Jump to content


Photo

Short Film DVD plays terrible on flatscreen TV


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Bo Price

Bo Price
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 39 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 24 March 2008 - 01:18 AM

I made a short film (on Super-16), and I exported it to DVD. On a "regular" TV it plays great -- everything looks crisp. But on a flat-screen it looks bad. Very grainy, and sometimes a little "wavy", in a strange way.

I know HD TVs don't do well when things aren't in HD (ie, the regular channels) -- but has anybody figured out how to burn DVDs that play better on flat-screens?

There must be *something* that can be done -- since professional DVDs look pretty good, even if they're not in HD -- even if they were shot on 16 and not 35. Maybe I need better DVD software... (I'm just using iDVD right now.)

Thanks so much for any help. Before I get a bunch of copies made, I'd like to get the best version, since almost nobody has the "regular" TVs anymore.

Bo
  • 0

#2 Chance Shirley

Chance Shirley
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 256 posts
  • Director

Posted 24 March 2008 - 11:25 AM

"Grainy" and "wavy" could mean a lot of things. Could you make an accurate QuickTime video and post it somewhere? Or at least post some grabs of problematic frames from the DVD?
  • 0

#3 Bo Price

Bo Price
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 39 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:40 PM

"Grainy" and "wavy" could mean a lot of things. Could you make an accurate QuickTime video and post it somewhere? Or at least post some grabs of problematic frames from the DVD?


Wavy was perhaps the wrong word. Pixely-and low-res is maybe more accurate. I can't post a quicktime, though, because the quicktime looks fine. It's only when I play it on an HD TV that it looks bad.

I've had this problem with other "amateur" films -- I watched somebody's Super-8 film on a flat-screen and it looked low-res as well. But on my old TV it looked great...
  • 0

#4 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 24 March 2008 - 02:05 PM

It sounds like the TV. LCD TV's have to process the incoming signal, and some do a pretty crappy job of it.
  • 0

#5 Chance Shirley

Chance Shirley
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 256 posts
  • Director

Posted 24 March 2008 - 04:08 PM

Is your a computer monitor LCD? If so, how does the DVD look when played back on the computer at 100% resolution? The difference between a good LCD monitor and a good LCD television should be negligible, I would think.

Also... if your DVD looks pixel-y on the LCD TV, but "pro" DVDs look good, I'd guess the problem is in the MPEG-2 compression. "Pro" DVDs are made by pro compressionists who are most likely using tools more powerful than iDVD. Have you tried using Final Cut Pro and Compressor to create an MPEG-2? That combo tends to give me near-pro results, especially with a suitably high bitrate and "two-pass" encoding.
  • 0

#6 Adrian Sierkowski

Adrian Sierkowski
  • Sustaining Members
  • 7116 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, Ca

Posted 24 March 2008 - 04:39 PM

I would tend towards it being iDVD. I know this problem can pop up sometimes when you're encoding your dvd. A lot of stuff I've seen come out of iDvd/DVDStudio Pro he first few times looks like crap on the apple display full screen, and fine on my CRT at home. THen they go back and tweak their mystic numbers, and eventually it looks good.
The compressor/FCP route is a good option; just maximize the bitrate (9.0? i think) and do a multipass encode. It will take awhile, but lok fantastic.
  • 0

#7 Michael Nash

Michael Nash
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3330 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Pasadena, CA

Posted 24 March 2008 - 05:46 PM

The difference between a good LCD monitor and a good LCD television should be negligible, I would think.


It's not. A computer monitor isn't the same as a TV, even if they both use an LCD screen. Bo is saying that even the iDVD material looks fine on a "regular" TV (I assume that means a 4x3 CRT), so the DVD obviously isn't the problem. Granted, iDVD is not the greatest for mastering to DVD, by why should it look "fine" on a CRT TV and not on an LCD or plasma? It's because of what the TV is doing to the signal.

You can take pretty much any signal and have it look like crap on an LCD TV depending on what wierdness the TV does in processing the signal. How does other material look on this flatscreen that's giving Bo the problem? I'm sure Phil could explain the processing of LCD's much better.
  • 0

#8 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11936 posts
  • Other

Posted 24 March 2008 - 06:42 PM

All I can suggest is that you take some high resolution digital stills of the problem, literally shoot it off the screen, so we can see them, and post them here. We haven't really had enough of a description of what's wrong.

The most common problem on LCDs, I find, is that the blacks are too high, meaning you can see compression artifacts in shadows. CRTs can be a lot higher in contrast and hide these problems.

You may also be seeing a scaling error. A DV video image is exactly 720x576 or 720x480 pixels, and no LCD is actually that size, whereas a CRT is free to scan as many lines as it feels like. This means that LCDs have to include a scaler to make the image fit the screen. Some are better than others, and in a modern setup there may be other, similar considerations, such as a DVD player that's prescaling the image to suit what it thinks the TV picture should be. With various combinations of these scenarios, you can end up with a complete mess.

Furthermore, some modern AV components have rather aggressive denoisers in them, which can cause strange dragging and smearing artifacts behind moving objects - this doesn't sound like your problem, though.

But without more information I can't really say.

P
  • 0

#9 tylerhawes

tylerhawes
  • Guests

Posted 24 March 2008 - 07:48 PM

16mm is relatively grainy.

Play it on a CRT (tube) TV and the grain looks like style and aesthetic. That's because a CRT is really fast and can faithfully show each fleck of grain for exactly one frame on the screen.

Play it on an flatscreen and they are slow. The grain no longer flashes on for a frame then flashes off. It blurrs on and blurrs of and takes longer than a frame to do so. So you have all these blurry, blobby things boiling around on screen. Combine that with the poor scaler that most flatscreens have built-in, and it compounds the problem.

This may not be your problem, but it quite possibly is. No great solution out there for it if so. You could grain reduce, but unless using a very sophisticated interframe emulsion-specific algorythm (which we have an excellent technique for BTW, but probably a waste of money unless you're getting distribution) it just softens the image. You could get an external scaler that will remove part of the problem, but it's not going to change the slowness of the flatscreen.

I recommend you take a 16mm projector and a white canvas around with you instead. :P
  • 0

#10 Freya Black

Freya Black
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4161 posts
  • Other
  • Went over the edge... Central Europe

Posted 25 March 2008 - 05:29 AM

16mm is relatively grainy.
I recommend you take a 16mm projector and a white canvas around with you instead. :P


Bizzarely I've found that video projectors seem to exhibit less of the problems that LCD screens do.
My experience is that LCD displays handle blacks very badly and any kind of noise very, very badly. I've never had a good experience with them.

In fact I just recently saw an in store HD-DVD demonstration setup and was shocked at how bad a lot of the films looked on the big LCD screen. Perhaps you could see more detail but mostly it seemed like you saw more swimming grain. You could really see grain and it looked nasty (and I like grain!). I actually watch my films on a little 14 inch composite monitor usually and I couldn't see any way that the flat panel HD-DVD setup was an inprovement. I really thought my DVD's and little monitor looked better. Way better in fact.

As has been suggested, you probably need to do a higher quality encode, and if you have to show the work then I would use a video projector.

My experience of flatscreen TV's is that they are scary bad.

love

Freya
  • 0

#11 Thomas James

Thomas James
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 844 posts
  • Camera Operator

Posted 25 March 2008 - 11:57 AM

I think a lot of the problems people are having with flat screen televisions is that they attempt to play scrambled interlaced standard definition content on what amounts to be a natively progressive scan display. After the conversion to progressive about half of the resolution is lost because the interlace unscrambler must double up the lines. People then blame the flat panel television as being no good when the truth of the matter is that interlaced content should not be broadcasted because this analog compression technology is obsolete because it scrambles the picture. The computer industry dumped interlace technology decades ago however the television industry still champions interlace.

Another problem with flat panel televisions is that they are fixed pixel display devices and can only display one resolution format natively. My DVD's look horrible when played on a regular DVD player but they look great when played on a good upconvertor DVD player

As far as motion blurring problems this is because film is limited to only 24 frames per second. All flat panel televisions are capable of running at 60 frames per second which is double the temporal resolution of analog cathode ray tube televisions. When proper 60p content is displayed on a flat panel television motion blurring is all but eliminated. When I watch the American Idol televisions show shot on the 60p Panasonic Varicam the footage looks like it flys.

I am very suprised when people say that an analog CRT television looks better than high definition. When I look at these analog televisions it is like lookong through a screen door. However CRT computer monitors look very good.
  • 0


Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Tai Audio

The Slider

Visual Products

CineTape

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

Glidecam

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineLab

Willys Widgets

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Ritter Battery

Abel Cine

Paralinx LLC

Opal

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

Tai Audio

rebotnix Technologies

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

Metropolis Post

The Slider

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

CineLab

Glidecam

CineTape