Why Dark Video Is A Terrible Blocky Mess

Tom Scott
Views 2 666 897
99% 26 562 107

Dark scenes in television, RUvid, and streaming platforms all look pixelated and blocky. Here's why.
Animation by William Marler: wmad.co.uk
I'm at tomscott.com
on Twitter at twitter.com/tomscott
on Facebook at facebook.com/tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo

Published on


Mar 30, 2020




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Comments 100
Tom Scott
Tom Scott 10 months ago
I can promise there are no jump-scares in here. And yes, I finally got an animator to do in a couple of days what would have taken me a couple of weeks...!
Bacon 29 days ago
This is 9 month ago but the vid say 8 month
Haz wizZRblx
Haz wizZRblx Month ago
But I have phobia of darkness
Flame Of Phoenix
Thank goodness
11 343
11 343 Month ago
3:17 wait, i see the different shades on the whole blue screen is that not normal?
Jamie Hosmer
Jamie Hosmer Month ago
This came out like a half-year before Mandalorian Season 2. Tom, either you know the future, or your are owed some money. Your closing scene, their closing scene, near identical.
Raunak114 10 hours ago
00:38 anyone else see tom as kinda bald?
From Takeoff to Landing
So you are saying that 50 shades of grey aren’t enough.
Justi 3 days ago
Me watching this on a 1040p oled phone.
Robert Bradvica
Robert Bradvica 3 days ago
This was weirdly good. Like the editing was mindblowing
Dreckbob Bratpfanne
This is such a big problem in many tornado videos, especially of the El Reno one 2013.
NextJaeger 4 days ago
For some reason netflix and youtube have this problem quite severely but disney plus doesnt... any idea why that is?
TRiG (Ireland)
TRiG (Ireland) 4 days ago
If compression algorithms focus on bright areas, do they behave better for people with lighter skin tones?
Anmolpreet Singh
Anmolpreet Singh 6 days ago
Max Myzer
Max Myzer 6 days ago
3:11 i see banding, am i not human?
Kacper Kiljan
Kacper Kiljan 7 days ago
There aren't enough colors
Matthew Walowsky
Matthew Walowsky 8 days ago
Torbax 8 days ago
HA! .. Hahaha! I watched this from my 4k HDR monitor, yes I've noticed it before and there are stil very very very little traces of it here and there but no way I will ever notice that horrendous blocky mess ever again.
Jes394 8 days ago
3:22 "Normally, it's invisible." Me who can see it without zooming in: *Do I need a new monitor?*
DetectiveDot 9 days ago
3:22 i cant be the only one who actually sees the lines in the corners right?
just me
just me 10 days ago
for the bright blue image i can still see the colour banding
Andrew Smart
Andrew Smart 11 days ago
In a way this video made me happy about my new phones oled display, wouldn't go back
Batman 11 days ago
Noticed it after watching The Batman Camera test
Clan TX
Clan TX 13 days ago
short answer: there aren't screens with enough colors
Ben Walker
Ben Walker 14 days ago
So well written
BobMuir100 15 days ago
Answered my long wondered thought. Glad I don’t need to spend money!
Nethiuz 15 days ago
It's even worse with HDR on with normal content.
Ethelred Hardrede
Ethelred Hardrede 16 days ago
AQ, adaptive quantization. Use it or lose the details in the dark.
thewaffleironn 17 days ago
This has driven me CRAZY - I never knew why backgrounds of scenes looked so blocky and I have never heard anything about this before. SO COOL and so informative!!
Boom_Boy_John 18 days ago
3:53 that's all folks!
jpstill 20 days ago
Ok that was cool. At 2:04, when you are briefly in a cinema, you added echo to your voice, like we were really in a cinema, just for those seconds. [I'm a musician. I notice things like that.]
BetterEverything 20 days ago
You make me smarter everyday....
Андрей Метасов
Now I really want to see HDR version of this
Lysergesaure1 23 days ago
3:37 I thought this was why computers and screens use a colour space with a gamma of around 2.2 ?
Akeldama 24 days ago
Madeleine H
Madeleine H 24 days ago
Watching this on a retina screen is very confusing
ALFA 25 days ago
Guys what do you think about LCD vs AMOLED at this point?
Nathan Pickering
Nathan Pickering 25 days ago
Glad to have a good Sony tv with the smooth gradiation feature. Turn to medium and high and those problems are gone. High does tend to get rid of some detail in certain instances in return for a smoother gradiant, but low-medium makes a big difference and still keeps detail in the image. Medium is probably the sweet spot but u will notice some loss of detail if u really look for it. Something you wouldn't notice unless you're comparing each setting. A good test is in a show like Hannibal. It always has dim lighting, even in sciences which should be brighter, so you can spot dithering and artifacts all over the place if you're tv isn't set up well.
Peter Goretzki
Peter Goretzki 26 days ago
I was waiting how to fix it haha
eathams 27 days ago
Wish this video came out a few years back before I bought another monitor thinking something was wrong with my other one. At least I have 2 now!(?)
ツPlasma 28 days ago
Shaun Wilcock
Shaun Wilcock 29 days ago
Done a great job of this
Stocco Pschiozzo
Fortunately we'll soon have inexpensive 6G connections. By the way my current 100Mb/s connections are 20€/month (home cable) and 6€/month (4G mobile, no data limit). But I do live the land of Nokia.
Hippocrates Month ago
You can use anti banding filters
no u
no u Month ago
75hz monitor:
Epic Gamer25
Epic Gamer25 Month ago
Well don’t worry, the iPhone 11 and 12 has got u
greenaum Month ago
The reason they only use 8 bits per RGB channel, is because long ago, they tested people's perception of brightness. They showed volunteers different shades of grey, and brought the shades closer until the volunteer couldn't tell 2 shades apart. It turns out the human eye can distinguish about 200 shades of grey, no more. If you make that 256 it fits 8 bits and covers the range. Why HDR is necessary I don't know. Perhaps the tests back in the day used a limited brightness range. Using searing lights might have caused some discomfort so maybe they limited that. Maybe they didn't account for different pupil openness levels. But that's why 256. It wasn't a compromise, for a long time it was thought to be all anyone would ever need.
Bryan William
Bryan William Month ago
This is why the media should focus more on bitrate rather than pure resolution. A 720p high bitrate video is going to look good than a 4K low bitrate video
Elisha Overley
Elisha Overley Month ago
Joseph Riley
Joseph Riley 22 days ago
try again
Kl Pr
Kl Pr Month ago
The editing is huge. Very informative video 👏
Evean Green
Evean Green Month ago
😏 me with 2.5 gigabit.
Camellia Scholl
Camellia Scholl Month ago
oddly enough i actually notice the color banding more around the midtones - less so around the dark colors which really sucks when you realize that most stuff you see in video consists of midtones
Adverts Suck
Adverts Suck Month ago
It’s very weird Netflix streaming is fine in dark scenes on my Samsung Q60 but my Xbox one x on certain games in dark scenes it’s horrendous! Running at 4k 😩 I’ve messed around with my Xbox and TV settings with no joy of getting rid of the issue. Gutted.
BastiaanTheBoss Month ago
1:36 4*4*4 != 64
Sampsa Lehtonen
Sampsa Lehtonen Month ago
I just yeeted out a 64bit tiff image. Ah yes the size...
Fenton Read-Smith
TLDR; banding or compression.
AndreiZaBest Month ago
I watches this video a couple of times and it still hasn't ruined anything for me.
Robert Visser
Robert Visser Month ago
Very well done. Subscribed
Amy Month ago
I can see the Color banding on the blue...
Preetpal Kandola
iPhone 12 can record in 10bit means 1024*1024*1024=1073741824
Ian Pezzotti
Ian Pezzotti Month ago
2:14 “is my monitor a waste of money?”
Haz wizZRblx
Haz wizZRblx Month ago
Im scared of darkness
Mad Musician
Mad Musician Month ago
Mr Scott! You are a genius sir 🙏🏼
Naturally Noah
Naturally Noah Month ago
I have a 4K TV and every video game cutscene I watch the dark parts are very blocky and pixelated. It’s very disappointing because I also have one of the next gen consoles hooked up to it. Is there any fixes to this?!?
Weldeborn Month ago
Brilliant explanations as always
ololh4xx Month ago
The statement about compression always removing details is false - almost all compression algorithms include several stages and some of these are lossless. There are even completely (!) lossless algorithms and with deep neural networks the future of both lossless and lossy compression looks fantastic
Forrest Month ago
Only if my teachers explained my lessons this well. ✨
Kombeater Gaming
Welp it didn't work
King's Domain
King's Domain Month ago
ive learned more from tom scott than in school
Miew Leng Soo
Miew Leng Soo Month ago
q: why color banding happens( alternative tittle) 16.7 million color finally answered is 256×256×256 so its power 3 ( indices ) this is used commonly in digital screen. reason 1) isnt enough dark color which is when color banding is obvious due to contrast. 2)human eyesight /perception is relative 3) compression (save data) final thoughts this was very well researched, concise and cut and dry im giving it a rare 13/13.
Joshua David
Joshua David Month ago
Amazing video! I'd always wondered why banding was my prevalent in darker scenes, especially on streaming services or photo editing on an old monitor
MrMurray88mph Month ago
thanks Tom. Now it is impossible for me to focus my attention on nothing but the color shading of the background. thanks a lot.
mrjgl Month ago
Wait I want to know more!
Ethan Gerstein
Ethan Gerstein Month ago
my monitor is so shite i can see the gradient without you enhancing the contrast whaddya think about that
Jeremy Caruthers
Teaching perfection.
Vivek Dandare
Vivek Dandare Month ago
Videos like these shatter my dream of becoming a youtuber... How on earth can you even come close to this quality information or animation or editing...
J T Month ago
3:20 I can definetly see those anyways with my one very normal size monitor no matter the resolution
fahim rahim
fahim rahim Month ago
Well the darkness it didnt happen for my jvc
budgetlemony Month ago
pat gill in a tom scott video was a better crossover than infinity war
김ᄒᄂ Month ago
So when he's outdoor he's actually just standing in front of green screen??? Lmaoo jk
sanrys forex
sanrys forex Month ago
2:17 The searchbar in the laptop says "is my monitor a waste of money"
MakeMaggaraaa [GD]
What? No.
i saw the 201 and 202 diffrence
Dalton Month ago
Maybe it's time we stop increasing resolution past 4K where other than editing and looking with a physical magnifying glass the resolution is overkill and start looking into making essentially CD audio for video where we use lossless compression (I know CDs were uncompressed but uhhh) and stupidly dense mediums like a blu-ray replacement to store that data. Probably also a good idea to add a logarithmic rather than linear scale to the video in transit for now since we don't have the tech to cheaply send lossless or VERY high quality lossy compressed video at 4k 60FPS... yet.
F.B.M. Mahin
F.B.M. Mahin Month ago
Damn son. This is some extraordinary Quality content
Disthron Month ago
...Didn't Windows 98 have an option for 32-bit color?
WOLFDawg 606
WOLFDawg 606 Month ago
I've always noticed this, but every time I told someone about this, they'd call me weird
Leongon draws stuff
I see more of this in bright scenes than dark, it all comes down to what the brightness and contrast of the final screen are versus the room light it's viewed in.
Harrison McDonald
I have a retina screen, so once colors get dark enough, the pixels just turn off, so I couldn't really see anything you were talking about. It's like that for most modern phones.
Xandei Souders
Xandei Souders Month ago
Ludicrous speed
Saptak Mandal
Saptak Mandal Month ago
Jokes on you Tom, I was watching the video in 144p
Joe Month ago
@3:20 I could see the circular banding before you zoomed it though?
Totally Not Pisnew
Good quality videos. Interesting facts. I'm subscribing
British airways 747
Idk why but RUvid works perfectly almost no buffering on 1080 mobile, iPad and tv but as soon as I go to a laptop it can’t even run 480p without buffering tf and I have a 100 mbps wifi with a decent laptop amd ryzen 3
Jacob Keesecker
Jacob Keesecker Month ago
Julian Cantarelli
I was about to change my TV because of this. Dark scenes on Netflix looks like bootleg pirated movies from the Kazaa days.
GP33 Month ago
It's because the communist bloc's iron curtain made it dark
Osai1234 Month ago
“The dark, doesn’t look so good these days” hey hey hey........ im just kidding😂 great interesting video i love to see it
EveryFairyDies Month ago
4:25 Is... is that a Spaceballs reference?!
DSiren Sirenite
DSiren Sirenite Month ago
when your eyes adjust to a very dark room, your eyes can actually detect natural dithering, because in low light environments there are fewer photons to go around, and thus less resolution for your eyes to pick up. Kindof a trash explanation but it's something like that.
sebastian morales
So HOW many shades of gray is that?
mxrAntzboyz Month ago
This guy must have memorize his lines for the vids
YC Gamer XD
YC Gamer XD Month ago
i am watching this in 4k
Hannah Kirk
Hannah Kirk Month ago
So this is why that game of thrones episode looks so horrible
SturmBauer Month ago
"Up to 60 times per second..." Gamers: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
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