HDR confusion

Paul Mohr

Standard Member
I used to have a Sharp LED tv. Nothing crazy, just your basic 4K tv for around 500 bucks, 3 years old maybe? It would do HDR as will my LG 4K blu ray player. I got a couple 4k ultra blu rays to check it out and to be honest I wasn't all that impressed. I figured the tv really wasn't anything special and HDR was pretty new at the time so maybe the tv just didn't do a very good job with it.

Now I just got a new LG C9 OLED. Now I was ready to have my socks blown off. Deep blacks, great color, accurate display and a great processor. I grabbed a copy of John Wick in Ultra HD while I was out, came home and fired it up. Not only aren't my socks blown off, I don't even think it looks as good as my LCD tv did lol. Looks great in SDR after setting it up. Pretty much everything I expected and hoped for. HDR not so much. Since I really don't know how you are supposed to set up or adjust for HDR I just went with RTINGS suggestions for my tv. Basically they just said to put it in a specific picture mode and don't change anything. Really? Everything is set as bright as it can go. All these dynamic modes are turned on, peak brightness is set to high, noise filters are turned on, true motion is turned on and colors look off. Is that really what I want for HDR? I am not being a smart ass, I am seriously asking. Are these the prefered settings for HDR viewing?

Specific issues I see with the John Wick title are blacks and black levels. I thought the whole point behind HDR and an oled tv was increased contrast and the inky blacker than black blacks. I am not seeing it and this is a dark movie. Since the movie is not 16:9 it has the typical black bars at the top and bottom. These are normally true black like you would expect. Except for in some of the title sequences where they advertise the production company and studio logos and animations. Like the little roller coaster animation for Thunder Road. The top and bottom black bars actually flicker a bit and pop between dark grey and black like the black level/brightness setting is switching or something. I put in the SDR version, it doesn't do it, just the 4K version. Once the movie gets started the black bars stay black. But nothing in the movie ever matches them. No content ever hits true black and blends in with the black bars. Even transition scenes where the screen literally goes full dark. So what I find myself asking myself, and you guys I guess is this. Number 1, are the black bars part of the image in the movie, or are they placed there by the tv and it just turns those pixels off? And is this the way they wanted the movie to look? As in no real true blacks in the image. Because honestly it kind of looks like the brightness setting is set a tad too high during the whole movie. Again, the SDR version does not look like this. But maybe the HDR version looks like that because it DOES have more contrast and dynamic range. And that is how it is actually supposed to look and maybe my SDR settings are not right lol. I did use test paterns to set the SDR side of it though. I couldn't tell you the name of them though. For the brightness its a black back ground with a bunch of flashing bars and a line that says where black should start. Then the same thing for contrast but it uses a white version.

And then you have different versions of HDR! WTF. Not too much of an issue since my LG blu ray player just does HDR, I think its HDR 10? But I noticed netflix in a few movies it switched into Dolby Vision. So now I have to figure that out too.

Anyone have any idea how I make any sense out of this? Or should I just keep watching the 1080p SDR versions lol.
 

sagaris99

Well-known Member
I used to have a Sharp LED tv. Nothing crazy, just your basic 4K tv for around 500 bucks, 3 years old maybe? It would do HDR as will my LG 4K blu ray player. I got a couple 4k ultra blu rays to check it out and to be honest I wasn't all that impressed. I figured the tv really wasn't anything special and HDR was pretty new at the time so maybe the tv just didn't do a very good job with it.

Now I just got a new LG C9 OLED. Now I was ready to have my socks blown off. Deep blacks, great color, accurate display and a great processor. I grabbed a copy of John Wick in Ultra HD while I was out, came home and fired it up. Not only aren't my socks blown off, I don't even think it looks as good as my LCD tv did lol. Looks great in SDR after setting it up. Pretty much everything I expected and hoped for. HDR not so much. Since I really don't know how you are supposed to set up or adjust for HDR I just went with RTINGS suggestions for my tv. Basically they just said to put it in a specific picture mode and don't change anything. Really? Everything is set as bright as it can go. All these dynamic modes are turned on, peak brightness is set to high, noise filters are turned on, true motion is turned on and colors look off. Is that really what I want for HDR? I am not being a smart ass, I am seriously asking. Are these the prefered settings for HDR viewing?

Specific issues I see with the John Wick title are blacks and black levels. I thought the whole point behind HDR and an oled tv was increased contrast and the inky blacker than black blacks. I am not seeing it and this is a dark movie. Since the movie is not 16:9 it has the typical black bars at the top and bottom. These are normally true black like you would expect. Except for in some of the title sequences where they advertise the production company and studio logos and animations. Like the little roller coaster animation for Thunder Road. The top and bottom black bars actually flicker a bit and pop between dark grey and black like the black level/brightness setting is switching or something. I put in the SDR version, it doesn't do it, just the 4K version. Once the movie gets started the black bars stay black. But nothing in the movie ever matches them. No content ever hits true black and blends in with the black bars. Even transition scenes where the screen literally goes full dark. So what I find myself asking myself, and you guys I guess is this. Number 1, are the black bars part of the image in the movie, or are they placed there by the tv and it just turns those pixels off? And is this the way they wanted the movie to look? As in no real true blacks in the image. Because honestly it kind of looks like the brightness setting is set a tad too high during the whole movie. Again, the SDR version does not look like this. But maybe the HDR version looks like that because it DOES have more contrast and dynamic range. And that is how it is actually supposed to look and maybe my SDR settings are not right lol. I did use test paterns to set the SDR side of it though. I couldn't tell you the name of them though. For the brightness its a black back ground with a bunch of flashing bars and a line that says where black should start. Then the same thing for contrast but it uses a white version.

And then you have different versions of HDR! WTF. Not too much of an issue since my LG blu ray player just does HDR, I think its HDR 10? But I noticed netflix in a few movies it switched into Dolby Vision. So now I have to figure that out too.

Anyone have any idea how I make any sense out of this? Or should I just keep watching the 1080p SDR versions lol.
When you say everything is as bright as it goes, what did you set 'brightness' to? Oled light is what should be higher for HDR, brightness shouldn't be over 50 really.
 

Paul Mohr

Standard Member
Its on the cinema picture mode so the oled light is at 100 and the contrast is at 100 and brightness is at 50. Every picture mode you can choose when it switches to HDR are all maxed out to 100 by default on oled and contrast. Also peak brightness is set to high and dynamic tone mapping is on. It just seems odd to me that on a 4K digital movie all those features I mentioned would be turned on. Like noise reduction, smoothing and true motion. Seems like a brand new 4k movie wouldn't need all that extra help lol. And I would have thought the over all picture would go darker and not look like a LCD tv with the brightness and backlight too high. Mainly it freaked me out when there was a transition with the screen totally black and it didn't actually turn black. I suppose I should watch a few more titles before I start pulling my hair out though. I just wondered how many people left their tvs on the default picture mode settings or if they were adjusting and tweaking them. I honestly can't find a lot information on calibrating or adjusting HDR settings. It just seems odd that the same movie would be that much different from SDR to HDR and people would be ok with it.
 

GAmbrose

Well-known Member
John Wick in HDR looks noticably better than SDR, AV Forums review even states:



Of course the true - and very literal - highlights come in the presentation's use of the High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) that Ultra HD Blu-rays really use to stand apart from their HD siblings, going way beyond mere pixel resolution, and determining the very look and vibrancy of the piece. John Wick is prime material for this, with its heavily stylised comic-book look that sees vibrant primaries, neons and strong, vivid hues of purple and red casting entire sequences in a stunning new light on this Ultra HD Blu-ray. The WCG affords noticeably richer, deeper tones, giving the nightclub sequences an all-new lease of life, whilst the broader range of peak whites and solid blacks affords the darker sequences yet more intimate discrete distinction.

Sure to be one of the go-to demo titles for UHD fans across the board, this is a superb reference title for the format.

I'm not familiar with your 4k blu-ray player - Could there be settings on there that need adjusting?
 

kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
Happy to trade you your OLED for one of my LCDs.

Maybe HDR on an OLED isn't for you. Let me help you out.
 

Paul Mohr

Standard Member
I think I got it figured out. It was a combination of things. Mostly it seems it was just a decision with the movie itself. I tried some other movies, including John Wick 2 and it wasn't really an issue. I did some research on the movie and they intentionally went with some artistic choices. Like some scenes are out of focus, camera shakes during the flash backs to his wife and odd colors like they did in the Matrix. So the blacks probably are just a tad higher in this movie and the increased range of HDR just brings it out more is all. I noticed one other movie that sort of did it in a few cut scenes but it wasn't quite as bad. Couple that with the fact that I was watching in a totally dark room because I am too lazy to put proper lighting behind my tv and it just brings it out more. I lowered my brightness setting to 48 instead of 50, turned off all the noise settings and stuff like that. And I dailed back the true motion settings. It looks much better now. I guess you just need to do some tinkering to find the look you personally like.

I also updated the firmware on my blu ray player, but I doubt that did much. Its a LG UP875 so it isn't the best 4K blu ray player out there. I checked the settings menu and it doesn't even have any options for HDR settings lol. Maybe that is the next thing I will upgrade is the player?

And after watching some other 4K movies I am pretty impressed with the picture. Gaurdians of the galaxy 2 looked amazing. On my old tv the 4k version looked weird in HDR. The colors and stuff were way too punchy like it was in store mode or something. This tv it looks great. John Wick 2 looks awesome as well.
 

ssbib

Distinguished Member
John Wick isn’t really the best for HDR, especially blacks. I thought it had a good picture overall but thought some of the blacks were very grey-looking. Check out something like Pacific Rim or The Avengers, they look great to me. Don’t write off the TV because of one film.

Also, what player are you using?
 

Paul Mohr

Standard Member
That is exactly what I was seeing. I am just going to chalk it up to artistic choice on their first feature film. I just watched John Wick chapter 2 and they did a far better job with that. Not that the first one looked bad by any means, I was just being nit picky is all. And honestly lowering my black level 2 points pretty much solved it. This tv must be really sensitive.

Like I said above, the blu ray player is the LG UP875. Not the best or newest thing out there. It just has basic HDR and no smart features, which was fine with me I didn't want them anyway. Maybe I will look into an upgrade. Then again that will make me the owner of 5 blu ray players if you count my PS3 lol. I will be able to open a DVD, blu ray player museum before long.
 

ssbib

Distinguished Member
That is exactly what I was seeing. I am just going to chalk it up to artistic choice on their first feature film. I just watched John Wick chapter 2 and they did a far better job with that. Not that the first one looked bad by any means, I was just being nit picky is all. And honestly lowering my black level 2 points pretty much solved it. This tv must be really sensitive.

Like I said above, the blu ray player is the LG UP875. Not the best or newest thing out there. It just has basic HDR and no smart features, which was fine with me I didn't want them anyway. Maybe I will look into an upgrade. Then again that will make me the owner of 5 blu ray players if you count my PS3 lol. I will be able to open a DVD, blu ray player museum before long.
Yeah the second is much better and the third even better still. The TV can only display what the disc tells it too and if the source isn’t perfect then you will see all the hiccups. Enjoy the new TV, a new player might help also. I’m just upgrading from a Panasonic 320 to an 820 in the next few days.
 

loukomalada

Active Member
IMG_20200528_221043.jpg

I started playing with the C9 hdr settings yesterday cause the default must be wrong. (C9 default hdr technicolor left, krp500m on the right). Movie la la land.

IMG_20181127_221353.jpg

(Q9fn left, krp500a right) My Q9fn in hdr looks like the krp but have some bleeding around objects (the bleeding is not as bad as it seems in the picture).
 

ssbib

Distinguished Member
Since I posted in here the other day I have got a new player and the difference is night and day. I used to own a Panasonic UB320, which was HDR10 only, and have now upgraded to the UB820 which also has Dolby Vision. I can’t comment on DV a yet as I need a new cable in order to stop the image cutting in and out but the HDR10 picture is superb, even on things like John Wick that I wasn’t particularly impressed by. Maybe the OP should consider a new player in the future? I was concerned I wouldn’t see much of an upgrade but I am 100% wrong.
 

Paul Mohr

Standard Member
I am considering one, and the ub820 is one of the ones I was looking at. That is the 400 ish dollar panasonic correct?
 

ssbib

Distinguished Member
I am considering one, and the ub820 is one of the ones I was looking at. That is the 400 ish dollar panasonic correct?
Yes that’s the one. It’s expensive but is worth every penny.
 

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