[opendtv] Re: Nielsen stats on TV in US households

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 08:35:59 -0400

At 6:10 PM -0400 3/24/07, Albert Manfredi wrote:
Barry Brown wrote:

This probably doesn't affect you in your work that much, but I've been
very disappointed with many of the episodic network HD programs whose
LDs seem to prefer to use all low key lighting in their work. These
programs certainly don't look very good on current HD-LCD screens.

I've noticed this ... in spades. I think I laready mentioned some time ago switching between an episode of NCIS and American Idol, both broadcast in HD, and noticing how dramatically different the image quality seemed to be. As you say, it's very doubtful that the majority of HD screens these days is CRT, so it really does no one any good to optimize HD shows for CRTs.

Things are much improved when the shooting occurs outdoors, or even indoors with a modicum of lighting. Maybe as contrast ratio in LCDs improves, the effect will be less annoying. And even SD ads are almost always a big improvement over the dark, somber, indoor lighting HD show.

A couple of observations about HD acquisition that "may" be related to the "more natural" low lighting levels.

1. With traditional lighting levels HD cameras can look TOO realistic. There is a dramatic difference in the look of these cameras when shot outdoors and in well lit studio situations, versus using low lighting levels. The enhanced realism is very good for sports and for wide shots where one wants to see enhanced detail, but less than flattering for the talent. At lower lighting levels the noise floor begins to become visible, and the look is not all that different than film with its grain footprint. I suspect that many DPs like this and that this may be contributing to the use of lower lighting levels.

2. Traditional studio lighting with backlit hair and shoulders and strong key lighting is very UN-natural. It is a look that we have grown accustomed to with TV over the years, but the trend has been to move to more natural lighting as the sensitivity of TV cameras has improved.


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