UHD Alliance’s “Filmmaker Mode” for TVs will officially launch at CES 2020

UHD Alliance’s “Filmmaker Mode” for TVs will officially launch at CES 2020

Tom Cruise wants you to watch the next Top Gun at home as if you were in the theater, so he helped to define the new “Filmmaker Mode” for TVs, which will be one of the highlights at CES 2020.

“I’m taking a quick break from filming to tell you the best way to watch Mission: Impossible Fallout (or any movie you love) at home.”, wrote Tom Cruise on his Tweeter feed back in December 2018. The actor was involved, at the time, with the effort from the UHD Alliance to bring together filmmakers, CE companies and Hollywood studios for new “Filmmaker Mode” a new viewing mode for watching movies and episodic TV the way it was intended by the filmmaker, and not filtered through the post-processing (e.g. motion smoothing, etc.), that is present in most modern TVs.

UHD Alliance’s “Filmmaker Mode” for TVs will officially launch at CES 2020

The idea is not new, and the promise has been there for a long time now. Looking at the menus on my old Panasonic Viera, from 2008, I find two modes for movie watching; Cinema, and THX, along with Dynamic, Normal and Game modes. In fact, the idea of fidelity to the original is not new, but something that can be traced back to as far as 1982, when George Lucas, after the debut of Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,  decided to hire audio scientist Tomlinson Holman and brief him “to examine and improve film audio throughout the entire production chain from Set to Theater.”

Star Wars, George Lucas and the birth of THX

It was the starting point for an adventure that led to the creation of a certification program to help every artist deliver their truest vision to their audience. The new born THX (or Tomlinson Holman’s eXperiment) was made available to audiences with the release of Lucas’s next film “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi” in 1983. In the 37 years since its inception THX has progressed beyond cinema certification and now certifies consumer electronics, content, automotive systems, and live entertainment, following the founding mission of delivering the artist’s true vision.

THX is a certification that is gained through both audio and video outputs via rigorous industry standard testing and has been an essential factor in the AV world for decades! Different companies have also researched solutions to make their TVs better, and one such example is Panasonic. Since 2017 the company has worked with Stefan Sonnenfeld, founder and CEO of Hollywood’s Company 3, to ensure that the technical accuracy of its OLED TVs matches the filmmaker’s creative intent. Under the name Hollywood to your home, Panasonic’s premium OLED televisions are both tuned and used by Hollywood experts as part of the post-production picture sign-off process, so that you can experience cinema picture quality in your home.

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.

A picture mode for cinematic content

Despite all these efforts, the truth is that most viewers never see movies in their TVs the way the director intended. The advanced video processing capabilities created to offer consumers a broad range of options in viewing various types of content, ranging from sports to video games, are present, but TVs rarely can read and display movies and episodic TV appropriately, or respecting the filmmaker’s original vision.

Announced last August but with the official launch to happen at CES 2020, “Filmmaker Mode” heralds a new era that 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. At the forefront of that change are companies as LG Electronics, Panasonic or Vizio, that will present their first models with the picture mode at CES 2020.

“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. “The Ultra HD TVs from supporting CE members are capable of delivering a range of viewing options and the addition of Filmmaker Mode for cinematic content, which is based on input from a broad range of preeminent filmmakers, provides a way for consumers to better experience the filmmaker’s vision.”

Frame rate, color and contrast

“The thing that sets Filmmaker Mode apart is it will be a pure, clean expression of what the movie was meant to look like when it was made,” said Rian Johnson, director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Knives Out, last August, when the initiative was first announced by the UHD Alliance.

“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 celebrated director of such acclaimed films as 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.”

While studios and CE manufacturers have long worked in concert to deliver new entertainment technologies and experiences to consumers, as document earlier in this text, Filmmaker Mode marks the first collaboration to add leaders in the creative community to the mix.

“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. “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.”

Filmmaker Mode: easy access is the key

Notably, 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 Paul Thomas Anderson, director of such films as There Will Be Blood and Phantom Thread. “We can use these capabilities to preserve the intent of the filmmaker, preserve the purpose of the art.”

In addition to consolidating feedback from filmmakers, studios and CE manufacturers, the UHDA engaged the broader creative community by polling their members to identify priorities. As part of the specification development process for Filmmaker Mode, the UHDA worked with and solicited input from the Directors Guild of America and The Film Foundation.

UHD Alliance’s “Filmmaker Mode” for TVs will officially launch at CES 2020

 Martin Scorsese on Filmmaker Mode

“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 celebrated director, Martin Scorsese. “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,” offered Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins. “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.”

UHD Alliance’s “Filmmaker Mode” for TVs will officially launch at CES 2020

Universal and Amazon behind Filmmaker Mode

Amazon Prime Video, Warner Bros. and Universal are also supporting Filmmaker Mode.  Jim Wuthrich, President, Worldwide Home Entertainment and Games for Warner Bros. said “We are thrilled to support our filmmakers in bringing Filmmaker Mode to these televisions to better preserve and deliver their creative vision to the home”, and BA Winston, Global Head of Digital Video Playback and Delivery at Prime Video added “Filmmaker Mode gives our customers an automatic way to experience cinematic entertainment from the comfort of their homes, and creators the assurance their work is viewed as it was intended to be seen.”

Filmmaker Mode is a meaningful offering, benefiting movie fans eager for best-in-class home viewing,” stated Michael Bonner, Executive Vice President – Digital Distribution for UPHE. “Through this unprecedented cross-industry collaboration, we have effectively bridged the best of creativity and technology to deliver filmmakers’ distinct cinematic visions directly to millions of 4K UHD television homes around the world.”

The post UHD Alliance’s “Filmmaker Mode” for TVs will officially launch at CES 2020 appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

2019’s Ten Best Films Directed By Women

I wasn’t going to do this list this year. I naively thought the dawn of a post-woke film world was upon us. Even though not so long ago I had to explain to a male film programmer editing my program blurbs that woke is a word, and even though an NDA keeps me from naming that male film programmer, I still thought maybe, just maybe, there was progress being made somewhere out there. Then, the Golden Globe nominations were announced and not a single woman was nominated for Best Director. As I struggled to winnow down to ten films this […]

These were the most-clicked-on cameras in 2019

While DPReview readers have already voted for their favorite products of 2019, we were curious to know which cameras were the most popular among site visitors in the past year. For that information, we went to the raw data. What we’ve come up with is a list of the year’s ten most popular cameras (released at any time) based on product page views within 2019. We’ll count it down starting at the top, Casey Kasem-style.

10. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III (announced July 2019)

It’s no surprise that a highly capable enthusiast compact makes the list, since this class of camera is always popular with DPR readers. The Canon G7 X Mark II was announced in early July alongside the G5 X II, with which it shares many of the same features. We saw a lot to like about it when we reviewed it – and DPReview visitors clearly saw the appeal too.

9. Nikon D850 (announced September 2017)

We called the D850 one of the most important cameras of the decade and DPReview readers seem to agree – it’s just over two years old (which is approximately one hundred in consumer technology years) and it’s still one of the most-viewed products on the site. It was a very impressive camera in 2017 and it’s still one we recommend to a wide range of photographers today.

8. Canon EOS M50 (announced February 2018)

We all love a built-in viewfinder, which is likely one of the features that drew so many people to the Canon M50 this year. It also appears in several of our use-case buying guides, and its well-rounded stills feature set clearly attracts a lot of attention even nearly two years after its announcement.

7. Nikon Z6 (announced October 2018)

It makes sense that the Z6 appears in this top ten while its higher-resolution Z7 sibling (spoiler alert) doesn’t – 24MP is still more than enough resolution for most photographers, and as a whole package it’s more accessible. For those just starting to think about switching from their beloved DSLRs to mirrorless, the Z6 is a logical jump-off point for that research. While photographers like our own Dan Bracaglia may choose to hang onto their DSLRs for a while longer, we imagine that the number of full-frame mirrorless cameras on this list will only grow each year.

6. Sony a6000 (announced February 2014)

The Sony a6000 has had incredible staying power in the camera market. It’s one of the best-selling interchangeable lens cameras of all time and this nearly six year old camera’s feature set remains surprisingly competitive. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the absolute best deals out there – it was competitively priced at its introduction and has come down in price since then to $500 with kit lens at the time of writing. The debut of the a6100 may signal the beginning of the a6000’s end, but there’s no wonder at all why it has remained so popular for so long after its release.

10 Directors Who Made Their Best Movie In 2019

2019 has been a phenomenal year for cinema, and while it’s always exciting to see first time and up and coming directors leave their mark, much of the attention this year has been rightly focused on the living legends who have delivered some of their finest work. It’s often hard for a great director to live up to their own legacy and balance expectations as they work on future projects, but there’s ten filmmakers this year who’ve managed to top all their past films.

It’s often hard to instantly recognize whether a new film is the best that someone has ever made, but sometimes an achievement is so remarkable that it’s impossible to not identify it as a director’s crowning achievement. Many of these films deal with the nature of legacy, and help each of these filmmakers summarize the themes that they have worked on for the majority of their careers. Here are the top ten directors who made their best movie in 2019.


10. James Mangold, Ford v. Ferrari

Between the brilliant biographical film Walk the Line and the emotionally devastating superhero film Logan, James Mangold has established himself as one of the foremost directors of large scale Hollywood blockbusters who can make intelligent, insightful films for a mass audience. Ford v. Ferrari is Mangold at his most raw and exciting; it’s an unabashedly old-fashioned movie star two handler that celebrates the idea of the passionate underdogs fighting against the system. Mangold isn’t afraid to get technical, and Ford v. Ferrari finds engaging ways to show the process of preparing for the big race.

The racing scenes themselves are beautifully made, and the nature of the 24-hour Le Mans race shows how perseverance and strategy are necessary to pull off victory. Mangold also leaves a lot of room for reflection; both Carol Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale) are men that love what they do, and the emotional weight carried by the film’s closing moments make it Mangold’s most exciting and accessible film to date.


9. Pedro Almodovar, Pain & Glory

Few filmmakers have been quite as provocative and experimental in the last few decades as Pedro Almodovar, and Pain & Glory is a different type of experiment for this master director. It’s a semi-autobiographical piece about the very nature of filmmaking and creative inspiration, and the parallels between the life of the character Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) and Almodovar’s actual relationships make it a thought provoking and introspective work. Mallo sees filmmaking as a means of therapy, and through his stories is able to express all the repressed feelings and memories that he’s kept buried.

Mallo’s means of isolating his experiences is often challenging, and the clever framing devices Almodovar uses to show his selective memory and imagined experiences help to exemplify the themes of feeling unfulfilled or regretful. Visually inventive and often quite funny in the way Almodovar’s best are, Pain & Glory may be his most profound statement about the very nature of storytelling.


8. James Gray, Ad Astra

This decade has seen many bold and emotional space adventures, and Ad Astra stands as one of the absolute best films to explore how an intergalactic adventure can be both painfully lonely and breathtakingly beautiful all at once. James Gray has made great films before, including the tremendous epic The Lost City of Z and the uncomfortable and realistic The Immigrant, but Ad Astra is a summation of visceral achievement and emotional rawness. Brad Pitt’s character Roy McBride is an astronaut so removed from normalcy that he’s desensitized to wonder, and Pitt’s powerful performance as someone rediscovering their feelings is only made possible through a great director.

It’s a visually breathtaking experience, and Gray finds a unique vision of the future that includes the Moon being turned into a corporate hub, space pirates pillaging the lunar surface, and large scale interrogation rooms used to purge explorers of emotions. Max Richter’s enchanting score and the haunting voice over from Pitt make it an often somber watch, and Gray is unafraid to confront hard truths about the ways in which a father and son may reconnect. It’s a future sci-fi classic that will most definitely appear as a companion to the great visual achievements of the decade, and will go down as Gray’s grandest film to date.


7. Fernando Meirelles, The Two Popes

Fernando Meirelles has made impressive films before with the quintessential coming of age drama City of God and the exciting thriller The Constant Gardener, but he’s never made anything like The Two Popes before. Although it deals with one of the tumultuous periods in the history of the Catholic Church as power is transitioned from Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins) to Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce), the film is able to wrestle with the weight of pleasing the world’s entire population of Catholics while also being a funny buddy film about two men who are both coming to terms with the decisions of their lives. The surprising amount of popular culture references and comedic bickering between these two legendary figures makes for a film that is surprisingly touching and sweet.

Meirelles hasn’t lost any of the kinetic energy that defined his earlier films, and he’s able to explore the vastness of the Vatican City with a surprisingly light touch, as Francis’s exploration into its depths allows the audience to feel the mix of amazement and trepidation he feels when tasked with taking on his role. While Meirelles’s films are often dark and have a dour message about humanity’s future, The Two Popes is easily his most optimistic story to date.


6. Trey Edward Schults, Waves

Between Krisha and It Comes At Night, Trey Edward Schults has exploded off of the indie scene and emerged as one of the most exciting new voices in cinema. It’s hard to not see Waves as his most ambitious film to date, as the film’s divided structure includes a first half that is rich with anxiety and culminates in horrifyingly realistic moments, and a second half that is spiritual, meditative, and quite moving as it wrestles with the nature of forgiveness and loss. Many young filmmakers attempt to subvert the traditional storytelling structure in order to stand out or make a statement, but Schults doesn’t use his structure as a gimmick, as his distinct sectionalizing serves as an unprecedented form of cinematic healing.

This is also the most visually stunning film Schults has made and features his strongest characters. The story of a suburban family collapsing is empathetic to every character; while Ronald (Sterling K. Brown) isn’t an inherently bad guy, the film shows how fatherly expectations can break the spirit of his son Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), and the importance of loving someone for who they are and not for their achievements. Schults has disclosed that some aspects of the film are autobiographical, and this nuanced depiction of family crisis doesn’t feel manufactured at all.