Contrast and Brightness.

Created by NekuSakuraba on March 15, 2012, 7:11 p.m.
  • Hey guys, I'm trying to play Saints Row: The Third but my TV is too dark to see the shape it wants me to see. I can turn up either the brightness or contrast but I don't want to mess around with my TV settings and make it look less than it was before.

    How do I know what to set it to so I can properly see the game and have a good quality picture? Thanks.

  • Is Saints Row atypically dark? Do the rest of your games look fine? How about movies or TV? I'd see i it has some in-game brightness setting before I'd start messing around with your TV, as if everything else looks fine then increasing either will wash those out.

  • @Mirado said:

    Is Saints Row atypically dark? Do the rest of your games look fine? How about movies or TV? I'd see i it has some in-game brightness setting before I'd start messing around with your TV, as if everything else looks fine then increasing either will wash those out.

    When adjusting the brightness in game it tells me to adjust until I barely see the shape, on 100 brightness setting (in the game) you can't see the shape. Everything else has worked fine but I had to turn the brightness up past the default option.

  • @NekuSakuraba: Is it too dark for you to play in game? Sometimes those adjustment pages aren't a good representation of what the game actually looks like. From what I can tell, Saint's Row seems pretty bright.

    If you must adjust your TV, do it in small increments (of course, make sure your TV is properly calibrated before you do any of this, as it's hard to give any advice if your picture is messed up to start). "Brightness" makes everything brighter, and contrast makes bright things brighter and dark things darker. In your specific case, it seems like everything may be too dark so brightness may be the way to go, but as long as you remember the base values there's no harm in varying either until it's where you want.

  • @Mirado said:

    @NekuSakuraba: Is it too dark for you to play in game? Sometimes those adjustment pages aren't a good representation of what the game actually looks like. From what I can tell, Saint's Row seems pretty bright.

    If you must adjust your TV, do it in small increments (of course, make sure your TV is properly calibrated before you do any of this, as it's hard to give any advice if your picture is messed up to start). "Brightness" makes everything brighter, and contrast makes bright things brighter and dark things darker. In your specific case, it seems like everything may be too dark so brightness may be the way to go, but as long as you remember the base values there's no harm in varying either until it's where you want.

    Properly calibrated how? I just left my TV at default settings. The brightness is already at 100 and contrast is at 50. Should I just turn the in game brightness to 100, not see the shape and just play the game, leaving the TV on default settings? It's not ideal but if you suggest that and not changing my TV settings, you must be for a good reason.

  • @NekuSakuraba: There's free tools online that you can burn to a disk to help calibrate your TV, or pop in any movie that has a THX logo on it and you should find their calibration tool. Most TVs are not even close to calibrated out of the box, which is why your brightness is cranked so high. If you've never calibrated your picture then I would start with that.

    Not being able to see that shape even with the in-game brightness cranked all the way up sounds like you're having bigger issues then just the game. (It's also totally possible that your TV just isn't that good, but let's start with the calibration before I make that assumption. Some TVs are just really dark and there's not much you can do).

    Another idea: how do you have your Xbox/Ps3 hooked up? HDMI? Component?

  • @Mirado said:

    @NekuSakuraba: There's free tools online that you can burn to a disk to help calibrate your TV, or pop in any movie that has a THX logo on it and you should find their calibration tool. Most TVs are not even close to calibrated out of the box, which is why your brightness is cranked so high. If you've never calibrated your picture then I would start with that.

    Not being able to see that shape even with the in-game brightness cranked all the way up sounds like you're having bigger issues then just the game. (It's also totally possible that your TV just isn't that good, but let's start with the calibration before I make that assumption. Some TVs are just really dark and there's not much you can do).

    Another idea: how do you have your Xbox/Ps3 hooked up? HDMI? Component?

    Whats the best calibration tool to use, how long does it take and how do you do it?

    If my TV isnt that good what would I have to do?

    My PS3 uses HDMI.

  • @Mirado I should make it clear that even though the games and TVs brightness are maxed out my contrast wasn't so I could see the shape after turning it up, however I want t make sure the game/TV doesn't look crappy or washed out which is why I'm asking for help.
  • @NekuSakuraba: By adjusting the brightness so you can just see the shape. aren't you calibrating your tv for the game (and your own tastes)?


  • Thats what I'm trying to find out, I don't want to adjust the contrast too high so the game looks washed out. @diz
  • @NekuSakuraba said:

    Thats what I'm trying to find out, I don't want to adjust the contrast too high so the game looks washed out. @diz

    I was thinking that adjusting the brightness and contrast so the block is just visible would do just that - for your eyes, with your particular room lighting levels, with that particular input, on that particular game.

    I propose that there is no universal calibration level, else such options would not be included on TV sets. In the old days we had brightness and contrast knobs right on the front of the set - next to the volume control - and weren't afraid to twiddle them!

  • @diz said:

    @NekuSakuraba said:

    Thats what I'm trying to find out, I don't want to adjust the contrast too high so the game looks washed out. @diz

    I was thinking that adjusting the brightness and contrast so the block is just visible would do just that - for your eyes, with your particular room lighting levels, with that particular input, on that particular game.

    I propose that there is no universal calibration level, else such options would not be included on TV sets. In the old days we had brightness and contrast knobs right on the front of the set - next to the volume control - and weren't afraid to twiddle them!

    If I can see the game with say, the contrast at 60 or whatever, should I put the brightness (on the TV) down at the contrast up or just leave the brightness at 100 and adjust the contrast? What should be higher?

  • @NekuSakuraba said:

    @diz said:

    @NekuSakuraba said:

    Thats what I'm trying to find out, I don't want to adjust the contrast too high so the game looks washed out. @diz

    I was thinking that adjusting the brightness and contrast so the block is just visible would do just that - for your eyes, with your particular room lighting levels, with that particular input, on that particular game.

    I propose that there is no universal calibration level, else such options would not be included on TV sets. In the old days we had brightness and contrast knobs right on the front of the set - next to the volume control - and weren't afraid to twiddle them!

    If I can see the game with say, the contrast at 60 or whatever, should I put the brightness (on the TV) down at the contrast up or just leave the brightness at 100 and adjust the contrast? What should be higher?

    You aren't forced to change these settings, or set them for others! The settings are for you to change, so you can see the best picture for yourself.

    The contrast and brightness controls affect each other to a certain extent, so images with a higher brightness may appear to have less contrast - and vice-versa. Brightness and contrast are matters of personal taste and compromise over the wide spectrum of different material displayed on a TV to different viewers.

    I think the game wants you only to "just" see the shape, so there should be a fairly limited range of settings for this to be true in your case.

  • @NekuSakuraba: Any DVD/Blu-Ray that you own that has a "THX certified" logo on it should have their optimizer which will help you calibrate your TV; here's a great article that breaks down what the various settings do and what they should look like when you are finished.

    @diz said:

    @NekuSakuraba said:

    Thats what I'm trying to find out, I don't want to adjust the contrast too high so the game looks washed out. @diz

    I was thinking that adjusting the brightness and contrast so the block is just visible would do just that - for your eyes, with your particular room lighting levels, with that particular input, on that particular game.

    I propose that there is no universal calibration level, else such options would not be included on TV sets. In the old days we had brightness and contrast knobs right on the front of the set - next to the volume control - and weren't afraid to twiddle them!

    I have no idea what you even mean by "universal calibration level". The point of calibrating your set, specifically for black level, is to make sure that you get the most detail out of a dark scene while making sure that anything that is pure black is displayed as pure black as possible. This idea that it's personal preference is untrue; it'll vary with your specific TV, lighting, and setup, but there exists an actual point specific to that set which it will look best at. When a TV is calibrated properly for it's source and environment, there is no other values that will make it look better to a specific viewer.

  • @Mirado: Okay, so I left the setting on dynamic (which is 100 brightness and 10 backlight) and just put it up 5 contrast and I could see the shape when adjusting the in game birghtness slider (I went up to like 80 or 85 in the slider) does that seem like okay settings?

  • @NekuSakuraba: Since I don't have your specific TV in front of me, I can't really tell you if those settings are good or not. Only you can decided that once you hop into the game.

    I think you're making a lot of fuss over a small issue; if it doesn't look right when you are in-game, just adjust it a bit. It's not like you'll ruin your picture forever by changing some settings. If it seems too washed out or too dark, and you don't feel like going through a calibration process, just fiddle with it until you are satisfied.

  • @Mirado said:

    I have no idea what you even mean by "universal calibration level". The point of calibrating your set, specifically for black level, is to make sure that you get the most detail out of a dark scene while making sure that anything that is pure black is displayed as pure black as possible. This idea that it's personal preference is untrue; it'll vary with your specific TV, lighting, and setup, but there exists an actual point specific to that set which it will look best at. When a TV is calibrated properly for it's source and environment, there is no other values that will make it look better to a specific viewer.

    I have no idea about your lack of idea, since I did say there was NO "universal calibration level"! I guessed you were furiously agreeing, until I noted you mention that calibration settings are universal for each TV. I find this suggestion rather contrary and ridiculous myself; as it seems you do yourself, when you add the caveats about environment (constantly changing - unless your room has no windows) and sources. Not only the source, but the material (be it games, films, pictures, etc) surely must also be considered for variance (as in this case). The idea of one setting suiting everything belies the facility televisions and some games have to change settings to suit sources.

    You seem to say that a viewer's opinion has no value and that people can all see the same degree of brightness and colour with their eyes, but this idea is patently false.

  • @diz: I would love for you to point out where I mentioned that I thought "calibration settings are universal for each TV". That's why I was so confused by the first part of your post: I couldn't tell what you were referencing. Since there are no real calibration tools for games, it's best to aim towards the movie/TV standard and work from there.

    The point I am making is that he should start with a TV that is at least calibrated by hand with something, rather then trying to jack up the in game brightness all the way when his television could be set to be far to dark to begin with. Something seems off about his inability to see what the game is asking him to even at the maximum setting for that game.

    You seem to say that a viewer's opinion has no value and that people can all see the same degree of brightness and colour with their eyes, but this idea is patently false.

    When calibrating, you have a certain color temperature (6500k) that you want to hit, and a certain value that is defined as black that you want your TV to reach while retaining as much low-light detail as possible. There's very little wiggle room in it, especially if you shell out for professional sensor calibrated services. When a director balances the color of his TV or movie (and I would imagine even the art assets of a game), he does so on a 6500k calibrated monitor, and you want your television to match that as close as possible. I'm not sure where your "viewer's opinion" comes into that.

  • @Mirado: My guess as to his inability to see it is the dynamic setting. In my experience, dynamic demos well but works poorly.

  • @Fish_Face_McGee: That could very well be it. It's a sad fact that TVs are set to look great on the show floor but terrible once you bring them home.

  • @Mirado said:

    @diz: I would love for you to point out where I mentioned that I thought "calibration settings are universal for each TV". That's why I was so confused by the first part of your post: I couldn't tell what you were referencing. Since there are no real calibration tools for games, it's best to aim towards the movie/TV standard and work from there.

    The point I am making is that he should start with a TV that is at least calibrated by hand with something, rather then trying to jack up the in game brightness all the way when his television could be set to be far to dark to begin with. Something seems off about his inability to see what the game is asking him to even at the maximum setting for that game.

    You seem to say that a viewer's opinion has no value and that people can all see the same degree of brightness and colour with their eyes, but this idea is patently false.

    When calibrating, you have a certain color temperature (6500k) that you want to hit, and a certain value that is defined as black that you want your TV to reach while retaining as much low-light detail as possible. There's very little wiggle room in it, especially if you shell out for professional sensor calibrated services. When a director balances the color of his TV or movie (and I would imagine even the art assets of a game), he does so on a 6500k calibrated monitor, and you want your television to match that as close as possible. I'm not sure where your "viewer's opinion" comes into that.

    You infer calibration levels are universal for equipment (that I dispute) when you say TVs can be calibrated to a default standard. Certain TVs (one Toshiba TV of mine, for instance) has different colour balance preferences per input. Different games, media and movies do all have different production standards and qualities, so end equipment has to accommodate this variance.

    TV editing suites tend not to have windows and the viewer should adjust their own set to their environment and preferences: Please don't hate me, but I often turn those games up a bit past the "only just see the object" setting, since I think this gives me a better chance of spotting stuff in general. This is a personal reference of mine since the colour depth of games is typically poor.

    I wonder if you try and confuse me, or yourself when you refer to 6500K as defined as "black" when you should be aware is the white balance and refers to the whitest of whites. I'm well aware of the reference but can't really see how it can relate stictly to a domestic setting, especially for playing Saints Row the Third game - hardly a graphical masterpiece anyway.

  • @diz said:

    You infer calibration levels are universal for equipment (that I dispute) when you say TVs can be calibrated to a default standard.

    Well, I mean, a TV has to be able to get to the standard, right? 6500k is what...well, everyone (or just about) uses. And of course there will be a difference between various inputs and mediums, but it isn't going to be so radically different that one will totally invalidate what you calibrated, and anything is better then leaving it as it is out of the box. It might take one set of slightly different values for one TV vs another, but in the end they both should be as neutral as possible when all is said and done. I guess if the television is utter garbage then perhaps you can't reign the color in, but I'd hope most TVs could get near that number.

    @diz said:

    Please don't hate me, but I often turn those games up a bit past the "only just see the object" setting, since I think this gives me a better chance of spotting stuff in general. This is a personal reference of mine since the colour depth of games is typically poor.

    I do this all the time myself, as sometimes things can indeed be hard to spot (Doom 3 anyone?). My goal here is to find out why, even at the highest brightness setting that the game has, he can't seem to get everything in line, and I figure the best way to do that is to make sure his TV is at least somewhat calibrated. Don't get me wrong; just because I advocate something doesn't mean I'm a completely inflexible hard-ass.

    I wonder if you try and confuse me, or yourself when you refer to 6500K as defined as "black" when you should be aware is the white balance and refers to the whitest of whites

    Reread that sentence, I think you missed an "and". Referring to two separate things there. This is twice now that we've taken part in a discussion, and twice now that we seem to misunderstand each other (what exactly are you arguing? That he shouldn't calibrate and just twist dials, as you put it? Or that I'm getting some specifics wrong? It's a lot of text to split hairs over a subject that only tangentially involves the OP).

    What's the quote? "What we've got here is a failure to communicate"?

  • @Mirado said:

    Well, I mean, a TV has to be able to get to the standard, right? 6500k is what...well, everyone (or just about) uses. And of course there will be a difference between various inputs and mediums, but it isn't going to be so radically different that one will totally invalidate what you calibrated, and anything is better then leaving it as it is out of the box. It might take one set of slightly different values for one TV vs another, but in the end they both should be as neutral as possible when all is said and done. I guess if the television is utter garbage then perhaps you can't reign the color in, but I'd hope most TVs could get near that number.

    I do this all the time myself, as sometimes things can indeed be hard to spot (Doom 3 anyone?). My goal here is to find out why, even at the highest brightness setting that the game has, he can't seem to get everything in line, and I figure the best way to do that is to make sure his TV is at least somewhat calibrated. Don't get me wrong; just because I advocate something doesn't mean I'm a completely inflexible hard-ass.

    Reread that sentence, I think you missed an "and". Referring to two separate things there. This is twice now that we've taken part in a discussion, and twice now that we seem to misunderstand each other (what exactly are you arguing? That he shouldn't calibrate and just twist dials, as you put it? Or that I'm getting some specifics wrong? It's a lot of text to split hairs over a subject that only tangentially involves the OP).

    What's the quote? "What we've got here is a failure to communicate"?

    I don't think everyone uses this calibration standard - I think most people just adjust the TV controls to taste and input. Of course the difference between inputs would put your set out of calibration, if the white balance is different between them. I understand this being an approximation for intended use, but as I say, there is too much variance between inputs for a universal setting per tv. Perhaps DTS have come the closest to this theoretical standard with their calibration settings, but these would surely only work per movie, or for DTS.

    I'm glad you don't follow your own advice and "calibrate" your set using anything else but the dark block - like I and other punters have to do - why?: Because different games have different colour and depth content - especially being of a limited colour pallette and hence the appearance for this changeable setting in-game.

    I did re-read your sentence and couldn't find your "and" (you said "... 6500 as defined as black, that..."). I didn't read your "and" since you didn't write it. Perhaps there's a disconnect between what you write and what you think you write. I don't think there is any misunderstanding from me here. Perhaps the misunderstanding is your own defensiveness over poor advice.


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