As is now the tradition of Games of Thrones and its related properties, last night’s House of the Dragon was way too dark.
Game of Thrones viewers have complained of numerous episodes of the series being too dark to see anything, most famously the season eight episode “The Long Night.” When that episode aired, people were so unable to see anything happening on screen it became as big a topic of conversation that night as the episode itself.
Last night’s House of the Dragon, a prequel series to Game of Thrones took place partially at night, similar to “The Long Night” and left fans complaining, once again, that they can’t see anything. The HBO Max customer service twitter account has been telling viewers who are upset by their lack of ability to see anything that the dim lighting is “an intentional creative decision.”
Both this episode and Game of Thrones’ “The Long Night” were directed by Miguel Sapochnik, who won an Emmy for the Game of Thrones episode “Battle of the Bastards.” A Game of Thrones cinematographer previously said that “The Long Night” looked too dark to viewers because of how HBO compresses its shows for streaming. At the time, James Willcox, senior electronics editor at Consumer Reports, told Motherboard that the issue could also be traced to what kind of TV you’re watching the show on.
“One reason is that most TVs are LCD sets that have a tough time producing very deep blacks, due to the backlights. The shows are being mastered on expensive monitors, probably an OLED monitor where the black details are more obvious,” Willcox said.
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J.D. Connor, associate professor in Cinema and Media Studies at USC, told Motherboard in regards to Netflix shows that compression in streaming does actually affect the image quite a bit.
“When you take a movie like the original Superman or something and put it on television, all the edges get really sharp, all the blue screen looks really hacky,” he said. ”Something quite similar happens when you take a big 4K image and you jam it through a massively compressed amount of data to put it on TV.”