UHD Alliance Garners Support for Filmmaker Mode

Remember awhile back when Tom Cruise and Top Gun: Maverick director Christopher McQuarrie took to the Internet to blast on the ill-effects of using motion smoothing to ruin movies by turning them into video mush that looked like a telenovela soap opera? Well, the UHD Alliance (UHDA), comprised of nearly 40 member companies, is out to make Cruise’s dream come true by getting more manufacturers and industry professionals on board to support a new Filmmaker Mode setting that will ensure you are watching movies as closely resembles the filmmaker’s intention and to the best of your display’s capability.

At CES, the UHDA announced several new TV manufacturers have agreed to adopt Filmmaker Mode in upcoming models bringing the total to five. LG announced that every 2020 model (some 42 in total) will support the features, as did Vizio on all of its 2020 models. Panasonic will support the mode on all 2000-series OLED panels, and Samsung and Phillips will also offer the mode on certain models. Kaleidescape, manufacturer of high-end movie servers for the luxury home market, also announced support for the new feature.

Beyond studios, Filmmaker Mode is also garnering the attention and support of several heavy-hitters in Hollywood. This includes nearly 20 directors including James Cameron, Martin Scorsesee, JJ Abrams, Ryan Coogler, Christoper Nolan, Ang Lee and others. Further, the Directors Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild, and The Film Foundation, also formally recognized the new TV picture mode as an important and critical step toward allowing home viewers to enjoy film and television shows as they were intended to be seen by the filmmaker.

Filmmaker Mode is designed to preserve the creative intent for the way the movie was intended to be viewed, and it will automatically disable all video processing features in the display (ie: the dreaded motion smoothing), while preserving the correct aspect ratio and frame rate. It will also the set the correct D65 color point as well as disabling any noise reduction or added sharpness.

Unlike other video modes which might require a deep-dive into a display’s menu system and understanding of the way each manufacturer labels different adjustments, a requirement of Filmmaker Mode will be that it is easy for customers to find and engage. Filmmaker Mode will be activated either automatically, through metadata embedded in the content, or through a single, labeled button on the remote. Further, the name “Filmmaker Mode” and settings will be consistent across multiple TV brands.

Mike Fidler, UHDA president, told me that the flag to enable Filmmaker Mode already exists and is embedded into most existing film content, including both HD and 4K Blu-rays. The flag will be transmitted to the display via HDMI, with no special adjustments or settings will be required from the source player or for an AV receiver to pass the signal through.

The first enabled models are expected to start arriving around Q2 of this year, just in time to watch Top Gun: Maverick the way Tom Cruise would want!

utopianemo's picture

It's about time!