Why Screenies don't matter. - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

Thread Tools
post #11 of 16 Old 05-11-08, 12:31 PM
Elite Shackster
wbassett's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Central PA
Posts: 2,234
Re: Why Screenies don't matter.

Here is a comparison shot. These have been contested at times but it does demonstrate how one screen can look and perform different from another.

In this example we can clearly see that blacks are deeper and darker than the main screen, but whites aren't taking the classic hit that happens with a lot of gray screens. In this example I would say that the screenie does show the difference between a good quality matte finish and a slightly more advanced application.

Here is one that is definitely eye candy, but I would say is a bit of an unusual thing to have taken a screenie of. The reason it was picked was the plaque. The image depth of the reflection is what I was trying to show. Keep in mind, this was taken using a Sharp presentation projector with a CR of just 250:1 on a simple OTS matte finish screen.

And then there is the argument of whites on a gray screen. Everything is relative. With a direct comparison to a white screen, yes whites will look less than white on the gray screen, but once that white reference is removed, our eyes and brain no longer have a reference point to compare things to so since we know something is supposed to be white... or even a specific color for that matter, our brain will tell us it is that color. Of if the screen itself is way off and pushing the image in a certain direction then we will start to see the color push.

Nobody can argue that this doesn't look white, but if a white screen reference was introduced then all those uniforms would really look white on the white reference and a duller dingy grayish on the gray screen. It's all relitive to our references that our eyes see.

Calibration shots and color bars though are really what demonstrates a screen, but they are boring to look at, and as Harp pointed out, they still can be very subjective and prone to a lot of variables.

Some of the variables can be the camera. Mech mentioned that a lot of camera's allow you to shoot in RAW mode, many don't though, mine included. Even if the camera does have that feature, the operator themself becomes a variable. Some people know how to use cameras, other's don't and just point and shoot... even if their camera has a ton of professional features.

I also see most screenies that are just the screen. I always like to take a bit of a wider shot that included part of the room itself so there is a reference in the shot. Not all people do this which does cause an inconsistancy between what people are looking at. Without references it is very hard to tell what we are looking at when it comes to lighting and the room conditions.

Comparing two screens that are vastly different basically can only show deficencies and sometimes that technique has been used to make one screen look better than another when in reality it's an invalid test. Neither screen is being shown in its optimal conditions, and when it comes to calibration one screen is going to suffer, or at best neither screen will be shown in its best 'light'. (Pun intended )

So I am firmly in camp with both sides of the debate. Overall screenies do tend to be eye candy, but we also can get some information out of certain ones. I'll go back to the broken record again and that being that screenies alone are fun, but when combined with data such as color balance, spectral reflectance curves, and some of the other hard data available, then we can get a very good idea of how the screen performs overall.

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

"If all else fails, spin the cat."- Grzboken
wbassett is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #12 of 16 Old 05-11-08, 12:33 PM
Elite Shackster
tonyvdb's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Can
Posts: 14,816
My System
Re: Why Screenies don't matter.

Screen shots do show one thing very clearly and that is if there is any hot spotting as well as if done right can illustrate how good or bad the contrast is in a particular frame of a movie.

If nothing else they are a good way to show others who dont understand what we are trying to do what is going on.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

tonyvdb is offline  
post #13 of 16 Old 05-13-08, 06:05 AM
<^..^>Smokey Joe's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 92
Re: Why Screenies don't matter.

I might add...

The main issue with photos not withstanding the obvious ones already pointed out is the array of varibles along the whole path.

Consider; for the viewer to see the result as the original observer all stages must be at the same reference. ie Calibrated.

All these stages have to be at the same reference(what ever chosen).

1.Source material/Player output
4.Computer/screen(data crunching)viewing
5.Computer/screen at final viewers end.

Any experiment that is considered real is repeatable, a one off occurance is really an indicator read wrong can lead one astray.

1. Although many use calibration DVDs as a source, alot dont. Mistake one. Reference material must be used. Then the player, how accurate is yours? Mine truncates 10% off the bottom end, which I didnt know until I referenced it against a video generator. I know not everyone has a video generator at hand , but you get my point. Minimalise the in accuracies by using reference DVDs.

2. This is more complicated. Alot dont do a full calibration(greyscale). Alot do. But what to calibrate too?
The PJ direct, so iliminating the screen surfaces? Feasibly the best to show a camera shot, however I proved to myself that this also doesnt work for the reason that until each surface as a reflection is calibrated the surface is not at its full potential. The is the fundemental issue with screen shots!
I actually found that calibrating to each surface under experiment then photographing each of them with the same parameters(exposure, ISO, fstop and so forth(no white balance,ill get to that).Then cut up the photos in the PC so one can compare each surface to the same reference visually. This yielded the best image differences.

3. The white balance on a camera. How many know you can calibrate a camera? (a bit like calibrating a printer). The overall white balance can be the least of the cameras issues.
Anyway, I asked a semipro top photographer here(wildlife) about how he would shoot screenies.
He said the problem with doing a white balance on the fly is that one can be off distorting the captured raw material. Alot of cheap/mid priced cameras don't offer RGB white balance, only predifined white balances which are generic.
Here he said it is best to use your PC graphic programe to set the white balance. (of course you need a reference card or white balance material shot). Capture the shot as is, concentrating on getting the exposure time correct with the least noise(digital noise). Use those built in histograms to get the exposure right. I always use ISO80 setting with long exposure to get less noise for example.
I tend to agree with his theory. Others may not, but i found his method fruitful.

4. Calibrate the monitor/PC. The meters bought for calibrating your Projector is designed for PC's...use em.

5. If you the final viewer has a meter for calibrating and you havent calibrated all the pc's in your home, shame on you
I do more PC calibration than home theatres, most are blown away how monitors compare before and after.

As you can see(pun) the varibles can add up, so what are you really looking at? what is someone else seeing relative to you?

In some ways you can compare some relative differences, however one has to trust the original observer in their observations which one can easily be led astray by enthusiasim(not directed at anyone, a general comment).

Overall the above issues are the reason why numbers measured with traceable equipment to known references remove error and varibles. One has to visualise of course what this means.
Screenshots really document proceedures and show proof of work.

Light changes what it is doing depending if we are looking or not. Considering we only see this as a reflection of the past....what is it really doing now?

Last edited by <^..^>Smokey Joe; 05-13-08 at 06:14 AM.
<^..^>Smokey Joe is offline  
post #14 of 16 Old 05-13-08, 09:28 AM
Elite Shackster
mechman's Avatar
Steve Mechelke -mech
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Empire Township, MN
Posts: 14,914
My System
Re: Why Screenies don't matter.

<^..^>Smokey Joe wrote: View Post
Overall the above issues are the reason why numbers measured with traceable equipment to known references remove error and variables. One has to visualise of course what this means.
Screenshots really document procedures and show proof of work.
I agree with this whole heartedly!! Screen shots are nothing more than an addendum to the data. If there's no data, then they're (screen shots) nothing more than useless fluff.
mechman is offline  
post #15 of 16 Old 05-15-08, 09:21 AM
Posts: n/a
Re: Why Screenies don't matter.

I agree that screen shots are mostly for entertainment. I've taken a bunch in the last month while trying to learn how to get the camera to cooperate. I've had lots of pictures come out tinted green. After reseting the white balance, only a hint of green tint is there on occasion. Most shots are oversaturated. But every once in a while I get a good one. I think they can be handy to show certain aspects of picture quality, or to show to someone who has not seen front projection other than at a retail store with tons of ambient light. The shot below is my favorite, and just fluff as mentioned above.

Last edited by kbgl; 05-15-08 at 09:27 AM.
post #16 of 16 Old 03-20-11, 02:45 PM
Elite Shackster
mechman's Avatar
Steve Mechelke -mech
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Empire Township, MN
Posts: 14,914
My System
Re: Why Screenies don't matter.

This thread is in dire need of a much needed bump.

It is my understanding that gain, among other things, can now be determined from a screen shot at the other forum!
mechman is offline  


matter , screenies

Quick Reply

Register Now



Confirm Password
Email Address
Confirm Email Address
Random Question
Random Question #2

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address



Activation requires you reply to an email we will send you after you register... if you do not reply to this email, you will not be able to view certain areas of the forum or certain images... nor will you be able download software.


See our banned email list here: Banned Email List

We DO NOT respond to spamcop, boxtrapper and spamblocker emails... please add @hometheatershack DOT com to your whitelist prior to registering or you will get nowhere on your registration.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML is not allowed!
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome