Monday night came the third episode of Game of Thrones season eight, and just like the previous two episodes this season was dark. And then we spoke not just the darkly but darkly thematic in the sense that it was not easy to see what happened to much of the episode.
PS: Let's try not to "spoil" anything directly in this article without text or images, but you can see details in some photos that suggest the action.
We have already complained about the quality of HBO Nordic's flow in a commentary here at Tek.no, but the problem only got worse since the first two episodes of the eighth season.
Let's see why the world's most popular TV series looks so bad and what you can do to see more of what's happening in the coming episodes – or, in the third episode, you'd like to see it again.
Issue 1: Video Compression
All the videos we see online are somehow compressed from the original recordings. So-called raw files that are recorded while filming a series are huge, preferably more than one terabyte per episode, which is too large to flow over the web. Therefore, they should be reduced so that we can all take them to our TVs, cell phones and PCs.
Compression, especially when making very small video clips, causes the details to disappear. With rigid compaction, the color spectrum becomes so small that, in an original clip, it included hundreds of different shades of gray, resulting in only a handful of colors. This is called bandsand is one of the biggest reasons why the last episodes of Game of Thrones look so terrible:
When the video file shows no more than a handful of shades of gray and the entire image is gray, there is no way to go. Then the image looks like this:
Of course, it does not help that the image is dark, but even if we can light the light, the image will not have more details. The different tones simply merge, making them solid and detailed color splashes.
Solution? Only HBO has the answer
The compression of the original content is, unfortunately, little, as end users can do something about it. HBO Nordic, which most of us use to watch the Game of Thrones, flows for about five megabits per second. It is very small – especially when it is dark and the onscreen action is at a high speed.
There is little doubt that when HBO Game of Thrones movies have access to 4K material, probably 8K as well, but this never finds its way to end users. In the company's power services, only 1080p files are available, compressed into 5 megabits. In the United States there are some customers, ironically via Amazon Prime Video, which are seen by 10 megabits. It is probably also this version that pirates descend in bulk every year.
When the series is finally released on Blu-ray, the quality will undoubtedly be much better. Here, the standard for 1080p content tends to be up to 40 mbit / s, while 4K content can reach up to 128 mbits / s.
Whether in full HD or 4K resolution, the quality is still much higher than the episodes broadcast on the web.
Problem 2: Darkness
Although video compression is the biggest culprit and creates both bands and the so-called artifacts in the picture, darkness is also a huge problem. You can have as many details as you want in an image, but if the scene is too dark to see them, they will not have much purpose.
In the third episode of the eighth season, most of the action happens at night outdoors in the dark. In addition, an owl comes in mist, which makes the problems even worse.
TVs and monitors deal with content like this one slightly different. On older TVs with low levels of black, nothing will turn completely black, and everything is just a light gray lube of detail and compressed artifacts.
On new and modern TVs, even on OLED TVs, the problem may be the opposite. The tones that are almost completely black, but not entirely, could be automatically interpreted as black, thus losing all details. The so-called "Black Crush".
The result is that unless the room you are sitting in is completely dark, all the lights are off and all the windows are covered, it will probably be very difficult to see what is really happening.
Solution: Adjust the TV or make adjustments on HBO
To see what's going on in Game of Thrones, you may have to enter the TV settings menus and tweak a little.
Our most common tip for anyone who buys TVs is to turn on movie mode or something similar, since it is among the "right" TV presets with warmer colors and lower illumination. We therefore take as our starting point.
- If the TV allows, you can Increase the backlight, to bring some details that would otherwise be hidden in the dark.
- Make sure that nobody downloads anything while watching the episode, to ensure that you do not prevent video streaming
- Turn off all lights in the bedroom
- Cover the windows in the bedroom
If none of this helps, you may have to bite the sour apple and cause the main sin among TV enthusiasts: activate the "dynamic" mode on the TV. This will inflate the contrasts, increase the brightness and mill the tones. Often, this setting is used when televisions are displayed in stores to get attention.
Will not see good but you will at least have the opportunity to see what is happening:
Another solution, of course, is to ask HBO to shoot the series differently, with multiple headlights, or make some post-production corrections and republish the episodes online.
The creators of Game of Thrones said that a great inspiration for the episode was the great battle of the Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, where the orcs attack the Abyss of Helm. Here, too, the fight took place in the middle of the night, but still they managed to lighten and correct the colors, so that it was possible to see what was happening:
How did you see the last episode of Game of Thrones? Did you see anything? Please comment on the comments below!
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