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Sometimes a bit soft!

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by NickBull, Jan 7, 2002.

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  1. NickBull

    NickBull
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    I have been watching quite a few films on the 808 and I have noticed one thing. Some look quite blury and slightly out of focus, I thought this was a problem with the projector, then roland set it up perfectly and soem films still looked a bit soft.

    My conclusion is that it's the DVD's that are the problem. I don't know if they are done purpously soft to look more film like on smaller TV's but on a 7 foot screen it can look a bit soft.

    I tried a few on my 32 inch tv and if you get close enough you notice that they loook soft on there too but ok from normal vieing distances.

    Maybe it's how the film was shot, I havn't been to the cinema for years fo I don't know whether films look soft at the cinema.

    Films like The Phantom Menace where I though it would be razor sharp, are not as good as , Say, Gladiator. I guess TPM is soft to hide all the CGI it uses. Toy Story 2 looks pin sharp and really vibrant as you'd expect.
     
  2. tryingtimes

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    Yes, i've been battling with this to determine whether it can be improved or not.
    I was particularly disappointed with bugs life r2. After ts2 I was expecting it to blow me away!

    Do other people find this?

    I haven't got Gladiator (didn't care for the movie much) so I can't compare this.
    What in people's opinion is the sharpest non-animated movie for us to test?
     
  3. NickBull

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    I use Gladiator as my test disc at the moment. Austin Powers 2 is a good one, pretty sharp and the colours are wondefully vibrant.

    There seems to be know way of knowing how good the sharpnes will be, new DVD's you would expect to be tip top, but can sometimes disapoint. Old ones or older films can sometimes look good. Got Ferris Bulers Day off for 'our lass' and it's a pretty good picture for it's age!

    Jenz's site, bulletsandbabes normally has good info about PQ in it's reviews.
     
  4. tryingtimes

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    yes, I knew Blade runner was bad but someone bought it for me a bit ago (r2) and it was totally unwatchable on the big screen.
    Is there a better version anyone?

    I'm going to start avoiding r2 for anything other than rentals and the odd film that gets better treatment over here (pretty few and far between.)
     
  5. Paul D

    Paul D
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    I thought i would jump in here, as all three of us are linked as such!.

    With both my fixed panel projectors, i sometimes thought the focus was out. So i would call up the menu and use that as i reference for resetting it.
    But the thing is, it was never really out!. It was just the program/film i was watching was actually soft!.
    But with my CRT, i found it hard to know if it is the PJ or the source.

    Coming from fixed panels is hard to do from a sharpness/focus point of view. As i have said in the past, i would actually prefer a fixed panel PJ. But i will wait until some more of the basic picture problems are sorted.

    "ANYBODY" on this forum who owns "ANY" type of PJ will know what i mean by a "Love-Hate" relationship we have with them!.
    One day your in love with the thing, the next ready to throw it through the window.(sound familiar?)Well that used to be me!.

    First thing, used CRT will not be as sharp as a new one....period!.
    Second, smoothness can be mistaken for lack of sharpness/focus.

    I made the mistake of waiting about 20 minutes, then wanting to start making adjustments. (No-No)
    I then expected the PJ to be pin sharp at 1024x768 with windows......nope!( to be fair it is almost spot on, but not as sharp as a fixed panel).
    However, at 800x600 it's near perfect. So it not a optical focus thing, just a CRT age/type limitation.

    With big CRT lenses, they take a while to warm up. And until they are, the picture will be a little out of focus.
    I found i can watch normal TV/DVD a couple of minutes after switching the PJ on. But for Computer use, i need to leave it for at least an hour. This is because the extra sharpness after it is fully warmed up, makes the desktop much easier to read/use etc. I assume this time to reduce during the summer due to the higher room temp.

    As with the lenses, the convergence can be out a little until full working temp is reached. But Roland has a little cheat for this.
    He suggested saving one convergence setting for cold ie 93 memoryblock. Then use your normal settings for when warmed up ie 3 etc.

    Films i have found to be soft looking when i thought they would be good are:-

    Grinch R2! (Worse picture ever)
    Phantom Menace R2
    Bugs life R2
    Toy story 1 R2

    Good sharp films i found:-

    Toystory2 R2 (Checkout the toy restorer scene!)
    Gladiator R2 (V Good)
    MI2
    Terminator2 R2

    The above films are from memory, as i'm at work. So no flames if you feel different please!.

    The bottom line with CRTs is:

    Wait until it's fully warmed up
    Don't expect "fixed panel" perfect focus on used CRTs (although some CRTs may be tweaked, and better them!)
    Remember, fixed panels can make an image "appear" sharper, much like added "Edge Enhancement" etc.
    Take the stated resolution spec with a pinch of salt, these are maximums with brand new tubes.

    Gordon has mentioned in another thread about my quest for "my" ideal projector. I don't think there will ever be one!. But as Gordon said, i had to find the minimum spec that i would be happy with. As things stand, i'm a very happy bunny. This is because i know that i can let visitors watch a film without worrying they may point out some picture defect etc ie the infamous "whats that bright green/red/blue spot?". Or when the scene goes dark "where the picture gone?". I also like that i can now seat people nearer the screen without the worry of screendoor. But i must admit, it's a pain when they tap their wine glass on the screen!!! :D

    Trust me, there are a lot of worse things to be wrong with your PJ than a slightly soft image!.

    I think we need a get together!.
    That way we may be able to sort each other minor grumbles out!.
     
  6. leon

    leon
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    i have noticed the same sort of thing some dvd are loverly and sharp others suck ,i thought it might be something to do with compresion and the length of film but i can seem to see any sort of order ,even between the film makes like warner etc.i found that the dvd finding forester (sean connery) is very bad (dark and soft very hard to see detail .. :(
     
  7. The Boogerman

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    Would it be fair to point part of the problem at the amount of extras that people expect now to be crammed on a disc? I remember not too long ago when you read a review of a film, the film was the most important thing, but now if it doesn't have 2 hours of extras its classed as a failure. I'd rather extras shifted off to a separate disc or forgotten altogether than lower the visual and audio bitrate. Has anyone tried one of the superbit DVD's? Or am I barking up the wrong tree with bitrate?
     
  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    While I was down at Neils/Jenz looking at his HTPC project we looked at a few things. Interestingly we found a large differencein picture quality between MI2 region 1 and 2 discs. Can't remember which was good.....

    An astoundingly great image can be found on the Superbit DVD of Desperado....really, really great!

    Gordon
     
  9. squid

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    it's not just dvd .the same gos for tv . some programs look pin sharp others look like somone has been doing a lot of smoking in your room and you find yourself squinting at the screen

    the thing i hate most about this is you find yourself being drawn to the pj ( must make better) you know there is nothing you can do about it and that there is nothing wrong with the pj . there is just that overwelming urge . MUST FIDDLE !!;)

    why oh why is allways the best stuff that is naff ?? the worst effected tends to be things like star gate and star trek. i have given up watching these progs on the pj . they still tend to look a little blured on the 32" tv

    to my dismay the best are stuff like ready steady cook :mad:
     
  10. claws

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    Off the top of my head...the sharpest DVD's I have seen [On a BD 708]:

    Bound R2 (THE best picture);
    Pitch Black R1 (Outstanding)
    Gladiator R2;
    6th Day R2
    Fifth Element R1
    Star Ship T's R1

    The Softest / blurriest:
    Alien 4 (R2)
    Kylie latest concert (R2 - almost unwatchable)
    TPM (R2 - awful)
    Mummy Returns (R2 - soft - probably due to excessive CGI)

    It's a shame, but the softest / blurriest are almost unwatchable.

    http://www.filmsondisc.com/ISF_Reference_DVD_Program.htm

    is a good source for reference quality R1's - don't think there is an equivalent for R2 anywhere.:devil:
     
  11. Paul D

    Paul D
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    While on the subject of Startrek TNG/DS9, which i agree seems washed out and soft. Does anybody notice on Startrek TNG ends credits where the ship is speeding through space, a blue glow in the bottom left hand corner?. For ages i thought it was my old TV being a little faulty until i saw it on my new TV as well!.

    Blowing digital (NTL) up to cinema size is a real gamble!. Some programs can look superb, almost DVD quality(or better!). Where as some look so poor, you wouldn't show them to a blind man!.

    Ps. I used digital TV to show my wife what "Posterisation" looked like!. (Just select any of the Movie channels!!!) :D
     
  12. squid

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    i know just what you meen . looks like a unsheilded speaker is too close to the screen (i know just what that looks like)

    i don't even what to get into the other artifacts on digital tv . i try my best to ignore them , hard i know :(
     
  13. uncle eric

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    Though your video chain obviously has much to do with the end result, software is a huge factor. You've heard the term, 'Rubbish in Rubbish out'.
    A side note. I generally stay away from R2 releases. In my humble opinion they are mostly inferior to R1 in many ways.

    Best DVD's so far in no particular order.

    The Pledge R1
    The Insider R1
    Desperado (superbit)
    For The Love of the Game R1
    The Fifth Element (superbit)
    North By Northwest R1


    Animation,
    Dinasour R1 (Chapter 3)
    Toy Story R1

    Worst DVD so far (again in visual terms)
    Elton Johns Greatest Hits (Filmed - or should I say, Video'd at Madision Square Garden last year) YUK

    Most Disapointing,
    The Phantom Menace (I thought Luca$ was taking his time to produce a great DVD. How wrong I was. While this has one of the best soundtracks so far, as in incredible levels of bass, Visually its awfull. Amongst other things, its loaded with EE)

    Another side note* Buyers of some budget DVD players need to be aware that in some cases these lower price bracket players are incapable of delivering the image at the high bit rate some of these titles possess. Apart from the Superbit titles above, Moulin Rouge has an average delivery rate as high and even higher in parts than the Superbit titles .*

    Eric
     
  14. uncle eric

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    Maybe David Furnish was shaking Eltons camera too much:eek: :eek: :eek:

    Eric
     
  15. Rob

    Rob
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    I was originally unimpressed with the superbit DVDs. Only one I have to compare with is Fifth Element. It does of course depend on the quality of the source and display device. On using an 808/ quadscan combo there is no visible difference IMO. However using an HTPC the differences become noticeable. Shame I cant get on with a PC (poor sound / crashes / pain to control) so I've gone back to using the quad, which is OK. Hopefully a scaler with the quality of a PC and at a reasonable price will come our way soon.

    I live in hope

    Rob.
     
  16. GagHalfrunt

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    Yes! I actually chucked away a SVideo cable and changed my PC's capture card 'cos of that glow!

    I watch Star Trek TNG off NTSC Laserdisc and that's far better than UK TV but it's still not perfect.
     
  17. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    Fulabeer wrote
    That sounds like an excellent idea.
    I could make it anytime next week (I'm in Bollington near Macclesfield but I work in manchester)

    It would be good to know either whether we've attained a similar level of if not, where we can make the improvements.
     
  18. NickBull

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    I'd be interested too. I'm interested to see how my ultra budget 808 compares to Rolands better ones.

    I'm very happy with it 95% orf the time, but sometimes I feel dissapointed with certain discs.

    I do tend to find that I don't notice it as much towards he middle/end of a film, so this could be the lack of a proper warm up.

    It get no discernable difference between 720 lines and 668 or 600 so I'm sticking with 720 unless I can prove otherwise to myself.

    Would it be right to think that R1 dvd's with less picture lines take up less space on a DVD so the bit-rates can be upped slightly?
    This may explain why they give a better picture more often.

    I'm glad that other people are noticing this disk problem too, I think just knowing this will make my enjoyment greater. There was always a niggling doubt that it was my PJ being past it!
     
  19. Guest

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    I think its a trade-off with crt ,I have lived with crt`s for many years-and now have a sony vpl11ht.(my last crt was a 708).
    I still believe crt has the best image-when at optimum on the right disc in the right conditions.
    The sense of depth one perceives on crt is rarely equalled by a fixed panel.
    But crt is more inclined to err on the soft side (especially when line doubled).
    The Mummy Returns-soft?...errr..no...
    This is razor sharp on the Sony.
    In actual fact I dont think you can compare crt and lcd.
    crt=smooth/depth/great blacks/fair colours -but accurate
    lcd(I use the Sony as a ref.point here..)=sharp/limited depth/almost great blacks/stunning colours-not completely accurate.
    Its all about what picture you prefer,I always sought the sharpness from a crt that it rarely produced.
    The sony produces it on everything.
    The ideal for me of course would be the strengths of both combined-one day eh?
    What is apparent with the Sony is that it is brilliant on dvd(better than most crt`s) -but average on sky and terrestrial t.v.
    My crt was the other way round-dvd nowhere near as good-but sky and t.v.-excellent.
    Everythings a trade-off...
    Doug
     
  20. NickBull

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    In the main I get very film like performance from my CRT, and it is getting on quite a lot.

    The Mummy Returns isn't one disk I'd say was overly soft in my view. I'll have a proper watch of it tonight as only watched the first few scenes.

    My CRT will last me 5 more years at a guess and didn't cost the earth so then I will re-asses the situation and replace with whatever gives me comparable depth and contrast, at a decent price. It may even be another CRT, the prices may drop further if other technologies are catching up.

    For the moment, I am mainly stunned at having a watchable large screen in my home, it's a great image 95% of the time and it isn't a strain to watch.

    Douglas, have you the Phantom menace and how does that look on the sony?

    Cheers

    Nick
     
  21. Roland @ B4

    Roland @ B4
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    Ah but what if your one is better than his? :p

    By the way if you are going to compare notes, sometimes my wife wears a dark wig and likes to be called Jackie.:D
     
  22. Guest

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    Roland,
    She told me it was Cathy?

    ..anyway,The Phantom Menace on the Sony-great picture.
    What really surprised me though was that I bought Highlander for 6.99 from MVC(my previous copy was ntsc and very grainy).
    and the picture was excellent-really shined...
    But Start Little looked slightly digitised-turned the sharpness down to min-and brilliant!
    The Sony -if anything is too sharp for some dvd`s-it certainly shows every artifact on a not so well mastered disc.
    ..Its funny though how crt owners think r1 is a better picture(I used to think this as well)-when it isnt-its softer,less res,muted colours and blacks.
    But this picture sits well with crt where the muted blacks are compensated for and the overall softness looks filmlike.
    But I did a comparison on the fifth element on r1 and r2 on the Sony-and without a doubt the Sony makes the r2 version look much better,the r2 version looks sharper/better blacks/better colours-with the extra res.apparent.
    I dont think this is limited to dvd`s though.when I had laserdisc,the pal version nearly always had the better picture.
    Doug
     
  23. squid

    squid
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    i think the main prob is crt can be a bit too accurate. if it's crap quality software it looks crap

    i think it could be this that is the prob . if you throw somthing at it that is what you get . this is realy great when you have a realy great disk . the thing is even with dvd there is a lot more crap that great

    most displays have so much stuff to make crap stuff look good . we don't tend to have that, we just see what is there warts and all :rolleyes:

    could be worse ,at least it is the films and not the projector that is at fault
     
  24. NickBull

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    Roland, if it's better I'll keep quiet about it.

    Phantom Menace in general is good, but it's not the Sharpest picture in my colection. It blows people away when I show it them and the sound is awesome.

    I think I tend to get over critical if I'm not carefull, when I actually get over that and just watch the film it's a fantastic experience, a lot better than my tiny 32" telly.
     
  25. tryingtimes

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    I finally managed to sort out my judder problems last night and all of a sudden I seem to have settled into the picture more. I find that I don't need to be looking for defects and I just get sucked in to the movie.

    I was looking at the reduced (native res?) powerdvd window running superbit TFE last night and it does look significantly sharper so I think that DVD res is the current limiting factor in our systems.
    Did anyone manage to get that HD Dvideo test done?
     
  26. NickBull

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    I'm planning on an upgrade of all my drivers and directx etc. I don't have judder, but sometime fast motion scenes are a bit hard to follow. However watching on normal TV it seems very simillar, just on a smaller less noticable scale.

    On the HTPC board it was suggested new drivers and HW compensation switched on gave the best picture with WinDVD.

    G/F is out tonight so I might have a watch of a film or two. I've not had much chance over Christmas.
    Although Toy Story 2 kept the kids at the Christmas party quiet for hours whilst their parents all got hammered!!! (it also stiffened my resolve to put off having any for as long as possible, the carpet took on the look or a real cinema with crisps and sweets all over it!!)
     
  27. NickBull

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    Tried warming the pj up for a while before watching last night. Only about 30 mins but it made a diference. Watched Hannibal and the focus improved quite noticably. By the time I had got to Chapter 13 it was looking great, the lighting and the shaddow sceens in Venice were great, Starling's basement hideout was full of detail.

    I might start switching on when I get in from work if I know I'm going to be watching later.

    Nick
     
  28. tryingtimes

    tryingtimes
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    That's what I do these days.
    It's a shame because I usually like to listen to music after work but the projector noise spoils it a fair bit.

    Does anyone know what 'warms up'
    Will it need to be showing a picture to warm up fully. The fans are on full blast as soon as you switch it to a channel but the picture still seems soft if you just leave it with no signal for 20 mins.

    Does the phosphor need to be actively used in order to properly warm up?
     
  29. NickBull

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    Something I was thinking also. I assume that the lenses expand and that may affect the focus, so maybe the tubes need to be powered up to do this.

    Could always stick a film on for 30 mins before watching, depends where the pj is I suppose, if you're using the room it could be a pain.

    Roland might have ideas on this. Also he mentioned about a quiet fan mod he was working on. Hows it going Roland?
     
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