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View Full Version : Why are movies so dark?


Andrew B.
12-27-2005, 09:42 AM
Every time I watch a movie preview at Netflix it is so dark I can hardly see it. I also noticed some monitors come with an extra bright mode just for movies. And, I used to have a few clips where the thumbnails looked just fine, and the first split second was fine, but they immediately reduced the brightness setting when they got going. Yet when I watch a tutorial movie on a tutorial site, the brightness seems as it should be. So there are movies that display correctly.

I was beginning to just accept this as some odd thing I'm stuck with, but then I started test-driving Antares10, a media file manager. I downloaded a few clips and they seem to display exactly as they should. Run them in other standard viewers like Windows Media Player, and they are too dark.

Does anyone understand this phenomenon?

terrie
12-27-2005, 01:54 PM
andrew: Does anyone understand this phenomenon?Don't really have a clue but I wonder if it might have something to do with the gamma settings somewhere--trad mac = 1.8 and trad pc = 2.2???

Terrie

gary
12-28-2005, 10:02 AM
I have noticed the same syndrome with some computer games (Riven, for example). I have to wonder if it has to do with the typical monitor defaulting to a lower color temperature in order to improve longevity.

Andrew B.
12-28-2005, 11:03 AM
I've viewed this using a small window. The monitor is not dropping its color temperature or gamma. The phenomenon is limited to the media viewer. Also interesting is that some programs can make a thumbnails at the correct level, but display the movie at a darker level.

gary
12-28-2005, 09:17 PM
Right - it wouldn't be color temp. It must be an issue with how the app sets up the color mapping.

Nino
01-06-2006, 02:21 PM
Every time I watch a movie preview at Netflix it is so dark I can hardly see it. I also noticed some monitors come with an extra bright mode just for movies. And, I used to have a few clips where the thumbnails looked just fine, and the first split second was fine, but they immediately reduced the brightness setting when they got going. Yet when I watch a tutorial movie on a tutorial site, the brightness seems as it should be. So there are movies that display correctly.

I was beginning to just accept this as some odd thing I'm stuck with, but then I started test-driving Antares10, a media file manager. I downloaded a few clips and they seem to display exactly as they should. Run them in other standard viewers like Windows Media Player, and they are too dark.

Does anyone understand this phenomenon?

Antares10 seemed to be rendering the video clips in VMR9 mode in your computer, while the other media apps rendered the clips using overlay mode. In video overlay rendering mode, the image brightness or gamma can be affected by the installed graphics card driver. Some ATI radeon driver version tried to enhance the video playback quality by adjusting the gamma or saturation, which in some case can result in a darker or brighter video playback. In VMR9 mode, the video colors and quality level is entirely up to the rendering app to control. I hope this explanation can help clear some of the mysteries.

Andrew B.
01-21-2006, 04:15 PM
Thanks, Nino.