall, it is still on the dark side. Should I be looking at a different part of the screenshot to do my settings? Thanks.

Ken
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post #206 of 226 Old 09-09-2005, 09:07 PM
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IMO, you should be using some basic test screens, like those found on DVE or Avia (or even the THX optimizer screens), to dial in at least the brightness (black level), rather than trying to guess based on digital pictures taken of someone else's TV.
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post #207 of 226 Old 09-09-2005, 11:46 PM
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maybe i have had too many beers but this post frightens me.
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post #208 of 226 Old 09-10-2005, 12:03 AM
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I tried steaming rat and decided that I'll stick to beef. :rolleyes: I e-mailed an ISF company. If only I could get somebody to actually answer and set up an appointment.
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post #209 of 226 Old 09-14-2005, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri
IMO, you should be using some basic test screens, like those found on DVE or Avia (or even the THX optimizer screens), to dial in at least the brightness (black level), rather than trying to guess based on digital pictures taken of someone else's TV.
Hi Cyberbri. I have DVE and I used that originally. I was just trying to further adjust it based on the Steaming Rat method just to see if I liked it better. As far as black level goes, Rich is suggesting that the setting should be darker than what I would have it set by using DVE. I agree it looks better with a higher dark level but I am jus trying to find the "correct" setting.

If anything, I had a harder time with setting the white level. My understanding is that HD panels do not "bloom" so how do you know how high to set it? I tried mine at the maximum setting of 25 (I have the 50PHD7UY) and it still looked accepatable. I know using a high setting like this is not good for the panel. What is a good screenshot or test screen to use to set this properly? It is hard to know what is correct since the panel does not "bloom". Thanks for any advice.

Ken
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post #210 of 226 Old 09-14-2005, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyun7128

If anything, I had a harder time with setting the white level. My understanding is that HD panels do not "bloom" so how do you know how high to set it? I tried mine at the maximum setting of 25 (I have the 50PHD7UY) and it still looked accepatable. I know using a high setting like this is not good for the panel. What is a good screenshot or test screen to use to set this properly? It is hard to know what is correct since the panel does not "bloom". Thanks for any advice.

Ken

Ken,

Yup, setting contrast/white level can be pretty tough on certain displays that don't behave like normal CRTs.

In my experience tweaking my own set (a Samsung DLP), I found a great scene to make sure my contrast and color levels aren't too high. Finding Nemo can look awful on a poorly-calibrated digital display (not sure how plasmas handle it). There is one scene in particular, when Marlin(?) rushes Dory out of the swarm of jellyfish (see my gallery for a screenshot of it - look in my signature). I found that on my DLP at least, if the color and/or contrast are up too high, I get banding in the water. There is also a scene near the beginning, right at the beginning of the chapter where the two have just met and are talking, right before the shark shows up. If the color/contrast are up too high, I see blocking/banding in the brighter areas of Dory's scales.

Check the HOW-TO thread in my signature if you want to read more about the scene - it's near the end of the first post there. Other information in that post and thread might also prove useful to you, as far as expanding your knowledge or at least reinforcing what you already know.

HTH


Brian
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