Martin Scorsese, Rian Johnson Join Industry-Wide Initiative to End Motion Smoothing

     August 28, 2019

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The crusade against motion smoothing continues as a group of industry professionals, including Martin Scorsese and Rian Johnson, band together on a new initiative aimed directly at the setting found on television sets far and wide. Criticism has been slowly growing against the motion smoothing setting, arguing it’s more of a hindrance to the original artistic vision of a movie or series being viewed on TV.

Now, a new coalition is rising up to try and put a stop to it in order to preserve how their work and the works of others will be seen at home. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Scorsese and Johnson are part of a UHD Alliance — which includes directors Christopher NolanRyan Coogler, and Patty Jenkins among those leading the charge — in an effort to introduce a new UHD TV setting to make it easier to remove motion smoothing. The UHD Alliance also counts an unspecified group of Hollywood studios and electronics manufacturers as members, indicating this is no small push towards preserving creative intentions for viewers everywhere.

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Image via Warner Bros.

The setting is called “Filmmaker Mode”. A press release confirms the UHD Alliance has partnered with Vizio to introduce the setting on its 2020 Smart TV lineup. The setting is described by THR to be “aimed at giving viewers a consistent, cinematic representation of images as the filmmakers intended, in terms of color, contrast, aspect ratio, and frame rates.” The development process for the “Filmmaker Mode” setting required input from more thank 400 filmmakers, which included 140 directors and cinematographers. The UHD Alliance also reached out to Directors Guild of America, American Society of Cinematographers, American Cinema Editors and Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation for additional input on the new setting.

THR also reports Johnson was present when the new initiative was announced, comparing motion smoothing to The Terminator franchise big bad Skynet and the new “Filmmaker Mode” setting to John Connor. He went on to explain the mechanics of the setting as “a single button that lines up the settings so it works for the benefit of the movie and not against it.”

Scorsese and Coogler were among the directors who offered their comments on why they are participating in the “Filmmaker Mode” initiative and launch. In the video, Scorsese shared:

I started The Film Foundation in 1990 with the goal to preserve film and protect the filmmaker’s original vision so that the audience can experience these films as they were intended to be seen. Most people today are watching these classic films at home rather than in movie theaters, making Filmmaker Mode of particular importance when presenting these films which have specifications unique to being shot on film.

Additionally, Black Panther‘s Coogler offered:

I care deeply about how cinema is experienced at home because that’s where it lives the longest. That’s where cinema is watched and re-watched and experienced by families. By allowing the artists in the tent to help consult and give feedback to the electronics companies on Filmmaker Mode, we can collectively help make the consumer’s experience even more like it is in the cinema.

This push from the UHD Alliance, which includes a large group of directors and filmmaking heavy-hitters with both credibility and influence in the industry, contributes to a rare show of strength the should indicate to viewers everywhere they are serious about preserving the artistry of film and television making no matter what.

Check out the “Filmmaker Mode” announcement video from the UHD Alliance in partnership with Vizio below:

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