Major Movie Directors, TV Makers Team Up to Make Movies Look Better at Home

Aug 28, 2019

A consortium of leading film directors has teamed up with TV manufacturers and the UHD Alliance to ensure that movies look closer to what the filmmakers intended when viewed at home. A new "Filmmaker Mode" picture setting will be coming to select 4K UHD TVs. This mode will automatically adjust picture settings to make them closer to how it would look in a movie theater; closer to how the filmmakers actually intended their films to look.

The specifications for Filmmaker mode were developed by the UHDA (Ultra High Definition Alliance), with input from over 400 filmmakers, including directors and cinematographers. Noted directors including Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Patty Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, J.J. Abrams, Christopher Nolan and Rian Johnson have announced their support of the initiative. TV makers LG, Panasonic and VIZIO have announced that their TVs will include the feature in the near future. Only VIZIO has given a specific time frame, saying that the setting will be available in its 2020 UHD Smart TVs.

While the main culprit here, "motion smoothing," is something that can be turned off in most TVs, most consumers rely on the default settings of their TV. And so they suffer with an inferior presentation of film content. Motion Smoothing is a feature that was developed primarily for LCD television, in order to prevent the smearing of moving images on the set, and the perceived "judder" or jerkiness of moving images that can appear when lower frame rates are used to capture motion. But the side effect of motion smoothing is that it makes filmed content look more like video. Some call it the "soap opera" effect as most daytime serial dramas used to be filmed on video cameras, rather than film cameras.

Representatives from major Hollywood studios and CE manufacturers join UHDA Alliance President Michael Fidler in a panel discussion on Filmmaker mode in Hollywood on August 27, 2019.

The UHDA Alliance held a press conference in Los Angeles yesterday to announce this new picture mode. Representatives from Universal, Warner Brothers, Panasonic and Vizio joined UHDA president Michael Fidler to discuss the new picture mode and how it will work.

Filmmaker mode will also ensure things like contrast and aspect ratio are set correctly in order to view the film as close as possible to how the filmmakers intended. But all the picture tweaks in the world aren't much good if the user doesn't turn them on, so the goal is to have these settings applied automatically, whenever the TV detects that film-based content is being viewed. Other than Vizio's 2020 announcement, precise details as to how and when we'll see this feature make its way to consumer sets is not yet available, but we'll sure to post updates as this feature gets closer to production. For now, check out what some of the top filmmakers have to say on the topic.

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