Filmmakers color grade movies, but consumers watch on “soap opera” TVs

by planetMitch2 Comments

As filmmakers, we spend a lot of time getting doing color correction just right – and most of us use color corrected monitors – so when our viewers watch, what are they watching on? Over blown, too bright, “soap opera” consumer TVs of course! We spend a ton of time worrying about bit depth, dynamic range and picture styles on our cameras, and then spend hours and hours working on coloring our films so they are “just right” but yet, we can't guarantee what our viewers are seeing!

A group of film directors have launched a campaign to get viewers on board with better color on their home TVs to try to combat the “soap opera” TV settings problem.

One expert said poorly set-up TVs made images look “more like a soap opera rather than a Hollywood movie”.

When I bought my new Sony Bravia 2 years ago, I had a crew come in and install it (i was afraid i'd mess up the wall mount so I wanted a pro to do it) and also properly set up the TV. I remember spending hours in the stores trying to figure out which TV had the best color and dynamic range – but I also knew from reading that most of the stores set up their displays to show the TVs with the brightness turned up to try to wow the consumer. I don't know if it is perfectly set up, but I do know that it is more likely close to correct than if I hadn't done anything.

PicturePerfect: How to make your TV look better

The AVFourms are trying to help with a series of videos to help consumers:

Click to visit the site to see what consumers are being asked to do.

Welcome to PicturePerfect campaign, supported by movie directors, TV manufacturers, The Gadget Show and top standards specialists. Recently reported on by the BBC and the Daily Telegraph and a host of leading media outlets. Let's start with a question.

When you purchased your TV, did you set it up correctly?
Just over half (51%) of us Britons haven't set our TV pictures up at all!

However, TVs rarely look their best without setting up the picture.

So when you consider that Britons spend on average over 3 hours (192 minutes) a day watching TV, we think it's worth spending a little time getting our TVs looking as good as possible.

[tentblogger-youtube fJP7rPC4Rb4]

The BBC has more

The Website AVForums has published a series of instructional videos to help people tune their sets.

Two leading British film directors, Michael J Bassett and Neil Marshall, have supported the campaign.
“As a film-maker it’s very important to me that TVs are set up properly so viewers can watch my movies in the way they are intended to be seen,” said Mr Marshall, who is best known for films such as The Descent and Dog Soldiers.

Several TV manufacturers have endorsed the campaign, including the likes of Panasonic, Sony, LG, Sharp, Loewe and Toshiba.

What do you think?

Is there any hope to educate the consumer? Have you corrected your television? [source: via the BBC via Frank Glencairn ]

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind

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  1. Are TVs are *so* badly designed, we have to send consumers on a course to learn how to operate them? How embarrassing for the TV makers.

    As someone whose iPhone was not properly set up, I can attest to the importance of the issue. My retina display was set to Vivid and I was finding text difficult to read. But I took a course, and presto – I now know I should have set it to Text mode – except when I’m watching movies, of course. Then I switch it to Cinema mode, obviously. (Sarcasm, eh?)

    Yes – my point is computers don’t need setting up – why do TVs?

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