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|Originally posted by JoeKing
hi, I have the 34XBR800 and used to prefer watching DVDs using Vivid and Standard because of the inky blacks and the very bright image even though a lot of shadow detail was lost. I eventually got fed up and found a way to get the bright clear images that these modes produce and still get the shadow detail I always wanted. Here is what I found.
I set the GAMR GAMG and GAMB to 3 and turned BLK from 3 to 0. This resulted in a washed out image. However, when I toned down the brightness, the blacks were very deep, the image was bright, and most importantly, shadow detail was greatly improved.
On a side note, the Vivid and Standard modes seem to have a "bluer" hue regardless of what the color temperature is set to. I actually think that Vivid set to WARM is a great compromise because you get whites that don't have a brown tinge to them and they are not noticably blue either.
also, here are my settings....
DRC "sharpness" is set to 15 and "smoothness" is set to 0
I use interlaced on most movies. Cinemotion on movies that exibit a stairstepping type effect.
I hope this information is useful for other people as picky as I am.
|Also, I have the same question as coldpiece about making my set hold blacks as well as possible because when looking at anamorphic films there is some blooming seen through the letterbox that really bothers me.|
|From a Thread on the Hulk DVD
With the exception of the slight EE, this is a pretty nice lookin DVD. IMO, one of the reasons for this is strong gamma undercorrection. Midtones are made deliberately darker so the image has more depth and richness when viewed in a dark theater style setting...
This has some pretty dark scenes in it though, so if you watch this in a setting with more ambient light, the midtones may seem rather dark and detail may be a strain to make out in the shadows. (This is the way it seemed to me on a direct-view CRT with only a modest amount of ambient light.) Even if you max out the contrast on the TV, in such a setting, it still may not provide enough gain to see much shadow detail [and may have other negative consequences on PQ]. There are a couple different approachs to compensate for this. If you're using an HTPC, you could raise the gamma or white level (picture/contrast) in the player or overlay. Or you could use the Enhanced (Vivid, Standard) modes on the TV or DVD player, which will do much the same thing. Boosting the white level on the DVD player or HTPC will provide more contrast and shadow detail at the expense of bleaching out some of the highlights (skys especially). Boosting gamma will make shadow detail more visible at the expense of some richness and depth. These are the sort of things that may be necessary though to get this to be comfortable/enjoyable to watch on a CRT if you can't decrease the ambient light or don't want to boost the contrast on the TV (to protect the phosphors from excessive wear).
As DVDs are better produced for HT, I find myself wanting to decrease the ambient light in my viewing environment more and more (a few 15 watt bulbs seemed ample for this DVD...). If you go too dark though, then motion artifacts (phosphor decay) may start to become a bit more noticeable (always tradeoffs, aren't there :) ). This is really enjoyable to watch with the right settings and conditions though. The Hulk looks very... Hulky.
Anyway, just to review, if you're having difficulty making out shadow details on somethin like this and don't want to sacrifice solid blacks, some things you could try are...
1) decrease the ambient light in the viewing environment
2) increase the contrast on the display
If these aren't workable/preferable, then...
3) boost gamma or use enhanced/vivid modes on display.
4) boost gamma or contrast/white level, or use enhanced vivid modes on DVD player/HTPC.
|From the XBR910 FAQ
Some ideas re basic PQ adjustment prior to calibration...
Most of the default settings in the different picture modes are tuned for a satisfactory picture out of the box. Movie may a good choice for night-time viewing because it has decent, but not excessive black retention, clarity and no gamma enhancement. For daytime viewing Standard mode may be a little easier to watch, due to its brighter midtones (gamma). Color temp is probably a matter of personal choice at this point. Warm is supposed to be closest to NTSC's normal temp, but the color bias on the TV may be so strong/inaccurate that it makes little difference at this stage (FWIW, Neutral was my initial preference on the 34xbr800 too). You can use the THX Optimizer on any THX mastered DVD to fine-tune a few settings like Brightness, Color Saturation, etc a bit more. You may want to dial the Color saturation back a bit to compensate for red push.
I generally recommend DRC Cinemotion for the 480i up-conversion, this has cadence-based reverse-telecine so it ought to give you the best up-conversion of film-based content to 480p. On video-based content, the DRC Interlaced option (which I believe simply doubles the lines to 960i) may also be worth a try. Cinemotion may adjust it's de-interlacing dynamically depending on the content though, but I think it will always up-convert to 480p.
I don't really recommend changing the Picture/Contrast settings on the TV until you're ready to dig into the calibration a bit more. Adjusting the ambient light in your viewing environment and viewing distance until you can see the picture well may be a better strategy instead. Don't watch the TV in total darkness though. Leave at least a couple dim lights on. (I use a few 15 Watt bulbs, FWIW)
If you do change the Picture setting (white level), then adjust the Brightness (black level) again afterward because this may tend to drift based on how high Contrast/Picture is set.
|More from the XBR910 FAQ
Time to start exploring some of the calibration links I guess, and maybe try out DVE or AVIA. My suggestion re leaving the Picture/contrast at the default is more a guideline for initial viewing than a steadfast rule btw. Out of the box, most of the settings in the TV will be tuned for the default contrast settings in the User Menu. To effectively go outside this default paradigm, you'll probably need something a little more robust than just the THX Optimizer.
In the meantime, here a few basic things you could try.
1) If you can lower the ambient light in your viewing area a little more without phosphor trails and internal reflections becoming a distraction, that may be worth a try and may help in seeing shadow detail.
2) How far are you sitting from the TV? If you're too far away, their may not be enough contrast to see the picture well in the TV's default configuration. (FWIW, the Vivid and Standard modes may be a little easier to watch from a greater distance due to their enhanced gamma and blacks.)
3) If you're using a DVD player, see if it has any adjustments for gamma or contrast, or Vivid modes of it's own it. Adjusting these can help make darker DVDs easier to watch.
4) Movie mode does have slightly enhanced blacks, so it may be too dark for some content which is heavily gamma undercorrected. Pro or Standard mode may work a little better in such cases.
As I was mentioning in the Too Much Black thread, grey scale adjustment did seem to improve the shadow detail on my TV. Adjusting the RGB Cutoffs more accurately seems to give a better blend of colors near the dark and light ends of the color spectrum, improving detail in those areas. To get there though you do have to take the TV out if it's factory signature color configuration, which isn't everyone's cup of tea. The grey scale and color decoder/saturation adjustments will make colors more well-defined, differentiated and subtle, as opposed to the strong reds and blues on the TV now (green is a lovely color too Sony ).
Another thing you could do in the meantime is just keep Brightness a little higher than normal, though this may make the picture a little washed out.
6-8 feet is a little far IMO for this TV. It might be a little easier to watch around 4.5-5 feet, particularly given the slightly dimmer picture. YMMV though.
|From a Thread on XBR910 Black Levels/Calibration
1. The black level on the Sonys may tend to drift depending on how high the contrast is set. So if you change the Picture/contrast setting, you'll most likely need to re-adjust Brightness as well to compensate.
2. Regular NTSC sources may have a 7.5-IRE black level, while many DVD players use a 0-IRE black level. If the Brightness on your TV is adjusted for a 7.5-IRE black level, then the blacks will be crushed when viewing a 0-IRE source. Brightness needs to be set higher for 0-IRE sources than 7.5-IRE sources. If you have not made adjustments for this in the service menu (per NTN1's remarks for example), then you may need two User Menu Brightness settings to get decent blacks from all your video sources.
3. Blacks (and whites for that matter) will tend to look alot muddier if the grey scale on the TV is not well adjusted. If red, green and blue are not clipped or cut off at the same levels, then they will not blend together well enough to give good definition in the darker colors. Shadow detail improved noticeably on my 34xbr800 after the color balance and grey scales were better adjusted. This means undoing Sony's signature color bias though.
4. Many recent DVD titles, including the Hulk, may have strongly undercorrected gamma, which can make their midtones quite a bit darker than other video sources. This is probably done to give them a more dynamic appearance on high-contrast displays with no ambient lighting in the room. However, it's just the opposite of what you need on a display with rather weak contrast like the 910 with even moderate ambient lighting, and makes the picture very murky and difficult to watch. There are a variety of ways to compensate for this. Using the Standard and Vivid picture modes on the TV is one approach. These modes have boosted gamma, enhanced blacks, and slightly punched highlights which are designed to combat the weak contrast on the TV and undercorrection on DVDs to make the picture more watchable. Another and possibly better option is a DVD player with a good variable gamma adjustment. A variable gamma control on the player will allow you to raise and the lower the brightness of the midtones (and hence shadow detail) with greater control to compensate for different types of content and viewing conditions... without having to fiddle with settings on the TV, and without crushing or clipping the ends of the color palette. This can be particularly handy if you watch TV in a room without controlled lighting.