The endless story: creativity versus technology — presented "Filmaker Mode"
The cinema has been called the Seventh Art, its creators are true artists and, as such, they do not like that their work is distorted by modifying with technological resources what they wanted to transmit.
Such is the case of frame interpolation, an image post-processing technique built into smart TVs to smooth motion in action scenes, especially with 24 fps content. This effect, far from optimizing the image, worsens its quality and causes the so-called “soap opera effect”, which is detrimental to the visual experience that cinematographic films want to offer.
In 2017 film directors raised their voices and asked TV smarts makers not to enable frame interpolation by default. They did not seek to remove the function, but rather that it does not come on by default, since many users have no idea how to remove it and, sometimes, they do not even know that it exists.
The petition was signed, among others, by directors such as Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie), James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), and Chris McQuarrie (Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation).
But they did not have the expected results at that time, and in their desire to improve the user experience and to respect the original intention of the created image, they looked for another way.
To generate common standards for the products and services of the audiovisual industry, without incompatibilities, the UHDTV Alliance was created, an alliance between directors, producers, studios and television manufacturers.
Moving forward in this sense, UHDTV, in a collaborative action with the film industry, will promote the incorporation of a new function called "Filmmaker Mode" or "content creator's mode" to the next generation of SmartTV.
This new function will turn off the post-processing included by default, this includes frame interpolation, zoom, improvements in sharpness or reconfigured colors, in HDR and SDR content.
The initiative has associated brands such as LG and Panasonic with famous directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson, Ryan Coogler, Patty Jenkins, Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Ava DuVernay, Judd Apatow, Ang Lee and the Duffer Brothers.
The way it works would be as follows, if the smart TV has incorporated the “Filmmaker Mode” and the content to be watched is attached to the initiative, it is activated automatically, thanks to metadata that comes in the videos.
It is also being evaluated to be able to add this function manually if the video does not contain the mentioned metadata.
SmartTVs will have a logo on the box that identifies this new functionality.
But everything will depend on the user's preferred experience, there will be many who do not want to use this new function, accustomed to the saturated colors and slow movements of the soap opera effect.
We will see how the activation is configured, if the user experience or the idea of the creator of the image will prevail.