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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » The latest "what is AMC doing wrong" query: high black levels (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: The latest "what is AMC doing wrong" query: high black levels
William Kucharski
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 244
From: Louisville, Colorado, United States of America
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 08-15-2014 03:27 PM      Profile for William Kucharski   Email William Kucharski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I went to my local AMC last night and this particular theatre, while never the gold standard for projection, has Sony 4Ks that normally look pretty good.

However, last night, something was very… off. All normal black areas projected throughout, including trailers, displayed black as sort of a mid-tone grey rather than the as near "off" as possible blacks I've seen these same projectors throw many, many times in the past.

Of course the theatre manager denied anything was wrong, but presentation where it looks like a consumer projector with limited dynamic range is just weird coming from a Sony 4K.

FWIW, the film in question was The Giver, but the same too-light black areas were seen in the trailers as well as the AMC spots pre and post-show.

Any ideas what could be up?

Those familiar with NTSC video would recognize the effect as much the same as when feeding "black is 7.5 IRE" video to a display that expects it to be 0.

Could it be the projectors are set up to compensate for the light loss when showing 3D and are thus too bright when showing 2D? Or perhaps the last calibration was done with an older lamp and the projector was recently relamped?

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16548
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-15-2014 04:55 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Run.... It's a Sony!

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Marco Giustini
Film God

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From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 08-15-2014 06:19 PM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bad mastering or faulty projector.
Many will disagree but Sony machines have better blacks than DLPs, even after years. It's a fact, it can be measured. Whoever says the opposite has never seen a Sony or has only seen faulty ones.
Sony have many downsides, but contrast ratio and black level are not one of those.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

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From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 08-15-2014 07:04 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Well yeah, you can take any projector and if it isn't putting out a bright picture the blacks will be blacker. [Razz]

I've actually never been impressed with an image from any Sony.

Sounds like there is something else going on with the machines William is referring to though since he said it used to be better.

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Alan Gouger
Master Film Handler

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From: Bradenton, FL, USA
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 - posted 08-15-2014 07:11 PM      Profile for Alan Gouger   Author's Homepage   Email Alan Gouger   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I recently saw "Guardians of the Galaxy" in 3D at a AMC in Webster NY. They were using Sony SRX320s I was surprised how good contrast and black level appeared. I wasn't expecting much from the 320 knowing it is a generation older to the new 515. This AMC had the new motorized recliners.

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Harold Hallikainen
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Denver, CO, USA
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 - posted 08-15-2014 10:26 PM      Profile for Harold Hallikainen   Author's Homepage   Email Harold Hallikainen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are there automation cues for the motorized recliners?

Harold

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Andrew Thomas
Master Film Handler

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From: Pearland, TX, USA
Registered: Jun 2012


 - posted 08-15-2014 11:36 PM      Profile for Andrew Thomas   Email Andrew Thomas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I find the 320s to be supremely lacking in contrast and black levels, about the same as the .69 DLPs. The 515s are the new gold standard in contrast and black level to my eyes.

I saw Chef a couple of months ago on a 320 and the image was very washed out.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 08-15-2014 11:57 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Course, you can easily blame the washout due to the decaying LCoS chipset that Sony uses, where light passes through the chip and not reflected like the DLP setup.

Only time you get a decent 3D presentation out of a Twin Lens Sony Baloney unit is when the bulb has just been changed...and that's usually a Philips XDC-4200S lamp.

Give it a hundred hours and you have already lost 20 percent of your lumens, and three quarters of its life, the envelope is all but black and only one third of the available lumens are available.

If Sony would pick up on BARCO's CLO system, these lamps may have some decent light output throughout the life of the lamp. But Sony's blast theirs hot from the beginning which causes them do decay quite readily.

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 08-16-2014 12:29 AM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Why doesn't anyone rag on Regal like they do AMC on here? Haha

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Marco Giustini
Film God

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From: Reading, UK
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 - posted 08-16-2014 04:09 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Brad,

Obviously I am comparing the systems when achieving the same brightness on screen. I said "black level" and "contrast". If you reduce the black level by reducing the brightness, the contrast ratio does not improve.

Monte,
I heard that too (decaying of the SXRD chips and high black level after a while) but it is simply not true. I've seen machines with 20.000hrs on them and the black level was still ok. Again, we can talk for days about downsides in a Sony machine, but picture quality is not within the list.

Ok, it can't be bad mastering since trailers were affected too.
If memory serves, range level can be set on the mediablock input too, and that could be set wrong. I'll check next time.

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Jarod Reddig
Master Film Handler

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From: Hays, Ks
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 - posted 08-16-2014 04:09 AM      Profile for Jarod Reddig   Email Jarod Reddig   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It could be as simple as a bad calibration with the black level set way too high.

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2702
From: Reading, UK
Registered: Nov 2007


 - posted 08-16-2014 04:21 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
black level cannot be calibrated in a digital cinema projector (oh well, there is an option to input the black colour coordinates in DLP, not sure what they do). On a Sony you can choose the RGB level for DVI inputs and maybe for the server input as well - not 100% sure and it could be only with some sw versions, I'll check. If so, that could be the cause.

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Carsten Kurz
Film God

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From: Cologne, NRW, Germany
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 - posted 08-16-2014 09:17 AM      Profile for Carsten Kurz   Email Carsten Kurz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There is certainly a way to achieve this in the Sony setup software, but It's hard to imagine how this could have happened here, as this is a separate piece of software for the 320. It could of course be that there is a serious defect in the light engine. It's useless speculating. One could pinpoint the manager at the visible difference between two screens both using Sony and hope that he will be able to see and/or admit the difference as an issue, then give a call to service.

- Carsten

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Mark Gulbrandsen
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From: Bountiful, Utah
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 - posted 08-16-2014 10:10 AM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Marco,

I agree they can do black. But black Isn't worth the expense and hassle of having to put up with Sony and a poor quality image over the long haul. I' sure they are lucrative sites to service though.

Mark

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Marco Giustini
Film God

Posts: 2702
From: Reading, UK
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 - posted 08-16-2014 10:48 AM      Profile for Marco Giustini   Email Marco Giustini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mark,

I still don't agree on the picture quality issues. Everything else, I'm not arguing.

I don't meant to start a flame, but what is wrong in your opinion with SXRD's picture quality? We have assessed that black is not a problem. They are dimmer machines, sure. But as Dolby 3D, you just have to consider that when installing a big screen.
Brightness is a limitation, but not an issue.
What is wrong with the picture quality? I am genuinely asking, I am curious to know your opinion.

Marco

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