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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There's something going on with much of the "made for TV" HDTV, big

bright lights behind the actors. Has anyone else noticed it? Why is

this being done?


Almost always, there's a bright window or lamp or something to

produce glare behind the main action, forcing deep contrast and

darker faces in the foreground. Both CSI and the Agency do it all

the time, but so does Alias, JAG, The District, etc. Last night

during the Agency, we looked into desk lamps, windows, and track

lightings in a restaurant (obviously installed and tilted toward the

cameras and maintained in the frame as the cameras followed the

actors). We even viewed indirect glare from a desk lamp on a

computer monitor.


Main question: So what gives, is there something *unique* about HD

that is requiring this?


Personally, it's not complementary to our HD capabilities, causing

less than excellent PQ of the subjects. Maybe that's part of the

reason. HD is not very forgiving, so maybe the lights are there to

mask any imperfections of the actors. (?) Just don't know, and sure

wish it would go away.


--Mark, Curious in West San Jose
 

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Mark - there's been a lot of discussion about the look and feel of HDTV broadcasts. If you look around with the search option you'll find them on this forum.


Personally, I've never noticed - or at least been bothered - by what you describe. If your set is properly adjusted and has good DC restoration, you shouldn't have any "forced" contrast. The faces should remain clear (no changed brightness) and the contrast should not suddenly change.


Have you tried adjusting your set with the Avia Guide to Home Theater disc? It's possible something is not set optimally on your set.


RickAvia Guide to Home Theater
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I'll try a few archive searches.


The 610 is dailed in, had a blast doing it. And believe me, the HDTV is simply stunning with most HD PQ close to film.


The contrast I'm talking about is in the source. Shine a bright light into a camera and you begin to silhouette the forground. It's a technique. And the 610 is very bright where it is made to be, impacting on our eyes as we stare into those backlit scenes.


Most of the sitcoms don't pull this, nor most of the PBS demos. Using strong backlighting is clearly used to add drama (?) or provide a cover for something (?). Just don't know why they are doing it so much, and very curious if it is related to a specific HD production issue. I'd like to hear from someone that sets up these scenes and get their creative insight. It took them time to adjust the lighting and pick the backgrounds, there must be some reasoning behind such an effort.


Believe me, I couldn't be more thrilled with HD, and our 610. I've owned projectors (some real garbage), but have never been so impressed with a picture as we have with the 610.


Thanks Again, --Mark


Ps: And watch, now you'll see it all the time. ;o)
 

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I dunno---I'm still distracted by all the freckles on Jennifer Garner's face. I thought she was a cutie before HDTV---but now I'm absolutely convinced. (Don't tell wife, please.)
 

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"big bright lights behind the actors. Why is this being done?"


Because they've noticed with HDTV, their facial anomalies are all to well seen. :D


Chris
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CCLAY
"big bright lights behind the actors. Why is this being done?"


Because they've noticed with HDTV, their facial anomalies are all to well seen. :D
It's done because backlighting has always been considered far more complimentary to the beauty of a human being in a photograph since the beginning of photography. Or painting, for that matter. Even when humans aren't in the shot, backlighting provides far more interesting and beautiful shadows and other subtle effects. Study fine art if you want to understand this better. You don't see as much of it on sitcoms because it can't physically be done when you're lighting for 4 cameras and an audience - the primary light in sitcoms is top light, because this is the only place you can place lights and not see them in at least one of the cameras. In general, sitcom lighting is far more mundane than single camera lighting, and far less flattering to either the actors or the sets. This is out of necessity, not by design.


Nobody shooting television programs (particularly the shows you mention, all shot on film) thinks about the HD presentation at all during production, because it's not a relevant issue. Directors of photography are concerned with creating flattering/dramatic/visually interesting images. If anything, the 4:3 downconverted NTSC image is of much more interest, because it's the one 98-99% of the viewers will see, and more importantly, it's the one the producers and network executives will see.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Makes complete sense to me. I'm guessing that the HD presentation of the scenes magnifies the effect, making it seem overdone. Kind of like when you give a kid a flashlight and he points it in your eye. Tell him to stop and he complies by pointing it in your other eye. Your point about the number of us HD folks makes sense, too. Maybe when HD brcomrs the norm, someone will take the batteries out until they learn to play well with friends.


Anyway, thanks for the insight. Now if we could just get the CSI film editors to leave us in the flyovers longer ... well, that's for another thread.


--Mark
 
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