The Artist’s Intent

When making a movie, the director is more than just a manager of the hundreds of people involved in the process. It’s their vision that drives the look, feel, and tone of a movie. In the end, all decisions about what you see on screen are up to them (ideally). The possibilities are infinite. Take Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, for example. This film was shot in the ultra-wide 2.20:1 aspect ratio. Engineered to be seen on a big screen, each shot is filled with plenty to see in every part of the frame. On all televisions, this film has black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. If you adjust your TV to remove the black bars, the sides of each shot are lost – by up to 20%, and you are missing out on aspects of the image that Kubrick intended you to see.

Or, what about preserving the precise color palette of the Oscar-nominated The King’s Speech or The Social Network? What about the exacting levels of darkness in films like Alien and Aliens? With too dark or too light of a setting on your TV, you may miss the subtle details that really draw you into the chilling experience. These precise details extend beyond movies. The incredibly popular CSI TV series each have a decided tint. The creators of each show wanted a stylized color shift: green for the original, yellow/orange for Miami, and blue for NY.

Then there’s the other, equally important sense at work while enjoying a movie: what are you hearing? Sound levels and location are a key part in how a sound designer crafts their work in a film.

Where does THX Fit in?

Staying true to the artist’s intent is exactly why George Lucas founded THX 30 years ago. He wanted to make sure that moviegoers had the best chance of seeing the highest quality movie they could, and for that presentation to be as close as possible to the director’s intent. THX’s goal, above all else, is to guarantee that the artist’s vision is relayed to the viewer as precisely as the technology is capable.

In the theater, THX Certifies the cinema by ensuring the speakers, projector and screen are in the right location, that the walls keep out external sound, that the room is as acoustically correct as possible and more.

In the home, THX Certified audio products hold the promise of accurate frequency response, low noise levels, and all the power needed to drive the speakers to the level the sound mixers mixed the movie – also known as reference level. THX Certified display products have accurate colors and color temperature, and video processing that’s powerful enough to create artifact-free images.

And now, with THX Media Director, all these products can automatically adjust so that you don’t have to do anything. The entire system will set itself up correctly for the playback experience the director intended.

Why Should you Care?

Why do you want all of this? Because when the colors are correct, the exact reds and greens the director intended will be on the screen. When the color temperature is correct, the tone and mood of each scene, be it a cold winter’s day or the warm summer Sun, all will be accurately portrayed. When the audio is correct, every footstep, every slamming door, will be to the exact level that the sound mixer and director wanted, so you can hear everything that’s going on in the mix.

We entrust filmmakers not just with our ticket money, but with the only currency that really matters: our time. They have spent years of their lives carefully crafting an experience, and then release it out into the world – for us to enjoy. We at THX feel that the best way we can honor their creation is to sit back and enjoy it exactly how they intended. Or at least, as close as technology can allow.