AVS Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone noticed an increasing trend of movies leaning toward low contrast. It seems directors are getting caught up in this natural lighting trend where subjects are lit with very subdued lighting. This is true for either dark scenes or bright outdoor scenes. I have an LP350 and while I'm still relatively satisfied with the projector, I feel with it's lower contrast capabilities, it's not up to the task.


In overall dark scenes with this type of lighting I struggle to resolve a subjects face properly, other times when a subject is back-lit by a bright background such as the sky I again struggle to see the subject very well. The latter also has the affect of closing down your iris making the subject appear too dark.


When directors choose to provide stronger highlighting or accent lighting on their subjects everything is hunky-dory and life is great. It doesn't't matter weather it's a dark scene or a bright scene, when the subject is properly lit viewing is a pleasure.


I still go the theater to watch movies and I can tell when a particular film is going to give me grief on the projector. because it's almost giving me grief at the theater. These films when viewed at home on a CRT RPTV with the CRT's capabilities of dynamic gain (for lack of the proper term) these movies can be made to look very good. But digital projectors are closer in principle to projected film than are CRTs and, for what I call, dynamic gain is'nt possible, so if it's giving me grief at the theater I suspect this may also be plaguing other digital projectors. I haven't had the chance lately to review these types of movies on the newer generation digital projectors so I'm curious if anyone has noticed this phenomena and comment on what they are seeing with their projectors.


Hey, maybe it's just me:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,824 Posts
Nope, it's not just you. That's exactly why many, me included, haven't yet jumped ship to digital. It sounds like the new batch of pj's are there or darn close (I haven't seen any of them yet).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
378 Posts
No I haven't noticed this. Low contrast movies are done that way more for mood I think. Might just be and artsy trend you are picking up on that will pass. Possibly depends on the genre of film also. What is your low contrast list of movies that you can think of? Course, back in the olden days when technicolor first came out, they had to use floodlight lighting to make the technicolor work. Those movies might be fun to bring out again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
I really think that the picture quality of dark and low contrast movies are just as dependent on the transfer as the projector. I have a LCD projector with a contrast ratio of 400:1. It handles most dark scenes reasonably. It depends on the quality of the dvd. Dark scenes in Spiderman look washed out on my projector while at the same time dark scenes in Blade 2 look pretty good- and most of Blade2 is in the dark.


Overall, I don't think you can totally blame the limitations of the projectors. The dvd transfer plays as just important part of the over PQ.


Just my 2 cents.


Scott
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,907 Posts
I haven't seen Gosford park, Panic Room or The Others on DVD, but even at the theater it seemed that a lot of shadow detail was missing. It does seem to be a recent fad, though not really widespread.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,339 Posts
Higher contrast projectors will show the low contrast movies better. The new Sanyo Z1 is leagues better than the AE100 when it comes to showing these types of movies. Sooo, while they are "tough" for many digital projectors, the new batch of both LCD and DLP are handling these transfers much better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
I would add "Signs" to that list. In the theater I saw it in there were no blacks whatsoever despite being a very dark movie...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I hope that it is just a trend, because these movies suc* not only on the projector but at the theater. The last movie that I recall as being totally terrible at the theater was " Reign of Fire" not only a very dark movie but very low contrast. I saw ROF on my brothers Sony 57 WS-RPTV and wasn't as bad as I recalled, I took it home to view on the projector and I couldn't watch any more than about 1/2 hr. or so. Another movie that wasn't quite as bad was "Panic Room" but it still gave me grief on the projector. Blade II is a dark movie but I think it has much more contrast than either of the two movies I mentioned, more accent lighting and such. I have no doubt that newer projectors with higher contrast ratio's fare better than the LP350 but still these newer digital projectors are still not at the CR of motion pictures yet so would suffer from the same things as mine, albeit not at bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,735 Posts
GMan,


I was getting frustrated with not being able to see detail in dark scenes in a lot of the movies on my Sharp M20x and I've measured the contrast ratio at about 750:1 after calibrating it. Then I switched from PowerDVD (or my RP82) to TheaterTek and I couldn't believe the difference. Last night I got a grey screen and things improved just a little more. Now I can watch chapter 30 from the first LOTR DVDs and not see anything in the image that needs improvement (before it was making me want to buy a nicer projector). I also watched the first 20 minutes or so of Panic Room and although it is dark it now looks like I would expect it to look.


--Darin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,319 Posts
Gman, after what you said about Reign of Fire that that is of low contrast, I went and rented the movie and saw it today with my Sony VPL-W400q. From what I found, the contrast is not really low, it is actually very high. On the parts where they are outside, I sometimes felt that the blue sky was a tad too bright.


James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
387 Posts
Hmm, I haven't noticed that trend myself, but several of the movies mentioned aren't ones I've bothered to view.


You're sure you you haven't just watched your PJ so much that a lamp change is coming up soon? They tend to lose a lot of brightness over time.


And btw, it's "wreak" and "havoc" ... ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by darinp
GMan,


Then I switched from PowerDVD (or my RP82) to TheaterTek and I couldn't believe the difference. Last night I got a grey screen and things improved just a little more. Now I can watch chapter 30 from the first LOTR DVDs and not see anything in the image that needs improvement (before it was making me want to buy a nicer projector).

--Darin
:

I just had a lt150z(400:1, 1000lumen dlp) and even when connected to a digital stb the dark scenes and shadows were unable to show detail. I was very disappointed and wondering if this will be a show stopper for my hs10 I have on order? I am only connected to standard a/v devices. No computer involvement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,574 Posts
I agree that this is a problem.


I have a relatively low-contrast Infocus LP400 (rated at 400:1). I have had a lot of success on movies like Gosford Park by using a new Sony projector model 655P that has some picture adjustments. These adjustments are very effective at producing a viewable picture on low contrast films.


I haven't had the opportunity to see many of the HD2-class machines but am hoping they will be an improvement.


My "tortue tests" are Gosford Park and Dark City. In Dark City, it is especially important to be able to see the colors and shadow detail even in a film that is very dimly lit. Gosford Park just seems to be habitually dull in nearly every scene.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
279 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Kimmo Jaskari


I guess thats possible, the lamp is at about 800 hrs/2000 hrs so it should have a little brightness left. On normally lit movies I don't have any problems. T2 has a lot of dark scenes, but the contrast through the dark scenes are high with ample accent lighting and my projector has no problem with them.


jcebedo1


Maybe the term "low contrast movie" is a bit of a misnomer, I think it's more a filming technique that doesn't have very much accent lighting on the subject itself. In dark scenes or bright outdoor scenes if there is no lighting that accents the subject it makes it harder to follow the movie because your constantly straining to capture facial details. Based on the perspective I've just mentioned how would you rate this movie on your Sony, being an old LCD projector with lower contrast ratings like mine are you able to tolerate these conditions or are there numerous passages that make you wish they had just put some light on the subjects face. I know this is what I was wishing at the theater. On the CRT RPTV I would say the picture was better than at the theater.


Darin


Thats good news, if I'm not mistaken Theatertek is a software program for HTPCs. What exactly does the Theatertek do to improve the picture, could you explain in a little more detail as I plan to build a HTPC soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,735 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by GMancusa
Darin


Thats good news, if I'm not mistaken Theatertek is a software program for HTPCs. What exactly does the Theatertek do to improve the picture, could you explain in a little more detail as I plan to build a HTPC soon.
GMan,


I'm not exactly sure what it is doing, but the result that I see is pretty obvious when I look at the image. In the tunnels in LOTR when I use PowerDVD it will pan across a dark column and almost the whole thing will be black. I then play TheaterTek and I can see detail as it pans across. If it were just raising the black level to do this that would be a bad thing, but it doesn't look like it is doing that. With PowerDVD I was never able to get a good balance that let me see the detail without just making everything too bright, but it is possible that I could have improved it with some more work. I haven't really compared the colors or scaling, but I think the general consensus is that TheaterTek does better in these departments than PowerDVD. I'm doing all this with a ATI powered 9000 video card that I got for less than $100.


It probably isn't TheaterTek itself that is doing everything. They are now using the latest Sonic decoders and I believe those can be had for about $15 and then combined with ZoomPlayer. I think TheaterTek is about $70 now, so it kind of depends on how many programs you want, how much integration you want, and how much you want to spend. I bought TheaterTek used and then upgraded it to the latest version. I'm sure there are lots of things about this on the HTPC forum.


--Darin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
245 Posts
I believe the difference between these players is the gamma. This is the curve shape that describes how bright to display the grays of varying intensities. It is intended to match the human eyes non linear response to luminance (i.e to double the perceived "brightness" of a gray, you have to more than square the actual measured luminance value (in foot-lamberts or candela/sq m).


Gammas range from 2 to 2.8. A gamma of 2 will look very washed out but all gray levels will be easily visible. A gamma of 2.8 will make all the dark grays very dark and close together in brightness - usually this results in dark scenes that are borderline unwatchable but have "punchy" looking brights.


Most TVs and projectors look best with a Gamma around 2.4 to 2.6, especially in a totally dark environment.


I measured the gamma of the Sony HS-10 last night with my Colorfacts and found it had a gamma of 2.6 with the output from a Panny RP-82. This is at the upper end of what I think is a comfortable gamma for dark scenes to have reasonable visibility - I'm still fooling around with the factory mode settings and the DVD player gamma settings to try and get it down to 2.5.


I'm not familiar with the Theatertek program but I do know that computers output a significantly different gamma than DVD players by default. I'm sure if you increased the gamma from the computer output you could recreate the murky blacks you see from the DVD player.


Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,638 Posts
Theatertek does allow for gamma adjustment in addition to being scoped for various vid cards so you know the settings are dead on. Its default gamma setting seems pretty high to me but it does give you better shadow detail. On my setup though, with increased shadow detail comes increased compression artifacts. I prefer tha gamma turned down a little. Cliff (the person that scopes the settings) says that the gamma should be adjusted to match your display which I take to mean adjust it so you like it.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top