Quick Tip: Adjust your Picture using ONLY the "Video Level" Controls Found in your TV!

Brightness, Contrast, Color, Tint, and Sharpness:  These five controls establish your "Basic Video Levels", and are fundamental to achieving best Picture Quality in your Home Theater.  EVERY modern TV will feature these controls in its user-accessible settings -- although perhaps less prominently than in the past, as a whole bunch of other weird (and usually unexplained) settings like "Flesh Tone Correction", or "MPEG Noise Reduction" will also be clamoring for your attention.  "Contrast" might be called "Picture" in your particular TV, and "Color" might be called "Saturation" (Hey, Marketing guys LOVE to invent names!), but they are the same controls.

And as I move along in this Blog, I'll undoubtedly talk about each of them -- umm, at some point!  We've already covered Brightness in my post on Blacker Than Black Video, and Contrast in my post on Peak Whites Video.  And in my post on Extinguishing Torch Mode Settings I alerted you to the sad fact the Factory Default settings for these basic controls in your brand new TV are, almost certainly, flat out WRONG for best quality viewing!  So correcting THESE settings is something you'll want to tackle right up front when dialing-in your Home Theater.

But when you begin that task, you may be stymied by the discovery the SAME (apparently) controls are also offered in some or all of your Source devices -- and possibly even in your Audio Video Receiver (AVR)!  So, umm, WHICH set of controls should you use?  Or should you COMBINE the controls? For example, doing part of the necessary adjustment in each device?

In my post on Peak Whites Video, I revealed the basic Rule of Thumb for this:

Adjust your Picture using ONLY the “Video Level” Controls Found in your TV!

Let's explore this further.

Read More

"Chico & Rita" (2010) on Blu-ray. Amazing Animation with Jazz Recreations!

"Chico & Rita", made in Spain, and with mostly Spanish dialog, achieved the nearly unimaginable by garnering a Nomination for Best Animated Feature at the 2012 Oscars. Unfortunately, it had the bad luck to be up against "Rango"!

Viewing the film, there's no doubt whatsoever it deserved this Nomination. There's enough artistic brilliance in this feature to make, oh, 3 or 4 first rate movies. And the transfer on this Blu-ray disc is staggeringly wonderful!

Read More

"Sita Sings the Blues" (2008) <-- Find a Way to See This!

In 2008, Nina Paley completed a 5 year project to create an animated presentation of the “Ramayana” -- the Sanskrit epic which forms such an important part of the cultural heritage of East Asia -- from Hindu traditions in India, through to Buddhist traditions in, for example, Thailand and throughout Indonesia.

And the RESULT is absolutely, staggeringly, mind-blowingly wonderful!

And yet . . . . it ALMOST never even made it out the door!

Read More

"The Seven Year Itch" (1955) on Blu-ray -- A Tale of Old Hollywood!

George Axelrod's 1952 play was a major, Broadway success, and pretty much all of Hollywood was eager to cash in on it.  So much interest was expressed, the Hays Office took the unusual step of announcing, even BEFORE anyone secured the rights, that THIS material could NEVER ever be made into a film!

The problem was, the play is about a middle-aged everyman who has an adulterous fling while his wife and child are away on summer vacation, and then feels very very guilty about it in very very humorous ways.  But one of the fundamental provisions of the Production Code was that adultery could NEVER be treated as a subject for comedy or laughs!

Read More