13 votes

Game of Thrones cinematographer: it’s not me, it’s your TV settings

11 comments

  1. [9]
    bhrgunatha Link
    Different TV shows and episodes span a massive range of contrast, brightness, darkness, colour profiles and palettes, not to mention the hugely inconsistent differences in dynamic audio range -...

    Different TV shows and episodes span a massive range of contrast, brightness, darkness, colour profiles and palettes, not to mention the hugely inconsistent differences in dynamic audio range - even with different episodes of the same show.

    This idea that we're supposed to watch on state of the art equipment capable of capturing those extreme ranges, and to individually configure your equipment to bring out the best per episode at the standard of a professional cinematographer and audio engineer is pure hubris and arrogance.

    There's a reason there are so many complaints.

    Have some humility and learn from your mistake and better yet watch your output on mid-range equipment in an average setting the same as the vast majority of your audience.

    24 votes
    1. [2]
      nacho Link Parent
      No matter what, the episode was too dark. Looking away from top-of-the-line equipment, effectively requiring people to watch something in a pitch dark cinema-like room is too big an ask. Why...

      No matter what, the episode was too dark. Looking away from top-of-the-line equipment, effectively requiring people to watch something in a pitch dark cinema-like room is too big an ask.

      Why shouldn't I be able to watch GoT on my phone commuting to work, if that's my preference?

      9 votes
      1. Loire Link Parent
        I was sitting in a dark room, watching on a 2K television. First watch with no calibration. Couldn't see a thing for stretches. Calibrated the screen for the second watch and you know what I saw?...

        I was sitting in a dark room, watching on a 2K television. First watch with no calibration. Couldn't see a thing for stretches.

        Calibrated the screen for the second watch and you know what I saw? Blur and noise during the CGI sequences. Clearly the dark picture was necessary necessary to mask the CGI.

        8 votes
    2. [6]
      bub Link Parent
      This whole thing is an argument of extremes, though. You're right that the average viewer shouldn't be expected to need to calibrate their equipment to watch the show, or to own studio-grade...

      This whole thing is an argument of extremes, though. You're right that the average viewer shouldn't be expected to need to calibrate their equipment to watch the show, or to own studio-grade equipment.

      But the other extreme is also unwarranted: Creators shouldn't have to optimize their creations for such a wide range of devices that quality takes a huge hit. Should the show be watchable on your phone while sitting on a park bench at noon? I don't think so, personally. I think that puts far too many restraints on the creators, and I think the viewer should be at least a little bit responsible for setting up a more ideal viewing environment if they want a good experience.

      So maybe this time the creators were a little overzealous, but I think the correct answer, as is often the case, is a stance somewhere between those extremes.

      8 votes
      1. [4]
        DanBC Link Parent
        People watching on a tv with correct brightness settings, in a darkened room, should be able to see what's happening, and the fact they can't isn't a problem with them or their TV, it's a problem...

        People watching on a tv with correct brightness settings, in a darkened room, should be able to see what's happening, and the fact they can't isn't a problem with them or their TV, it's a problem with the content creator.

        See also Netflix giving everything fucking terrible colour grading. One example from Ozarks: people outside at midday are not green. https://d2e111jq13me73.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/styles/review_gallery_carousel_slide_thumbnail/public/screenshots/csm-tv/ozark-ss2.jpg?itok=HauDsncU

        6 votes
        1. [3]
          bub (edited ) Link Parent
          Like I said, I'm not specifically defending the GoT creators for this one instance (although I had no trouble whatsoever seeing what was going on using my bog-standard setup, and I wasn't even in...

          Like I said, I'm not specifically defending the GoT creators for this one instance (although I had no trouble whatsoever seeing what was going on using my bog-standard setup, and I wasn't even in a dark room). I'm saying that if your response to this issue is "all content creators should always make all their content to work for all their viewers," then there's a bit more thinking that still needs to be done.

          You have to admit that at some point it becomes unreasonable. Do you create for the bottom 30% of devices? The bottom 10%? The bottom 1% that aren't even color-capable? It's a matter of drawing lines, not the black-and-white argument that people in this thread are defending.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            anowlcalledjosh Link Parent
            There's a point that always seems to be missed in these kinds of discussions - if a content creator wants any particular person to consume their content, then the content has to work for that...

            There's a point that always seems to be missed in these kinds of discussions - if a content creator wants any particular person to consume their content, then the content has to work for that person. If the creator prioritises artistic intent over the content actually being consumable, then there's nothing wrong with that - it just means that people won't consume it.

            4 votes
            1. Micycle_the_Bichael Link Parent
              This is where I think I'm going to land on the issue. If you want to make some cinematic masterpiece with weird audio and visuals? Great, put a message somewhere that helps me set up my tv to what...

              This is where I think I'm going to land on the issue. If you want to make some cinematic masterpiece with weird audio and visuals? Great, put a message somewhere that helps me set up my tv to what matches your vision and I'll watch it like that when I am in that kind of mood. But you (the artist, the general you) have to be understanding that most people don't care about that kind of thing and aren't willing to put in the effort. So you have 2 options from there, (1) make sure it still looks good in default settings, or (2) accept it is going to have a more limited audience.

              2 votes
      2. Nodja Link Parent
        They definitely should, HBO is a cable channel, meant to be consumed on TVs and smart devices. That's their target audience. If you don't test your color grading against the most popular hardware,...

        Creators shouldn't have to optimize their creations for such a wide range of devices that quality takes a huge hit

        They definitely should, HBO is a cable channel, meant to be consumed on TVs and smart devices. That's their target audience. If you don't test your color grading against the most popular hardware, you failed as a producer. If that goes agaisn't the directors "vision", there's director's cut/bluray versions to do that on.

        Music producers do this you know. They test if the mix sounds right on iphones with cheap headphones, samsung phones, bluetooth speakers, etc. If your show doesn't look good on the average TV, people won't be able to appreciate it. You're singing to the deaf.

        3 votes
  2. tomf Link
    Ok, I have to agree with them. These is from the 1080i HDTV .ts rip that was roughly the same size with a slightly lower bitrate of 8899 kb/s. I deinterlaced this with FFMPEG and downsampled the...

    Ok, I have to agree with them. These is from the 1080i HDTV .ts rip that was roughly the same size with a slightly lower bitrate of 8899 kb/s. I deinterlaced this with FFMPEG and downsampled the audio (see below.)

    A lot of people watched the web rip / version off of their site. This looked awful. I should probably pull screencaps from each version, but anybody who is aware of the compression / darkness will be able to tell the difference.

    While it's still really dark, it's nothing compared to the web rip which suffered from excessive banding, etc.

    This is what I used to deinterlace / down the audio.

    ffmpeg -i S08E03.ts -ss 00:00:00 -t 00:03:00 -vf yadif -c:v libx264 -preset slow -crf 19 -c:a aac -b:a 256k output.mp4

    All in all, however they're prepping their files for streaming, it's just not optimized for extremely dark episodes. For the other episodes the banding and all hasn't been nearly as noticeable.

    3 votes
  3. Diet_Coke Link
    I watched it on HBO Go with an iPad and it looked fine. It's a dark episode but it takes place at night, what do you expect? I'd like to see the writers respond to critique/commentary on their...

    I watched it on HBO Go with an iPad and it looked fine. It's a dark episode but it takes place at night, what do you expect? I'd like to see the writers respond to critique/commentary on their choices.

    1 vote