January 5, 2022
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.
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.