Following complaints about the latest Game of Thrones episode being almost impossible to see because of its dark cinematography, quite a few fans of the show have taken it upon themselves to brighten up vital scenes to show how epic The Battle Of Winterfell really was.
The show’s decision to go all natural was comprehensible. One of the things the episode tried to convey was the horror of war, and how sometimes it can be hard to even see your enemy. The Night King attacked at night, and he brought a snowstorm with him. Obviously, visibility was going to be reduced. But Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings was at night in the rain, and we at least saw what was going on.
YouTube account Hivemind really went the extra mile and not only brightened the scene in which the Wights make their way across the battlefield to crash into the Unsullied, but it also played the original version right next to the edit to highlight the changes in the viewing experience.
Fabian Wagner, the cinematographer for the series’ longest episode ever has also responded to the criticism. “[GoT] has always been very dark and a very cinematic show,” he told TMZ. “We tried to give the viewers and fans a cool episode to watch. I know it wasn’t too dark because I shot it.”
Daenerys And Jon Snow
He was a little more specific when talking with WIRED. “The showrunners decided that this had to be a dark episode. We’d seen so many battle scenes over the years – to make it truly impactful and to care for the characters, you have to find a unique way of portraying the story … Another look would have been wrong.
Everything we wanted people to see is there … Personally, I don’t have to always see what’s going on because it’s more about the emotional impact.”
“Game of Thrones is a cinematic show and therefore you have to watch it like you’re at a cinema: in a darkened room,” the cinematographer continued. “If you watch a night scene in a brightly-lit room then that won’t help you see the image properly.”
“A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly … A lot of people also, unfortunately, watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.”
Dragons lighting up the enemies
Brienne of Tarth rallying the troops
Daenerys riding her dragon
Sansa and Arya
The chaotic battlefield
Watch the entire comparison below
Reddit user czmanix has also shown off their video editing wizardry by lighting the episode up. “I understand [the showrunners’] decision from an art standpoint, but I think they did not take into account technical limitations,” czmanix told Bored Panda. “Most of the action happens between 5 to 20 % of brightness. A lot of TVs have problems with these dark colors and often crush them.”
Other brightened up moments from the episode
“Also, HBO was serving more compressed version to the first wave of viewers to survive the onslaught and often aggressive compression ignores parts, that “an eye cannot see”, but that’s where the most of action was happening. So the creators were able to see it on their TVs, but bad TVs in bright rooms and an aggressive compression created this mess.”
This fan of the show edited the episode because they “wanted to see, what was happening, nobody was talking about that cool dragons scene, not even in the ‘making of’ video, so I wanted to see it more and understand it.”
“[I edited the footage] using Lumetri Color in Adobe Premiere Pro. Usually, it’s used for color grading, but I used it to restore most of the original color palette.”