"Steaming Rat," or "Rich's Method For Achieving A More Realistic Image... - Page 8 - AVS Forum
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post #211 of 226 Old 09-14-2005, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyun7128
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.

Ken

Ken,

Regarding the brightness/black level setting, since I use an HTPC, I was able to dial it in exactly so that my brightness level is set to have the darkest black at 16-black, everything below that black, and visible steps from 17 on up (I got close to the screen to look at the dot/noise in the black area that makes it "dark grey"). I used a pattern that had 25 vertical black bars, from 1-25.

If you find the spot where 16-black "should be", then going above/below that is just a matter of personal preference. If you like to have your blacks a little deeper, you can lower the brightness setting. If you want to bring out a little more detail, you can turn it up a bit. You might even find that you need to adjust it depending on what you're watching - especially with TV shows, where some networks/shows might seem slightly dark or slightly washed out.


HTH


Brian
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post #212 of 226 Old 09-15-2005, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri
Ken,

Regarding the brightness/black level setting, since I use an HTPC, I was able to dial it in exactly so that my brightness level is set to have the darkest black at 16-black, everything below that black, and visible steps from 17 on up (I got close to the screen to look at the dot/noise in the black area that makes it "dark grey"). I used a pattern that had 25 vertical black bars, from 1-25.

If you find the spot where 16-black "should be", then going above/below that is just a matter of personal preference. If you like to have your blacks a little deeper, you can lower the brightness setting. If you want to bring out a little more detail, you can turn it up a bit. You might even find that you need to adjust it depending on what you're watching - especially with TV shows, where some networks/shows might seem slightly dark or slightly washed out.


HTH

Brian,

Please forgive my extreme ignorance but I don't know what you mean by the vertical bars. My only experience is with the standard test screens on DVE with the 4 boxes in the middle and the 3 vertical bar on either side. I have seen a large number of vertical bars on the THX calibration screen and I wonder if that is what you are talking about.

I know how to use the test basic test screen on DVE for setting black...it's just that I'm wondering if it is better to set black level a bit higher to bring out more detail. If so, I'm trying to figure out how high to go. If you have a better test screen I should use or even a screenshot, I would really appreciate it.

When setting white level, I cannot get the white box to bloom...rather, it won't bloom with a digital display so even when set to max., it still looks okay. What is the best or correct way to set white level?

Thanks for any advice.

Ken


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Brian,

Please forgive my extreme ignorance but I don't know what you mean by the vertical bars. My only experience is with the standard test screens on DVE with the 4 boxes in the middle and the 3 vertical bar on either side. I have seen a large number of vertical bars on the THX calibration screen and I wonder if that is what you are talking about.

I know how to use the test basic test screen on DVE for setting black...it's just that I'm wondering if it is better to set black level a bit higher to bring out more detail. If so, I'm trying to figure out how high to go. If you have a better test screen I should use or even a screenshot, I would really appreciate it.

When setting white level, I cannot get the white box to bloom...rather, it won't bloom with a digital display so even when set to max., it still looks okay. What is the best or correct way to set white level?

Thanks for any advice.

Ken
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post #213 of 226 Old 09-15-2005, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyun7128
Brian,

Please forgive my extreme ignorance but I don't know what you mean by the vertical bars. My only experience is with the standard test screens on DVE with the 4 boxes in the middle and the 3 vertical bar on either side. I have seen a large number of vertical bars on the THX calibration screen and I wonder if that is what you are talking about.

I know how to use the test basic test screen on DVE for setting black...it's just that I'm wondering if it is better to set black level a bit higher to bring out more detail. If so, I'm trying to figure out how high to go. If you have a better test screen I should use or even a screenshot, I would really appreciate it.

When setting white level, I cannot get the white box to bloom...rather, it won't bloom with a digital display so even when set to max., it still looks okay. What is the best or correct way to set white level?

Thanks for any advice.

Ken

Ken,

The vertical bar test pattern was actually specially created by someone on the HTPC/Display Calibration thread (see my sig) for calibration displays.

If you are using DVE, I suggest using this pattern:
http://mistermax.smugmug.com/gallery/429986

Quote:
This is a frame shot of the Digital Video Essentials grayscale and ramp (Title 12, Chapter 14). This is how it should look when unaltered by the DVD player and converted straight to RGB.
This screen can be used to help dial in both brightness and contrast. On the ramps, you can see dots on either end of the spectrum. I believe the value at the point of the dots directly corresponds to the value of the bar directly above/below it. These are at 16 (black) and 235 (white). The area above/below is the headroom (0-15 and 236-255). The point is to calibrate black/brightness until everything 16 and under is black. You should be able to see in the ramp the gradations above that point. Once you know where 16-black "should be", you can adjust above or below that to taste, and still know where to set it back for reference. Ie., if you need to adjust it up/down for a certain movie that has a poor transfer, then you would know what value to reset it to.

Theoretically, contrast/white will be set the same way. However for example, my DLP is capable of extreme light output. So if I were to try and turn up contrast (in the service menu) so that the brightest white comes down to 235, I get the kind of banding like in Finding Nemo I explained on the previous page of this thread.

And yes, digital displays don't really bloom. You'll have to use other methods to check.


Other screens you might use:

Black pluge (blacker-than-black) which is below the 16-black level and should not be seen, along with bars that are just above black
http://mistermax.smugmug.com/gallery/429986/1/17381111

This one has bars just above 16-black and just below 235-white:
http://mistermax.smugmug.com/gallery/429986/1/17703315
(although no matter how high I tried turning up my contrast in the service menu practically, I still could see the just-below-white bars -- that's why I had to test for coloration (yellow) in the grayscale ramps/bars, along with real-world material like Finding Nemo).


For a Contrast level test, pop in Finding Nemo and go to the scene I mentioned and try turning up contrast all the way. See if you get any banding in the water areas. I'm not sure how your plasma will handle this, but I know I get severe banding (3-strips of blue) if I turn up the contrast and/or color saturation too high here. Actually, the Finding Nemo scene was my ultimate test, because with every other DVD or test patten I tried, it still looked "fine" when I turned Contrast up really high. I used the service menu for this, because the default for brightness is at 50, while contrast is at 100 (can't go above 100, so the service menu contrast setting determines the highest value). So I basically set my color around 50-55, found the spot where turning contrast up created banding in that scene, and went just below that.

I definitely suggest reading http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=523614 (at least the first post). You're not using an HTPC, but there are a lot of links to other threads and websites about calibration, using test patterns, how displays work, etc.

BTW, I am posting a zip file with the black/white bars I was talking about. These use 1280x720 resolution, and feature bars that are 1-25 and 230-255 or so. If you use an HTPC as your DVD player, stuff like this and other test pattern generators makes it really easy to calibrate (compared to just a calibration DVD).


HTH


Brian

 

reference calibrator 1280x720.zip 131.4365234375k . file
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post #214 of 226 Old 09-15-2005, 04:05 PM
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Hi Brian,

Thank!!! You are a wealth of information. I can't wait to get home tonight and try it. I'll let you know how I make out.

If the vertical test bar pattern is the best one to use and it is on DVE, why don't they tell you to use that one instead of the pluge pattern? Strange...

Ken
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post #215 of 226 Old 09-15-2005, 04:33 PM
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You're very welcome.

The vertical bar patterns I posted aren't on DVE. Someone custom-made those at 1280x720 for projectors/DLPs to use with HTPCs.
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post #216 of 226 Old 09-15-2005, 07:48 PM
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So which plasma has the "best" scaler/deinterlacer?
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post #217 of 226 Old 09-21-2005, 02:41 PM
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Brian,

My thanks, too. :D

I had stumbled into using the DVE ramp for improved calibration on my plasma, but didn't have a clue what the dots were all about. (I managed to get it right through a lucky guess, though.) :p
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post #218 of 226 Old 11-07-2005, 04:53 PM
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This is a great thread and i'm half writing to bump it up so others can catch it if they haven't already.

anyway, i've revisited the thread today since i finally gotten around to buying myself a copy of DVE to try and calibrate my Sharp Aquos. so unlike others on this thread, i may be offering a slightly different perspective. prior to getting DVE, i based my calibration largely on someone's posted ISF calibrations for their same model panel. what i found was that these settings were still a bit saturated for my tastes and pushed slightly to green. granted, the latter may be to due to panel-to-panel variations. anyway, i took these ISF calibrated settings and applied the steaming rat method to get a more realistic picture...to do this, it required a slight reduction in color -6 to -7 and a reduction in the green saturation and hue settings with the advanced setting for the panel. (a nice feature that has unfortunately been dropped in many of the new Aquos models just released -- ability to correct hue/saturation/value for all six colors)

anyway, i still wasn't quite happy with the green so i got DVE. and i must say, after using the test patterns to set my the color and tint (-14 now) and then further using hue and saturation adjustments in the CMS menu to get all squares as perfectly uniform in color for all three filter colors to my eye, i have ended up with an incredibly natural picture. i dare say as good or better than some of the screen shots posted by Rich (again, realizing that his pictures are limited by digital camera dynamic range, etc.)

i tried backing off the color a touch more after my DVE calibration and i couldn't get things looking more natural. ...

i wonder if my different experience is a plasma vs. LCD experience. or perhaps RIch and I have a different perspective on the real world ? :)

i'll play some more in the week ahead to see if i can tweak my DVE settings further, but i have to say i'm quite pleased. things look right and natural.*

* interestingly enough, the HDMI based calibration i achieved with DVE via my Panasonic S77 upsampling to 1080i seems to work well with my HD signal as well. i have long been questioning my greens on the football field and noticing that the Gatorade cuts looked too "glowy" using my previous settings. after calibration by DVE, i finally have a "natural Gatorade cup." they look very natural and not overly saturated.

anyway, not to be a dissenting voice. i think Rich has raised some great issues here and i still, being the anal retentive type, will try to see if i can improve upon my DVE settings...but i think DVE has gotten me extremely close to what looks like a natural image IMHO. as the usual disclaimer goes, YMMV.

[btw, can anyone point me to RIch's commentary of calibrating for SD material...i seem to recall there was a separate thread, but my infantile searching skills haven't turned it up yet]
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post #219 of 226 Old 11-07-2005, 05:03 PM
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Rich,

I remember you saying in this thread or another, that you sometimes adjust your user menu settings between television shows.

I had never done this until recently, when watching Desperate Housewives in HD. With all my tweaking, I had my brightness set to 53. But I noticed that Dee's black dress/suit seemed like a big black hole in a recent episode. So I adjusted the brightness up and found that rather than it uniformly becoming lighter, which is what would have happened if it was supposed to be all black, I started getting detail from it. I ended up setting it to about 61-62 for that show, and have noticed that other ABC shows are a little dark as well.

So now, if I get a black screen between a commercial and the show, or see a large area of black on the screen, I'll pause it (Comcast DVR) and check my brightness setting. I've noticed that some of the channels really vary greatly - and this is the HD channels as well. Ie., on Sci-Fi (73, analog), I was turning brightness down to 33 to get the light/noise out of the letterbox bars and get the picture looking correctly. NBC's shows sometimes vary a little as well. So if it's an important show, I might take a second to pause and check the brightness level.

The brightness setting is the only one I fidget with, though.
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post #220 of 226 Old 11-07-2005, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberbri
Rich,

I remember you saying in this thread or another, that you sometimes adjust your user menu settings between television shows.

I had never done this until recently, when watching Desperate Housewives in HD. With all my tweaking, I had my brightness set to 53. But I noticed that Dee's black dress/suit seemed like a big black hole in a recent episode. So I adjusted the brightness up and found that rather than it uniformly becoming lighter, which is what would have happened if it was supposed to be all black, I started getting detail from it. I ended up setting it to about 61-62 for that show, and have noticed that other ABC shows are a little dark as well.

So now, if I get a black screen between a commercial and the show, or see a large area of black on the screen, I'll pause it (Comcast DVR) and check my brightness setting. I've noticed that some of the channels really vary greatly - and this is the HD channels as well. Ie., on Sci-Fi (73, analog), I was turning brightness down to 33 to get the light/noise out of the letterbox bars and get the picture looking correctly. NBC's shows sometimes vary a little as well. So if it's an important show, I might take a second to pause and check the brightness level.

The brightness setting is the only one I fidget with, though.
Yeah, I find the quality of the black level/detail highly variable between shows, HD shows included. There is no "one-size-fits-all" setting to make every show look good, unfortunately. If I notice a flat looking picture it takes just a second to zip the brightness up or down to a richer picture.
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post #221 of 226 Old 11-08-2005, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness
Yeah, I find the quality of the black level/detail highly variable between shows, HD shows included. There is no "one-size-fits-all" setting to make every show look good, unfortunately. If I notice a flat looking picture it takes just a second to zip the brightness up or down to a richer picture.
Good to hear someone who knows what he is doing does that too. :cool:

I also find adjusting the color helps on some shows as well. Some are over saturated, others are pale.
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post #222 of 226 Old 11-08-2005, 09:11 AM
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Rich -

didn't you have a separate thread on calibrating for SD/analog stations? can you point me to that thread? i can't seem to turn it up in the search engine.

BTW, i still haven't given up on your method...i backed off the color on my Sharp from -12 (DVE) to as much as -15. problem i'm having is that makes some people look more realistic, while others look too pale. perhaps i'm in "the noise level" of how much make up is being used by various artists/actors?
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post #223 of 226 Old 11-08-2005, 09:24 AM
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I think the thread you're looking for is Rich's Polishing Turd.
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post #224 of 226 Old 11-08-2005, 09:29 AM
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Thanks Jim!
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post #225 of 226 Old 12-09-2005, 09:06 PM
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A lot of new Plasmas lately. You might want to read this thread by Rich Harkness.

He has different ideas on how to make a better picture.

Dave

"Appeasment only makes the Aggressor more Aggressive"
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post #226 of 226 Old 12-09-2005, 10:24 PM
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Brilliant post!
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