The multi-industry Ultra HD Alliance (UHDA) answered the call of flimmakers around the world Tuesday by announcing the creation of “Filmmaker Mode” — a series of picture quality settings that consumers can easily make to their television sets with the push of a button to ensure the movie they are watching is as close to the way the filmmaker intended it to be seen.

The UHDA brought flimmakers, technical directors and television makers to a press conference that was live streamed from Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon to announce the new Flimmaker Mode initiative.

In short, Filmmaker Mode will be added to future LG, Panasonic and Vizio televisions to ensure that when 24 fps film-based content is display on a television screen, consumers have a simple way to set their television to produce the correct aspect ratio, color mode and frame rate to achieve the look and feeling of a production that matches to the best of the television the director’s intent.

Mike Fidler, UHDA president announced Filmmaker Mode Tuesday.

The UHDA said the three TV manfacturers will be the first to implement the Filmmaker Mode standard, but it is hoped that other television makers and brands will quickly follow.

Flimmaker mode will be offered as either a button on a remote control or in metadata in the input signal that will automatically instruct the television to make the right settings adjustments to avoid getting on-screen images that Hollywood writer and director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) aptly described as looking like “pooh pooh”.

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Flimmakers and actors alike have united to encourage TV makers to offer simple to use and understand settings that will avoid issues like “the Soap Opera Effect” in which frame rates and motion interpolation processing makes film-based images look like overly sharp live video, ruining the illusion in the visual storytelling. Some filmmakers have asked TV makers to turnoff motion smoothing circuitry out of the box, so consumers never have to see the issue.

But TV makers have resisted this because, 1) televisions today are usually placed in some sort of Energy Saver mode out of the box, which dims lighting and colors to achieve Energy Star compliance; 2) So, televisions are placed in Vivid mode out of the box so that they are displayed with the brightest and most saturated colors for demonstrations on retail floors or 3) they are placed in motion smoothing mode by default because it is expected that viewers will be watching news and sports events most of the time, and this sort of content actually benefits from the motion smoothing techniques.

Annie Chang, actor and producer, said that achieving the creation of “Flimmaker Mode” was the result of a process 20 years in the making. It took a multi-industry organization like the UHDA with membership from the studio, electronics and distribution industries to work together to get an experience that consumers will find to be easy to use and understand and consistently labeled and presented across television models and brands.

The goal, she said, was to create a experience that ensured delivery of the creative vision in a way that will be seamless and simple for consumers to get to.

By Greg Tarr

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