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Grainy Picture on BluRays

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Old 01-06-2013, 08:51 PM   #1
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Default Grainy Picture on BluRays

Hi, I've been trying to evaluate my tvs performance, but notice very grainy picture on some BluRays. I went to the place where I bought my tv with a copy of Spiderman 3. Ironically the same Spiderman 3 Bluray was playing on really their most expensive Samsung TV and ironically it was very grainy even there. Obviously there is a problem with the BluRay. The salesman said not all Blu Rays are of the same quality. I also have the same issue with my X-Men Fist Class BluRay. Why is this so? I thought we are supposed to get "Crystal clear" definition. It is far from Crystal Clear. Is there a way to determine which BluRays are better than the others? Is it really worth upgrading from DVD to BluRay? Why do BluRays have grainy picutres in this day and age when HD Tvs are so popular. The tv picture looks better than the blurays.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:34 AM   #2
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Though artifacts can be due to poor transfers, real "grain" is usually left in the transfer because it's supposed to be there, it's an accurate representation of the original film. This has been the cause of much debate between those who want the closest resemblence to the original movie, and those who just want a shiny clean image. Things can get quite heated, especially when the studios over use digital processing techniques (like DNR) to remove grain for a more "consumer friendly" image.

You'll usually find in most serious reviews that grain=good, over-use of DNR=very very bad.

*edit* - couple of pieces you might want to check out -

DVDTalk Spider-man 3 review - "The encoding is remarkably adept as well, something I'd imagine would have to have been a challenge considering that one of its main characters consists of millions of fine particles that must've been a nightmare to compress. There's no trace of edge enhancement, and although film grain remains tight and unintrusive throughout, I didn't spot any sign that its grain had been digitally smoothened away either. Spider-Man 3 has a consistently film-like appearance to it from start to finish."

Blu-Ray Myths: Grain is a flaw

Ray Von
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:16 AM   #3
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nice aticle about grain. Having lots of exper. with film,I see the need for a true transfer from film. When you go to the movies, you see it. I would expect to have it on home video also. I missed it with VHS and dvd. Now with 24 FPS we can enjoy in our homes what the director intended. Sadly, as the PO many are unaware of this aspect that is only on older films going away with digital transfers.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:50 AM   #4
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nice aticle about grain. Having lots of exper. with film,I see the need for a true transfer from film. When you go to the movies, you see it. I would expect to have it on home video also. I missed it with VHS and dvd. Now with 24 FPS we can enjoy in our homes what the director intended. Sadly, as the PO many are unaware of this aspect that is only on older films going away with digital transfers.
As someone who just likes to watch movies. Yes, I would rather have the grain removed. I expect as marketed for BluRays to have Crystal Clear Definition. With HD tvs the grain shows up much more than it does in the theater or lesser quality tvs. I honestly thought my tv was starting to have issue with it's picture.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by StuPitt View Post
As someone who just likes to watch movies. Yes, I would rather have the grain removed. I expect as marketed for BluRays to have Crystal Clear Definition. With HD tvs the grain shows up much more than it does in the theater or lesser quality tvs. I honestly thought my tv was starting to have issue with it's picture.
If the trade off of having more grain isn't worth the increased resolution, then I would recommend sticking with DVD on those movies that have excessive grain. Most of the new, popular releases come with both the Blu-ray and DVD version.

I also think it's possible to crank up the sharpness setting on your tv to reduce the grain, but as said, if the movie was shot on film, then grain IS the picture. Blu-ray just brings it out more. You can see pores on people's faces and embarrassing skin blemishes that you never saw before. So the price for greater detail is you get to see the warts as well in all their glory. In other words, you'll end up seeing even the things that you don't want to see.

Studios do use DNR to reduce or eliminate the grain, but doing so removes the fine detail. So instead of seeing all the little rocks on a gravel road, you get one blended blob. The grain can't be removed with destroying fine detail. Faces become waxy and polished, texture on clothes go away, etc.

It's the nature of the beast. Even my wife prefers the DVD version of a few movies I have on both formats. She doesn't like the grain either and just wants to "watch the movie". However most of us on these HD forum are detail freaks who want to see as much detail as possible. Most of the time the extra detail enhances the picture and gives it that extra "pop" and depth. Colors look richer and more accurate as well. But on some movies grain will intrude and for some, be more of distraction than the extra detail is worth. That's why there's so much debate on the issue. Although I'm a "grain junkie", I can't certainly understand your point of view and accept that it probably represents the vast majority of opinion.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:07 AM   #6
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Agreed, with HD viewing you get HD everything that includes HD poor quality disc.
Don't associate poor quality with graininess, sometimes the graininess is the directors choice of expression.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by StuPitt View Post
As someone who just likes to watch movies. Yes, I would rather have the grain removed. I expect as marketed for BluRays to have Crystal Clear Definition. With HD tvs the grain shows up much more than it does in the theater or lesser quality tvs. I honestly thought my tv was starting to have issue with it's picture.
Well, bad transfers aside, they usually have got "Crystal Clear Definition" - what you're seeing is far closer to the original film, complete with everything that's been "lost" when you've seen it on inferior sources like DVD and TV.

What you're asking for is the original movie to be doctored, as it's more pleasing to your eye. The problem is (ignoring the "purist" argument that what you're asking is like wanting arms on the Venus De Milo or lipstick on the Mona Lisa ) that when you remove that grain, you also remove a lot of the detail, and in the worst cases it results in a very artificial looking image. Google grain and DNR comparisons and you'll find any number of examples that show just how bad that "doctoring" can be.

It'll become less of a "problem" for you as more and more movies are shot with digital cameras and CGI, or you can always stick to watching Cars 2 and Toy Story

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Old 01-07-2013, 09:51 AM   #8
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Well, bad transfers aside, they usually have got "Crystal Clear Definition" - what you're seeing is far closer to the original film, complete with everything that's been "lost" when you've seen it on inferior sources like DVD and TV.

What you're asking for is the original movie to be doctored, as it's more pleasing to your eye. The problem is (ignoring the "purist" argument that what you're asking is like wanting arms on the Venus De Milo or lipstick on the Mona Lisa ) that when you remove that grain, you also remove a lot of the detail, and in the worst cases it results in a very artificial looking image. Google grain and DNR comparisons and you'll find any number of examples that show just how bad that "doctoring" can be.

It'll become less of a "problem" for you as more and more movies are shot with digital cameras and CGI, or you can always stick to watching Cars 2 and Toy Story

Ray Von
I think their is some debate whether the resulting level of grain on some movies is truly what the filmmaker intended. Blu-ray makes movies look sharper than even what they were even in the theaters (and of course, even more so than on DVD). You didn't see that much grain (if any) because it was "lost" in the projection. So although subtle fine grain should be OK for most, a lot of transfers show a lot more grain that most people would like and I don't think that's how the filmmakers intended it to look.

There are movies where the filmmakers want the grain to be visible, but most of them were shot on film just because that's what was available at the time and their intent was definitely not to have the grain become intrusive in any way.

Last edited by bruceames; 01-07-2013 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:52 AM   #9
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It was my understanding that if the 1080p/24fps is shut off, the PQ will not be as sharp as with it engaged? (1080p/24fps.) that is industry standard. Now, new movies that are done w/o film will be as you expect. As the article states: The grain is the directors choice. There are different grades of film, and the grain provides an effect to make it gritty, real, that's why you see people for what thety really are-imperfect, with skin imperfections and all. Very realistic.
Newer movies done w/o film you will get what you want. LIke a model in a mag. all airbrushed and perfect. I had a real issue with Avatar. I kept thinking the characters in human form were digitally placed, as they did not look real. (to me) Thats what you get w/o film.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:23 PM   #10
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Newer movies done w/o film you will get what you want. LIke a model in a mag. all airbrushed and perfect. I had a real issue with Avatar. I kept thinking the characters in human form were digitally placed, as they did not look real. (to me) Thats what you get w/o film.
One tv show which did this to the extreme, is Sanctuary.

Allegedly almost all the footage was digitally recorded without any film at 4096 x 2304 resolution, in front of a "green screen" set.

(ie. All the backgrounds were added in digitally afterwards, and are not "real" at all).

Last edited by morriscroy; 01-07-2013 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:10 PM   #11
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Even worse than film grain on a bluray movie, is film grain being upscaled from a lower resolution source (such as dvd).

For example, it looks really awful when upscaled dvd footage starts to resemble "pixelation" in dark grainy areas.

Yesterday I was watching some older episodes of "Criminal Minds", recorded from an hd cable channel. Watching the screen close up, I noticed a lot of pixelation in the dark areas and also in scenes with smoke. Though if I had to guess, the guys producing "Criminal Minds" and other police procedural programs, aren't going to bend over backwards at doing everything right at 1080p resolution.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:30 AM   #12
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Even worse than film grain on a bluray movie, is film grain being upscaled from a lower resolution source (such as dvd).

For example, it looks really awful when upscaled dvd footage starts to resemble "pixelation" in dark grainy areas.

Yesterday I was watching some older episodes of "Criminal Minds", recorded from an hd cable channel. Watching the screen close up, I noticed a lot of pixelation in the dark areas and also in scenes with smoke. Though if I had to guess, the guys producing "Criminal Minds" and other police procedural programs, aren't going to bend over backwards at doing everything right at 1080p resolution.
If it was from a HD source then that could be your tv clipping at below black level or 'crushing blacks' - possibly a brightness setting adjustment can fix that.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:49 AM   #13
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If it was from a HD source then that could be your tv clipping at below black level or 'crushing blacks' - possibly a brightness setting adjustment can fix that.
I've tried just about everything, and this pixelation doesn't disappear at all whatsoever. On a second big screen tv, the pixelation is still there.

The only conclusion is that the original source of these "Criminal Minds" episodes is either not HD, or it is upscaled from a 720p source.

(Since I don't have any of the Criminal Minds seasons on dvd, I don't have a direct way of doing any comparisons).


I have compared similar style dark scenes from bluray footage of a similar age. This "pixelation" is completely absent from dark scenes on bluray titles like CSI season 9, Fringe seasons 1 to 4, etc ...
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:50 AM   #14
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Then it most certainly sounds like a program source issue.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:21 AM   #15
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I took a closer look at these "Criminal Minds" episodes.

I strongly suspect they are upscaled from either dvd or 720p resolution.

When watching the intro credits (and also the end of show credits), the letters have some significant "haloing" around them. This type of haloing around letters is commonly seen when dvd footage is upscaled to 1920x1080 resolution.


These episodes were from an HD cable channel, which does off-network daily reruns of "Criminal Minds".
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