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#1 William Henning

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 09:18 AM

I'm not a film or movie maker, director or photographer...just a guy who's passionate about all things movie and film. I watch most at home on my TV and Sound setup but want to make sure I'm seeing what the Directors want me to see which brings me to this web-sight and forum...closer to the source...I'd like to think.

 

I'm new to HDR and my TV is only a 4K 55 inch Samsung with no HDR. Before HDR most were advised to calibrate their TVs to a dimmer picture...something less than the dynamic or vivid setting. Now with HDR the word is dynamic and vivid...just the opposite of what the experts use to recommend with the backlight cranked up enough to light a fire. I've never seen a HDR TV properly set so I don't know how the picture would look compared to the dimmer settings of old so I'm hoping someone can enlighten me a little and tell me if they are opposite pictures and also if there's any guide to setting the proper backlight. I want the movies I watch to look like the directors intended. Thanks!


Edited by William Henning, 03 April 2018 - 09:19 AM.

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#2 Bruce Greene

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 11:14 AM

I'm a professional, and I'm not up to speed yet with the HDR displays.  I think standards are still being sorted out which makes seeing the image as was seen in the color correction studio rather hit and miss.  There are many different "flavors" of HDR at this point.

 

An interesting site for you would be "lift gamma gain" where colorists often discuss this subject.

 

http://www.liftgamma...forum/index.php

 

Good luck following it all!


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#3 William Henning

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 11:54 AM

Yea it's new but with all the hoopla and marketing I'd like to think someone would know something...as it is it seems just the opposite of what people were telling everyone to do before HDR came out. I'll check out the link and thanks very much for getting back to me Bruce.


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#4 Edgar Nyari

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 12:12 PM

I don't know much about current TV technology, but I had a pretty unpleasant experience once, when I attempted to show someone my short film at their home. I prepared a nice 1080P file and played it from an USB stick. To my horror I realized that their TV use some sort of motion interpolation at work, making my 24 fps footage look like 60 fps. There was also some sort fo filter on that brightened everything, and sharpened all the film grain in some scenes, while completely filtering it out in others. It all looked like noisy video footage in ultra-sharp high definition. I don't really trust TVs.


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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 02:22 PM

I had HDR on my new 4K TV on for an Amazon show (Electric Sheep), after spending about 20 minutes wondering why the show looked like crap, I figured out how to turn it off (it already was off on other inputs and apps on the tv, but apparently each app/input has it's own settings which is nice, and also awful).

In any case, I did see some very nice HDR footage at a camera event, where their tvs (just 4K tvs) were properly set up; which is to say, the only real way to know how the director (or camera manufacturer) intend it to look 100% is to be in the color suite or at a camera event (if it's just about how a camera could/should look).

We haven't even really solved the gamma issues between TV, PC, and MAC yet for SD/HD, let alone standards which are "2020" (slight pun)


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#6 William Henning

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 02:23 PM

LOL...I'm getting to where I'm having my doubts too and sorry about your film. Sounds like people here aren't biased about TVs and I'll get the real scoop...you'd be surprised at what goes on in the TV Audio Video forums.

 

Basically I'm thinking that Movie Theaters set the standard for how a movie should look...I mean it's a movie that Directors agreed to...generally speaking and I'd like to adjust my TV settings to get close to what's showing in a Theater...assuming the Theater's setup properly. I normally leave the settings at the default movie/cinema mode. The default backlight is close to 20 which is max...looks nice and sharp...very crisp with a lot of detail and on the bright side of things.

 

There's a websight that has my TV calibration settings with the backlight set at 5. It's a good bit darker and not as sharp and doesn't show as much detail but it does look exactly like the movies I've seen in Theaters like Black Panther, Ready Player One and Pacific Rim Uprising. I went to these movies only to see how they looked...to get an idea of how they look in Theaters.

 

I don't mind the darker and less sharp and less detail if that's how it's supposed to look which is about what I'm seeing in Theaters. So does the lower backlight setting sound about right as far as picture quality goes? I'm judging how movies should look on TV by how they look in Theaters...generally speaking and would like to hear what others think and feel. Thanks.


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#7 William Henning

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 02:32 PM

Thanks Adrian. Coming here is about as close as I can get to being in the color suite or camera event but I do think it's closer than where I've been.


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#8 Edgar Nyari

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 05:23 PM

LOL...I'm getting to where I'm having my doubts too and sorry about your film. Sounds like people here aren't biased about TVs and I'll get the real scoop...you'd be surprised at what goes on in the TV Audio Video forums.

 

Basically I'm thinking that Movie Theaters set the standard for how a movie should look...I mean it's a movie that Directors agreed to...generally speaking and I'd like to adjust my TV settings to get close to what's showing in a Theater...assuming the Theater's setup properly. I normally leave the settings at the default movie/cinema mode. The default backlight is close to 20 which is max...looks nice and sharp...very crisp with a lot of detail and on the bright side of things.

 

There's a websight that has my TV calibration settings with the backlight set at 5. It's a good bit darker and not as sharp and doesn't show as much detail but it does look exactly like the movies I've seen in Theaters like Black Panther, Ready Player One and Pacific Rim Uprising. I went to these movies only to see how they looked...to get an idea of how they look in Theaters.

 

I don't mind the darker and less sharp and less detail if that's how it's supposed to look which is about what I'm seeing in Theaters. So does the lower backlight setting sound about right as far as picture quality goes? I'm judging how movies should look on TV by how they look in Theaters...generally speaking and would like to hear what others think and feel. Thanks.

 

I would agree that theater projection is the closest you can get to the filmmaker's vision, without actually being involved in some way in the filmmaking process. There are variations there too of course, but as far as I know DCP projectors don't use crazy "enhancement" filters. I think the backlight is only an issue if the TV has a weak black, in which case setting the backlight too high would make the blacks milky. Even in theaters a high contrast ratio is a "good thing". This was the debate back in the days when digital projection was first taking over. Many argued that the early projectors didn't have the contrast ratio that film projection does, but now that problem is solved. The dynamic properties of the display device, be it a PC/MAC monitor, TV or movie projector, are the lesser part of the problem IMO. Image "enhancement" algorithms are the real enemy here. I would just figure out how to turn EVERYTHING OFF, even "cinema/movie" profiles, and simply force the device to display the material without any image processing whatsoever (if possible) :)


Edited by Edgar Nyari, 03 April 2018 - 05:25 PM.

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#9 William Henning

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 06:50 PM

Thanks Edgar. Yea I have all the enhancements off. The Cinema mode has them off also. With the default backlight set to about 15 or higher...I don't remember which exactly but at the default setting the picture is much brighter than what I see in a theater. If I reduce it to say 5 which was a recommended calibration setting for this TV then it get much darker and looks very close to what I see in a Theater. I'm not sure what you guys do with your TVs when watching movies...maybe not even notice...to busy with the real thing...LOL.


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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 09:14 PM

I actually will throw bars up on my TV via an HDMI input and try to set it as closely as possible (and i used to even use a blue-screen filter for a poor-mans "blue only" mode).
And for other such things on this new TV (e.g. Netflix and Amazon which are built in apps,) i used my older TV which I threw bars on (netflix and amazon came in via a hdmi roku) and "eye balled it" as close as I could. It's still not "right" 100% but it's a solid 90ish % there and my Fiance got tired of hearing me complain so I keep quiet. Plus the TV was a gift, so I have to live with it either in the living room or bedroom.


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#11 Bruce Greene

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Posted 03 April 2018 - 09:28 PM

LOL...I'm getting to where I'm having my doubts too and sorry about your film. Sounds like people here aren't biased about TVs and I'll get the real scoop...you'd be surprised at what goes on in the TV Audio Video forums.

 

Basically I'm thinking that Movie Theaters set the standard for how a movie should look...I mean it's a movie that Directors agreed to...generally speaking and I'd like to adjust my TV settings to get close to what's showing in a Theater...assuming the Theater's setup properly. I normally leave the settings at the default movie/cinema mode. The default backlight is close to 20 which is max...looks nice and sharp...very crisp with a lot of detail and on the bright side of things.

 

There's a websight that has my TV calibration settings with the backlight set at 5. It's a good bit darker and not as sharp and doesn't show as much detail but it does look exactly like the movies I've seen in Theaters like Black Panther, Ready Player One and Pacific Rim Uprising. I went to these movies only to see how they looked...to get an idea of how they look in Theaters.

 

I don't mind the darker and less sharp and less detail if that's how it's supposed to look which is about what I'm seeing in Theaters. So does the lower backlight setting sound about right as far as picture quality goes? I'm judging how movies should look on TV by how they look in Theaters...generally speaking and would like to hear what others think and feel. Thanks.

FWIW...  I have a Panasonic Plasma as my home tv.  Believe it or not...  The "Standard" setting is much more accurate than the "cinema" setting.  The "THX" setting comes sort of close to correct, but introduces artifacts like banding that shouldn't be there.

 

As a general rule:  Turn off every setting that seems like it enhances anything like contrast, motion, etc.  Sharpness should usually be set pretty low.  Don't touch the color, tint controls in the digital world.  Color space, if there is an option for it, should be set to REC709 unless you are calibrating the display with a special probe and software.  Gamma should be 2.4, or sometimes 2.2 if it looks more correct to you in your viewing environment.  Generally, keep "brightness" at 0.  Set "contrast" to adjust how bright the brightest part of the image will be.  Usually, 100% will clip the whites, so probably never higher than 90.  On an LCD in a dark room you might find yourself setting this much lower.  On my plasma, 70 to 80 seems about correct for gamma 2.4

 

On my Panasonic, I think, color temp should be set to "warm".  But I've adjusted it with a probe in the advanced "pro" menu to make it pretty exact.  On some displays "neutral" might be more correct so you'll need to set it how you like it without a probe or professional calibration.

 

I haven't screwed around with performing a professional calibration on my TV even though I have the tools.  (I just don't want to move the big computer into the living room :)  and, to my eye, it's quite accurate playing material that I've color corrected myself on a truly calibrated display in the other room.


Edited by Bruce Greene, 03 April 2018 - 09:32 PM.

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#12 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 07:45 AM

A TV will never show you 100%. Movies are generally graded for DCI and then converted or re-graded for BT.709 (your TV's color space). Cinema projectors follow strict DCI standards for aspect ratios, sound quality, and color. Short of installing a DCI-compliant projector in your home and obtaining the correct media (probably not going to happen), you can only do your best to emulate the experience.

For starters, you need a high-quality TV that shows really good or perfect BT.709. Delta E of less than 5 is a must. You then need to calibrate your TV with a probe to ensure its showing the correct gamma, color space, brightness, contrast, etc. At this point, all you can do is install a really good 5.1 or 7.1 sound system. It's about as good as you're going to get.

My setup at home is a 140" projector screen powered by a Viewsonic ProHD Projector and a Klipsch 7.1 sound system. I had the projector professionally calibrated to FSI standards, and also pay careful attention to light control and sound control in my theatre room. If you can afford that, go for it. Honestly, the projector, screen, sound system, and professional calibration cost me LESS than most people would spend on a single 70" television. 

 


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#13 William Henning

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 07:58 AM

Thanks for the reply Landon and Bruce. I guess my main concern is how a movie looks in a theater. In a nutshell would a calibrated TV have a similar look? I'm kind of using how a movie looks in a properly set theater for how a movie should look on TV and Bluray...the theater setting the standard and adjusting my TV to get close to the theater. Generally Theaters have a darker look than TVs unless they're calibrated or adjusted...to me anyway.


Edited by William Henning, 04 April 2018 - 08:01 AM.

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#14 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:23 AM

Theatre projectors are often calibrated to a gamma of 2.4 or even 2.6 (I forget what the DCI spec is), whereas most home TV's calibrate to 2.2. This will cause you to notice a difference in general 'brightness'. Also, projectors just behave differently than televisions do. Projectors rely on bounced light, whereas televisions rely on radiating light directly at you. This is why projects are often more comfortable to watch for longer periods, and also effects how it looks.

Personally, I have never seen a television produce anything close to what a DCI or home theatre projector looks like. Projections just make the image a little softer, less harsh since its reflecting lights rather than sending it straight to you. You can achieve something close to this by properly calibrating your TV with a probe, adjusting the gamma up some, and then making sure your room is dark enough. It's all really complicated and is only made worse by televisions that do fancy things like make 24p content look like 60p content via frame interpolation and other fancy things that are often un-needed.

One way to look at it:  I always viewed TV as being set up to display sports and reality shows over dramatic content. Just look at the specs on most TV's, and you'll see they advertise many of their features using sports screen grabs and such. In the world of reality TV and sports, high frame rate, high dynamic range, and high resolution is king - and TV's are manufactured with this in mind. Home theatre projectors tend to be manufactured more in favor of dramatic content - many of the better ones advertise strict BT709 or even DCI compliance, low Delta E's, etc. They are designed with dramatic movies in mind since that is how most people watch a projector - watching movies in a dark, semi-dedicated space.

For this reason, I always tell people if you want the experience closest to a theatre - get a home theatre projector. Televisions, by their design, will never come close to looking as good.

With that said, you can get it as close as possible through proper room light control, adjusting gamma on the TV, and doing a proper calibration with a probe. Then disable any and all oversampling, up-rezzing, frame interpolation, etc. Will it look as good as a projector? No - at least not in my opinion - but it'll come closer than what most people get from their TV's straight of the box. 


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#15 William Henning

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:44 AM

Thanks Landon. I agree! I use my TV and Sound System for movies and not for anything else like sports and stuff. Nice to hear you mention projectors showing more of the soft side instead of the razor sharp edges and colors that jump off the screen like TVs are marketed to do...it's not what you see in theaters...which is what I thought TV calibration was supposed to be all about...to see what the directors want you to see and not calibrated for sports and other shows...the directors never said anything about other shows.

 

I think I'll keep my Cinema settings since they're supposed to be close to calibrated and keep the backlight lower than the default setting...the picture looks almost identical to what I see in theaters. Maybe I've looked at to much in Best Buy and other peoples TVs which are misleading...at least as far as movies go. Since I've turned the backlight down it's made a world of difference.


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#16 Phil Connolly

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 01:20 PM

I have a Sony HDR TV - all of the HDR modes look dull to my eye's on HDR encoded Netflix/Amazon streams. The best images came from manually tweeking the settings - what I ended up with was quite far from the factory presets. Most of those presets looked quite strange. I guess a lot of TV factory settings are designed to make the set's look attractive while in the TV store - so extra bright and saturated - so they are noticed.  

 

I've spent quite a bit of time eyeballing the settings and I'm still not convinced I've nailed it. But I'm pretty happy - hand haven't needed to mess with the black level for at least a couple of weeks. 

 

When you've got TV's that use very different imaging technologies - e.g OLED and LED aren't able to produce the same brightness range. As best home viewing is going to be a compromise compaired to cinema.  The transition from CRT to Flat panel was problematic initially - since they looked quite different and the programme might have been graded on a CRT but viewed on a LCD. 

 

 

E.g the screen on my Imac looked great out the box and doesn't have loads of modes. Yet in my TV I am in Sony menu hell - with loads of settings in different menus. It may be that my IMAC screen isn't accurate either - but it doesen't give me pages of menu settings - so I don't worry about it. My Sony TV, just the existance of the settings wants me to be sure they are optimal - whatever optimal is....


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#17 William Henning

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 02:51 AM

Thanks Phil. I have my backlight down to 5...20 being max and I'm liking it. Watched Rogue One last night and it had a richer picture and looked closer to what's in a theater than the default Cinema which had it closer to max. The backlight seems to have been my problem...it being a little to high.


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#18 Bruce Greene

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 02:59 PM

Just to confuse things here :)  I'm going to disagree a bit.

 

I think a last generation plasma tv or OLED tv well set up will look better than 99% of commercial theater projections.  There is really something to be said for the near pure blacks that these displays produce.

 

LCD TVs are not capable of deep blacks and the "better" ones use tricks of locally dimming the backlight to approximate the correct image.  They can be fun to watch, but never really correct.

 

Projectors have the advantage of size, which by itself is a big part of the "cinema" experience.  But many home projectors are not in the same league as the best professional cinema projectors, yet they still have the size advantage.  You will need a dark room with black walls though for the best home projection experience, and a very good screen too.

 

And don't get confused about the gamma settings of DCI vs REC709.  DCI gamma is 2.6, which is darker than 2.2-2.4 for REC709.  But, if you're projecting a REC709 blu-ray on your home projector, the DCI spec of Gamma 2.6 does not apply. I don't think you will find any films mastered in DCI for home projection, even if your projector is capable of showing it.  Even if they were mastered in a DCI compliant projection cinema, they will be converted to REC709 gamma 2.4 ish  for home viewing.  Hope this makes sense!

 

And, believe it or not, films mastered on an emissive display in REC709 (can't afford a projection theater for color correction), after conversion to DCI-P3 color space for projection, pretty much look the same in the theater when the conversion is done correctly!


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#19 William Henning

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 04:11 AM

Thanks Bruce! Other than the blacks and color would you say the softness and dimness in Theaters is generally accurate? The last movie I saw in a theater that looked sharp and crisp was Ex Machina a few years ago. Black Panther, Ready Player one and Pacific Rim Uprising looked soft which made me wonder. I was expecting them to have some sharpness and bold colors but didn't see it...they were also on the dark side. I know all movies in a theater won't be razor sharp but then they might not be meant to either...I'm just wondering what's accurate and what isn't...generally speaking as far as softness and dimness.


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#20 Bruce Greene

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 11:28 AM

Thanks Bruce! Other than the blacks and color would you say the softness and dimness in Theaters is generally accurate? The last movie I saw in a theater that looked sharp and crisp was Ex Machina a few years ago. Black Panther, Ready Player one and Pacific Rim Uprising looked soft which made me wonder. I was expecting them to have some sharpness and bold colors but didn't see it...they were also on the dark side. I know all movies in a theater won't be razor sharp but then they might not be meant to either...I'm just wondering what's accurate and what isn't...generally speaking as far as softness and dimness.

It's not been my experience that films in a theater look softer.  Perhaps this might be that your home TV has some electronic "detailing" or "sharpness" applied.  Or, it might be that you're viewing a much more magnified image in the theater than at home  (how close do you sit to your 55" TV?).  Also remember that we're shooting feature films at 24 frames per second.  Each frame is exposed for 1/48th sec and if you randomly stop on a frame in a movie it is likely to have significant motion blur if the camera is not locked off for a real static shot.  My guess is that you'll see a "sharp" frame about once per second.  (Take that 4k!)

 

About "dimness":  Not too many commercial theaters are to perfect specifications.  I once had a film that I shot showing in 5 screens in the same multiplex.  So, I went from screen to screen and peeked in.  And, each screen had a different brightness and color.  They all looked vaguely acceptable, but different.  It's also common that theater presentations are dark.  Sometimes, they've installed a projected to weak for the size of the screen.  Sometimes they turn the lamp down to save the lamp.

 

Recently I went to see a movie at a "nice" AMC theater in Burbank, California.  I could tell right away during the previews that the image was too dark.  And sure enough the movie was dark also.  Then I turned around and looked at the projection booth.  And there were two images of the movie projected on to the projection booth glass window.  Why?  That's a setup for 3d projection, but this film was 2d.  And this could account for a soft projection as well because the two images need to be perfectly registered.  At the end of the movie I asked the theater manager about this.  He told me that almost every screen in the complex was set up for 3d using dual image with polarizing filters to separate left and right eyes when wearing the polarized glasses.  I asked if they could remove the 3d setup, or at least the polarizing filters for 2d presentations, and he told me no, that they were not able to do that.  So there you go:  Dark and soft!

 

So, in the end, the best presentation might very well be at your home, with a large screen, in a dark room, if the TV is well set up.  Get an OLED TV and you'll probably never go to the cinema again!


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