Filmmaker Mode Now Auto-Enabled for Apple TV+ Content on LG, Samsung TVs; Also Paired with Dolby Vision on LG Screens

LAS VEGAS — With famed director Martin Scorsese in its corner, the UHD Alliance Jan. 8 announced two new developments for its Filmmaker Mode: automatic implementation for Apple TV+ content viewed on LG Electronics and Samsung TVs, and a paired enablement, with Dolby Vision, on LG displays.

Filmmaker Mode is an Ultra HD TV setting designed to reproduce movie and TV content on home screens the way the creator wants them to be seen.

“From our perspective, this really ensures that consumers will be able to see films the way they were intended, without much hassle,” Michael Zink, the former Warner Bros. executive who serves as president and CEO of the UHD Alliance, said at a press conference.

“As you may recall, one of our core tenets when we developed Filmmaker Mode has always been about simplifying consumer messaging, and we feel this is an important step toward that,” he said. “Filmmaker Mode has never been about one format or the other — it’s about every format out there, and it’s really a testament to wanting to make sure that consumers, once they see the brand, know they’re going to see the film the way it was intended to be seen, no matter what format it’s being played on.”

Mark Lee, who heads the North American content business development team for LG, told reporters at the press conference that LG has been a big supporter of the UHD Alliance “from the beginning, and when it comes to Filmmaker Mode, we supported the feature starting with our TVs in 2020. And with the support of the Alliance, we continued to innovate, where in 2021, we became the first manufacturer to enable Filmmaker Mode on Prime Video content — to where we are today, with our partnerships with Apple and Dolby Vision, we’re able to enable Filmmaker Mode automatically on LG OLED and our QNED TVs.”

Dolby Vision plus Filmmaker Mode is available on QNED TVs with 85-inch screens or larger.

Introduced by the UHD Alliance in August 2019, Filmmaker Mode gives viewers a more cinematic experience by disabling all post-processing (such as motion smoothing) so a movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates.

Scorsese was not in attendance at the UHD Alliance press conference, held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on the eve of CES 2024. But the UHD Alliance at the press conference unveiled a promotional clip in which the director maintains “every movie should be seen in Filmmaker Mode.” Watching a movie on many TVs with motion smoothing and brightness settings, he says, is “like watching an incomplete record of the film.”

The promo clip was produced by LG and Apple TV+, home to Scorsese’s latest film, Killers of the Flower Moon.

Scorsese has been a champion of film preservation for years. He once spearheaded a campaign urging Eastman Kodak to develop a more stable film stock. He also is founder and chair of The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1990 that is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history.

In a statement at CES four years ago he called Filmmaker Mode “a long overdue and welcome innovation.”

The UHD Alliance — comprised of leading consumer electronics manufacturers, film and television studios, content distributors and technology companies — establishes performance requirements for resolution, high dynamic range, color and other video and audio attributes with an eye toward giving consumers the best possible 4K UHD with HDR experience. Home entertainment products, mobile devices and content meeting these certification requirements bear the UHDA’s Premium Logo marks, making them easy for consumers to identify and purchase with confidence.

Zink talked about the growing number of movies and shows that are available for viewing thanks to the surge in streaming services, which he believes bodes well for future deployment of Filmmaker Mode.

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He brought to the podium Ailen Matthies, COO of Brazilian data science firm BB Media, who noted that on a worldwide basis upwards of 1.5 million movies and TV shows are available for streaming, three times as many as in 2020. She pointed to BB Media data that shows 3,500 new streaming services launched last year, with expectations for a similar number this year.

Already, as of Jan. 8, 780 new streaming services have been announced for 2024, she said.

Zink later said the proliferation of content, and the fact that it lives on in the home, is why “content quality and making sure content is being displayed correctly is so near and dear to our hearts.”

UHD Alliance Expanding Consumer Education About Filmmaker Mode

Filmmaker Mode — an Ultra HD TV setting designed to reproduce movie and TV content the way the creator intended — will get a new consumer education push in 2022, according to UHD Alliance president Michael Zink.

Introduced by the UHD Alliance in August 2019, Filmmaker Mode allows viewers to enjoy a more cinematic experience on their UHD TVs when watching content by disabling all post-processing (e.g. motion smoothing, etc.) so a movie or television show is displayed as it was intended by the filmmaker, preserving the correct aspect ratios, colors and frame rates. Among its supporters are Hisense (which highlighted the feature at CES), Panasonic (which also highlighted the feature on its flagship OLED TV), Samsung, LG, Skyworth, BenQ, Kaleidescape, Philips/TP Vision, and Amazon Prime Video, which was the first streaming service to announce support for Filmmaker Mode in 2020 and was the first streaming service to implement automatic switching to the Mode on all LG Smart TVs.

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Filmmaker Mode is also supported by the Director’s Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild, the Film Foundation, and several top Hollywood directors, including Martin Scorsese.

“We are in this unique position of having a relatively comprehensive ecosystem,” Zink said.

The concurrent theatrical and streaming release of many films during the pandemic has increased creative support for Filmmaker Mode, he noted.

As part of the new focus on education, the UHD Alliance recently got a video assist from Dune director Denis Villeneuve, who discussed Filmmaker Mode as the best way to view the film in the home. Due to the pandemic, Dune was released concurrently in late October in theaters and on HBO Max, where a large audience would see the film for the first time streamed at home. The Alliance pushed the filmmaker’s video on social media in October in concert with the WarnerMedia, HBO Max and Dune promotional teams.

In another online education move, the Alliance enlisted professional TV calibration expert Vincent Teoh to release a YouTube video called “5 TV Settings That Should Be Illegal,” explaining the downsides of TV settings that harm picture quality and emphasizing the benefits of Filmmaker Mode. The YouTube video was viewed more than 800,000 times in two weeks, Zink said.

 

Meanwhile, the UHD Alliance continues to enlist more companies to adopt Filmmaker Mode. In recent developments, MediaTek will support Filmmaker Mode auto-switching (which employs the setting automatically on applicable content) on its chipsets. This makes it easier for manufacturers using the chipsets to implement the feature, so they “don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Zink said.

Also, the new specification from APEX (the Airline Passenger Entertainment eXperience Association) was approved in 2021 with Filmmaker Mode as a mandatory requirement for in flight entertainment systems, meaning new systems on planes will offer flyers the setting on movies and TV shows viewed on flights. American Airlines in December 2021 announced implementation of the new system on transcontinental and international flights in 2023.

The UHD Alliance is continuing to work on expanding the Filmmaker Mode ecosystem.

“We’re talking to a number of other OTT services [to enlist support],” Zink said.

Also on the Alliance’s plate for the future are further interoperability testing and ambient light recommendations for Filmmaker Mode to offer the best picture in different viewing situations.

Industry Vet Mike Fidler Joins Consulting Firm

Industry veteran and former UHD Alliance president Mike Fidler has joined bluesalve partners as a senior consultant.

Mike Fidler

Fidler has served in senior executive roles with Sony and Pioneer, and as CEO at Digeo, and has been instrumental in launching and leading entertainment industry technologies and organizations, including  DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and most recently the UHD Alliance. He also served as entrepreneur in residence at Connect, a San Diego start-up advisory.

He brings a unique combination of expertise in hardware, product development, and content platforms and as well as relationships with the Consumer Electronics ecosystem such as service providers, retailers, studios, and streaming services driving new innovations in the market, according to bluesalve.

He adds additional expertise to bluesalve partners’ decades of C-suite level executive experience spanning multiple disciplines, including product development manufacturing, sales, channel development, engineering, system integration, wireless technologies, standards development, corporate finance, valuation and M&A, according to bluesalve.

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“In this fast-paced and complex business environment it’s essential to have a knowledgeable team to maximize the opportunities,” Fidler said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with the bsp team as their diverse skills and collaborative ethos creates a great environment to drive success for their clients.”

“We are thrilled to have Mike on board. He is a well-respected consumer technology industry powerhouse and his reputation for bringing people and organizations together to solve big challenges and for keeping the consumer at the center is second to none,” founding partner Lew Brown said in a statement. “Plus, Mike is that rare breed that can accomplish big things and while keeping his down-to-earth demeanor, which makes him a perfect fit here at bsp.”

UHD Alliance’s Mike Fidler Steps Down; Michael Zink Takes Over as President

Mike Fidler is stepping down as president of the UHD Alliance and is being replaced in the position by board chair Michael Zink, who will continue to serve as a spokesperson for the organization.

Mike Fidler

“I have had an exceptional time working with my counterparts in the industry that has been my life blood for over 40 years,” Fidler said in a statement. “It was my privilege to help advance the goals of the UHD Alliance in driving a premium home entertainment experience for consumers. Harnessing the power of the member companies to bring a unified message to market is always challenging and it has been incredibly rewarding to see the success we had with integrating Filmmaker Mode into the top CE brands and building the value of the Alliance for its member companies.”

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“Mike’s contributions to the Alliance and to initiatives such as Filmmaker Mode and Ultra HD Premium have been innumerable,” Zink said in a statement. “He’s brought a unique combination of industry knowledge, consumer understanding and leadership capabilities to the role that ideally suited him to guiding the organization through the development of initiatives that will benefit the industry and consumers for the foreseeable future. Mike’s efforts to expand the awareness of the UHDA and its initiatives with trade/retail associations (CEDIA, DTG, ProSource, HTSA, etc.), CE companies, consumers and the industry press were very successful. His efforts and counsel are greatly appreciated and will be missed by me and all the of UHDA member companies.”

The UHD Alliance — comprised of consumer electronics manufacturers, film and television studios, content distributors and technology companies — establishes performance requirements for resolution, high dynamic range, color and other video and audio attributes to promote the best possible 4K UHD with HDR experience. Home entertainment products, mobile devices and content meeting these certification requirements bear the UHDA’s Premium Logo marks.

Filmmaker Mode, introduced by the UHD Alliance in August 2019, is designed to reproduce content in the way the creator intended. It allows 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, colors and frame rates, according to the Alliance.

UHD Alliance Announces Amazon Prime, Hisense Support for Filmmaker Mode

The UHD Alliance on Sept. 30 announced that Amazon Prime will begin supporting Filmmaker Mode next year and that Hisense has joined consumer electronics companies Panasonic, Vizio, Samsung, LG, Kaleidescape and Philips in supporting the feature.

The announcements came during an online presentation with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Filmmaker Mode, introduced by the UHD Alliance in August 2019, is designed to reproduce the content in the way the creator intended. It allows 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, colors and frame rates, according to the Alliance.

“Prime Video will be launching this feature on select players next year,” said UHD Alliance chairman Mike Zink. “It’s something that we’ve been working very hard on, and I think we are very, very excited for this to come to life.”

UHD Alliance president Mike fiddler noted that CE companies supporting Filmmaker Mode represent a big chunk of TV unit shipments both domestically and globally.

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Zink interviewed colorist Jill Bogdanowicz and Stephen Lighthill, president, the American Society of Cinematographers, about the importance of maintaining the intention of creators in content viewed in the home.

“Anyone that does not look at the way the image is going into the home is foolish,” noted Lighthill, adding “producers want to make sure it’s going to look the same in Jill’s suite as it does at home.”

CE company executives also joined the discussion to describe and express their support for Filmmaker Mode.

LG Electronics’ Tim Alessi said the company was putting Filmmaker Mode in every new UHD model produced in 2020.

“We kinda went all in on Filmmaker Mode,” he said, noting, “what really sets this whole effort apart is we got the entire industry to rally around one name and one set of features.”

LG is mounting an in-store display at Best Buy describing the advantages of the feature.

Samsung’s Bill Mandel said the manufacturer put the Mode in all its 2020 UHD TVs, and about a month ago launched new projectors with the feature. Samsung is running an in-store video loop about it on its TVs, he noted.

CES 2020 Opens With Spotlight on Innovation

LAS VEGAS — CES 2020 opened Jan.7 with innovation and concepts once again overshadowing the show’s legacy consumer electronics.

This year’s CES features more than 4,400 exhibiting companies, including 1,200 startups.

A press release from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which produces the annual event, touts the show’s focus on “the latest transformative technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence, vehicle technology, digital health and more.”

CES 2020 runs through Jan. 10.

“The innovation on display this week at CES embodies the drive and passion that fuels our industry and furthers economic growth on a global scale,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, in a statement. “The products and technologies launching this week will inspire, connect and change lives for the better.”

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Prior to the CES exhibit show floor opening, there were a number of pre-show events Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, including Media Days, CTA’s 2020 Tech Trends to Watch presentation, CES Unveiled Las Vegas, conference programming at the ARIA and keynotes from Samsung and Daimler.

Samsung Consumer Electronics President and CEO H.S. Kim, delivering the first CES 2020 keynote, focused on the “Age of Experience,” a decade of human-centric innovation that combines hardware and software to create personalized experiences to make life more convenient, enjoyable and meaningful. His talk highlighted the company’s latest advances in intelligent robotics, AI, 5G and edge computing. “In the Age of Experience, we need to re-think the space we have to accommodate our diverse and evolving lifestyles,” said Kim.

CTA’s Steve Koenig and Lesley Rohrbaugh presented 2020 Tech Trends to Watch on Jan. 5 and provided some sales projections. The soaring popularity of streaming services along with 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled devices will drive revenue growth for the U.S. consumer tech industry to a record $422 billion in retail revenues in 2020 — nearly 4% growth over last year, according to CTA estimates.

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Also on Jan. 5, the annual CES Unveiled events featured more than 220 exhibiting companies, including 98 startups from Eureka Park, the startup hub at CES 2020.

CES Media Days featured two days of preshow press events from CES exhibitors, including major brands and emerging startups. Twenty-nine companies announced products, including several that showed off home entertainment-related products.

  • HDMI announced its Ultra High Speed HDMI certification program that assures support for all HDMI 2.1 features, including 8K.
  • Hisense talked up a dual-cell XD9G LCD TV that layers two liquid crystal modules,  one on top of the other, inside a single cabinet.
  • LG Electronics unveiled new OLED (LG Signature OLED 8K) and LCD (LG 8K NanoCell) TV models.
  • Panasonic previewed  its flagship HZ2000 OLED TV with support for the UHD Alliance’s Filmmaker Mode.
  • And the UHD Alliance announced two additional television partners for its Filmmaker Mode initiative, Samsung and Phillips, along with further support from Hollywood guilds and others (see related story).

UHD Alliance’s Filmmaker Mode Picks Up Support From Hollywood Guilds, Samsung, Philips

Three Hollywood guilds, the Film Foundation, consumer electronics companies Samsung and Philips (TP Vision, Europe), and Kaleidescape have joined others in support of Filmmaker Mode, the UHD Alliance announced at CES Jan. 6.

The guilds include the Director’s Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers and the International Cinematographers Guild. The CE companies join LG Electronics, Panasonic and Vizio, which announced support for the program in August. Also in August, several high-profile directors and Hollywood studios hailed Filmmaker Mode, which brings a more cinematic viewing experience to the home by turning off motion smoothing on the TV, among other setting adjustments.

“[Filmmaker Mode] sets the television in a way that maintains filmmaker intent,” said Warner’s Michael Zink, UHD Alliance chairman, at the press conference.

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“Preserving intent is an important part of our creative rights work,” said director and co-chair of the DGA creative rights committee Christopher Nolan in a statement.

“Most people today are watching classic films at home,” said director Martin Scorsese, founder and chair of the Film Foundation, in a statement. “With Filmmaker Mode, different works will be presented accurately as they were created and designed by the filmmaker. Filmmaker Mode is a long overdue and welcome innovation.”

See more photos from the UHD Alliance press conference

The Film Foundation is a film preservation and education organization.

“The ASC’s mission has always centered around advancing the art and science of cinematography,” said Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, in a statement. “Filmmaking is a true art-form and Filmmaker Mode allows that artwork to be enjoyed as envisioned by the artist not just in the theater, but in the home.”

With the addition of more CE companies, “we really do have that strong worldwide presence,” said UHD Alliance president Mike Fidler.

Tim Alessi, senior director, product marketing, LG Electronics, who announced the company’s support for Filmmaker Mode earlier in the day, also appeared at the UHD press conference. “We will include it in every new 4K and 8K TV that we introduce in 2020,” he said, adding LG would “aggressively promote it at retail.”

“We want to help the consumer watch all the great movies on a great TV without having to give it a second thought,” he said.

Panasonic’s Makoto Morise also showed up at the UHD event and noted that the company’s 2020 OLED HD 2000 series will support Filmmaker Mode, an announcement also made earlier at the Panasonic press conference. More models will be added, he said.

Ken Lowe, co-founder and VP, Vizio, also appeared at the event. Vizio will use the automatic feature that engages Filmmaker Mode, “but customers may also activate it manually as well,” he said.

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LG Touts Filmmaker Mode at CES

LG Electronics touted support for the UHD Alliance’s Filmmaker Mode Jan. 6 at CES with video testimonials by directors Chris Nolan and Christopher McQuarrie hailing the feature that brings the home viewing experience closer to the filmmakers’ intention.

“We’re proud to be among the first to embrace the UHD Alliance’s new Filmmaker Mode,” said Tim Alessi, senior director of product marketing at LG Electronics.

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 allows 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, colors and frame rates.

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LG also showed a 65-inch, 20mm thick TV; its rollup OLED TV, which Alessi said would be introduced this year; and support for DolbyVision IQ.

In addition, the electronics company touted Nvidia G-Sync-compatible TVs that can play games in 4K with up to 120 Hz. Alessi noted that game playing capability on TVs is increasingly important to consumers.

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UHD Alliance Introduces ‘Filmmaker Mode’

The UHD Alliance, along with leaders in consumer electronics, the Hollywood studios and members of the filmmaking community, Aug. 27 announced collaboration on a new viewing mode for watching movies and episodic TV called “Filmmaker Mode,” designed to reproduce the content in the way the creator intended. (L-R): Panasonic’s Ron Martin, Vizio’s Kenneth Lowe, Warner’s Michael Zink and director Rian Johnson were on hand to announce the launch. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon for UHD Alliance)

UHD Alliance Launches New ‘Filmmaker’ Viewing Mode

The UHD Alliance, along with leaders in consumer electronics, the Hollywood studios and members of the filmmaking community, on Aug. 27 announced collaboration on a new viewing mode for watching movies and episodic TV called “Filmmaker Mode,” designed to reproduce the content in the way the creator intended.

Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the soon-to-be-released Knives Out, helped introduce Filmmaker Mode at an event in Los Angeles.

“As someone who makes movies, I love this so much,” he said. “I know that it means that every choice that I’ve made in the movies that I make, from the choices on set all the way up through through the color grade, are going to be coming through when somebody watches them at home.”

“I want to applaud everybody with the UHD Alliance,” he added.

“This initiative enjoys broad support from some of Hollywood’s most notable directors along with the filmmaking community,” said UHD Alliance president Mike Fiddler.

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, colors and frame rates, according to the Alliance.

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LG Electronics, Panasonic and VIZIO announced support for Filmmaker Mode. Specific product and implementation plans will be announced by each company at a later date. Panasonic expects to include the mode in 2020 models, said Panasonic’s Ron Martin at the event. Vizio announced its 2020 Smart TV product lineup also will include the new mode.

Vizio’s Carlos Angulo noted that the company’s research showed that 85% of consumers leave the TV in the mode out of the box or rarely change it.

“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 director Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Interstellar and the Dark Knight Trilogy) in a statement. “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.”

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.

The UHD Alliance informed the project by surveying the creative community. Of the more then 400 members of the creative community surveyed, 96% said maintaining creative intent in the home was important to them, said Annie Chang, VP of creative technology at Universal.

There were three things repeatedly heard from filmmakers, said Warner Bros. VP of technology Michael Zink. They cared about the home viewing experience of their films, they knew modern TVs delivered more advanced quality, and they wanted it to be easy for consumers to access the correct settings for their content.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

Johnson noted that he once tried to turn off motion smoothing on a bar TV and even he couldn’t figure it out. “It’s nested very often in deep sub-menus,” he said.

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,” noted director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread) in a statement. “We can use these capabilities to preserve the intent of the filmmaker, preserve the purpose of the art.”

As part of the specification development process for Filmmaker Mode, the UHDA also 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,” noted director Martin Scorsese in a statement. “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,” added Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins in a statement. “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.”