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Old December 11th, 2003, 01:14 AM   #1
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I'm about to finish a production that is to be shown only through an LCD projector (4:3) in an auditorium. It was shot on miniDV and will be played on a DVD player.

Yes, we all know the picture quality isn't that great. But what can be taken in consideration to achieve the best possible picture quality?

- Sharpening ?
- NLE letterboxing vs. DVD player letterboxing (the source is 16:9)
- Compression issues?
- Something else?
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Old December 11th, 2003, 03:25 AM   #2
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One thing I'd be aware of is the contrast ratio of the projector. I'm not sure how they fair with say LCD monitors, but you can lose a lot of details and majorly crush your blacks if you're not careful. That was the experience I had making my LadyX and playing it on my LCD monitor at work. Anything slightly in shadow just went black. If you can do a test before hand, or just don't go crazy with contrast adjustments.

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Old December 11th, 2003, 01:40 PM   #3
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My experience with LCD monitors is not so negative. The newer ones have much higher contrast ratio's - I have a Sony 17" widescreen LCD with a 500:1 contrast ratio and it looks great to my eyes. Most of the newer LCD projectors are also in that range or even better.

You should get a noticeably better image if you can feed the projector component video from your DVD player. Also try using a progressive scan DVD player if possible (especially if your footage is deinterlaced).

You will probably need to experiment with the actual hardware to answer all those question. What is the resolution of the projector? 1024x768 is pretty common. If your source is true anamorphic 16:9 and the projector is decent I would make an anamorphic 16:9 DVD and put the projector in 16:9 mode. You'll need to configure the DVD player as though it were connected to a widescreen TV to prevent it from automatically letterboxing as 4:3.

As for compression, I use a standalone Sony DVD recorder, and when I burn DVD's in HQ mode (1 hour per disk) they look pretty darn close to the source DV tape.

As far as sharpening, personally I turn it all the way to the minimum on both my camera and LCD screen. I feel this gives a much more pleasing and less "video" looking image, but that's a matter of personal taste I suppose. I found that this really helped when we were projecting DV footage on a 40' wide screen with a big DLP projector.

Do you have any opportunity to preview your footage on the actual projector? That would be a huge help for you. Also, do you have any confidence that the projector will be properly calibrated? Are you able to tweak any of these settings yourself? I found it very helpful to put a variety of test charts on my tape and use them to fine tune the projector.

I know the "book" says to use a good CRT studio monitor when you edit, but for projecting I found that a good widescreen LCD screen actually gave me a very good preview of what to expect with the projector.
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Old December 11th, 2003, 08:59 PM   #4
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Remember that the conversion to MPEG2 will also darken your video.

I create a version for every output technology I use.

Lower contrast and slightly lighter will probably make your project look better on the big screen.

Try to use a projector that is optimized for video if you can. DLP usually helps if you can swing it.

Progressive scan on my HD LCD TV isn't that great close up. Looks better from a distance.

You are right about the preview capabilities of the LCD display subing for the projector. I either use the video overlay or turn on the PIP display to see the 'real' video.
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Old December 17th, 2003, 09:17 AM   #5
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My biggest complaint about LCD projectors is the way they reproduce blues. Blue usually comes out as a shade of purple.
I have always had complaints about LCD projection. Sure...they are bright...but the colour reproduction is nowhere near the quality of CRT.
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Old December 17th, 2003, 01:51 PM   #6
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I think they are getting better, did you see this review of the Epson PowerLite TW100 in a recent issue of DV magazine? I've never seen one of these, but they sound nice.
DisplayMate color spectrum tests usually reveal color reproduction problems, as well as spots where display manufacturers have tried to compensate for deficiencies. However, with the Epson PowerLite TW100, the color ramps were almost perfect. I had to look very closely in order to detect any deviation at all, something that usually happens even with CRT monitors. In terms of color reproduction, the PowerLite TW100 was actually better than most properly calibrated CRT monitors. Everything else was rock solid. Some little blips were only noticeable under extreme conditions, and would never be noticed during normal video playback.
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