Every now and then, I encounter information that's widely spread on the Internet that I find to be more attention-seeking than actual truth. And sometimes, these half truths end up being considered "facts" that can hurt the industry in the long run.
In this series, I will discuss AV information that I believe is not what it seems. And in this week's David's Take column, the subject is that of a new TV "feature" called "Filmmaker Mode."
"Filmmaker Mode" was introduced by the UHD Alliance on August 28, 2019. On the surface, it seems like a good idea to have this mode on your TV. It kills all the post processing done by your TV, such as motion interpolation, digital noise reduction, sharpness control, smooth gradation, and sets the TV's colour temperature to the nearest to D65 industry standard. This is meant to closely mimic the filmmakers' intention on how a movie should be seen. Great new feature right? Unfortunately, I find it to be a non-feature.
Other than the naming convention, there is nothing new about this at all. Samsung has Cinema, JVC has Natural, Sony has Custom (also called Netflix Calibrated; used to be called Cinema Pro, and prior to that it was called Movie), LG has ISF Dark, and Panasonic has Professional 1. In fact, all major TV brands have this mode using different naming conventions. Which one is the calibrated one? None of them. So what improvement does Filmmaker Mode bring? Less confusion. Nothing more, nothing less.
Alas media outlets are making it out to be more than it is. No display is calibrated until it has been calibrated using a professional grade calibrated sensor, associated software, and image generator. Will people choose Filmmaker Mode in droves because of the name? I bet you my career they won't.
Education about calibration and the filmmaker's intent is still the key before people choose "Filmmaker Mode" and/or calibration. For people who already use a professionally calibrated display or movie/custom/cinema-mode equivalents, this non-feature is even less so of a feature. The only thing that Filmmaker Mode will do for the industry is to make people even more confused because now those with TVs that have this, in my opinion, non-feature, will think that their TVs are already calibrated.
Well-intentioned? Perhaps. But this does a disservice to both the consumer and the calibration industry.