Most people don’t adjust the settings on their TV after they buy it.
Most newer TVs, meanwhile, come with a bunch of random junk turned on by default; things like motion smoothing that makes epic movies look like soap operas, or noise reduction that can wash out details and make an actor’s skin look cyborg-y. These things help the TVs catch more eyes on the retail show floor — look how smooth the butterfly wings in the demo video are moving!
Movie makers and show creators tend to hate these things because they algorithmically screw with details they’ve spent many hundreds of hours fine tuning frame-by-frame. But getting the viewer to go in and muck with a bunch of settings, hidden behind confusing names (often unique to each company, because Branding™) and a dozen button presses, is hard.
That’s the driving force behind Filmmaker Mode. Push a button, and all that crap gets turned off.
It’s a move which the UHD Alliance (a group made up of 40 companies like Dolby, Panasonic, Samsung, Universal, Warner Brothers and a bunch of other industry mega companies) says they’re making with the input of icons like Martin Scorsese, Patty Jenkins, Ryan Coogler, Rian Johnson and Christopher Nolan.
Flip on Filmmaker Mode, and your TV set should:
- Turn off all motion-smoothing effects
- Turn off noise reduction, sharpening and other after-the-fact processing effects
- Automatically display the media in its intended aspect ratio/frame rate.
- Turn off overscan, unless required by the video
- Set the white point color to the widely used D65 standard
According to The Digital Bits, the mode is meant to be toggled on in either of two ways: manually via a button on the remote, or automatically when a video’s metadata says so. Want all the motion smoothing stuff back on for sports? Push a button, and it’s back.
LG, Panasonic and Vizio have committed to implementing the new mode, and I imagine others will hop on board once word of the mode spreads. The downside? It sounds like this is only coming to new TVs, with no announced plans so far about it coming to older sets via software update. Fortunately, you can always toggle most of this stuff manually.
If you’ve spent hours tweaking your TV and poring through AV forums to find settings that you love, awesome — keep ’em. But if you’re at a friends house in a few years watching Lord of the Rings and can’t get over Gimli’s unusually smooth skin compliments of TruDynamicNoiseMasterPlus 4.0, maybe tell them about Filmmaker Mode.