The UHD Alliance, comprising some TV makers and Hollywood studios, has announced the 'Filmmaker Mode' for TVs, designed to preserve the intent of the filmmaker. LG, Panasonic, and Vizio are onboard.
The wild west
There is an old saying that goes something like "films should be seen in a theater". And in Hollywood some people like to refer to the living room TV situation as "the wild west".
Although things have improved in recent years with more accurate picture modes, TVs rarely conform to the reference standards for content production. From oversaturated colors to motion smoothing, most viewers are not experiencing the movie as the director intended. The UHD Alliance, comprising some TV makers and Hollywood studios, wants to fix the situation with 'Filmmaker Mode'.
- "When Paul Thomas Anderson, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Martin Scorsese, and Christopher Nolan reached out to the UHDA about extending the cinematic experience into the living room, we were eager and ideally situated to engage in the conversation," the UHD Alliance said. "The Ultra HD TVs from supporting CE members are capable of delivering a range of viewing options and the addition of Filmmaker Mode for cinematic content, which is based on input from a broad range of preeminent filmmakers, provides a way for consumers to better experience the filmmaker’s vision."
Photo: UHD Alliance
Filmmaker Mode for TVs
LG, Panasonic, and Vizio are onboard. The Filmmaker Mode will be consistent across TVs from these manufacturers. It will disable all post-processing, including motion smoothing, and preserve the original and correct aspect ratio, colors (and D65 white point), and frame rates. It will apply to both SDR and HDR video.
- "Modern televisions have extraordinary technical capabilities, and it is important that we harness these new technologies to ensure that the home viewer sees our work presented as closely as possible to our original creative intentions," said Christopher Nolan, director of Dunkirk, Interstellar and the Dark Knight Trilogy. "Through collaboration with TV manufacturers, Filmmaker Mode consolidates input from filmmakers into simple principles for respecting frame rate, aspect ratio, color and contrast and encoding in the actual media so that televisions can read it and can display it appropriately."
Notably, unlike existing picture modes such as ISF, THX, and Technicolor, the Filmmaker Mode will be more accessible to viewers. It will be activated for movies and TV shows automatically, through metadata embedded in the content, or through a dedicated button on the remote control. TVs that support the mode will carry the official logo on the box or specifications list.
Hollywood gets involved
From "the wild west" to advanced modern TVs. In recent years, TV technology has leapfrogged cinema. 4K resolution is fast becoming the norm and HDR - High Dynamic Range - is starting to take off. While there are Dolby Cinemas and other initiatives to make some form of HDR - or EDR (Enhanced Dynamic Range) as critics prefer to call it - available to cinemagoers, the HDR revolution is happening in our living rooms.
Hollywood is starting to acknowledge the change. However, technology is only one part of the equation. All of this technology must be tamed in order to remain true to the content creators and industry standards, filmmakers argue.
- "With all the advances in today’s televisions, now is a great time to introduce Filmmaker Mode. It's just impossible to ignore what the technology can do," said Paul Thomas Anderson, director of There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread. "We can use these capabilities to preserve the intent of the filmmaker, preserve the purpose of the art."
The Filmmaker Mode is a "clean expression of what the movie was meant to look like" in up to 4K HDR - and beyond in the future.
- "The thing that sets Filmmaker Mode apart is it will be a pure, clean expression of what the movie was meant to look like when it was made," said Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Knives Out.
James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, Ava DuVernay, Judd Apatow, Ang Lee, Reed Moreno and the Duffer Brothers also support the initiative. It marks the first collaboration between Hollywood studios and TV manufacturers to add leaders in the creative community to the mix, the alliance said.
- "I care deeply about how cinema is experienced at home because that's where it lives the longest. That's where cinema is watched and re-watched and experienced by families," added Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther and Creed. "By allowing the artists in the tent to help consult and give feedback to the electronics companies on Filmmaker Mode, we can collectively help make the consumer’s experience even more like it is in the cinema."
The initiative has been underway for some time. You may recall that Christopher Nolan in 2018 proposed a 'Reference Mode' for TVs and that Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie in late 2018 asked you to turn off motion smoothing. With the UHD Alliance (UHDA) at the helm, filmmakers, Hollywood studios, and TV makers came together to make it reality. UHDA also solicited input from the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and The Film Foundation.
- "I started the Film Foundation in 1990 with the goal to preserve film and protect the filmmaker’s original vision so that the audience can experience these films as they were intended to be seen," said Martin Scorsese. "Most people today are watching these classic films at home rather than in movie theaters, making Filmmaker Mode of particular importance when presenting these films which have specifications unique to being shot on film."
Vizio said that the Filmmaker Mode will be available in its 2020 TVs. LG and Panasonic are expected to announced more details at IFA 2019 in Berlin next month. FlatpanelsHD will be there to report on the latest developments.
- Source: UHD Alliance