'The Walking Dead' showrunner says they think carefully about episode brightness: 'We're not trying to make anything too dark to enjoy'
- Warning: There are minor spoilers ahead for "The Walking Dead."
- There are many moments in the first two new episodes of "TWD" shrouded in darkness. Sometimes it may be difficult to see.
- Showrunner Angela Kang tells Insider they consider how dark scenes and episodes are before they air on TV.
- "We have received occasional complaints throughout the years that certain scenes are too dark for some people, but I swear we're not trying to make anything too dark to enjoy," said Kang.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
A lot of "The Walking Dead's" mid-season premiere was spent in the dark as Daryl, Carol, Connie, and more tried to make their way out of the caves the Whisperers trapped them inside.
Some of it may have felt so dark that you had to turn off the lights in your home or turn up the brightness on your TV. It's something "The Walking Dead" showrunner and crew also think about.
"We do consider darkness when we go through lighting on set or the final color process on the episode before it airs," showrunner Angela Kang told Insider via email.
"Our [director of photography] conducted camera tests on the caves and our post production team (in conjunction with the DP) created test looks for the final color/darkness levels," Kang continued. "I reviewed both and hope/believe we came to a good balance of darkness and visibility."
Insider reviewed the first two new episodes of the season. There are certainly some dark moments on both, but it's worth noting we watched the episodes on a laptop with the brightness turned up all the way, which isn't the way most fans will experience the show.
We've been thinking about the way "TWD" handles and lights up dark scenes on the zombie series ever since the final season of "Game of Thrones."
When season eight aired on HBO in 2019, many fans said they couldn't see the details of a major fight because the entire episode was so dark. That was partially because of the changes of season on the show. The directors of photography started using only candles or fire to light indoor scenes sometimes in order to preserve natural, realistic feeling.
When multiple episodes throughout the season continued showing dark scenes, my colleague Ben Gilbert at our sister site Business Insider wrote a handy guide to fine tune your TV to enhance the viewing experience of the show's final season.
We mentioned this to Kang who said they've received their fair share of criticism from fans over dark moments.
"We have received occasional complaints throughout the years that certain scenes are too dark for some people, but I swear we're not trying to make anything too dark to enjoy!" said Kang about scenes being too dark on the AMC series.
"Every dark scene looks great on our various post production monitors, and then we still usually do a slight bump up in brightness when we can (we are limited by how much visual information was captured to begin with on film)," Kang added.
The trailers for the back-half of the season tease more scenes of the survivors at nighttime. But an upcoming fight between the undead and the Hilltop community appears well lit from teasers. Hopefully, that's something that will also translate to TV.
"Unfortunately, everyone's television has different settings, so we can't ensure that the picture looks exactly the same everywhere. There's not even one setting that works for everything," wrote Kang.
"[The] next generation of smart TVs should have an option to auto-detect what kind of program you're watching and switch the settings for you," she added.
It sounds like we're getting close.
Last August, a "filmmaker mode" setting for TVs was announced. A push of a button will disable things like motion smoothing to let viewers watch a movie or TV show the way filmmakers intended with correct film rates and color.
The setting is backed by directors including Rian Johnson ("The Last Jedi"), Christopher Nolan ("Inception"), and Patty Jenkins ("Wonder Woman") and the UHD Alliance, a group comprised of 40 companies, including Dolby, LG, Samsung, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. The setting will be rolled out on new TVs from LG, Panasonic, Vizio, Samsung, and Philips.
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