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grain in blu-ray discs  

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
Hi I'm Geezy and I'm new to the site and started this thread to intro myself and ask a few questions.

1. if blu-ray is supposed to have the highest picture quality how come the movies have grain like saw wich I'm watchin now.

I do know bit about all the tech but I'm here to learn from the ones who know it in and out.

2. what is PQ and AQ I see these letters a lot when I read threads. I think I have the answer but I want to be sure.

And go blu-ray..........
post #2 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by geezy View Post

Hi I'm Geezy and I'm new to the site and started this thread to intro myself and ask a few questions.

1. if blu-ray is supposed to have the highest picture quality how come the movies have grain like saw wich I'm watchin now.

I do know bit about all the tech but I'm here to learn from the ones who know it in and out.

2. what is PQ and AQ I see these letters a lot when I read threads. I think I have the answer but I want to be sure.

And go blu-ray..........

The grain you are seeing is most likely what the director intended for. You will find plenty of "grainy" movies in both Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Sometimes it is however the product of an older film or poor transfer. I.E. - Field of Dreams or The Breakfast Club.

PQ = Picture Quality

AQ = Audio Quality

Welcome to AVS!!

~Josh
post #3 of 81
Some movies just have more grain than others...There is some grain evident in some scenes in X-Men 3, but then in others it looks pristine.

Kingdom of Heaven also has a very clean picture in my opinion, and I hear Tears of the Sun is another good example of what Blu-Ray is capable of.
post #4 of 81
Thread Starter 
thanx 4 the answers
post #5 of 81
Film grain is generally too small to be encoded and seen on SD. HD has enough resolution to show almost all the film grain. This is why you are only now starting to notice it.
post #6 of 81
What does this grain look like in HD? Does it look like noise? Tiny swarming blocks? If you pause the movie does it show as stationary tiny blocks?
post #7 of 81
Quote:


If you pause the movie does it show as stationary tiny blocks?

No, those are compression artifacts. Anything with a block is an artifact associated with compression. In some cases, these artifacts are even on the digital master.
post #8 of 81
So, what does film grain look like in HD?
I'm trying to figure out if what I see in BD movies is film grain, noise or compression artifacts.
post #9 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaldorfSalad View Post

So, what does film grain look like in HD?
I'm trying to figure out if what I see in BD movies is film grain, noise or compression artifacts.

you are seeing film grain and noise(noise can be from filming or added in post), compression artifacts are very hard to come by on either format

compression doesn't look like noise or film grain in the least

-Gary
post #10 of 81
Guys to get rid of the "Grainy" effect you need to turn down your sets "Sharpness"! It is interfering with the BD natural details.
post #11 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Murrell View Post

you are seeing film grain and noise(noise can be from filming or added in post), compression artifacts are very hard to come by on either format

compression doesn't look like noise or film grain in the least

-Gary

...to add, but both may be present at the same time and sometimes one will affect how the other one appears.

Film grain often looks like little, multi-colored specs/particles in the picture.

Electronic noise often looks like a thin layer of opaque whitish specs/particles.

Compression noise often has a block-like structure, where the blocks look like a blurred part of the image.

Going a little further...the "noise" can also occur as a result of the particular display. For instance, if you view an image and then pause it, if the noise is frozen in place, then that is suggesting the noise exists in the encoding of the actual program. If the noise still moves around while paused, that is suggesting it is a form of electronic noise that is being introduced by the display or the player. Alternately, this noise may stem from the particular kind of video postprocessing that is being done on the display or player.
post #12 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smthkd View Post

Guys to get rid of the "Grainy" effect you need to turn down your sets "Sharpness"! It is interfering with the BD natural details.

I only partially agree with you. Excessive use of the "sharpness" control would obviously have an adverse effect on the picture quality, however even display devices that are poperly (ISF) calibrated (including proper adjustment of the "sharpness" control) the grain of certain BD titles is very noticeable.
I am one of the "lucky bastards" that are in posession of a NEC Theatersync (Silicon Optix Whitehorse) scaler The "whitehorse" platform allows me to reduce the appearance of the "grain" quite significantly.
post #13 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Hanky View Post

Going a little further...the "noise" can also occur as a result of the particular display. For instance, if you view an image and then pause it, if the noise is frozen in place, then that is suggesting the noise exists in the encoding of the actual program. If the noise still moves around while paused, that is suggesting it is a form of electronic noise that is being introduced by the display or the player. Alternately, this noise may stem from the particular kind of video postprocessing that is being done on the display or player.

Great point, should be common sense but it may not occur to people to check.

thanks Mr. Hanky!
post #14 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by WaldorfSalad View Post

What does this grain look like in HD?...



post #15 of 81
William, great pics. They show what I get when I freeze scenes with grain/noise in the and is what I'm seeing in some scenes of BD discs and also in some HD programs from DirecTV or OTA. It looks like a bunch of moving dots. In each case if I pause the device (BD player or DirecTV HDTico receiver) the grain stops moving and looks like a lot of tiny blocks (much smaller than the blocks from compression artifacting). I often see this grain/noise in the sky of some scenes. An example is in the first chapter of Tears Of the Sun when the reporter is on the carrier deck and the sky is showing. The sky has that grain/moise. Also, in the briefing room when Tom Skerritt is shown against the wall. Also in a scene toward the end when the jets are coming in for the attack. Plus, in some scenes in Kingdom of Heaven when the sky is bluish.
post #16 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Murrell View Post

you are seeing film grain and noise(noise can be from filming or added in post), compression artifacts are very hard to come by on either format

compression doesn't look like noise or film grain in the least

-Gary

I think I recognize compression artifacts. They are macroblocks, yes? Maybe my use of the term "tiny block" for frozen grain/noise was incorrect. The "tiny blocks" I see when freezing grain/noise are much, much smaller than macroblocks. They are probably close to dots but are larger than pixels. When not moving they can be confused with SSE (Silk Screen Effect) that is inherent in RP HDTVs.
post #17 of 81
P.S. Is it safe to say that film grain looks the same as, and is as "bad"* in HD DVD movies as it is in Blu-ray movies?
*Ok, maybe describing film grain as "bad" is not the best word as some people apparently like it (I don't).
post #18 of 81
You can avoid film grain by watching only movies that are done completely using digital HDCAM, the ones that mix film and HDCAM actually add grain in the HDCAM segments to make the look consistent, meaning they don't want segments that look different from other ones.

In the mean time, it is very hard to avoid. Unfortunately for film buffs and purists, the film grain does show through well on the HD disks, meaning this is something for the movie maker to think about in the future.

It is true that a bad compression job can make the grain much worse, so perhaps between filtering to minimize grain or compression artifacts, filtering is the lesser evil.

You can't really force moviemakers to avoid film just as you can't force the type of canvas or paint to use on an artist. My guess is that the whole thing would eventually be guided that direction by economics as well as ease of editing.

---
The moving noise that shows up in pause is typical of plasma on dark areas, but there are also display specific artifacts that come in from the scaler on these things on both LCDs and plasmas, and some of those show up even in motion.

There is another type of noise which I seem to be able to see more clearly than the banding that bugs others. It's the chroma noise in dark segments that seem to be from low light film, (it is very similar from a digital camera shots at low lighting --- ccd or cmos noise) this is different from grain behavour as it shows up as subtle changes in color in areas that are supposed to be solid. The problems show up in pause or motion and is everywhere I look.
post #19 of 81
Quote:


P.S. Is it safe to say that film grain looks the same as, and is as "bad"* in HD DVD movies as it is in Blu-ray movies?

In some cases, a lot of grain is employed by the director to achieve a certain "look" to the film -- Miami Vice is a good example of that. In other cases, the degree to which grain is present may be unintentional -- the result of an unclean print.

Many say that the newer codecs like AVC and VC-1 are better equipped to handle grain from these "unclean prints." MPEG-2 tends to soften the picture in the presence of excess grain, particularly when sufficient video bandwidth (bitrate) isn't available -- i.e. with BD25.

On average, HD-DVDs probably exhibit a bit less grain, but the differences aren't nearly what they used to be. The past few months we've seen more and more Blu-ray titles released with cleaner transfers. Lately, we've also seen more titles released on BD50s with higher bitrates, which definitely helps to maintain a quality picture with MPEG-2 in the presence of grain.
post #20 of 81
Quote:


In some cases, a lot of grain is employed by the director to achieve a certain "look" to the film -- Miami Vice is a good example of that.

It seemed to me that it was just overdone on Miami Vice. I got the HD-DVD release of it, and the mega-graininess was not what I look for in a hi-def title.
post #21 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewOrlnsDukie View Post

It seemed to me that it was just overdone on Miami Vice. I got the HD-DVD release of it, and the mega-graininess was not what I look for in a hi-def title.

That's a creative decision as Miami Vice was shot on HD-Cam. Take it up with the director...
post #22 of 81
Somebody get me his phone number pls thx...
post #23 of 81
I predict that once consumers become a little more aware of the HD Formats, and studios will start to eliminate grain. Because there are very few purists out there. If J6P buys and HD player and see grain, it may turn them off. Pristene image is what's going to sell because they're used to not seeing so much grain on polished DVDs.
post #24 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by eightninesuited View Post

I predict that once consumers become a little more aware of the HD Formats, and studios will start to eliminate grain. Because there are very few purists out there. If J6P buys and HD player and see grain, it may turn them off. Pristene image is what's going to sell because they're used to not seeing so much grain on polished DVDs.

Wrong.

Directors, and directors alone will always have the final say over their creative product. That's like telling a painter how to paint a painting or a sculptor how to sculpt. Would Dr. Strangelove have been a better movie had it been in color? etc., etc...
post #25 of 81
Grain caused the 71 inch Samsung (newest model) my HD stuff is connected to to go nutso. The "special" functions in the set caused the image to pulse and have these strange white dots all over the place, amplifying the grain by about 1000. It was horrible on all titles that had film grain. MI3 was bad in spots. EXCALIBUR a big YIKES! I had to figure out what was going on my experimenting with the TV's settings and now, after shutting everything off and figuring out how to keep everything off I have a set that shows beautiful film grain without making it look like massive amounts of noise. Titles like Mi3 and KING KONG (1977 version, Studio Canal HD-DVD), which have grain, look very sharp and blow SD-DVD away.
post #26 of 81
Some things are being missed about grain... first, grain in film is RANDOM. It has no pattern and no consistent shape. Grain is different in EVERY FILM FRAME. What is more, the grain that makes each layer of color in the film frame has a different pattern for each color. This is critical to remember - grain doesn't form patterns you can see while a movie is playing because of these facts. When the frame changes, so does the grain pattern within the film frame (because the 3 colors' grain patterns also change for each frame) so you see a different pattern of grain 24 times per second in the movie theater. This makes grain hard for us to "see" in movie theaters unless the director really pumps up the grain to make it obvious. When the grain becomes obvious, images lose detail and become "noisy" - even blob-y

Anyway... "seeing" grain is very hard because of this. The director may use high quality film in bright daylight with normal exposure and processing for a grain-free very sharp image. If they shoot at night with reduced light and push the film via exposure and processing changes, grain will be much larger (and visible) in the dark scenes than it is in brightly lit scenes. In fact, the director may use different degrees of grain in various scenes as an artistic statement. Even when he COULD have a nearly grain-free image, he may choose to do something that introduces grain.

Can you see grain if you pause a Blu-Ray movie frame? Hmmmmm, not an easy question to answer. It would depend on the scene, the transfer, and whether the director did anything to make grain more obvious or less obvious.

Your TV may have more controls other than just Sharpness that will make slightly grainy movies look VERY grainy. It all depends on the set. It's always best to learn everything you can about what each of your TV's controls does so you can use it properly. Most Sharpness controls are set quite high by the manufacturer. Images will actually look better with Zero or very low amounts of sharpening (my display came with Sharpness set to "50" on a 0-100 scale, it looked crappy, using "10" makes images look MUCH better).

Anything you see in the movie that happens in blocks, even very small ones, if they have square sides and tops, that's a digital artifact of some sort. There are many types. Some come from transfer problems when film is scanned and converted to digital. Others come from processing the film images into frame data stored on the Disc in question. There are many choices for the frame data (i.e. 4.4.4 or 4.2.2, etc.). Grain is, if you will, an analog artifact that may be captured in high-def masters of movies originating on film.
post #27 of 81
It almost looked as if X-Men 3 had had digital grain added to the original master. Even some Super35 films, which all X-Men movies are, are less grainy than this!

If it is all an artifact of using Super35, they have got to switch back to fine grain film stock and Panavision anamorphic lenses pronto!

Dan
post #28 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smthkd View Post

Guys to get rid of the "Grainy" effect you need to turn down your sets "Sharpness"! It is interfering with the BD natural details.

Turning down your sharpness does not get rid of grain or noise that's inherent in the transfer. You may slightly lessen the grain/noise, but only because you've made the picture more blurry. You can't get rid of grain/noise without re-enconding the film with digitial noise filters applied which is a studio decision.
post #29 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blkout View Post

Turning down your sharpness does not get rid of grain or noise that's inherent in the transfer. You may slightly lessen the grain/noise, but only because you've made the picture more blurry. You can't get rid of grain/noise without re-enconding the film with digitial noise filters applied which is a studio decision.

Sharpness controls often emphasise high frequency picture detail, and film grain, video noise and HF compression artefacts are all quite HF heavy, and thus become more obvious the more sharpness is wound in.

I'm not sure "made the picture more blurry" is quite right when describing sharpness controls being wound down. Most sharpness controls I've seen in consumer gear don't have a negative setting - i.e. when set to minimum they don't remove picture information that was present, they just stop emphasising it as much. Therefore when you reduce the sharpness control, you aren't "blurring" the picture, you're just removing artificial sharpness that adds picture information that wasn't really there.

There ARE some settings on some displays such as Digital NR, MPEG de-blocking etc. that DO soften/blur the picture. They can be useful when you are watching a heavily compressed SD source on an HD display.
post #30 of 81
I watched my first Blu-Ray movies last night and was disappointed because of the grainyness ("Saw" and "Full Metal Jacket"). I have to believe a lot of people are going to be like me and think the money they sunk into this entitles them to a perfect (non-grainy) picture. I understand that's just how the original film is and possibly what the director intended...but if it's not fixed there are going to be a lot of people that end up disappointed in the high def disc formats.
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