Yep, the nvidia-settings was what I tried originally. Tweaking the values a little at a time did not appear to be doing anything for video playback of ripped *.dvd files, so for a test, I tried setting the brightness to 100% using nvidia-settings. Everything was super bright like I would expect until I played a ripped movie. That was still dark like it was ignoring the nvidia settings
This was last weekend, so I'll double check that.
*Edit* - I just checked this on my core which also has an nvidia card. Using nvidia-settings, changed the brightness to 100%. Then played a ripped .dvd file on the core. Video played like the brightness level was not changed.