Posted Tue Aug 27, 2019 at 05:15 PM PDT by Steven Cohen
Say goodbye to motion smoothing!
The UHD Alliance has announced the development of a new Filmmaker Mode for consumer 4K HDR TVs.
Produced in partnership with several prominent Hollywood filmmakers and display manufacturers, the new TV calibration setting is designed to simplify the process of providing an accurate out-of-the-box image. The mode can be activated through a dedicated button on a TV's remote or automatically via metadata triggered by the content being played.
Once turned on, Filmmaker Mode disables pesky post-processing features like motion smoothing, sharpening, and noise reduction -- which can all create an unnatural looking image. Likewise, the setting also ensures that accurate colors, frame rates, and aspect ratios are maintained. Together, these one-click adjustments all help to create an image that preserves the director's original intent with support for both SDR and HDR10 material. Compatibility with Dolby Vision content is also a likely possibility but, I believe the UHDA is still waiting on Dolby to confirm Filmmaker Mode doesn't mess up anything required to make Dolby Vision work on a particular TV. (A Dolby rep attended the launch event, but we weren't able to find him for a direct quote.)
Current manufacturers on board to implement Filmmaker Mode into their products include LG, VIZIO, and Panasonic. Likewise, the setting is being championed by an extensive collection of directors, including Rian Johnson, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, J.J. Abrams, Ava Duvernay, Paul Thomas Anderson, The Duffer Brothers, and more.
"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," said UHD Alliance Chairman, Michael Zink of Warner Bros. "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."
As part of the Filmmaker Mode launch even in Los Angeles, the UHDA brought along a $30,000 Sony reference monitor -- the kind used to color grade movies for cinemas and home entertainment -- as well as a Filmmaker Mode-equipped prototype LCD TV that "cost around $1,500. Based on the graphic user interface and its distinct legs, my guess is that it was an entry-level Vizio E or M model.
We then watched side-by-side clips from Dunkirk and The Phantom Thread on both displays while toggling the prototype between Filmmaker Mode and what they called "Typical Mode." Typical Mode isn't actually available on Vizio TVs (thank god), but it represented an amalgamation of what many TVs look like in random bars and your mom's living room. In other words, imaging turning on (or being stuck with) every awful processing mode possible with gobs of motion interpolation and blindingly-cool color temperatures.
Typical mode turned the green and yellow-tinged moody beach scenes of Dunkirk into a lovely, sunny day and The Phantom Thread looked equally awful. Filmmaker Mode, by contrast, was free of any extra processing and the color pallet matched the reference monitor quite well. In short, if Filmmaker Mode looks this good on an average TV, I suspect it will stun on great TVs.
It's important to point out that Filmmaker Mode isn't a format, nor can it make a $1,500 LCD look a stunning and perfect as a $30,000 (CRT?). Filmmaker Mode simply tells your TV to get as close to the source material as it possibly can. In regards to calibrations, they're still the best way to get the most out of any given TV, but Filmmaker Mode is more designed for the vast majority of TV owners who don't change any TV settings, let alone perform a complex calibration.
In the future, Filmmaker Mode may work automatically, using metadata encoded into a movie, but for now, it'll likely be a button on your remote. Honestly, after seeing so many awful-looking TVs in restaurants, hotels, and other public places, I hope folks who love movies use Filmmaker Mode often and with enthusiasm.
Specific display models set to include Filmmaker Mode have not been announced yet, but VIZIO will be including the option in its 2020 TV lineup. Likewise, the company is also looking into the possibility of offering the mode on some current and older models via a firmware update. Meanwhile, Panasonic is expected to announce displays with Filmmaker Mode at the upcoming IFA tradeshow, though the company still has no plans to release TVs in the US.
Source: UHD Alliance via BusinessWire
NOTE: This article has been updated to include a description of the Filmmaker Mode demo.
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