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Do not adjust your TV: Hollywood directors announce new ‘Filmmaker Mode’

UHD Alliance announces new mode to play films on your TV as the director intended them to be seen

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Today's televisions come with a wide range of settings and features designed to improve picture quality. The trouble is, many of these visual shifts work poorly, and some even make your movies appear worse.

To help combat this, the UHD Alliance has teamed up with Hollywood directors including Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan to create Filmmaker Mode, which displays movies exactly as the director intended — not in the way your television and its artificial intelligence thinks is best.

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The UHD Alliance is a consortium of TV makers that includes LG, Vizio and Panasonic, and its new Filmmaker Mode is designed to switch off all of your television's fancy post-processing. That leaves you with exactly the movie that the director wanted you to see, and how she wanted you to see it.

If this sounds familiar, Netflix and Sony announced Calibrated Mode in 2018, which aims to produce a similar experience.

The Alliance said: "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 disables all post-processing (eg 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."

This might initially make for a jarring experience, especially for viewers used to watching content artificially smoothed out by their television. But it will be music to the ears (or indeed, a visual treat to the eyes) of movie buffs who want the best, and do not want their films tampered with by software often too eager to smooth everything out.

Directors involved with this initiative include Scorsese and Nolan, as well as Paul Thomas Anderson, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, James Cameron, J.J. Abrams, the Duff Brothers and Rian Johnson.

Televisions manufacturers LG, Panasonic and Vizio have announced support for Filmmaker Mode, and say the option will be added to future products. Sadly, we don't know when this will happen, as the companies said they will announce these plans "at the appropriate time."

Hopefully, we'll see Filmmaker Mode at the CES technology show in Las Vegas in January, often a hotbed of new TV tech.

Nolan, director of "Interstellar," "Inception," "Dunkirk" and "The Dark Knight" trilogy, said: "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...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."

This makes a lot of sense. Televisions from a range of companies all display content slightly differently, and then they all add different post-processing features on top, altering footage, tinkering with frame rate, and adjusting color and contrast.

It has long been said that any motion-smoothing features should be switched off on the day of purchase and never switched back on; now, with the backing of Hollywood's biggest directors, that advice will grow out into a dedicated mode for watching movies and TV shows as intended.

Filmmaker Mode will either be switched on automatically, with data in the film telling the TV what to do, or there will be a single button press for the viewer to make, enabling the mode.

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