Film fans who subscribe to best streaming service such as Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney Plus will soon get an upgrade to the Filmmaker Mode preset image that will allow them to experience movies on their TV at the same level of quality as the film director intended.
That news came at a session held last week by LG to give TV reviewers a close-up check out the new G3 OLED TV. Proceedings include a briefing by Mike Zink of the UHD Alliance, an industry group with members spanning the consumer electronics, technology, and Hollywood production communities. While Zink primarily gave an overview of the group’s activities, he also mentioned that a Dolby Vision Filmmaker Mode is in the pipeline to be implemented by TV manufacturers. To understand why that’s important, we first need to cover Filmmaker mode, and why IT important.
Filmmaker mode is a standardized image preset found in best 4K TV from manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Philips, Hisense, and Vizio, and was created by the UHD Alliance in response to film directors (Martin Scorcese and Denis Villenueve are among its biggest proponents) who are tired of watching well their shows are not well made on TVs. Inaccurate color and unnatural motion processing are two of the main sticking points for these directors, but there are also concerns about maintaining the original aspect ratio of the film and eliminating the aggressive image sharpening and noise reduction.
Filmmaker mode addresses all of these issues, allowing viewers to watch movies the way their directors intended them to be seen with little effort beyond selecting a specific preset. photo on their TV. And while the Filmmaker mode is generally a good choice for watching all kinds of programs, it has one important limitation that it cannot be used for watching programs with a high dynamic range. in Dolby Vision.
When watching movies using Dolby Vision, TVs automatically switch to Dolby Vision picture mode. A TCL 6-Series model I recently reviewed, for example, defaults to Dolby Vision IQ mode, although Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Normal options are also available. The difference between them is that IQ mode uses the TV’s sensors to adjust the brightness of the picture based on the ambient light level in the viewing environment, while Dark and Normal are fixed presets for night and daytime viewing, respectively. .
Of these, the preset most similar to Filmmaker Mode is Dolby Vision Dark, which uses a warm color temperature, a setting that provides a neutral white balance for accurate color reproduction. It also turns off processing modes that add motion interpolation (the source of the dreaded “soap opera effect”) and high levels of picture sharpening and noise reduction.
Dolby Vision Dark, as its name implies, is like Filmmaker Mode, for viewing in a dim or dark room, like the one where the director sits when their movie is mastered for a home video or streaming releases. But not everyone likes to watch in a cave-like setting, so Dolby Vision Normal and IQ presets are available. In both cases – on the TCL 6-Series TV at least – a high level of motion processing is applied, and Dolby Vision Normal further shifts the color temperature to a less accurate mode. The result is a picture that would make Martin Scorcese and Denis Villenueve gag, and we won’t even call the situation Tom Cruise’s attention.
Dolby Vision Filmmaker Mode… to save?
We still don’t know the details of Dolby Vision Filmmaker Mode beyond what was briefly mentioned at the LG TV event. Apparently it was approved in late 2022, and for that reason will not appear in any new sets for 2023, although 2024 is possible.
What makes a Dolby Vision Filmmaker Mode so important is that the current suite of TV presets for watching programs with Dolby Vision are all compromised to some degree. Dolby Vision IQ is a good option because it automatically compensates for the lighting around the room, but it is not the same as Filmmaker Mode because it adds motion processing to the images. It’s true that you can adjust the Dolby IQ mode settings to eliminate motion interpolation, but that defeats the purpose of a preset – something that, like Filmmaker Mode, viewers can simply select and expect. see an accurate, director-approved presentation.
The issue here is that preset modes like Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Vision Normal make images brighter, but in doing so they accentuate the judder and blur artifacts inherent in filmed images. at 24 fps. Motion interpolation processing can successfully eliminate such artifacts, so it can be used in ways. But motion interpolation also makes movies look like daytime soap operas – one of the main reasons why the Hollywood community is pushing for a Filmmaker Mode.
In fact, a Dolby Vision Filmmaker Mode will bring the benefits of Dolby IQ – automatic brightness adjustment based on the ambient lighting in a room – and it is possible to combine it with variable frame rate motion processing – something along the lines of TrueCut Motion tech used to make Avatar: The Way of Water. TrueCut Motion is a “motion grading” tool used in film post-production that allows adjusting the frame rate on a variable basis to reduce the visual effects of judder and blur without making the motion unnatural. I saw it in action when I was caught Avatar: The Way of Water in an IMAX theater (as well as a follow-up demo at CES 2023), its benefits are clear.
I have no idea what Dolby has in mind for Dolby Vision Filmmaker Mode as details about it have not been released beyond the technical and manufacturing communities. But if it can somehow strike a balance between accurately conveying the film director’s vision and allowing for more flexibility in home viewing situations, it’s a good bet. progress.