You are on page 1of 50

Introduction to Advanced Patterns

The Avia II patterns included in this section of the disc include not only the basic setup patterns but also a greatly expanded set of auxiliary patterns. Many of them can be used to refine a screen setup performed using the basic patterns. Others can be used, without test instruments, to measure or assess how well your system is doing in a number of areas of critical video performance, such as resolution, gamma, and progressive-scan conversion. Still other patterns can be used by a professional installer to perform rigorous adjustments of screen performance. As you may have noticed from the menus, the Advanced patterns are in pretty much alphabetical order, both in their section names and in the pattern names within each section. This manual covers the patterns in section-name order, but within each group, discusses the patterns in the order most appropriate for the type of test pattern, alphabetical or not. The patterns in the Miscellaneous section are discussed in alphabetical order. Throughout the descriptions, we have tried to remain as technically accurate as possible. Thats why you will find here such terms as luma, for the signal carrying the video brightness information, instead of the more common, and technically incorrect, luminance, which has its own, specific usage. Most of these technical terms are defined in the accompanying glossary file.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

CHECKER STEPS
Checker Steps Deep 5 x 5 Gray: On a largescreen projection system you may detect different contrast performance at the edges of the screen using a Checker Step pattern.

Plain checkerboards are used in tests of a screens contrast ratio, but such measurements require specialized test equipment. For the home user, a checkerboard can be used to confirm correct geometry (see also the Circle Hatch and Hatch sections) with all the angles being perfect right angles and all the checkerboard boxes being exactly the same size. This is usually the case for flat panel displays but both front and rear projection sets might have visible geometry problems because of their complex optical systems. Some technicians prefer a checkerboard pattern, as opposed to a hatch screen, for setting static and dynamic convergence in projection systems. Geometry is correct when all boxes are of equal size, identical shape and otherwise undistorted throughout the display. Convergence errors appear as color edges around the white boxes. The sharp vertical edges of the boxes may also be used to set peaking controls sometimes found in CRT-based projection systems. When peaking is correct, the vertical edges will appear sharp and will not have the false outlining or fringing characteristic of ringing. Edgeenhancement controls should also produce no ringing. Projection sets might also display variations in contrast and brightness performance in different parts of the image, particularly near its edges. This is where the inner steps in the Avia II checkerboards come in. The patterns in Checker Steps enable the verification of grayscale tracking as well as of the preservation of highlight and shadow detail across the entire screen. The patterns are provided in multiple rectangle counts, with either shallow or deep cross steps, and in the three primary colors as well as gray. If brightness and contrast have been set correctly, all the steps should be visible since the darkest near-black step is still above pure black while the brightest near-white step is below peak white. Of course with the all-gray patterns there should be no variations in color of either the white in the checkerboard on in the grays of the steps. Such variations would indicate either grayscale mistracking or optical problems in a projection system.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

CIRCLE HATCHES
Circle Hatch 100: You can quickly gauge a projection systems geometry and alignment with any of the Circle Hatch patterns.

Circles: Perfect circles are a simple way to verify picture geometry, especially if you take a ruler or tape measure to a Circle Hatch pattern and confirm that every circles height is precisely equal to its width. This is often not the case, even with fixed-pixel displays like LCD and plasma that otherwise pass alignment and geometry tests that are difficult for projection displays. Thats because many widescreen displays are not precisely 16:9 in their pixel count, and to completely fill such a display with a 16:9 image (such as the patterns in Avia II) the picture is slightly stretched, usually in the vertical direction. The circles heights will then be very slightly greater than their widths. Hatches: These are used to detect geometric distortions that create any areas of the screen where the horizontal and vertical lines do not meet at perfect right angles or deviate from perfect parallelism. Typical deviations from ideal performance in projection sets include barrel distortion (bulging outward from the middle), pincushion distortion (a bulging inward towards the middle) and keystoning (a narrowing of the image at the top or bottom). If a projector has separate optical elements for red, green and blue primary colors their alignment can be checked with hatches as well. In particular, errors in convergence (the perfect alignment of red, green and blue images on top of each other) can be exposed by using the hatch patterns. Selectable Grid Intensity and Colors: Crosshatch intensities of 40, 60, 80 and 100 IRE (indicated in the pattern name) as well as tinted and multicolor hatches are provided. Tinted grids make red, green, and blue approximately the same visual intensity so convergence adjustments in a projection system can be performed without turning off or capping color guns. Multi-color grids vary in color and reveal small convergence errors as motion of the grid as the colors change. Adjustable Grid Spacing: Variable hatches (the ones containing Zoom in the menu) place grid intersections exactly where they are needed. Use DVD player Play, Pause, and Reverse controls to select the grid spacing desired. The Zoom Hatches can also be used to assess how geometric distortions, if any, change across the image.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

COLOR BARS
Super Blue Bars: This version of the classic color-bars pattern has been arranged for easiest saturation and hue adjustment using the supplied blue filter. The surrounding windowboxing keeps important elements on screen (and measures overscan). The top grayreference bar helps in evaluating color decoding. This image has been altered to show the faint brightness and contrast calibration bars in the lower third.

Green Bars: You also can set hue and saturation using the green filter and this pattern, which also has brightness and contrast calibration bars in the bottom third. Use the red filter with the similar Red Bars pattern.

Color Checkerboard: As a cross check that your blue-bars (and, possibly, red- and greenbars) settings are correct, this pattern allows you to adjust all settings simultaneously. Settings are correct when the pattern becomes a nearly uniform color when viewed with each one of the color filters. The upper half of the pattern is affected by the settings of the saturation (color) control, the lower half by the hue (tint) control. See also the Miscellaneous Tricolor pattern. One of the classic test patterns, whose origin dates to the early days of color television, a color bars pattern from a DVD player can be used to accurately set the hue (tint) and saturation (color) controls of a display. A wide variety of familiar, and new, color bar patterns are available on Avia II. Three of the four most useful patterns for home viewers are shown above (only Red Bars isnt shown). All four are intended to be viewed through one of the supplied color filters. The Blue Bars, Super Blue Bars, Red Bars and Green Bars patterns are constructed in a similar fashion. Ignoring for the moment the bottom third of the patterns, which contain signals used to set contrast and brightness (see the Levels section), the red-containing parts of these color-bar patterns (gray, yellow, magenta, red) all have the same amount of red, the blue-containing parts (gray, cyan magenta, blue) Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 4

have the same amount of blue, and the green-containing parts (gray, yellow, cyan, green) have the same amount of green. (The gray here is a light 75% gray, cyan is the turquoise color, and magenta the purple). You calibrate a monitor using a blue-bars pattern by viewing only the blue component of the bluecontaining bars and patches, either by turning off the red and green signals feeding the display (as the pros do with studio CRT monitors) or by viewing the Blue Bars or Super Blue Bars patterns through the blue filter. Front projector users may alternatively cap the red and green color outputs of their projectors, if there are separate color outputs. Blue is traditionally used because it was the color that underwent the most processing through an NTSC video chain. Ideally, the other colors should also decode correctly once a display is calibrated to decode blue properly. An additional benefit of blue-only calibration is that the user need not have perfect color vision to do an accurate adjustment. Look at the pattern through the blue filter and note the relative brightness of the blue-containing areas, (which, again, are the gray, cyan, magenta and blue patches). Set the saturation (color) control to make the gray areas match the blue areas in apparent brightness, and set the hue (tint) control to make the magenta areas match the cyan patches. The flashing central patches help you zero in on the correct setting by making brightness differences more obvious. When controls are accurately set, the apparent flashing of the patches when viewed through a filter is minimized. You will probably have to repeat the adjustments since making a saturation tweak will probably throw off the match among the hue colors. Adjust them alternately to make both as correct as possible realizing that a compromise setting might be the best you can do. Consumer displays often complicate color calibration by not following established standards. This blue-only calibration procedure may produce exaggerated, cartoonish colors in some consumer sets. If your display does not have a standard color decoder, you may have to tweak the blue-bars saturation setting to reach a usable compromise setting. The same overall procedure, using the appropriate filter, applies to the use of the Red- and Green-Bars patterns. You can check your results for all three colors with a single pattern by using the Color Checkerboard (shown above). Keep in mind that in many sets it will be impossible to get all three colors to come out perfectly. The red-only calibration procedure in particular may produce dull, washed out colors if used alone. If your display does not have an accurate color decoder, you may have to tolerate excess red saturation to reach a usable compromise setting. In any case, try at least to obtain compromise settings that get the blue and red patterns to come out as good as possible. Super Blue Bars and Bars Gray Bottom: Both of these patterns feature a large horizontal bar of 75% gray. You can check color decoder accuracy with these patterns. Each colored bar has the same amount of red, green and blue as in the gray bar. If color decoding is accurate, viewing these patterns through the color filters will show each colored bar matching the brightness of the gray bar. If any primary color is over-emphasized by the displays color decoder, it appears brighter than the gray bar. If a color is under-emphasized by a color decoder, its color band appears dimmer than the gray bar. Accurate color decoding is vital for achieving accurate image rendition. Otherwise, colors will never be displayed correctly even if both saturation and hue are adjusted correctly for blue. A common symptom of color decoder inaccuracy is over-saturated reds when blue saturation is correctly adjusted. This produces reddish skin tones but decreasing saturation in an attempt to fix such skin tones will desaturate all other colors. This is why we recommend obtaining settings that simultaneously optimize both the red and blue patterns. For patterns specifically designed for checking color decoding, see the Color Decoder patterns described further on in this section. Split Bars 75, Full 75 Bars Patterns: These patterns contain the bars at the standard 75% saturation level. Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 5

Full 100 Bars Pattern: The 75% bars patterns have traditionally been used for calibrating displays because their colors come up to the broadcastable saturation limit set by FCC interchannel-interference guidelines for TV stations. But the NTSC system and DVD-encoded video can both convey unbroadcastable 100%-saturation signals. This pattern contains 100%-saturation color bars to help evaluate how well a display handles full saturation signals. See also the Tricolor pattern in the Miscellaneous section, whose top quarter is also at 100% saturation. Special color bar features: Many of the color-bar patterns have additional features for setting/testing white level (contrast), black level (brightness) in addition to the functions of conventional color bars. Super Blue Bars even includes overscan markers with each graduation in the border indicating 1% overscan (see also the Miscellaneous Overscan pattern). The special features include: White-level bars: The standard Avia white-level bars (2 IRE below, 1 IRE below, and 1 IRE above 100% white) are enclosed within the lower left 100%-white patch. They slide around to enhance their visibility. See the Levels section on how to use them. Black-level Bars: The sliding bars at 4 IRE below, 1 IRE above, and 2 IRE above full-black in the lower right to indicate proper black level. They are very faint compared to the rest of the pattern even when black-level is adjusted correctly. See the Levels section for how to use them and for patterns that are easier to use because they arent as blindingly bright as color bars. 4.0 MHz T2 Edge Transitions: Horizontal edge transitions of the lower 100% white patch are bandwidth-limited in a specific way (thats the T2). Suspect a too-high sharpness setting if you see ringing (a fringing effect) at the left or right edges of the white patch. Y/C Timing Testing: Color-to-color transitions are sharp and aligned at MPEG color sampling boundaries to permit evaluation of Y/C delay errors. See also the Pix YC Delay pattern in the Miscellaneous section. Color Decoder Coarse: Available with 10% (coarse) or 5% (fine) gradations between color intensities, the patterns help quantify color-decoding errors such as red push.

The two Color Decoder patterns measure how accurately each primary color is decoded. Not all displays have accurate color decoders and it is common to have an overemphasis of red. On such displays, accurately setting saturation and hue while viewing only a blue-bars pattern will not result in accurate settings for red and green. This pattern contains a 75% gray background and patches of each primary color ranging in saturation from +25% to 25% (compared to the ideal, 0%, value) one of which should match the gray background when viewed through each color filter. In Color Decoder Coarse, the steps between color patches are every 5%, in Color Decoder Fine they are in 2.5% increments. If a display has accurate color performance, the central red, green and blue 0% patches should all match the gray background in apparent brightness when viewed through the appropriate color filter. If Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 6

a display has non-standard decoding, patches other than the 0% ones will match the gray background. To use either Color Decoder pattern, first calibrate your display using the blue-only technique discussed above. Then view this pattern and verify that the 0% blue patch matches its gray background. Next, using the correct filter, find the color patches for red and green that best match the gray background. The labeled percentage next to each patch indicates how much that color is over emphasized. If the +15% red patch best matches the background then the display is over emphasizing red by 15%. A negative number indicates a color is under emphasized. Since it is usually not possible to recalibrate a non-standard color decoder, the solution is to choose the compromise saturation setting that is least objectionable. Most viewers find oversaturation more distressing than mild undersaturation. Oversaturation of green is usually not too objectionable, but red oversaturation is very noticeable, especially on flesh tones. With inaccurate color decoding there will probably be no ideal compromise setting, but decreasing saturation until red is no more than 15% to 20% overemphasized is a reasonable goal. The hue (tint) setting should not be changed after making this compensation even though color bars may appear to be incorrect after making such a compromise saturation setting.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

COLOR FIELDS
Magenta Color Field: Check for color noise with this full-field pattern, which should reveal any noise problems.

Use these uniform field patterns to check for display uniformity and chroma noise. Displays may produce variations in brightness (luminance) in different areas of the image. Compare the central and peripheral screen areas. A perfect display is uniform in color and luminance throughout. Any color shifts or luminance variations are superimposed on viewing material, detracting from overall image accuracy. Chroma noise appears as small irregularities in the color of these patterns and is most easily visible with a Magenta field. Properly operating modern equipment should not show any visible noise on any color field. Low noise is a characteristic of computer generated video such as these test patterns.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

GAMMA BASIC
Important note: These tests are intended only as a means of estimating your displays gamma; they are not intended for gamma adjustment, except perhaps to confirm that adjustments have been made properly. Altering your displays gamma settings can severely disrupt the image if done incorrectly. Precision gamma adjustments can be complex and require light-measurement instruments as well as the Gray Field and Gray Window patterns. Gamma tweaking is best performed by a professional installer. Gamma Coarse Checkered: The gamma patterns are used to estimate display gamma, which should range between 2.2 and 2.5.

Simply making red, green, and blue primaries track together at a white of 6500 K (grayscale tracking) was once sufficient to establish a good foundation for imaging. That was in the days of the CRT. Todays digital displays add another aspect to be considered gamma response. Simply put, gamma is a number describing how the light output of a display changes in relation to the input. Video signals are encoded under the assumption that the display is non-linear. That is, the display is supposed to respond to a linear range of input voltages (or numerical data for digital displays) with an exponential light output. The exponent in the actual formula is called gamma since it is symbolized by the Greek letter gamma (). For real CRT displays, gamma measures approximately 2.3 to 2.5. In formal standards, gamma is taken as 2.2 but the difference here is small and easily accommodated by the eye. Proper gamma response happens almost automatically on CRT displays by virtue of the physics of their operation. Unlike CRTs, digital displays such as plasma, LCD and DLP are inherently linear, not exponential, devices and have to have their light outputs made exponential by their internal processing circuitry. With these screen technologies, proper gamma response is accomplished by processing the incoming signal through gamma tables. These gamma tables convert linear input levels into internal levels that yield the desired exponential gamma response when fed to the display elements. Many digital displays have selectable or adjustable gamma tables and curves, but factory default gamma tables do not always emulate standard CRT response. Non-standard tables can dramatically alter image appearance, not always to beneficial effect. Just like excessively bluish grayscales, gamma tables that boost middle- and high-range contrast at the expense of shadow and highlight detail are common and help a display pop in a showroom comparison. But to achieve an accurate and pleasing image, gamma response must also be adjusted to better match standard gamma response the response for which video material is authored to look best. Gamma response is most accurately and thoroughly characterized by measuring output at multiple IRE levels, plotting the curve and estimating gamma from the shape of the curve (this is one of the main purposes of the multitude of gray fields and gray windows on Avia II, which can be used for precision gamma adjustment by a professional installer). The patterns in the Gamma section provide a quick Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 9

means of estimating gamma response. They compare the level of a gray formed visually by equal alternating areas of full-black and full-white with the value of an actual gray needed to match that intensity. This procedure works because full-white remains the same intensity no matter the display gamma, as does black, so by closely alternating equal areas of full-white and black, you can compare that non-varying 50% gray against patches of actual 50% gray which are affected by gamma. After that lengthy preamble, these patterns are quite easy to use: defocus your eyes and find the gray patch which best matches the background. Weve included three basic gamma patterns, all of which operate in the same way. The backgrounds are intentionally coarse to help mitigate factors that could change the brightness of their 50% average intensity. Frequency response problems and scalers can alter the brightness of the backgrounds, particularly if the background includes fine lines or details. The coarser basic gamma patterns (Gamma Coarse and Gamma Coarse Striped) should be used first because they are the most immune to such reprocessing effects. You should get similar values when using those two patterns and, ideally, also with the fine-scale pattern (called simply Gamma). Any result between 2.2 and 2.4 should be considered acceptable.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

10

GRAY FIELDS
Field 0500: Gray fields can be used to assess uniformity and grayscale tracking.

Avia II supplies an extensive array of gray fields starting at 7.5 IRE and stepping by 2.5 IRE steps all the way to 100 IRE. The menu-button labels multiply these IRE values by 10. For example, select Field 0075 for the 7.5 IRE and Field 1000 for 100 IRE. A professional installer can use these fields, along with some test equipment, to accurately measure or calibrate such parameters as grayscale tracking and gamma. For the typical home user, however, their uses are limited to what can be seen directly. Because these fields are completely uniform, an ideal display screen will be completely filled by a single shade of gray. Real displays often have differences in color and brightness over differing regions, especially when viewed from off-center angles. Magnetization (with CRT sets), hot spotting (in projection sets) and color shifts (in projection and LCD devices) are commonly seen irregularities. 7.5 IRE Field Pattern (Field 0075): If the brightness (black-level) control has been set properly according to the patterns designed for that function (see the Levels section), this field should produce the blackest black your set is capable of generating. 10 IRE Field Pattern (Field 0100): The very dark but not fully black 10 IRE field is particularly useful for detecting signal interference that may enter your system via poorly shielded cabling, connectors or the power system. Interference signals often appear as visible faint details against what should be a perfectly even, very dark gray field. Observe this pattern with room lighting off and watch for moving lines or faint images. AC hum bars, an interference at the power-line frequency, appear as a thick horizontal bar that slowly moves up or down the screen. Interference from extraneous video signals can appear as faint, often recognizable, images superimposed on the dark gray background.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

11

GRAY WINDOWS
Important Note: Adjusting grayscale without a comparison reference gray leads to incorrect results. If you dont have such a reference available, do not attempt to adjust grayscale as you can seriously upset picture accuracy without proper instrumentation. 50 IRE Window: The lowest levels in this image have been boosted to clearly show the faint calibration signals.

Window patterns are preferred over full-screen patterns for checking grayscale tracking. Many displays have non-uniform color when one compares different screen regions. These differences between regions of a screen can confuse observers. By illuminating only a central rectangle, window patterns minimize this confusion. Look for color changes as you step through the window patterns. Changes from neutral gray suggest a grayscale tracking error. Display gamma can also be determined by measurements of the light intensities produced by a series of window patterns. All Avia II window patterns have faint calibration patterns that can be used as a reality check to ensure that initial settings of brightness and contrast have not changed and that any automatic image adjustments made by the monitor are not affecting the entire image. Behind the window on the right side are the moving black-level calibration bars familiar described in the Levels section. And to the left of the main window a low-IRE scale extends in 1-IRE steps from dark gray (20 IRE) to barely above full black (8 IRE). The appearance of this calibration scale and its lowest levels may appear black should not in any case vary as the intensity of the window changes. You may have to block off the glare from the window itself to see whether this happens, especially at high-IRE window values. As in the Gray Field patterns, the menu selections multiply the window IRE value by 10. The 10 IRE window, therefore, is labeled Window 0100. 7.5-IRE Window (Window 0075): This pattern is full black and on an ideal display should appear totally black and should match the darkness of the surrounding area, which is also 7.5 IRE. If the window area is not completely black, the problem may be improper black level (brightness) setting, incomplete DC restoration in a CRT set, ambient light, or display technology limitations. CRT projectors are desired for their very dark blacks. LCD, DLP and plasma systems can exhibit some light leakage and fail to produce total blackness. The darkness of black is important in making a display seem transparent. 2.5- and 5-IRE Windows (Window 0025 and Window 0050): These are blacker-than-black signals and should appear as black as the 7.5-IRE window but not darker if the brightness (black-level) control has been set properly.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

12

102.5-, 105-, and 107.5-IRE Windows (Window 1025, Window 1050, Window 1075): These are whiter-than-white signals that should appear no brighter than the 100-IRE window (Window 0100). If the contrast control is set too high, these windows may not reproduce cleanly. 20 IRE Window (Window 0200): Adjusting grayscale tracking usually involves switching between the 100-, 20- and 7.5- IRE patterns while adjusting grayscale. Setting grayscale to match 6500K white involves adjusting the color of white (100 IRE) and the color of near blacks (20 IRE) by adjusting the proportion of red, green and blue so that all grays from near-black to white match the color of standard 6500K white. Typically two controls are provided for each primary color. Bias controls primarily affect the dark end of the scale. Gain controls primarily affect the light end of the scale. The controls interact so one must adjust them alternately. The human eye is very good at detecting disparities between colors, but poor at judging absolute color. Professional calibrators know this and always use either a reference light source of 6500K or a colorimeter while making adjustments. While viewing patterns for full white and near-black, bias and gain are set for each color to make nearblack and white as neutral in color as possible when compared against a reference light source or as measured by colorimeter. Ideally, once both ends of the grayscale are as neutral as possible, the display is properly adjusted. Sometimes it is necessary to accept some error in the darkest portion of the scale to achieve an overall more neutral image in the mid tones between 20 and 100 IRE. Edge Transitions: If you examine the side edges of the central windows, youll see that three types of horizontal edge transitions are present. These can be used for testing system response for ringing, bandwidth, group delay and the setting of the sharpness control. Transitions in the upper third of each window are instantaneous and the sharp edge may create ringing (fringing effects) on some analogconnected systems. Transitions in the middle third have a slower-rising T2 characteristic with a critical frequency of 6.75 MHz (the NTSC DVD frequency limit). The softest transitions, in the lower third, are T2 with a critical frequency of 4.0 MHz (the NTSC broadcast limit). The upper third, instantaneous transitions are very severe tests of system frequency response and timing for displays hooked up via analog-video connections (composite, S-video, and component). Digital connections such as DVI and HDMI should not produce any problems here unless the sets sharpness control is set too high. The middle-third transitions are less severe and should be cleanly reproducible by most home theater systems with sharpness correctly set. The transitions in the bottom third of each window are significantly frequency-limited and should be cleanly reproducible on nearly all consumer-grade video systems when sharpness is correctly set.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

13

HATCHES
Hatch Gray 80 235: The hatch patterns can be used for assessing screen geometry and distortions as well as for measuring overscan for images with different aspect ratios.

These patterns are used to detect geometric distortions that create any areas of the screen where the horizontal and vertical lines do not meet at perfect right-angles or deviate from perfect parallelism. Typical deviations from ideal performance in projection sets include barrel distortion (bulging outward from the middle), pincushion distortion (a bulging inward towards the middle) and keystoning (a narrowing of the image at the top or bottom). These distortions are perhaps best seen with the Hatches marked Plain. If a projector has separate optical elements for red, green and blue primary colors their alignment can be checked with hatches as well. In particular, errors in convergence (the perfect alignment of red, green and blue images on top of each other) can be exposed by using the hatch patterns. Highest Resolution Possible on NTSC DVD: Designed for todays high-resolution, progressive-scan displays, fine-lined hatch patterns are at the single-pixel limit of NTSC DVD resolution. The Very Fine Hatches have a grid thickness of only one pixel allowing keen observation of convergence. For displays incapable of using high-resolution patterns, the other hatches have lines of two-pixel thickness. Centering Ticks: Tick marks precisely indicate the center of the DVD pixel frame. Any offsets of the image can be measured from here, which should coincide with the precise center of the screen. Overscan Markers: These are the four sets of little arrowheads pointing away from the center and toward the corners of where an image of the selected aspect ratio should be. They are spaced at overscan intervals of 1% increments. Included among each series of overscan markers are two very large markers (which may coincide with the hatch structure) indicating 5% and 10% overscan. Overscan markers for the following aspect ratios are supplied: 1.33 (4:3 standard TV), 1.78 (16:9 widescreen TV and HDTV), 1.87 (standard widescreen film), 2.0 and 2.35 (typical Scope widescreen film aspect ratios). In the menus these aspect ratios are multiplied by 100 (133, 178, 187, 200 and 235). To measure overscan at any particular aspect ratio, it is easiest to use one of corner-pointed marker sets. Start with the innermost small arrow and step outwards (remember to include the very large 5 and 10% markers) counting down from 14 until you get to the edge of the image, at which point the number youve reached, is the overscan percentage. A few percent overscan is typical, but with widscreen computer monitors and a DVD played by the computer it is possible to have 0% overscan, a situation that guarantees youll be seeing all of the recorded image. Selectable Grid Intensity & Colors: Crosshatch intensities of 40, 60, 80 and 100 IRE (indicated in the pattern name) as well as tinted and multicolor hatches are provided. Tinted grids make red, green, and blue approximately the same visual intensity so convergence adjustments in a projection system can be Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 14

performed without turning off or capping color guns. Multi-color grids vary in color and reveal small convergence errors as motion of the grid as the colors change. Adjustable Grid Spacing: Variable hatches (the ones containing Zoom in the menu) place grid intersections exactly where they are needed. Use DVD player play, pause, and frame-advance controls to select the grid spacing desired. The Zoom Hatches can also be used to assess how geometric distortions, if any, change across the image. Safe Action and Safe Title Areas: Coinciding with 10% and 5% overscan, these important framing areas are indicated. To keep from losing important parts of the image on sets with excessive overscan, program producers usually try to keep all dramatically significant images within the Safe Action area. The Safe Title area is the area of the screen in which subtitles are unlikely to be cut off by sets with excessive overscan.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

15

HIGH MONOTONICITY STEPS


Steps by 4 16 to 235: Step patterns regularly lay out every luma level possible in DVD video.

DVDs have their luma values encoded with 8-bit digital numbers. This produces a theoretical dynamic range of 256 steps, which are numbered from 0 to 255. However, in technical standards full black is defined to be at digital level 16 and full white at level 235. To accommodate signal overshoots when converting from analog to digital video and imperfect mastering processing, blacker-than-black footroom and whiter-than-white headroom are allocated digital levels 1 to 15 and 236 to 255 respectively. Ideally, a display should be able to show each of these numerical values as a separate gray level. If the display incorporates digital processing, those computations must also have sufficient internal precision to represent all luma values 16 to 235 after applying the gamma-correction that makes the particular display (LCD, plasma, DLP etc.) produce the correct light intensity gradations (see the Gamma Basic section). Insufficient precision in this processing will cause some signal levels in the original input to be indistinguishable on-screen from others and will thus create banding, contouring, and clipping artifacts (see also the Ramps section and the Banding Check and White Gradient patterns in the Miscellaneous section for additional banding/contouring tests). Unless there is digital processing causing it, analog displays (CRTs) are not susceptible to monotonicity errors Normal step patterns, even those in 5 IRE increments (see the Steps section) are neither fine enough in level change nor monotonic (increasing or decreasing steadily without a jump, gap or repetition of an earlier value) to completely test for preservation of digital values. The patterns in this section are for checking monotonicity and processing bit depth. There are five High Monotonicity Step patterns, each with the digital luma range it covers labeled on the menu selection. The step size between each level is 2 (double), 4, or 1 (with three patterns covering the entire luma range). The single-step pattern that runs from 16 to 235 tests the range from full black to full white (Steps Single 16 to 235). The 1-to-254 pattern tests the entire legal digital range including foot- and headroom. There is also a pattern that includes steps at the illegal but still encodable values of 0 and 255. DVD players that do not pass blacker-than-black signals will clip all values below 16 and cause loss of the darkest portions of two wide-range patterns (Steps Single 0 to 255 and Steps Single 1 to 254). Standards-compliant material will have all its luma information confined within the 16 to 235 digital range. However, mastering is not always perfect. Some DVD releases have white values well above the standard 235 (that is, from 236 to 255). Such non-compliant discs can look brighter but also can induce severe highlight clipping on many displays. Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 16

High Monotonicity steps are best used by first verifying that the DVD player and processor are preserving each step value. This is best done with an oscilloscope or waveform monitor since without waveform verification any observed problems cannot be properly attributed to the player or the display. Once player monotonicity is confirmed (the steps always increase in level from left to right and all step values are present), visual observation of a display reveals whether its allows it to render all luma values. If not, some adjacent steps will become indistinguishable. That is, it will appear that a step has received more than equal share of screen area. With the single-step patterns it can be difficult to see the individual steps under any conditions, but the difficulty is compounded if the displays brightness and contrast controls are improperly set.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

17

HORIZONTAL SWEEPS
To system test frequency response more completely, sweep patterns are useful. These provide continuously varying frequency sinewave sweeps that test a continuous range of frequencies. In the horizontal sweeps, the frequency varies from low to high from left to right across the width of the pattern creating a series of increasingly tightly-spaced vertical lines as the frequency increases. Colorcomponent sweeps are also provided. Y HSweep 350 675 polyphase: This horizontal sweep spans 3.5 to 6.75 MHz and when seen in motion traces out a response envelope on a waveform monitor.

This is an example of a luma (Y) sweep, here spanning 3.5 to 6.75 MHz. Like all Avia II sweeps, when displayed on a piece of video test equipment called a waveform monitor, the signal is self calibrating and self-labeling. On a waveform monitor the bars at the top of the screen form lines indicating 3 and 6 dB signal loss, and the black and white areas on the left form the limits between which the amplitude of the sweep waveform itself should fall. At the right of every horizontal sweep is a burst of the maximum frequency possible for that type of signal (6.75 MHz for luma and 3.38 MHz for the color components). On a waveform monitor, the polyphase sweeps such as this one trace out a continuous signal envelope at the highest frequencies, making good response measurements at those points possible. When viewed on a video monitor or TV, however, the sweeps let you easily see the effects on frequency response of sharpness controls and of various pre-picked screen settings (movie, game, etc.). If you want to actually measure response using these sweeps, the only thing you can do is estimate where, if at all, the lines in the pattern mush together to create a gray of the same approximate intensity as the gray background. At that point, the response is reduced by some 12 decibels or more. However, with any modern display, flat-panel or projection, and with any advanced hookup (analog component or HDMI) it is unlikely that you will see any such attenuation, as both the luma and chroma response of modern equipment is more than adequate for standard-definition DVDs, like Avia II.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

18

To determine which sweep may be appropriate, the following table may be useful.
Sweep Name HSweep Cb 50 200 HSweep Cr 50 200 Polyphase HSweep Cb 50 338 Polyphase HSweep Cr 50 338 Y HSweep 50 250 Y HSweep 100 400 Y HSweep 150 300 Y HSweep 250 450 Y HSweep 350 675 polyphase Start Frequency 0.50 MHz 0.50 MHz 0.5 MHz 0.5 MHz 0.5 MHz 1.0 MHz 1.5 MHz 2.5 MHz 3.5 MHz End Frequency 2.0 MHz 2.0 MHz 3.38 MHz 3.38 MHz 2.5 MHz 4.0 MHz 3.0 MHz 4.5 MHz 6.75 MHz Type Color component, fixed phase Color component, fixed phase Color component, varying phase Color component, varying phase Luma, low frequencies, fixed phase Luma, mid frequencies, fixed phase Luma, mid frequencies, fixed phase Luma, high frequencies, fixed phase Luma, highest frequencies, varying phase

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

19

LEVELS
Black level, white level, grayscale tracking, and gamma response are the foundations of video image reproduction. If these are improperly adjusted, highlight and shadow details may be obscured and midrange contrast can be too bright or dark. The levels section contains two families of patterns for setting black level (adjusted with the brightness control), and white level (contrast control): Black Level Bars and Needle Pulses.

Black Level Bars


Black Level Bars: The three near-black bars are labeled here as well as having their relative brightness boosted for clarity, although they still may not be visible if this page is printed or if your computer monitors black level is poorly set. On-screen, there is no labeling and the bars slide back and forth slightly to increase their visibility during black-level adjustment. These bars are also contained in some Color Bars patterns. Adjusting black level via a brightness control involves looking at the very darkest portions of an image. To obtain the greatest contrast ratio a display can produce those parts of an image that are encoded as full-black should be as dark as possible and any details just above full-black actually should appear on screen, if only very dimly. The fundamental pattern used to adjust black-level/brightness is called Black Level Bars and it looks like the illustration above, minus the labeling. It is very dark. The three vertical near-black bars slide back and forth to increase their visibility. Their levels have been carefully chosen. The leftmost stripe is 4 IRE below full-black. This blacker-than-black bar may not be visible at all with equipment that does not pass such signals (see the High Monotonicity Steps section). This is OK, since blacker-than-black signals should always appear as full black anyway. The middle black level bar is a scant 1 IRE above the full black background. The rightmost black-level bar is 2 IRE above full black. The +1 and +2 bars are extremely close to black allowing a very precise indication of proper black level. If a display's black level is set only 1 IRE too low the middle, +1 bar becomes invisible against the full black background. Likewise if the brightness control is set 2 IRE too low, the rightmost, +2 bar disappears into blackness. With all four Black Level Bars patterns set the black-level/brightness control so that -4 bar (if there is one visible) is the same black as the black background and so that the +1 and +2 bars are visible, the +1 barely so. Equipment with poorer shadow rendering or insufficient bit depth may have difficulty achieving both a black background and displaying the +1 bar.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

20

Black Level Bars Log: Added to the preceding pattern is a log-step pattern with a set of nearwhite bars contained within the topmost segment of the steps. None of the near-black and the near-white bars may be visible if this page is printed or if your computer monitor has brightness and contrast poorly set.

The Black Level Bars Log pattern adds a log-step pattern to the basic Black Level Bars. Logarithmically varying in intensity, the steps should appear to be equally spaced in brightness. Contrast can be set using the near-white bars contained within the topmost segment of the steps. For information on using the log steps and near-white bars in this pattern to calibrate contrast see the Needle Pulses and Needle Pulses Log patterns below. Black Level Bars + Varying Gray: Varying the average picture level with this pattern tests black-level stability.

Sometimes variations in the whole-screen average picture brightness or level (APL) affects the blackest blacks. A compromise black level must often be set at intermediate average picture intensity. The actual APL selected will vary with display behavior. The Black Level Bars + Varying Gray pattern allows the user, while setting black level, to also set the APL to a level appropriate for the display. The right half of the pattern can be varied from black to white using the play, pause, and frame-advance controls of the DVD player. If a 90 IRE or brighter right half is chosen, the Avia standard white-level bars are added to the test pattern to help detect overloads. Modern digital displays retain black level much better than CRT displays, but even if a display has perfect black-level retention, a variable APL black-level pattern is still beneficial. Selecting a low APL can make the black level bars easier to see by reducing light scatter (especially with projection sets) while still placing more realistic demands on the display. Real images, as opposed to test patterns, rarely span a total brightness range of only 2 IRE! You can also use this pattern to test black-level stability by playing it straight through and observing if the black-level bars change in appearance. You might want to block off the right half of the image so the mounting glare from the right side doesnt change the visibility of the black bars. Sometimes automatic-picture enhancement features of a display will vary the black level deliberately.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

21

Black Level Bars + Steps + Varying Gray: The one-stop test pattern for setting brightness and contrast, it contains all the features of the previous patterns and adds gamma-tracking patches to the grayscale steps.

This pattern contains all the features needed to accurately set brightness (black level bars) and contrast (near-white bars) as well as to assess grayscale tracking (log steps) and gamma response (the striped gamma patches). Grayscale tracking and gamma response are discussed below in the coverage of Needle Pulses Gamma Log.

Needle Pulses
Avia II adds extra features to this classic needle pulse test pattern.

The family of needle pulses patterns is based on the classic needle pulse pattern shown above. Simple as it appears, this used to be a difficult pattern for CRT-based displays since the large full-white area places sudden and extreme demands on a CRTs power supply. If the power supply were not up to it, the increased demand would end up distorting the verticality of the two needle pulses, bending them. This bending would be exacerbated if the sets contrast control were set too high because that would increase the power being fed to the white region. So one method of setting contrast was to dial it up as high as it could go without producing noticeable bending of the lines or blooming of the white area (so that its upper borders with the black area and black line segments lost their sharpness). This was never a very satisfactory method of setting contrast. Besides, no modern fixed-pixel technology (DLP, LCD, plasma) has power-supply issues that are stressed by the needle-pulse pattern and over-setting contrast on these displays wont distort picture geometry. So instead of evaluating picture geometry to set white level nowadays you actually have to judge contrast! With some features exaggerated for clarity, the most vanilla of the Avia needle-pulse patterns (called simply Needle Pulses) looks like this:

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

22

Needle Pulses: Levels near black have been raised and those near full white lowered to make the special features for setting black and white level clearly visible.

Using this pattern alone to set black and white levels, you should adjust contrast so that you can see the two left-most bars of the three vertical near-white bars next to the left needle pulse (they look gray in the illustration). The third, right-most bar is actually whiter-than-white and may not be visible with any contrast setting. This above-white bar can clip without endangering details of properly mastered material. But if no contrast setting makes both of the left-most bars visible, the system is clipping image details that are near white. With a digital or plasma display don't assume that lack of clipping (middle and left near-white bars both visible) is sufficient to ensure white level is correct. You should also check grayscale tracking with the Needle Pulses Log pattern described further below. Using Needle Pulses to set the brightness control operates in the same fashion. As with the Black Bar Level patterns, set brightness so that you can see the two right-most vertical near-black bars next to the right needle pulse. The left-most near-black bar should be full black and invisible against the rest of the top two thirds of the screen, which also should be full black. Both the near-white calibration bars and the near-black calibration bars slide back and forth to increase their visibility. As a bonus, this pattern contains two crossed horizontal step patterns that allow you to gauge how your system handles whiter-than-white (lower pair of steps) or blacker-than-black (upper pair of steps) reproduction. The dark steps in the black background cross at normal full black. The brighter steps in the white background cross at 100% white. Depending on whether how much video headroom your system has, you may or may not see the steps that go above white. A display with properly adjusted black level shouldn't show the blacker than black portion of crossed steps at all. Viewed on a waveform monitor, the steps indicate how the signal processing handles above-white and below-black details. You can also use these step patterns to gauge whether your blacks are being crushed (less than half of each of the upper step sequences pairs is visible) or whether your system is clipping before even full white is reached (less than half of each of the lower step sequences is visible).

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

23

Needle Pulses Log: This pattern adds a large graycale-tracking section to the plain Needle Pulses pattern. Note the inclusion of nearwhite bars within the topmost segment of the grayscale-tracking area. This pattern is also supplied in red-, green- and blue-only versions. This image has been enhanced for clarity.

In the Needle Pulses Log pattern you get everything that was in the plain Needle Pulses pattern plus a large logarithmic steps area for visual assessment of grayscale tracking. Although it doesnt look like it from the above tweaked image, on-screen the steps exponentially increase in intensity. The steps should appear on-screen to be equally spaced in brightness and should remain the same shade of gray if grayscale tracking is correct. If grayscale tracking is poor, the color of gray may differ among steps. This pattern feature is particularly useful while setting white level on digital or plasma displays. On some of them, grayscale tracking becomes poor even before white level is raised to the point of clipping the peak whites. As a consequence the contrast control may need to be kept below the point at which grayscale tracking deteriorates. Look for this by observing the log steps while adjusting contrast. If you see a color shift in the steps or clipping of the faint near-white level bars in the topmost step segment, white level has been set too high (see Needle Pulses above for coverage of clipping). Needle Pulses Gamma Log: Though it doesnt look like it here, the average intensity of the horizontal lines in the gamma steps should equal the intensity of the log step to its right. This image has been enhanced for clarity.

The last needle-pulse pattern, Needle Pulses Gamma Log, has everything in Needle Pulses Log plus, at the left side of the log steps, there are gamma-check steps for visual verification of gamma response. Viewed from a distance with blurred vision, the average intensity of the lines in each gamma step equals the brightness of the log step immediately to its right. The gamma steps and log steps should therefore change in intensity together as they run from light to dark (see the Gamma Basic section) Important Note: Caution should be taken while interpreting gamma steps here. Scalers, including the progressive-scan and HD-conversion systems within DVD players, sometimes alter the brightness of fine lines. If such is the case, the gamma steps will not match the brightness of the accompanying log steps. You can still use the gamma steps but look for them to darken and lighten in only proportion to the log steps rather than identically matching them in brightness. For a method to estimate your displays gamma that does not depend on very fine lines, see the Gamma Basic section.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

24

MISCELLANEOUS Banding Check


Banding Check: Look for any disturbances in the smoothly changing portions of the image. Banding will produce oval-shaped arcs or even stripes centered around the affected colors.

Banding or contouring is a digital-video phenomenon that prevents gradients areas of the picture where the brightness is changing very gradually from being reproduced smoothly. It can occur in any stage of digital-video production, from the camera output to the display. Visually, banding produces an abrupt change in a gradient that is usually seen as a distinct border, or borders, between the brighter and dimmer portions of the gradient. Banding is often seen in wide expanses of gradually changing intensity, such as a blue sky near the horizon or a cloudless sunset. Banding is perhaps most obvious when such scenes are faded in and out to black as the banding border(s) move across the image and call attention to themselves. You can see a dramatic example of this with the White Gradient pattern in this section. The Banding Check pattern will at least let you find out if your video chain between DVD player and display is producing additional banding discontinuities besides those which may already be contained in normal program material. Look for any discontinuities in the otherwise smoothly changing areas of the image. Banding will produce oval-shaped arcs centered around the middle of every color that is affected. Usually if one of the primary colors has banding, white will have banding as well. If you see banding on this pattern, to narrow down the culprit between DVD player or display you have to swap out each unit separately for a unit known to be free of banding. Theres little you can do otherwise to eliminate banding. Nothing can be done if it is already encoded into the program material, which it too frequently is. Theres a good reason why banding happens so often with movie DVDs actually its not so good but explaining it completely is beyond the scope of this manual. Severe banding simulated with a photoprocessing program. The amount of banding is the same for each color but note that its visibility varies.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

25

MISCELLANEOUS Bias Light


Bias Light: If you are watching on a relatively small screen, you can use this pattern to adjust the amount of light illuminating the wall behind the display

Illuminating the wall behind a smaller video display reduces eye fatigue by moderating the eyes light sensitivity. A small screen (one spanning less than 30 degrees width in your angle of view) does not cover enough of your viewing field to control eye light sensitivity. If you have a darkened viewing room as all critical viewers do your eyes will adjust to the much larger dark surroundings and become overly sensitive to the relative high brightness of the video screen. Under these conditions, the display is akin to a flashlight shining directly into your eyes. Large front projectors and flat-panel displays can cover enough of the visual field to control your light sensitivity and do not require backlighting. White lighting of the wall behind a display so that reflects with a brightness of 5 to 10 percent of the maximum screen brightness moderates the eye sensitivity enough to avoid viewer fatigue with smaller screens. After your display has been calibrated for white and black levels (contrast and brightness), adjust your backlighting so that its apparent brightness behind the display falls somewhere between the 5 and 10-percent levels shown in this pattern.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

26

MISCELLANEOUS CHIP CHART


Chip Chart: The crossed steps test grayscale while indicators for shadow detail and white level clipping are in center of pattern separating the steps. The steps should only vary in intensity and not in color.

This is the electronic equivalent of a camera view of a log-reflectance paint-chip chart. It, like the patterns in the step, ramp, gray window and gray field sections, allows visual checks of grayscale tracking as well as black and white level. Such crossed step patterns were less useful with CRT projection because of that technology's propensity to shift color slightly between one side of the screen to the other. The left/right color shifts troubled observations of grayscale tracking so much that step patterns fell out of favor in home-cinema setup. Digital projection systems, with their better side-toside color uniformity, once more allow chip chart usage. This chip chart has an 18% brightness background, not 18% signal intensity. Such a background is similar to the 18% gray reflectance cards used by photographers to judge exposure settings. The crossed steps run from 0% (black) to 100% (white) signal intensity (from digital 16 to 235 see the High Monotonicity Steps section). All the steps should vary only in intensity, not in color. In the center are a black band and a white band. Within each of these bands there are five nearly-square stripes testing near-black and near-white performance. These internal stripes vary in intensity from left to right. This allows finer testing of shadow and highlight detail performance. The left-most stripe is dimmest in each series of five stripes. The near black stripes are at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5% intensity. The near white stripes are at 95, 96, 97, 98, and 99% signal intensity. On a display with good shadow and highlight rendering and that has been properly calibrated for brightness and contrast all of these the near black and near white stripes should be visible, if barely.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

27

MISCELLANEOUS CUE Check: Blue, Green, Red, RGB


CUE Check RGB: This pattern allows detection of any color-upsampling problems in a DVD player.

Color information on DVD is undersampled both vertically and horizontally. That is, there is deliberately less resolution in colors than in brightness. During reconstruction of the image in playback, a reconstructed color value must therefore be assigned to each luma pixel. In other words, the recorded chroma information is upscaled or upsampled by the DVD player. Unfortunately, some players produce an artifact during the chroma upscaling process known as Chroma Upscaling/Upsampling Error (CUE). By and large, substantial progress has been made regarding CUE since its discovery by equipment reviewers a few years ago. Most recent DVD players are free of CUE. Chroma information is correctly downsampled during DVD encoding using two different methods. One method is used for progressive-scan material, the other for interlaced material. In order to avoid CUE, a DVD player must select and use the chroma upscaling method that undoes the method that was used during downsampling. Unfortunately, many DVD players only implement one method the one used for interlaced material. If the original downsampling method was progressive and the interlaced method is used for upscaling, the resultant upscaled chroma is corrupted. Most films on DVD are progressive material so this problem can frequently arise. Other causes of chroma upscale errors also exist, but the cause described above is probably the one of greatest interest because it affects critically viewed film material. On smaller displays, CUE artifacts are minimally visible, but on a large, high-resolution home cinema display, CUE can be seen as jagged edges along intensely colored diagonal edges and every-other-horizontal-line changes in color intensity in gradients. You may also see weird fringing effects, especially with sharp, horizontal or nearhorizontal edges containing highly saturated colors. The CUE tests in Avia II are for detecting use of interlaced chroma upscaling during display of progressive material. This simulates the chroma upscale error that may be seen on film-based material. Diamond Stacks: Columns of diamond shapes with internal gradients allow visualization of CUE induced jaggedness of diagonal edge transitions. If CUE is present, the diagonal edges of the diamonds nearly halve in resolution and will have a distinctly non-smooth, jagged appearance. Chroma Sweeps: Some video processors are able to hide CUE because they undersample chroma. This reduction in chroma detail filters out finer chroma details and, as a side effect, also hides CUE. Chroma filtering is detected with the vertical and horizontal chroma sweeps in this pattern. If filtering is present, the short colored lines making up the chroma sweeps at the top and left of the pattern will become Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 28

indistinct short of the endpoints of the sweep at the far right and bottom left. Separate CUE charts are provided for each primary color so you can test whether the filter or upscale processing affects any of them differently.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

29

MISCELLANEOUS Hot Spot: Lower, Middle, Upper


Hot Spot Upper: Caught in mid-test, this pattern allows you to gauge the severity of a projection systems hot spot.

A flat-panel display does not produce a hot spot, an area that is brighter than the remainder of the screen. But many projection systems do produce them as a byproduct of the projection optics. If the hot spot is overly prominent, image fidelity suffers. On rear projectors, the hot spot usually appears near the center of the screen. On front projectors, the hot spot location varies with projector and viewer positions. This pattern is used to gauge hot-spot severity. Patterns are available for high-, middle- and low-positioned hot spots. These are animated tests and consist of a compensatory cold spot at the specified location. Its coldness progresses as the test proceeds, with the test patterns spot getting darker by steps. To use the patterns you will need to choose the one that matches the position of your displays hot spot. First, estimate your displays hot spot (you can get a feel by playing some of the patterns in the Gray Field section or the Uniformity pattern in the Miscellaneous section) and select the Hot Spot test that you think matches your hot spot location. Let the Hot Spot test play through until you can easily see the dark spot of the pattern. Use a differently positioned Hot Spot pattern if your displays hot spot and the dark spot of the pattern do not coincide (the match doesnt have to be perfect). Also, change your viewing position to center your projectors hot spot with the patterns dark spot. Play the selected pattern again, using your DVD players slow-motion or frame-stepping controls to slow it down, until the screens hot spot and the patterns cold spot compensate for each other and the center of the combined hot/cold spot is approximately equal to the brightness of the image in the corners. The number on the pattern at that point is the percentage by which your displays hot-spot brightness exceeds corner brightness.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

30

MISCELLANEOUS: Overscan
Overscan: Testing whether youre getting the whole recorded image is easy with this pattern.

Television viewers expect the pictures to cover the entire surface of their displays, hence the frequent dissatisfaction with letterboxing bars with widescreen movies. Overscan in televisions helps fill a screen by allowing a portion of the picture to extend beyond the edge of the screen the picture thus is made larger than the screen used to display it. While this keeps the image edges hidden it also loses part of the picture. Overscan has traditionally been set too high since changes of the scanning behavior of CRTs could make the image edges visible as the set aged. Even modern flat-panel displays that, in theory, should not need to overscan at all, usually have overscan of a few percent. Too much overscan can hide a great deal of a picture. Low quality CRT televisions can lose as much as 10% to 15% of image along each dimension. That means as much as 25% of the original picture area is lost beyond the edges of the display. A good quality display only overscans 3 to 5% to hide image edges. Critical viewers demand displays with minimal and stable overscan so they can see as much of the picture as possible. Video producers compensate for the presence of overscan by keeping important material in the central portion of the display. The safe action area is the central 90% of the image and most important movement is kept to within this portion of the picture. A safe title area is 10% smaller still and important textual information, like subtitles, is kept within this area. This test pattern lets you measure the amount of overscan, which is present on each edge of a display. Start with the innermost rectangle and count down from 15 as you move outward, rectangle-by-rectangle, until you get to the edge of the picture. The number youve reached at that point is the overscan percentage for that edge. It is common for the overscan not to be equal on all sides of the image, especially if there is Pixel Cropping occurring (see the pattern for Pixel Cropping in the Miscellaneous section). The numbers are half as large as the overall inset because the pattern measures for each edge separately. The safe-action area is within the 5% rectangle and the safe-title area is within the 10% rectangle. A quickand-dirty confirmation that you have either uneven overscan from edge-to-edge or that you have no overscan at all is to note whether the corners of the large diamond are visible and not cut off (no overscan, as in the image above) and, if they are cut off, whether they are asymmetrical.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

31

MISCELLANEOUS Pix YC Delay


Pix(el) YC Delay: You can measure the degree of synchronization of chroma and luma with this pattern.

The chroma (C) and luma (Y) parts of a video signal travel through separate circuits in a display and this difference can result in the signals not arriving simultaneously at the screen. Displays must contain YC delay circuitry to equalize the travel times for the signals since otherwise they would shift in relation to each other on screen. This pattern allows visual measurement of YC delay errors if the errors are one pixel or more. Note: visible YC delay errors are rare in correctly hooked-up flat-panel and nonCRT projection sets, especially if component or digital (HDMI) connections are used. A traditional red/yellow stripe YC delay pattern is on the right side of pattern. Inspect the left and right edges of the red stripes to detect the presence of Y/C errors. If there is no error, both the left and right edge transitions between yellow and red will appear identical. If a YC error is present, the change in color does not coincide with change in brightness and the edge transitions will appear different. The red, green and blue patches in the pattern also allow numerical measurement of YC delay errors if the errors are one pixel or more. Each color patch is paired with a gray rectangle. For each color, look at the left edge of the color patches and find the patch that vertically aligns with the left edge of its paired gray patch. The number next to the best-aligned patch pair is the microsecond of error in the luma delay. A perfect display has 0 error. A positive error means luma was delayed too long. A negative number indicates the luma was insufficiently delayed. In addition to the three primary colors (red, green and blue), you can measure Cr and Cb color-difference signal delays.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

32

MISCELLANEOUS Pixel Cropping


Pixel Cropping: You can measure how much your player cuts off the edges of the image using this pattern and a suitable monitor.

This pattern measures how much image is cropped by a DVD player. Dont confuse pixel cropping with overscan. Overscan is a display-device property that hides peripheral image areas by positioning them beyond the edges of your display. On some CRT and projection sets, reducing your displays vertical and horizontal raster size can bring overscanned image areas back into view. In contrast, pixel cropping is a DVD player properly in which it omits part of the original 720 x 480 pixel image (16:9 widescreen images such as on Avia II are 720 x 405 pixels). It cannot be corrected, if found. Because pixel cropping is usually hidden by display overscan, most viewers never know that pixel cropping is removing part of the picture, though less than typical overscan. The maximum active line duration for NTSC video signals is not long enough for the entire 720-pixel width of an image to be displayed if the player also conforms to the MPEG-2 encoded-bandwidth limits. As a result, a DVD players NTSC video output typically crops about 9 pixels from the 720 width of an image. The degree of cropping may vary from 6 to 12 pixels and may be on just one edge or taken from both left and right edges, possibly unequally. It is possible for a DVD system to display the entire 720 pixel wide image, but doing so requires circumvention of either NTSC timing or MPEG2 bandwidth limits. For example, computer DVD playback systems often can display the full 720 pixel width image on a computer monitor because the RGB video signals to the monitor need not follow NTSC timing limits. The Pixel Cropping pattern measures how many pixels are missing from each edge of the full 720 x 405 pixel widescreen image. It is usable only with displays with 0% overscan or on those devices (mainly professional CRT monitors) that can be set to underscan a video image so that the raster doesnt fill the screen on any edge. First set your display to underscan mode (reduce vertical and horizontal size enough to make raster edges visible). Along each edge of this pattern you will see a jagged diagonal line. Each segment of the jagged line is 1 pixel further from the frame edge. Markers indicate which dash segments are visible when 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 pixels have been cropped from an edge. Find the outermost visible dash segment and read the markers to measure pixel cropping. On a waveform monitor, the figures in the corners appear as faint trapezoidal shapes. Two markers are provided at each end. The outer markers are the ones actually examined from cropping. The inner markers are for comparison. The sloped side of the markers should extend all the way down to baseline if there is no cropping. If cropping occurs, part of the sloped side is cut off. Note the height above baseline at which the slope resumes then compare against the slots in the markers, which indicate heights for 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-pixel cropping.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

33

MISCELLANEOUS Rainbow Dither: 2:3 and Video


Rainbow Dither 2:3: These patterns can reveal if image motion overstresses the systems ability to produce smooth gradients. You can also detect the rainbow fringing in projectors that use color wheels.

Some digital displays (and video processors) have insufficient numerical precision in their processing to represent all luma values on-screen. A combination of spatial (blurring) and temporal dithering (smearing over time) can increase the apparent bit depth, smoothly rendering gradients during still images but image motion dramatically reduces the effectiveness of spatial and temporal dithering. During motion, bit depth may plummet and create visible contouring or banding. On live material, one sees such problems during camera pans. The Rainbow Dither test pattern uncovers temporal-dithering motion artifacts at various image-motion velocities. The pattern also helps detect color-separation or rainbow artifacts on sequential color displays, such as DLP projectors using color wheels. The Rainbow Dither patterns are supplied in both video-motion (Rainbow Dither Video) and 2:3pulldown (Rainbow Dither 2:3) film-motion versions. Moving placards in the pattern indicate velocity of motion in pixels/video field or pixels/frame, respectively. The patterns start without any motion so that the still image may be compared to performance during motion. The gray, dark gray, and flesh-tone spheres in the pattern possess smoothly contoured gradients. These glide across the screen and test bit depth performance at varying velocities. Better performing displays avoid contouring up to higher velocities. Banding/contouring can appear in various ways, but they all have in common a loss of smoothness of a spheres shading, including, in extreme cases, a reversion to concentric circles. Rainbow artifact or color separation artifact can be induced if a display sequentially presents the color components of an image. During eye motion, image details may visibly break into separate red, green, and blue images. The color-separation artifacts are less visible as the color-sequence rate increases. Watch for color separation artifacts by following the spheres across the screen while also paying attention to the three vertical white bars in the pattern. As velocity increases you may see the bars separate into different colors. Color-wheel speed has a dramatic effect on how high the pattern velocity gets before one sees color separation. It is normal to see differences in the smoothness of motion when comparing video with the 2:3pulldown pattern. The latter usually produces a more jerky appearance when in motion. Activating your players pause or frame-advance controls can also reveal differences. It is common for the 2:3 pulldown pattern to produce a much cleaner still frame, especially on a progressive display, since the interlaced video patterns double-field structure can pull apart the spheres and boxes at high velocities (their positions change between fields as well as between frames). Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 34

MISCELLANEOUS Tricolor
Tricolor: Use the supplied color filters to view this pattern, which allows hue and saturation optimization with all three primary colors simultaneously, and a four different intensity levels.

This pattern is essentially a multi-level, animated version of the color checkerboard pattern in the Color Bars section. Just as with the color bar signals in that section, it is used in conjunction with the supplied color filters to set hue and saturation controls. After youve set the brightness (black-level) and contrast (white level) controls with patterns in the Levels section, while viewing the pattern through each of the filters separately, adjust the hue and saturation controls to smooth the appearance of the flashing rectangles in each of the three color columns and in the four signal-brightness rows simultaneously. Unfortunately, with most displays complete filter-viewed smoothness is usually not possible. But with a little back and forth changing of the color filter you are looking through and by repeated alternating adjustments of the hue and saturation controls (and possibly the contrast control, which might also have an effect), it should be possible to get pretty good compromise performance in two of the three color columns. Make sure that one of them is the blue (leftmost) column and that your adjustments dont throw off the color of yellow when the pattern is viewed without any filters (making yellow too orange or green, for example). It is also desirable but unlikely that youll be able to optimize the screen simultaneously for the four brightness levels, which produce four distinct bands of intensity across the width of the pattern. But aim to get the three lower intensity levels as smooth as possible and let the highest intensity level fall where it may. This will give the most satisfactory color reproduction with typical images, few of which contain color intensities as high as those in the top row.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

35

MISCELLANEOUS Uniformity
Uniformity: This pattern takes advantage of your eyes ability to spot small picture faults when they are in motion.

The Uniformity pattern is a visual test of how well a display maintains uniformity. Screen uniformity problems such as side-to-side color shift on CRT projectors, imperfect optical integrators in digital projectors, uneven panel-bias voltages in plasma displays, and hot spotting are all easily detected using this test pattern. The test also checks for stuck or dead pixels on fixed-pixel displays. Two dots revolve in opposing directions in front of a succession of black, gray, white, red, green, and blue backgrounds. To use this pattern allow your eyes to follow the motion of one orbiting dot. Pay attention to the background as your eyes shift around the screen. The pattern background is uniform and devoid of features. Uniformity problems appear as screen areas differing from the rest of the screen. You may notice that one corner of the screen is brighter, or one side is a different color of gray, or the center of the screen is much brighter. These are all due to screen and/or projector uniformity problems. Pixels in flat-panel displays stuck in the on or off position are readily detected as tiny anomalous spots if one tests using all six color backgrounds. Look for any pixels that fail to change color in step with the rest of the pattern background. While some bad pixels are acceptable in computer and presentation applications, the more critical viewing needs of a home cinema practically demand the projector have zero dead or stuck pixels. If a display has slow recovery time, a faint trail may be seen behind the orbiting dots. This is most likely to be seen on LCD panels. Counterrotation of the two dots also aids observation of color separation artifacts. As your eyes track the motion of one dot, they move relative to the other dot. You may see the other dot may break up into separate red, green, and blue elements on systems that sequentially display the three primary colors, such as DLP projectors with color wheels.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

36

MISCELLANEOUS White Gradient


White Gradient: This original still frame is probably the best this pattern will ever look. It has proven impossible to encode it on DVD without severe banding artifacts.

This simple looking pattern is extremely difficult and very likely impossible to encode cleanly on DVD. The original consists of an extremely smooth gradient starting at from full white at the lower right diagonal and wrapping smoothly around to half-white on the other side of the diagonal. In the image above it looks very smooth but on an enlarged computer display you can see the individual steps of the gradient as evenly spaced spokes pointing toward the center of the image. Now comes the hard part: after dwelling on this frame for two seconds, the pattern fades down in discrete steps lasting 10-frames each and perfectly aligning the individual gradient spokes with the spokes in the layer before it until what was full white is only at half white and what was half-white is at black. Then the process reverses with a fade-up. The pattern should look like what it is: a simple partial fade down then a fade up. The spokes, if any, should not move. But the way digital video is typically encoded combined with the additional MPEG-2 encoding for the DVD system produce instead a spectacular case of banding that no DVD player can cure. What was originally intended as a sensitive test for player or display banding is actually a forceful demonstration of the need for improved video-encoding standards. The best time to have adopted new standards was with the introduction of HD-DVD and Blu-ray technologies. But were going to have to wait until at least the 2nd generation of these disc formats (not just the players) to see any improvement in the White Gradient and with similar images in real program material, such as expanses of sky and sunsets that fade in and out.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

37

MOTION & MOVING ZONE PLATES


Moving Zone Plate Film 2:3: Among other things this pattern will test a DVD players ability to recognize pulldown flags and to produce a smooth progressive-scan image.

Deinterlacing and scaling performance are central to the success of todays progressive-scan displays. Not only must a video processor deinterlace (transform an interlaced signal to a progressive one) appropriately, but it must also scale the image to the target display resolution, especially among digitally connected DVD players (with DVI or HDMI outputs). Both processes potentially degrade image resolution. The Moving Zone Plate patterns test scaler and deinterlacer performance over a range of velocities and directions. There are tests in 2:3-pulldown film motion (Moving Zone Plate Film 2:3), interlaced video motion (Moving Zone Plate Video), and 2:2-pulldown used for progressive film material shot at 30 frames/second, as is frequently done for TV commercials (Moving Zone Plate Film 2:2). Aside from the types of motion, all three tests are identical. Motion Indicators: The first line of text in the pattern indicates the current type of motion. The 2:3 film motion pattern has the proper 2:3 pulldown flagged and tests the ability of a DVD player to detect and properly follow pulldown and repeat flags. Deinterlacing within a DVD player should be without loss of lock during film motion. If the interlaced output of a DVD player is used to feed an external scaler, the scalers cadence detection is tested. The Video and 2:2 motions are not flagged on disc and test cadence detection rather than flag detection. Motion in horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and circular directions are all tested. Velocity is indicated in pixels/frame in the horizontal (dx) and vertical (dy) directions (+x is toward the right, +y is upward). As each direction is tested, velocity accelerates. Motion was animated in whole-number pixel increments to avoid moir effects that would have occurred with fractional pixel motions. Even so it is common for the display to look degraded only on odd-numbered velocities, at least for the lower range of velocities. You can gauge image degradation by noting the clean appearance of the pattern when there is no motion, as at the start. Zone Plate: A circular zone plate spanning luma frequencies from 2.0 to 4.0 MHz tests for resolution losses and moir artifacts. Resolution Wedges: Horizontal and vertical resolution wedges serves as additional indicators of image resolution during motion. Color Zone Plates: Small color zone plates at 2.0 MHz, test red (top plate), Cr (middle), and Cb (bottom) resolutions. The chroma components of these zone plates are encoded to be RGB-legal and allow the testing of processors, which operate in RGB color space. On systems that degrade chroma resolution, internal circular features of the color plates are attenuated and it becomes more difficult to make out the internal zone-plate circles. Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 38

Motion Transitions
Motion Transitions: This test sequence examines a systems ability to cope with rapidly varying switches between progressive and interlaced recorded material.

The Motion Transitions pattern is a rigorous test of the deinterlacer processing in a progressive-scan DVD player or display. This is the processing that converts a DVD encoded as interlaced video into a progressive-scan signal. This pattern is perhaps the most difficult-to-interpret test in Avia II, and full assessment of the test outcome requires familiarity with many test results from different combinations of players and screens. The simple moving zone plate patterns described above test resolution and scaling during motion, but deinterlacers must also cope with scene edits that alter film cadence (the rhythm of the interaction between the film frames and the resulting sequence of video fields and frames) or edits that switch between film and video motion. The Motion Transitions test contains 25 types of film-to-film edits (including bad edits that disturb the cadence), 5 film-to-video edit transitions, and 5 video-to-film edit transitions. Cadence detection, image stability, and the recovery time to regain cadence lock are all tested. This test is particularly severe for progressive-scan DVD players outputs. It is easy to design a progressive scan DVD player to merely follow on-disc flags signaling whether the material was originally progressive scan (film) or not (video), but not all DVD material is properly flagged. Some film-based material may not even be flagged. An in-player deinterlacer must actually have a means of detecting cadence independent of flags if it is to properly deal with all material. For this reason the Motion Transitions pattern is not flagged and the player must detect and adjust for the various cadences and edits by itself. This is a task that external video scalers must naturally perform since they never receive flag information in any case. Simple in-player deinterlacers that rely solely on flags will fare poorly with this test. Automatic cadence detection does not come without a price. The process requires analysis of several frames of video to select the proper cadence. This means video processors, especially external ones, may delay the video signal slightly. If the delay is large, audio and video lip-sync errors become noticeable. This pattern includes a beep tone that can be used to check the number of fields of video delay that have been introduced by the video processor. As the zone plate in the pattern reaches the top of its motion (and usually bottom) a sync check tone is played. If video delay is present, the tone will be heard before the zone plate reaches top position. The number of frames error can be estimated on screen. While this test does not require instruments, you can get a much better feel for what it is doing by taking the time to frame-step or slow-motion forward through the test, noting how the various onscreen notations change as it progresses. Zone Plate: The appearance of the moving zone plate is the primary thing you should pay attention to in this pattern. It revolves inside a circular series of tick marks. Observe how well the zone plate Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 39

appearance is preserved. When cadence lock is incorrect, the zone plate will have moir or will double (as if it were shuddering). Once cadence lock is reestablished the zone plate will appear markedly more solid, although it may never appear as artifact-free as a stationary zone plate. Timing Marks: A white dot revolves in sync with the zone plate. Each tick mark represents one video frame of time. Every fifth mark is darker. A total of 2 seconds or 60 frames equals one revolution around the circular path. Watching the zone plate and noting the white dot position at which lock is regained measures the number of frames needed to regain lock, as measured in frames from the top of the circular path. Edit Type Indicator: At the upper left of the pattern, the upcoming or previous type of edit is indicated. Current Frame Type: Halfway down the pattern, to the left of the big circle are two very faint rapidly changing letters (or the word video). The upper letter indicates which frame in the AA-BBB-CCDDD 2:3 pulldown sequence the upper field is from. The lower letter indicates the frame the lower field is from. Text is intentionally nearly the same color as the background to avoid confusing deinterlacers with the intrinsically 2:2 motions of the lettering changes. Frames Since Transition Counter: Lower left of screen indicates how many frames have passed since the last edit transition. Each cadence is kept stable for at least 150 frames before the next edit occurs. How to use the pattern: View each edit transition and note how long the deinterlacer takes to regain lock. If the zone plate does not change appearance immediately after edit transitions or always looks like it does during video motion (when the word video appears twice to the left of the orbiting zone plate), the most likely explanation is that the deinterlacer does not detect cadence and has defaulted to a fixed, usually video, cadence. On a well functioning deinterlacer, the zone plate will usually moir or double for several frames after an edit transition. The number of frames needed to regain lock varies with type of edit transition. Observe the entire sequence to test all types of transitions. You may sometimes see a processor lose lock briefly after cadence has been stable. Close examination will probably reveal this is the point at which wording for the next transition type appears. This is normal and indicates the processor detected the wording change as noise in the video stream. Cadence is usually quickly regained after such a glitch. It is possible for a player to seemingly behave miserably on this test (constant moir, no change in zone plate appearance at all) and have it still behave outstandingly well on typical DVD program material, including movies and video-originated programs. Thats because this pattern tests the player under anomalous conditions that are fairly rare (on a statistical basis) among all DVD titles. If you only watch movies that have the correct cadence flags, which most now do, youll be seeing the player on its best behavior.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

40

RAMPS
Deep Horiz XX Ramp: Ramps can be used to check for grayscale tracking as well as banding artifacts.

Ramp patterns check linearity and grayscale tracking more continuously than step patterns (except for the three single-step patterns in the High Monotonicity Steps section). Both conventional and highly monotonic "deep" ramps are provided. The six conventional ramps (the ones without deep in their menu names) run nearly the width of the video frame and range from true black to white (digital 16 to 235) corresponding to 7.5 to 100 IRE. Single ramps, crossed ramps, and double-crossed ramps are supplied in both vertical and horizontal orientation. The ramps were intentionally windowboxed to allow their entire extents to be visible on most displays. The ramps are not dithered, and cleanly delineate each luma level. The conventional ramps are best used assessing grayscale tracking errors. On screens with perfect grayscale tracking there will be no changes in color from neutral gray over the entire ramp. If color shifts are visible, you can use the patterns in the Gray Field and Gray Window sections to determine if the changes are due to grayscale mistracking or screen uniformity problems (if you see color shifts on a single gray field, you have a uniformity problem, for example). However, because the conventional ramps have a pixel width that is not integrally related to the number of signal levels, some periodic banding will be seen on these patterns (some levels come out slightly wider than others, creating the banding). Dithering (adding a slight bit of video noise) could have reduced this banding, but that would greatly smear the signal levels. Because of this normal recorded-in banding, we do not recommend the conventional ramps for visual tests of display banding. Instead use the three deep ramps, which inherently have no banding. Deep Ramps: The deep-ramp patterns have several advantages over conventional ramps. First, the width of the ramps was specially chosen to make each digital signal level occupy exactly the same width on the ramp. This means the ramps are intrinsically banding-free. Second, the range of the "deep" ramps runs from deepest blacker-than-black to the highest whiter-than-white (from digital 0 to 255). Thats why we call them "deep" ramps. They are supplied only in the horizontal orientation, but in single, crossed and double crossed versions. Viewed on an oscilloscope these deep ramps test extent and linearity of the entire signal range. The ramps are highly monotonic and should show little or no banding. If banding is visible using the deep ramps, the display or processing system is failing to represent some luma values. All the crossed ramp (and Step) patterns allow you to assess performance at different areas of the screen.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

41

RESOLUTION: RESOLUTION, SHARPNESS


Resolution Pattern
Resolution Chart: Image sharpness, resolution, edge transition fidelity, geometry, scaling match, as well as overscan can all be evaluated with this pattern.

With the correct test pattern, even simple visual inspection of a system's image output can detect loss of fine detail, smearing, false outlines or ringing at edge transitions. The Resolution Chart in Avia II contains multiple elements for testing a display or the entire video playback chain from player to screen. In the center you find a zone-plate (the concentric circles of varying spacing) which tests frequency response over a range of frequencies and at all angles. Also present are cross hairs indicating frame center. Two sideways-pointing resolution wedges indicate vertical resolution in TV-lines (TVL) and two vertical resolution wedges indicate horizontal resolution in both MHz and TVL. The black/white vertical T and T2 pulse bars at each side of the pattern check positive (white) and negative (black) edge transitions for ringing and smear. Three small, corner zone plates test frequency response at fixed frequencies including 3.58 MHz, the NTSC color carrier frequency. A fourth circle at lower right corner contains a 6.75-MHz burst that is at the maximum limit of NTSC DVD resolution. Along the lower and right edges of the pattern, every other pixel stripes will check scaler functions. Triangular frame-edge indicators and overscan lines every 1% show how much of each frame edge is lost to overscan. A large circle in the background serves as a geometry check. Finally, small text in each corner helps test corner focus in projection systems. Despite this chart being primarily a pattern for testing resolution and scaler performance, it has uses far beyond resolution testing. For example, it is possible to use its geometry features to adjust display centering, geometry, and overscan. When using this pattern for testing resolution, pay particular attention to the resolution wedges, zone plates, and the T and T2 pulses. Resolution Wedges: The vertical long wedges (with lines that begin widely spaced and gradually narrow and squeeze together) measure horizontal image resolution and bandwidth. The horizontally long wedges measure vertical image resolution. On a perfect display system, the alternating pixel detail at the fine (narrow) ends of the wedges should be distinctly visible. On most real life display systems, especially with displays connected via an analog-video connection (composite, S-video, or YPrPb analog component) the higher frequencies of the wedges might be reduced causing the finest lines in the wedges to blur together or dim. Some of this roll-off is normal, but the finest details should still be visible, if not as vivid as in the wider portions of the wedges. To estimate resolution, find the point on each wedge at which the lines are no longer distinct and read either the TVL or MHz number of the scales along each wedge. MHz values are to the left of each vertically long wedge. TVL values are to the right of the vertically long wedges. The horizontally long wedges are only marked in TVL resolution. Note: Horizontal TVL resolution is conventionally measured in lines per picture height. In Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 42

the 16:9 DVD image here, as in all the Avia II widescreen patterns, the picture height is reduced from a full-screen 4:3 image, so that the maximum theoretical horizontal resolution is 405 lines (as opposed to 540 lines for a 4:3 image). Circular Zone Plates: ZP's are useful because they allow examination of resolution performance at all angles. They can be fixed in spacing as in three of the corner zone plates or can vary in frequency as in the central zone plate which covers the frequency range from 2.0 to 4.0 MHz. Just as with resolution wedges, high frequency losses appear as a blurring or dimming of fine-spaced detail. If video scaling is poorly done, zone plates may exhibit moir, which is an additional pattern seemingly superimposed on the pure multiple-circle structure of the zone plate. Connection of a display through a composite-video hookup can also generate spurious colors in the wedges, in the upper right 3.58 MHz zone plate as well as in the central zone plate. There should be no colors in the display of this pattern and if you see any you should consider upgrading your video connection to at least S-video if not analog component or HDMI. 6.75 MHz Patch and Scaling Stripes: NTSC DVD has a maximal or Nyquist frequency of 6.75 MHz. This corresponds to every other horizontal pixel in a pattern. The every-other-pixel spacing of vertical lines in the lower right circular patch and in the stripes along the right and bottom edges of the pattern should be visible if the display resolves the finest details recordable on NTSC DVD. If the display or scaler combination cannot exactly match or represent the fine detail in this patch, you may see beat patterns (periodic lightening and darkening or bunching of lines), which are another form of moir. PC or fixed-pixel (LCD, plasma, DLP) display users striving for 1:1 pixel alignment can use the scaling stripes to detect when correct 1:1 pixel mapping is attained. The number of visible beats within the scaling stripes is roughly equal to how many counts the current scaled size is away from perfect 1:1 pixel scaling. T and T2 Pulses: The black and white vertical lines at each side of pattern are sine squared pulses that increase in intensity (white) or decrease in intensity (black) according to a specific mathematical formula. That formula keeps the pulses frequency components within limits that should be cleanly handled by normal playback equipment. The slower (thicker) T2 pulses should show neither overshoot nor undershoot (ringing, which is a faint fringing or ghosting effect to the sides of the pulses) on equipment with flat frequency response and good phase preservation. The T pulses are even more difficult to reproduce cleanly. You may see ringing of the T pulses on equipment connected by analogvideo hookups Sharpness Controls: As you turn sharpness controls up or down, you will see various frequencies on the zone plates or wedges lighten or darken. Brightening indicates that the control is emphasizing a frequency. Ideally, the wedges will be even in intensity without any portions overemphasized. Pay attention to the T and T2 pulses and try to keep ringing minimized, at least around the thicker T2 pulses.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

43

Sharpness Pattern
The Sharpness pattern is a useful alternative to the resolution chart for setting both vertical and horizontal sharpness as well as assessing chroma bandwidth. Sharpness & Peaking: Like the Resolution pattern, the Sharpness pattern provides multiple frequency response and edge transition tests, but it is optimized for adjusting sharpness controls rather than determining display resolution.

The Avia II Sharpness & Peaking pattern shares some features with the Resolution pattern. Overscan percentage marks, centering crosshair, edge indicators, scaling stripes and corner zone plates are common to both and are used the same way. But the primary content of the sharpness pattern is better attuned for adjusting sharpness controls. A luma (black/white signal) frequency sweep extends across the top (between the 3- and 3.5-MHz zone plates) and contains frequencies from 2.0 to 5.0 MHz. There is also an expanded central zone plate covering the same frequency range. These features, along with both horizontal and vertical T & T2 pulses allow easier determination of which frequencies are being affected by a sharpness control as well as the presence of ringing. Just as in the resolution pattern, a special gray background allows both undershoot and overshoot around the T pulses to be visible. A black background would not allow undershoot to be visible. A white background (particularly on a digital display) could hide overshoot. Gray Background: The gray background in these patterns provides a visual indication of signal attenuation or emphasis. Signal frequencies for which a display has flat response appear the same brightness as the gray background. Attenuated frequencies appear darker than the gray background. Emphasized frequencies appear brighter. But be cautious when reading results since scaling artifacts can upset this intended relationship. Chroma Sweeps: Horizontal Cr and Cb sweeps from 0.8 to 2.4 MHz are at the bottom of the Sharpness pattern. These are for inspecting chroma (color-signal) frequency response and are used just like the luma response sweep. Note that the maximum chroma resolution is considerably less than that of the luma signal.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

44

STEPS
Horiz Step by 10 IRE Gray: In step patterns, the gradations should all appear to be the same color of gray

Step patterns with both 10- and 5-IRE steps are provided in horizontal and vertical orientations. The finer gradations of the 5-IRE patterns are particularly useful while visually checking digital system grayscale tracking. The crossed versions (with X in the menus) also are useful for visual testing because they juxtapose widely differing gray intensities to make the assessment of color shifts easier. The windowboxed versions (with wb in the menus) are surrounded by a black boarder and allow the viewing of the ends of the staircases even on displays with moderate overscan that would otherwise cut off one or more of the steps. The windowbox areas are also at full-black and should match the blackness of the lowest steps.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

45

VERTICAL SWEEP
Polyphase Vertical Sweep Y 100 405: Look for any blurring of the horizontal lines in this and the other vertical sweep patterns. Any blurring that occurs represents a loss of vertical resolution.

Like the horizontal sweep patterns, the vertical sweeps can be used to test for resolution but this time in the vertical direction. Vertical resolution performance is usually not an issue since it is usually determined by the video format and is related to the number of scan lines in the image, so that a maximum vertical resolution of 405 lines is obtained anamorphic 16:9 DVD images. But scaling processes such as interlaced to progressive conversion, letterboxing to make 16:9 anamorphic images come out right on 4:3 displays, and conversion of DVD signals to HDTV signal formats can cause, in extreme cases, loss of vertical resolution. (None of these processes can actually improve vertical resolution over what was originally encoded, since that would require unavailable knowledge of what the image contained was between the pixels of the original.) In all the vertical resolution patterns, look for any decrease in the intensity or any blurring of the horizontal lines. Scaling artifacts an affect the higher-detail portions of these patterns, especially Polyphase Vertical Sweep Y 100 405, which contains the finest details. As with the horizontal polyphase sweeps, dont be thrown off by the constantly varying intensity of the high-detail portions of the sweeps, what you want to pay attention to is the maximum intensities reached in any particular area of the pattern.
Sweep Name Polyphase Vertical Sweep Cb 60 200 Polyphase Vertical Sweep Cr 60 200 Polyphase Vertical Sweep Y 100 405 Vertical Sweep Cb 50 120 Vertical Sweep Cr 60 120 Vertical Sweep Y 100, 250 Start Resolution 60 lines 60 lines 100 lines 60 lines 60 lines 100 lines End Resolution 200 lines 200 lines 405 lines 120 lines 120 lines 250 lines Type Color component, varying phase Color component, fixed phase Luma, high resolution, varying phase Color component, mid resolution, fixed phase Color component, mid resolution, fixed phase Luma, mid resolution, fixed phase

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

46

The Extended Test Tone Section


The text screens displayed with every test tone in this section of Avia II are pretty much selfexplanatory. The following notes contain information and setup hints that will be useful if you are going to get the best out of the more specialized test tones of Avia II and out of your home-theater sound system.

Main Speaker Setup Notes


Before you start seriously use of the test tones on Avia II, you should correctly set up your systems main surround-sound decoder, which is usually in an A/V receiver or amplifier and accessed as a set of on-screen menu selections. More expensive DVD players have their own surround decoders but unless you have a special reason to use the audio outputs of such a player, you should use the surround-sound decoder in the receiver and hook up the DVD player to the receiver only via a digital-audio connection, either coaxial or optical (Toslink). And be sure to set the DVD player via its own on-screen menus to feed its digital output with a bitstream (not PCM) when playing Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, or else youll never get true multichannel surround sound from Avia II or your movies. The principal receiver menu operations you must perform correctly to use Avia II are turning on the subwoofer, selecting speaker size (the bass-management system) and accurately setting speaker distance (the distance-compensation system). Remember to turn on the subwoofer in the receiver setup menu (sometimes its a yes/no menu option), otherwise youll get no sound out of it no matter what other controls you activate. Unless you have one or more very large (10-inch woofer or larger), fullrange speakers, you should also set the speaker size for all the speakers in your system to small. This makes the bass-management system shunt the deep bass away from those small speakers and directs it to the subwoofer output, where it can be handled with less distortion by the subwoofer. In fact, if you want to play it perfectly safe in the preservation of bass content, you should set all speakers to small even if you do have larger speakers in your system. You should also get out a yardstick or tape measure and actually measure (dont just estimate by eye), the distances from each of your speakers to where your head is located when you are seated at the main listening position. You should then enter these distances into the speaker-distance adjustments in the receiver setup menu. This sets the distance compensation to synchronize the arrival at your ears of sound intended to arrive simultaneously from all speakers. Correct adjustment of distance compensation is essential to getting the proper prominence of the surround speakers as well as to obtaining a solid frontal phantom image. Unless compensated for, a distance difference of less than a foot can make a striking difference in the sound quality, depending on the speakers in question. Once these fundamental adjustments have been performed, you can start serious use of the test tones on Avia II. This will eventually involve further operation of the receivers bass-management controls, particularly the individual channel-level/balance settings. If you have a surround decoding system that offers 6- or 7.1-channel operation, you must manually activate those modes (the Dolby Digital EX setting) when using any of the 6.0/6.1-channel test tones (the ones that are explicitly designated as such or that call for the use of any back-surround speakers). But all the tones on Avia II work correctly with a 6- or 7.1-channel system if you always keep the Dolby Digital EX mode on (except during the Left/Right-Surround phase test, where the decoding should be only 5.1-channel).

Subwoofer Setup Notes:


Unlike previous setup discs, Avia II allows the customization of bass management operation for Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 47

speaker systems of differing capabilities. This is chiefly done by providing complete sets of subwoofersetup tones optimized four different crossover frequencies, namely 200 Hz (referred to as Very High), 120 Hz (High), 80 Hz (normal) and 45 Hz (low). Selecting which set of tones to use is easiest if you have a single-brand, matched-component multichannel speaker system. In most of these systems the satellite speakers (the ones used for the main channels: left/center/right-front and left/right-surround) are usually of similar construction and similar bass performance. Most multichannel-speaker systems, over a wide range of prices and performance, match this description. In this case, the best way to select which set of subwoofer-setup tones to use is to find a printed specification in the speaker-system manual or a spec sheet for the crossover frequency between the satellites and the subwoofer and then to choose the set of subwoofer tones whose crossover frequency is closest to that spec. Unfortunately, not all speaker systems have a specified or recommended satellite/subwoofer crossover frequency. If this information is not available, as a very rough guide, use the Very High tones if your satellite speakers woofers are 3-inches or less in diameter, the High tones if they are 3-to-6 inches in diameter, Normal if they are 6-to-10 inches in diameter, and Low if they are 10 inches or larger. Note that these recommendations depend on sizes of the satellite speakers and not on the diameter of the subwoofer driver(s). If you are still confused, simply start with either the Normal or High set of tones, which together cover the vast majority of good-to-excellent quality home-theater speaker systems and will give good results for most of them (the Normal tones are equivalent to the setup tones used in the first Avia DVD). Once you decide which set of tones to use, if your A/V receivers bass management system allows for direct adjustment of crossover frequency, it should then set it to the manufacturers spec, if available, or to the chosen crossover frequency of the test tones. The most important subwoofer setup tones are those used to balance the subwoofer level against that of the main speakers (which should have already been balanced with each other using tones in the Main Speaker Setup section). The low-frequency segments in each of the Subwoofer Level tones contain frequencies concentrated just below the selected crossover frequency. For example, the low-frequency contents of the Normal subwoofer-level tests are concentrated just below 80 Hz. This means that adjustments made using a set of Subwoofer Level tones are aimed at making the transition from main speaker to subwoofer as smooth as possible. But this desired result will only be the possible if the main speaker response actually reaches down smoothly to the crossover frequency and the subwoofer response reaches up smoothly to the crossover frequency. This is not always the case, especially with smaller multichannel speaker systems. With such a system, there is often an unavoidable and uncorrectable gap between the main speaker range and the subwoofer range. In this case, use of the Very High and High subwoofer tones may produce a subwoofer-level setting that sounds too loud when you play a movie soundtrack. If this is the case, recalibrate your subwoofer level using the Normal set of tones. Also, if you do have a substantial gap between the main-speaker and the subwoofer frequency ranges, the Subwoofer Phase and Crossover Check tests may not operate correctly. You may not hear the intended phase effects with the Subwoofer Phase tests. And the Crossover Check test may actually reveal a gap in coverage, especially if you use a sound-level meter to make level measurements, as recommended. Note also that most sound-level meters do not have a sufficiently flat low-frequency response to produce correct results when using the Low crossover frequency test tones. These should be used with a professional meter that has a flat-response mode.

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

48

Verification/Evaluation Notes:
A few of the tests in this section require extended explanations. First are the Absolute Polarity tests. It is essential during the Absolute Polarity tests that you listen from close to the woofer of each speaker being tested within two feet at least and within one foot if possible. Though the volume doesnt have to be very high, the effect you are listening for is very subtle and it becomes less audible the farther away you listen. What you are listening for is the pitch shifts to be the same for every speaker in your system, not necessarily that every speaker is in correct absolute polarity (3rd burst shifts down in pitch). Matching phase with the Phase tones in the Main Speaker Setup section will or should produce a matched-polarity result with the Absolute Polarity tests. Its your choice as to whether you should rewire your speakers to obtain correct absolute polarity if they otherwise pass the main Phase tests in the Main Speaker Setup section. For most people, the effort wont be worth it, since the sonic effect of flipped absolute polarity is very small and inaudible on most program material. The Background Noise test consists of a soft, steady, low-frequency pure tone plus a specific type of digital background noise (triangular PDF dither) that steadily increases in apparent resolution from 14-bits to 24-bits at the rate of 1-bit every 6 seconds. For example, 12 seconds in, the tone has the resolution of a theoretically perfect standard 16-bit CD recording. To use this track your system volume control should be set to produce an 85-decibel sound level as measured by a sound-level meter when playing the channel-identification or speaker-balance signals in the Main Speaker Setup section. If your listening environment has low enough ambient noise for critical home-theater listening, you will then hear the soft tone plus some background hiss kick in at the start of this track and a steady decrease in the hiss level (the tone remains at its original level) as the tones resolution increases. At some point, the tone will still be audible but the hiss will drop below audibility. The point at which this happens depends on many factors including your hearing sensitivity, the background noise produced by your sound system, the quality of your systems digital-to-analog converters, and the background noise in your room. If you still hear hiss 30 seconds in (the tone will always be audible), then your system noise is too high for ultra-critical listening. It is common for the surround channels to be noisier than the front channels. Finally, these comments apply to the ideal case of playback of the original 24-bit PCM signals. The Dolby encoding of this signal on Avia II and its decoding by your playback equipment may affect its operation. Rattle test frequency: These frequency sweeps are deliberately recorded at a substantially higher level than the other tones on the disc and should be played at the volume used with the channel-balance tones (which should produce a reading of at least 70 dB on a sound-level meter). Each tone in the mainchannel rattle tests starts at 500 Hz and decreases in frequency at the rate of one musical semitone every two seconds. So the frequency in Hz at any time T (in seconds) can be calculated from the exact formula 500/2T/24 or closely approximated by 500 x 0.9715319T. At 56 seconds, the signal is at 100 Hz, at 1 minute 20 seconds, 50 Hz is reached, and between 1:51 and 1:52 the signal passes through 20 Hz. The LFE test tone starts at 120 Hz but decreases at the same rate so its frequency is given exactly as 120/2T/24 and approximated by 120 x 0.9715319T. It reaches 50 Hz at 30 seconds and 20 Hz between 1:02 and 1:03. All rattle test frequency sweeps extend lower (down to 5 Hz) than the range of nearly all speakers, so by timing the sweep from its start to when the bass fades to inaudibility and then plugging the time into the formulas, you can get a rough estimate of the deepest bass frequencies your speakers can reproduce. But remember if you have indicated to your systems bass management menu that any of the speakers in the system is small, the bass response you get out of the so-designated speakers will be dominated by the behavior of the bass-management crossovers and will not reflect the inherent Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0 49

performance of the speakers. During these tones you may hear several types of spurious tones and noises. Most easily fixed are rattles and buzzes of objects in the listening room, or in adjacent spaces, that are sympathetically vibrating in response to the sweep tones. Impossible to remedy are the distortion harmonics produced by your speakers. These may actually come and go as the tone descends, but they usually get worse the lower the frequency, often to the extent that distortion harmonics are the dominant low-frequency output just before response gives out entirely.

Reference Tones Notes:


These tracks are simply several minutes each of wideband pink noise. They have all sorts of uses, especially if you (or your installer) have access to a spectrum analyzer. To the typical home listener they can also be useful audible checks for system operation. The single-channel tones can be used to verify subwoofer and satellite hookup and operation as the signals contain deep bass (which should come out of the subwoofer) as well as high frequencies that should come out of the corresponding satellite.. The amount of bass coming out of the subwoofer should not change as you select among the individual channels. You will get all channels going simultaneously with the Asynchronous 5.1-channel signal allowing you to hear instantly if one of the speakers is inoperative.

2007 Ovation Software, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Avia II Manual Ver. 1.0

50