GAME of Thrones is visually stunning, but some viewers of last night’s Battle of Winterfell were left disappointed by the overly dark scenes.
The low-lit shots made for difficult viewing, which was frustrating for fans of the show – but we’ve got some tips on how to fix it.
One cinematographer who worked on Game of Thrones told Insider that the show is “trying to be as naturalistic as possible” with its dark scenes.
But popular YouTube star Casey Neistat tweeted: “Article says GOT is dark because the show’s creators wanted it to be realistic.
“It’s a show about flying dragons and zombies. No one is here for realism – gimme some light.”
Another fan tweeted a picture of a woman squinting, with the message: “How we all watched Game of Thrones tonight. For the screen is dark and full of terrors.”
And one posted a photo of a black screen, writing: “GOT spoiler without context. Oh you can’t see anything? That’s cause the episode was dark af.”
So if you want to brighten up last night’s episode, or ready yourself for the next one, follow these steps.
Turn up brightness
This is an obvious but easily forgotten option: turn up the brightness on your TV.
With regular viewing, turning up the brightness can lead to washed-out colours.
But it’s likely your TV won’t be set at full brightness, so go into the settings and ramp it up.
Last night’s Game of Thrones episode is particularly dark, so we’d recommend putting it at the maximum setting.
Turn up backlight and contrast too
There are some other settings you can fiddle with, too.
Most modern televisions will have a giant backlight behind the display, which is what illuminates the pixels you see.
Some televisions will allow you to ramp up the brightness of the backlight itself. Just look for a “Backlight” option in your settings menu.
This will use more energy, but it’s worth it for the added detail you’ll see in Game of Thrones.
Similarly, it’s worth increasing the contrast on your TV too.
Contrast is the difference between the brightest and darkest image your TV can show.
So by increasing contrast, you get more detail in the highs and lows of TV viewing – which means there’ll be more detail in the darker areas of your screen.
Ramping up contrast should make it easier to tell what’s happening in particularly dark scenes. But it might make bright scenes look a little odd, so make sure to reset your contrast once the episode is finished.
Check if you’ve got a HDR mode on your TV
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and is a type of video that has improved contrast (brighter whites, darker blacks) and a wider range of colours.
Most big-name TVs released in the last few years will support HDR video.
And even though you’ll need HDR video to enjoy the full effects of HDR, standard footage can also be slightly improved on a HDR TV.
Check to see if you’ve got a HDR or HDR+ mode in your settings and activate it.
It might improve the quality of the darker areas of the screen you’re seeing, if only slightly.
Watch the episode on an OLED screen
If you’ve got the option of watching on an OLED screen, then that’s a good move.
For instance, the iPhone X, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max all have OLED screens, as well as most of the top Samsung Galaxy S smartphones.
Unlike conventional LED-backlit LCD screens, an OLED display has pixels that light up on their own – without the need for a backlight.
With a backlight, you’re never getting true black, because there’s always a light shining onto the display.
But the pixels in an OLED screen produce their own light: this means they can be completely turned off, showing true black.
This improved contrast means it’s easier to pick out details in dark scenes, which is great for a TV episode like Battle of Winterfell.
Turn the lights down around you
This isn’t a TV setting but it can make a major difference to your viewing experience.
Any ambient light in a room will make it harder to see darker areas of the screen.
So for the best viewing experience, turn the lights off and shut your curtains.
Viewing like this all the time is a bad idea because it increases eye strain, but it may be worth it to better enjoy the Battle of Winterfell.
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What did you think of the Battle of Winterfell? Let us know in the comments!
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