Recently, I published an article about UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certifying certain newer UHD TV sets and monitors with matte (anti-glare) for our health. As if in concert with that cause, and to solve the mismatched framerate/cadence issues which has been another of my pet peeves for decades, the UHD Alliance has created the aptly named Filmmaker Mode, which is now available in certain newer UHD TV sets and monitors. After its activation, the new Filmmaker Mode assures that the cadence offered in the displayed motion sequence will automatically match the creator’s intention, eliminating the so-called “motion smoothing” or —in other situations, the unnecessary, unjustifiable and damaging real time standards conversion. In some cases, that cadence will actually match the original project framerate and in others, it will be an even multiple of that, as I’ll clarify ahead. In addition, Filmmaker Mode also deactivates other so-called “improvements” that actually contradict the project creator’s original intention. Ahead, I’ll clarify the technical features of Filmmaker Mode, show you a video with testimonials from Hollywood professionals, tease an upcoming review of a monitor that features both Filmmaker Mode and the UL-certified matte for health, and more.
In this article
- Recap of how and why 24 fps has always been viewed at 48 fps in theaters
- Different ways a low framerate original can be displayed at an even multiple of the original on a modern display
- Relevant anecdote with an important Mexican university
- What else does Filmmaker Mode do?
- How can the user activate or deactivate Filmmaker Mode?
- Which manufacturers are currently participating with Filmmaker Mode?
- How does Filmmaker Mode work/interact with HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, etc.?
- Tease of my upcoming monitor review
Recap of how and why 24 fps has always been viewed as 48 fps in theaters
Even though theatrical film has been traditionally shot at 24 frames per second, those 24 fps films were always displayed in movie theaters at twice that rate, at 48 frames per second. I am not saying that the projector plays at dual speed (fast motion). I am saying that a special shutter in the projector in the theater opens and closes twice with each frame, to avoid flicker. Even though the viewers in the analog theater are seeing 48 fps, they were indeed seeing the motion picture at 24 fps cadence, since each of the 24 frames were displayed twice. (This is quite different from the very few films designed to be shot at 48 fps for more smoothness or certain scenes shot at 48 fps to be played at 24 fps for slow motion.)
Different ways a low framerate original can be displayed at an even multiple of the original on a modern display
In the prior section, I clarified how it’s done in an analog film theater. There are different ways it can be accomplished with a more modern display, depending upon the modern display’s capabilities and the device feeding it: For simplicity, I will use exact 24 fps as the rate, but the same could apply to 23.976, 25 or 29.97 also.
- The 24 fps signal can be doubled at the source player to be seen to be 48 fps by the display.
- The display could intentionally double the rate.
- Some displays use a persistent technology, so even though they only refresh 24 times per second (in this example), the image persists on the screen for 1/48 of each second anyway. In the case of 25 fps, the image can persist for 1/50 of a second.
It really doesn’t matter how it takes place as long as it does.
Relevant anecdote with an important university in México
Back in the early 1990s, I was consulting with an important university in México regarding a TV studio with a component analog switcher and a linear Betacam SP A/B roll editing system. This was way before HD video or even non-linear computerized editing. Their entire system cost around US$200,000. All the cameras and Betacam SP decks were NTSC, since México (like the US) was an NTSC country. They also purchased a professional Panasonic video projector for the auditorium which (at that time) was in the US$6,000 price range.
A few days after finalizing that entire list of equipment, my contact from the university sent me a fax asking me to add a Panasonic AG-W1 to the list. I recognized the model instantly and immediately initiated a phone call to México to discuss it. I knew that the AG-W1 was a multisystem VHS player/converter which at that time cost around US$2000. I also knew that it did a rather poor conversion between PAL and NTSC since it used a single field.
Even though our conversation was in Castilian, here is an English translation of what we discussed back in the early 1990s. My contact name has been changed to protect the innocent.
Allan: Hi Juan, how are you?
Juan: Fine, and you.
Allan: Great. I am surprised to see your fax where you are asking me to add an AG-W1 to the equipment list. May I know why you want that?
Juan: Sometimes, we receive European VHS movies in PAL and we want to play them in the auditorium.
Allan: So you aren’t editing any part of the PAL videos together with NTSC footage?
Juan: No, we just want to play the movies as they come.
Allan. Juan, I am about to save you US$1,700 while improving the video quality exponentially. First, the professional Panasonic projector you already selected is natively compatible with both PAL and NTSC. Second, the eyeballs of all Mexicans are 100% compatible with PAL too. If you are not going to edit the PAL movies (and are not going to play them on Mexican television), you are much better served by purchasing a native PAL S-VHS player for US$300, not a US$2000 converter that will convert the signal poorly to NTSC. If you take my advice, the students will see the PAL movies natively, as if they were in Europe, without any additional degradation. The S-VHS player will play both PAL VHS or PAL S-VHS movies and you can connect them to the projector with a Y/C or “S-Video” cable for best quality even with standard PAL VHS tapes.
Juan: Thank you Allan!
This true anecdote happened decades before I started to write articles in ProVideo Coalition magazine about how to deal with malignant PsF (Progressive Segmented Frame) and shy cameras, but there is an important similarity. For the Mexican university mentioned above, playing European movies on PAL VHS or S-VHS at the original intended cadence is one of the great things in common with the concept of the new Filmmaker Mode I am covering in this article. (The Mexican university also got the benefit of not reducing the spatial resolution from PAL’s 625 lines to NTSC’s 525 lines without justification and not having to convert the superior PAL color encoding system to the inferior NTSC without cause either.)
It is sad that the Apple Studio Display is still locked at 60 Hz, as I covered in this article. At least most DreamColor monitors —like the most recent one I reviewed lock to all desired rates, as does the new monitor with Filmmaker Mode I’ll be reviewing soon.
What else does Filmmaker Mode do?
In addition to guaranteeing the viewer to be watching the matching original cadence, it can also do the following, when appropriate:
- Maintain the original aspect ratio
- Set white point to D65 (6500 degrees Kelvin)
- Deactivate overscan (unless requested via metadata)
- Deactivate artificial sharpening D
- Deactivate noise reduction
- Deactivate other enhancements
How can the user activate or deactivate Filmmaker Mode?
Depending upon the particular model, Filmmaker Mode can be activated or deactivated via a button on the remote control, automatic switch based upon metadata, touchscreen or voice activation. This is model dependent.
How does Filmmaker Mode work/interact with HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, etc.?
According to the Alliance, Filmmaker Mode is complementary to each of these. Monitors and TVs can display content in Filmmaker Mode regardless of which of these technologies is present in the monitor or TV.
Which UHD monitor and TV set manufacturers are currently participating with Filmmaker Mode?
Although it is not yet in all models, here is the current list of participating manufacturers:
Tease of upcoming monitor review
Soon I’ll be publishing a review of a monitor which includes both Filmmaker Mode and the UL-certified matte for our health. Be sure to be on one of my mailing lists or other channels to be notified when I publish that and other reviews.
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There is currently no commercial relationship between the UHD Alliance or UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and Allan Tépper, other than the fact that Allan Tépper has purchased devices which contain the UL label. Some of the manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Some of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units, including HP. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur, BeyondPodcasting, CapicúaFM or TuSaludSecreta programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.