New ‘Filmmaker Mode’ to Enable Cinematic Home Viewing on Future TVs

LOS ANGELES—Owners of future advanced TVs may one day forget the all too familiar disclaimer before movies—“This film has been modified from its original version...”—at least if the UHD Alliance, CE manufacturers, Hollywood studios and filmmakers have anything to do with it.

The group today announced a collaboration to equip advanced televisions with “Filmmaker Mode,” a cinematic viewing option that promises to one day make such a disclaimer a thing of the past.

“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 Christopher Nolan, the director of “Dunkirk,” “Interstellar” and the “Dark Knight Trilogy.”

“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.”

Just as various viewing modes available on today’s TVs leverage the digital smarts built into sets to enhance viewing a variety of content ranging from sports to video games, Filmmaker Mode will make it possible for viewers to have an experience that more closely emulates what they have in a theater. The new mode will disable all post-processing, such as motion smoothing, so a UHD TV displays what a filmmaker intended, preserving the correct aspect ratio, colors and frame rates.

LG Electronics, Panasonic and VIZIO will support Filmmaker Mode; however, specific products and rollout plans will be announced at a later date, the UHD Alliance said.

This isn’t the first time Hollywood and CE manufacturers have collaborated on new technologies and experiences for consumers, but it is the first to include leaders from the creative community, the alliance noted.

Filmmaker Mode will be easy for viewers to access. Rather than drilling down through multiple menu selections, consumers can access the mode through a single button push or automatically via metadata embedded in content, according to the alliance. To make it easier for consumers to find, the Filmmaker Mode function name and settings will be consistent from multiple TV manufacturers.

The UHD Alliance’s role in Filmmaker Mode has extended beyond consolidating feedback from filmmakers, studios and CE manufacturers to include polling its members to identify priorities. The alliance also solicited input from the Directors Guild of America and The Film Foundation as part of specification development.

“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.

Hear from Nolan, Scorsese and more of the industry’s top directors on what Filmmaker Mode will offer in the below video.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.