Modern TVs Ruin Your Movies

Modern TVs have a lot of bells and whistles, such as vibrant colors, HDR enhancements, and smooth 120Hz panels. While these high-end features may be attractive in a store like Best Buy, they can have the opposite effect at home. TV manufacturers use words like “Upscaling up to 4Kand “Deep learning AI” because taking content in any form and scaling up its visuals is a market idea. This method is achieved through the original intentions of the creator and colorists.

TVs usually come with four different modes: standard picture mode, dynamic mode, natural mode, and cinema mode. Dynamic mode is for bright rooms, it boosts screen brightness, while natural mode is for darker environments, which is claimed to reduce eye strain. Movie mode has a reddish tint to replicate the warmer white balance in which films were originally shot. This mode is more accurate, but it’s not the same color temperature that viewers are used to. The standard mode generally changes the picture the least, but this is not what it hints at. Over the past two years, a new preset has appeared called Director Mode was introduced under the same name for different brands. The mode claims to disable visual modifications and provide content as it was intended by the creator.

The opening scene of the Peter Jackson film Lord of the rings, Brotherhood of the ring in standard mode and director’s mode on a modern Samsung TV in a dark room

In the opening scene of Peter Jackson Lord of the rings, Brotherhood of the ring, the standard mode increases the saturation of leaves and background. It also sharpens the foreground, as evidenced by the sharp white lines in the bark of the tree and Frodo’s hair. Oversaturation and sharpness make the image as bright as Van Gogh painting. Often these changes are contrary to the director’s intentions, as in the case of the following example.

Denis Villeneuve Arrival demonstrates the effect of color and saturation on the tone and atmosphere of a film

In a fantastic drama by Denis Villeneuve Arrival, dull and eerie colors are crucial to the paranormal atmosphere. In this case, the oversaturation of orange overalls and grass contradicts the intended tone. The whitening around the edges of the spaceship goes against the aesthetics of the film.

Confusing TV menus make it hard to mitigate these changes, but Filmmaker mode offers a one-button solution. This is only one side of the problem. The other part is motion smoothing, and it has to do with video interpolation.

30 frames work better than 24 at 60 frames per second (Venkata Sri Siver Chelliboina)

Video interpolation is hard to explain because there are different implementations, but here’s the general idea: TVs have always supported the 60 frames per second (FPS) standard for broadcasting shows and programs. Movies are produced at 24 frames per second. Because 24 frames don’t work well in a 60 frame structure, every 4 out of 24 frames is converted to 5 frames, making 24 frames into 30 frames. Now each of the 30 frames can be rendered twice to be compatible with the 60 FPS framework.

Every 4 out of 24 frames is turned into 5, resulting in 30 frames that fit more easily into the 60 frames per second frame. (Venkata Sri Saiver Chelliboina)

By itself, this process does not cause any problems. Motion smoothing occurs when the TV creates too many new frames between existing frames in an attempt to make motion smoother. This often results in a repulsive smoothness that reduces the cinematic feel of films and makes content look cheap. This is the “soap opera effect” and is noticeable on more modern TVs that use a frame of 120 frames per second or higher because there is more room for motion smoothing with fake footage.

The Filmmaker mode also disables all of this. The Filmmaker mode works best in dimmed or dark rooms because that is the viewing environment in which movies are meant to be viewed. Using this tool to watch your movies the way they were intended won’t let TV processors spoil the experience.

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