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Filmmaker Mode comes to home TV

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The UHD Alliance (UHDA) along with leaders in consumer electronics, Hollywood studios and members of the filmmaking community, have announced their collaboration on a new viewing mode for watching movies and episodic TV, called “Filmmaker Mode”.

UHD Alliance Chairman, Michael Zink of Warner Bros., says: “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 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.”

Current TVs use advanced video processing capabilities to offer consumers a broad range of options in viewing various types of content, ranging from sports to video games. Filmmaker Mode will allow viewers to enjoy a more cinematic experience on their UHD TVs when watching movies by disabling all post-processing (e.g. motion smoothing, etc.) so the movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colours and frame rates.

“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 the soon to be released, Knives Out.

LG Electronics, Panasonic and VIZIO announced support for Filmmaker Mode and expressed their interest in delivering creative intent to the home. Specific product and implementation plans will be announced by each company at the appropriate time.

Christopher Nolan, the celebrated director of such acclaimed films as DunkirkInterstellar and the Dark Knight Trilogy, says: “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. Through collaboration with TV manufacturers, Filmmaker Mode consolidates input from filmmakers into simple principles for respecting frame rate, aspect ratio, colour and contrast and encoding in the actual media so that televisions can read it and can display it appropriately.”

While studios and CE manufacturers have long worked in concert to deliver new entertainment technologies and experiences to consumers, Filmmaker Mode marks the first collaboration to add leaders in the creative community to the mix.

“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,” says 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.”

Notably, unlike some picture modes which may require the user to enter one or more menus to find and select, Filmmaker Mode will be activated either automatically, through metadata embedded in the content, or through a single button which enables the consumer to activate Filmmaker Mode without moving through multiple menu levels. Further, to make finding displays that can display content in Filmmaker Mode, the name and settings will be consistent across multiple TV brands.

“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,” says Paul Thomas Anderson, director of such films as 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.”

In addition to consolidating feedback from filmmakers, studios and CE manufacturers, the UHDA engaged the broader creative community by polling their members to identify priorities. As part of the specification development process for Filmmaker Mode, the UHDA worked with and solicited input from the Directors Guild of America 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,” says director, 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.”

“Every day on set, we make hundreds of decisions about how to present and tell our story. No one decision makes or breaks a film, but there’s a cumulative effect that results in a film that looks and feels the way we envisioned it,” says Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins. “As a filmmaker, I want to see…and think viewers want to see…that vision carried through to every possible viewing environment. Filmmaker Mode makes it possible for all those choices to be seen in the home.”

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