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Odd question about picture clarity

Old 10-16-14, 12:21 PM
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Odd question about picture clarity

OK, bear with me here.

Last weekend I was at my brother's watching Edge of Tomorrow. Good flick. My brother has a big LCD flatscreen.

Anyway, while the movie was good, there was something jarring about the image. The picture itself was crystal clear. But it didn't "look" like a movie. Even though I was looking at a sharp image, it looked "cheap." Like a soap opera, or a Dr. Who episode.

I mentioned it to my dad and brother, but neither could see it. But it was off-putting to me. I felt like I was watching a play instead of a movie. Does anyone know what I mean and why it might've looked like this to me?
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Old 10-16-14, 12:27 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_interpolation
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Old 10-16-14, 12:32 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Thank you! The article even mentions the "soap opera effect," so I'm not crazy. I don't know whether I'll mention it to my brother or not, since it doesn't bother him, but man, I could never watch movies that way.
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Old 10-16-14, 02:09 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Yes, this is a ridiculous 'feature'. But what's worse is that TV manufacturers for some ungodly reason have all decided that TV's have this is a default setting. So it's something you actively have to look for & turn off rather than something you can simply enable if you want your movies to look like soap operas. So you have huge numbers of people watching movies this way without even realizing it.
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Old 10-16-14, 08:44 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

When my bro upgraded his TV I noticed he had this setting on right off the bat. I asked him why do u have the soap opera setting on. He had no idea what I was talking about. I shut it off for him and he made me switch it back on BC he liked it better. I've also been to friends houses who've had the standard channel on and zoomed in from their cable provider who supposedly couldn't see a different when I switched the same channel to HD. People are clueless if they aren't slightly knowledgeable about this stuff.
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Old 10-16-14, 10:25 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

When I am at someone`s house and see this or their uncalibrated TV I just keep my mouth shut. I am so tired trying to explain shit to them. If it doesn`t bother them; why should it bother me? No big deal anymore.
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Old 10-17-14, 12:36 AM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Originally Posted by mrhan View Post
When I am at someone`s house and see this or their uncalibrated TV I just keep my mouth shut. I am so tired trying to explain shit to them. If it doesn`t bother them; why should it bother me? No big deal anymore.
I try not to watch TV at other people's houses. God, my dad's most used TV is green when seen just a few degrees off to the side. Can't calibrate that out. I just stand in the living room not looking at it.
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Old 10-17-14, 12:42 AM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Talking to random people about TV calibration is akin to mentioning Quantum mechanics at a dinner party. They just silently nod at you and hope the conversation soon shifts to another topic.
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Old 10-17-14, 07:33 AM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Originally Posted by JZ1276 View Post
People are clueless if they aren't slightly knowledgeable about this stuff.
It's hard to argue with that statement.
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Old 10-17-14, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddie W View Post
Yes, this is a ridiculous 'feature'. But what's worse is that TV manufacturers for some ungodly reason have all decided that TV's have this is a default setting. So it's something you actively have to look for & turn off rather than something you can simply enable if you want your movies to look like soap operas. So you have huge numbers of people watching movies this way without even realizing it.
I realize this is a foolish question, but what section of the menu should I check to see if it's on?
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Old 10-17-14, 02:17 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
I realize this is a foolish question, but what section of the menu should I check to see if it's on?
Every manufacturer has their own proprietary name for motion interpolation. It changes from Sony to Panasonic to Samsung.
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Old 10-17-14, 04:58 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Originally Posted by Mr. Flix View Post
I don't know whether I'll mention it to my brother or not, since it doesn't bother him, but man, I could never watch movies that way.
Don't mention it to him. Just TURN IT OFF.

worst. "feature". ever.
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Old 10-17-14, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
Every manufacturer has their own proprietary name for motion interpolation. It changes from Sony to Panasonic to Samsung.
I have a cheap Westinghouse.
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Old 10-17-14, 07:32 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Talking to random people about TV calibration is akin to mentioning Quantum mechanics at a dinner party. They just silently nod at you and hope the conversation soon shifts to another topic.
But don't you dare set their TVs the RIGHT way, they'll get mad if you do that!
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Old 10-17-14, 07:59 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Costco in particular is guilty of utilizing this setting on their HDTVs. Anytime I'm in there and browse everything looks like this.

Apparently, though, it's appealing to the average person. Someone I was with there last time commented on how great it was and she wanted a TV that looked like that. I had asked someone at work about it and they too thought it looked better. It made them feel like they were watching "real life."

It destroys the cinematic look of film to me, but I guess if you don't give a shit about stuff like that then it's easier on the eyes or something.
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Old 10-17-14, 10:21 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Don't mention it to him. Just TURN IT OFF.

worst. "feature". ever.
The only time it should ever be used is when watching sports. Or possibly news broadcasts.

But it should never be used for watching movies or television series.
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Old 10-20-14, 09:40 AM
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A friend of mine's brother has a very expensive HDTV which looks "lifelike" to him and he wonders why. I have neglected to tell him for fear that he'll turn on the same feature on his own HDTV.
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Old 10-20-14, 01:33 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

One of the only times it's actually useful is if you're watching a kinescope of an old TV show (film camera shooting a video monitor, common before videotape was available and affordable.) I think the DVD set of Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan Show used something like this on the actual discs, which came out a bit before TVs that had this 'feature'.
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Old 10-20-14, 04:06 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

I have a Sony Bravia set that I bought in 2007. Does it have this feature? I'm curious to see what the hell everybody's talking about here. If not, is there a website that offers comparison shots, so I can see the difference between a set with this on and a set with it off?

Thanks.
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Old 10-20-14, 05:48 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

^It's something that can't easily be shown online, because it is dependent on the TV's or monitor's native refresh rate.

Super short version:
Film is 24fps
NTSC video is 30fps. PAL is 25fps.
North American TVs refresh at 60Hz. Yes, even most HDTVs.
Before "progressive scan" that meant TVs were actually displaying 30 interlaced frames (1/2 frame per 1Hz of the 60Hz total)
HDTVs started with interlaced frames, then moved on to progressive scan. so 60Hz is now 60 complete frames, not 30 interlaced frames.
HDTVs, for years, were just 60Hz compatible.
Newer HDTVs are now capable of 120Hz or even 240Hz.
If the TV can display up to 240fps, that means it has to "create" fake frames between all the original frames.

So back to film.
Film is 24fps, and most are encoded this way on Blu-ray.
Same goes for any high-quality productions shot on video (I'm talking stuff shot on Red or Alexia cameras or whatever)
That means, the 240Hz TVs can show the film two ways (there's actually multiple ways, but let's stick with the two basics)
- each frame (1 of 24 per second) displayed 10 times (so 1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,2,etc. until you reach 24)
- frame 1, then 9 "processed" frames", frame 2, then 9 "processed frames, etc.

The former method uses entirely original frames, but may not appear as "smooth" as some would expect. It's the closest TVs can get to mirroring a true theatrical presentation, because those are showcased in 24fps. Actually, I don't know exactly how digital projection works... it's either 24Hz or some multiplication thereof, but either way, theatrically, ONLY original frames are shown.

The latter method creates the illusion of smoother video because the processed frames are created by calculating the differences between the two original frames. If there's 9 processed frames between each of the originals, then basically 90% of what you see in a single second is fabricated. On 120Hz TVs, that's 4 fake frames for every 1 original, or 80% fabricated.

This effect is off-putting because it's not 100% perfect (It's impossible to completely accurately create frames out of thin air, even if you have two real frames surrounding it).

So, all movement appears artificially smooth in a way that is typically described as the "soap opera" effect. This is because soap operas were typically filmed on NTSC video, which is 30fps (or 60hz). 30fps and 24fps appear differently to the eye.

There's a LOT more detail that I've skipped over, but that's the gist of why any 24fps content (film or any HD or higher res content recorded at 24fps, which is pretty much everything except news and sports these days, I think) looks "weird" when this mode is enabled.
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Old 10-20-14, 10:15 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
I have a Sony Bravia set that I bought in 2007. Does it have this feature? I'm curious to see what the hell everybody's talking about here. If not, is there a website that offers comparison shots, so I can see the difference between a set with this on and a set with it off?

Thanks.
I highly doubt your TV would have this feature as it is a somewhat newer feature (maybe from the last 3-4 years). Comparisons cant really be made with snapshots either.
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Old 10-20-14, 11:03 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
There's a LOT more detail that I've skipped over
Where can I get more of this info? I'm a total Luddite, I only learned half of this stuff when I bought my Disney WOW disc. I don't deserve to be on this forum .
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Old 10-20-14, 11:18 PM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Honestly, I don't have any particular source. All of the above was just info I've gathered in my brain over the last *mumble mumble* years, for various reasons; mostly legal. I really want to write up a concise blog post about it (something in very simple terms with GIFs used to demonstrate the ideas), but... lazy. I admit that I don't know the super fine details 100%, but I know enough, I guess. That wikipedia entry above leaves a lot to be desired.

If you have a specific question, I'm sure someone here (myself or whoever) can answer it.

And I'm sure someone will now just provide a single link that answers all the questions.
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Old 10-21-14, 02:38 AM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Here you go, watch in the highest res for best viewing, preferably on a larger screen than most have connected to a computer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_dE6HPIAJM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=882c25af2hM

Youtube isn't the best place to view this, though. Costco might be, as mentioned.

All video is basically trying to trick our brain into seeing motion. 24Hz was chosen long ago because it meshes up with our brains pretty well. The faster fps, and progressive instead of interlaced, are probably more accurate, but we still seem to like 24, and that is why it is still used so much. OTOH, the fakey interpolated stuff is just off a bit from what our brains think is right. I think a big part is it isn't even the original fps as shot, it is modified by the TV and we can tell it isn't natural to what the camera saw. I just don't know how we can tell.
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Old 10-21-14, 09:33 AM
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Re: Odd question about picture clarity

Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
Where can I get more of this info? I'm a total Luddite, I only learned half of this stuff when I bought my Disney WOW disc. I don't deserve to be on this forum .
That's okay, just as long as you keep posting to Movie Talk. That's where you're needed around here.
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