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Support for “Filmmaker Mode” — a setting on select TVs, including some featured this week during the virtual CES, aimed at preserving filmmakers’ creative intent and championed by leading filmmakers including Martin Scorsese and Ryan Coogler — is being considered by apps that stream awards season screeners, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The goal is to assist voters watching movies at home to see them more closely as the filmmakers intended — a topic that has become more pressing as the pandemic has made such streaming options a necessity.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that informal discussions in the community got started, as Filmmaker Mode was developed by UHD Alliance — a coalition whose members include Hollywood studios as well as consumer electronics manufacturers — with the support of a long list of leading filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Rian Johnson and JJ Abrams. The setting is also endorsed by the Directors Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild and Scorsese’s The Film Foundation.
Having heard from stakeholders, UHDA has started to consider the potential of using Filmmaker Mode with one undisclosed awards body and intends to reach out to others that may be interested, confirmed UHDA chair Michael Zink.
Filmmaker Mode is effectively a setting for consumer UHD TVs that disables post processing such as motion smoothing with an aim of giving consumers the opportunity to view content in the way that the filmmakers intended, including with the original aspect ratio, color and frame rates. It was first announced in 2019 for select 2020 TV models.
As to implementation with screeners, Zink suggests the easiest option may be to use it with a screening app that runs native on a Filmmaker Mode-supported TV. “The app would still need to call the API to trigger the switching [to the Mode],” he says, adding though that that would not be difficult to do.
If the screening app runs on a streaming media player such as AppleTV or Roku, then the media player would need to send the signal to the TV via HDMI, something that he says is “fairly straightforward … but requires an additional entity to work with.” He adds that in either case, viewers also have the option to manually switch into Filmmaker Mode on supported TVs. In both cases, no special version of the movie would be required by the studio, he explains.
This week at CES, set makers including LG and Samsung unwrapped new Filmmaker Mode-supported TV models. LG showed new OLED, QNED Mini LED and NanoCell TVs, while Samsung featured new MicroLED (available in 110-inch, 99-inch and 88-inch models) and Neo QLED 8K and 4K lines. Additionally, Panasonic offers Filmmaker Mode support in its 2021 OLED models, including its newly announced flagship JZ2000.
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