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Discussion Starter #1
Basically, how do you set the Picture/Contrast control accurately?


Background: I have a Panasonic TH-42PA20 (42" consumer ED model) connected to an LG LST-3510A DVD player using the DVI connection. I calibrated the settings using DVE.


My old player I'm comparing it against is a Sony NS300 interlaced model connected to the component input of the Panny. In general, I've found the new player on the DVI connection to have a more detailed picture with better color accuracy. The 'Enemy At The Gates' DVD, for instance, blew me away with the clarity that the many up-close facial shots had. Reds and oranges are not quite so blooming now, they look more natural. However, I have found a couple of things that didn't look quite right to me. Unlike the setting I've used in the past on the component connection, I have the Sharpness setting all the way down to 0 so that is not what is causing some of the issues I'll describe below.


First, in the opening credits of E.T. the credits are on a solid black background. With the LG player I was seeing sort of a milky, hazy, splotchy, blooming in certain areas of the black background. This wasn't the case with the Sony - the background was solid black.


Second, I've notice that the increased sharpness of the new player accentuated grain and flaws in older films. I decided I better check how it did with Band of Brothers because that is the jewel of my collection. BoB has a lot of intentional grain in it. I checked out several spots in episode 2 and found a few things that concerned me. At the beginning of chapter 2, Winters' squad is flying through the clouds. Where I expected shades of gray/silver in the storm clouds I saw shades of green and purple. More bothersome was in the first few minutes of chapter 6 when Guarnere, Compton, and some other guys are sitting in the back of a covered truck eating a meal. With the low light condition and the inherent graininess of BoB this scene now looked super grainy and blurry. I compared it to the Sony player and found the Sony was much clearer in this scene, less grain was exhibited. In so many instances the new LG player is much more clear and sharp, yet in this instance those traits seemed to be working against it. It was accentuating the grain too much. If it didn't look good with this disc, the new player was probably going back, even though there are so many things I like about it.


This morning I decided to try adjusting some settings to see what affect they had on accentuating the grain. The one setting I've always had a hard time figuring out what is correct is Picture (Contrast). In the test patterns I can run it up and down the scale and not see a lot of difference. What I found this morning is that it made a lot of difference with the issues I mentioned above. Lowering the contrast reduced the purple/green separation in the clouds. It significantly reduced the grain in the low light truck scene. A quick check seemed to indicate that the lowered setting did not adversely affect other images, but I'll have to check this more. The setting I had Picture (Contrast) at before was 30, a notch or 2 below the mid point of the scale. I lowered it down to 15 to get the better results.


My questions then are:

How do you use the test patterns to set Contrast correctly, or is this another case where the 'Steaming Rat' method is superior and necessary?


Does lowering the contrast make sense for reducing grain or so that the grain is not accentuated so much? Is there some other dynamic going on that I'm not aware of?


I would appreciate feedback if there is anything else I should check or if my findings make sense or seem reasonable. Thanks.


Jim
 

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JimSD, you may find these settings helpful. I find they work fine for me.

pic 4

Brite -6

Color -8

Tint -10

Sharp -1

Temp warm


Advanced:

Blk Extension -3

Input -12

High R -5

High B 9

Low R 12

Low B 12

Gamma 2.2

AGC Off

Cheers, VB
 

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I've found that these settings are very input and source dependent. There's no one setting that's even near right for everyone. Even different cable TV stations need different brightness and contrast to look the best, on the same input.


For DVD viewing, I've found that DVE does a pretty good job for setting brightness (AVIA sets brightness about 5 steps too low with this display and my DVD player and cables). Steaming Rat and DVE give about the same settings for brightness.


I haven't found ANY workable approach to setting contrast other than the Steaming Rat method.


There is apparently a good method that applies one of the video mentage scenes in the old VE DVD. Since I no longer have the old VE DVD, I have not been able to try it. I'm happy after some fussing with the Steaming Rat method.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
After doing more tweaking and testing last night, I think I'm pretty happy with the results of lowering the contrast significantly. I was really interested not in finding out specific settings, but whether lowering the contrast like I did made sense for the things I was seeing, if that is something others have done, or if I'm just masking some other issue that I should be fixing. Thanks for the input.
 
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