Everyone’s been talking about the Battle of Winterfell. While we thought going in people would be talking about the epic 82 minute final battle with the Night King, instead the main topic of conversation online has been the dim lighting choices used in the episode. So was the Battle of Winterfell Too Dark?

Was The Battle of Winterfell Too Dark?

Battle of Winterfell Too Dark
Season 8 Episode 3: Before the battle

Many people spoke out about their trouble trying to make out what was happening in last week’s episode. In an interview with Wired, Director of Photography Fabian Wagner defended his work and stated that the dark atmosphere was intentional. “A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly,” Wagner said. “A lot of people also, unfortunately, watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.”

Unfortunately not all TVs have the same picture settings, and trying to produce a film or show that will look its best on everyone’s screen is a difficult task. There are however a few things you can do to optimize your at-home viewing experience.

Check Your TV Screen Settings Before the Battle of Winterfell Begins

Theon Greyjoy Battle of Winterfell
Season 8 Episode 3: Theon defends the living

One of the simplest solutions you can try is to recalibrate your TV screen. Almost all televisions nowadays have screen display options in their menus. You can adjust your brightness, contrast, color and more options. You can also try out other picture modes. Most TVs will have a cinema or movie mode that may help make your screen display a bit more cinematic.

Turn the Lights Off During Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Season 8 Night King
Season 8 Episode 3: The Night King approaches

This may seem obvious but making sure you’re in a dark viewing environment can make a huge difference. Turning all the lights off in your field of view will get rid of any distracting reflections and make dimly lit scenes stand out more. Plus it will make watching films at home feel more like going to a theater.

Check Your Stream Quality

Battle of Winterfell Birenne of Tarth
Season 8 Episode 3: Brienne of Tarth and troops prepare for combat

With thousands of people tuning in at the same time, there’s bound to be a bit of buffering or sudden jumps in stream quality. While watching using the HBO GO app there were a few points where it seemed like the stream quality dropped to around 480p or so, and then back to 1080p at other points. Not only was there a ton of traffic on the app’s server, but your internet service provider could also be to blame. If you’re trying to watch the episode as it premieres, you need to have a strong internet plan to handle the stream. Without a strong stable internet connection, the quality of the stream is more likely to drop resulting in a dark muddy image.

How did the Battle of Winterfell look for you? Was it too dark to see on your screen or was it just right? Let us know down below!


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We hope these simple viewing tips will help in making any future battles in Westeros a better viewing experience. Let us know of any other viewing tips we might have missed, and if you’d like to see more about the Quasar Lights we used in this episode, check out our Quasar Light Review. If you want to see some other LED Light options check out our ARRi Skypanel VS Litepanels Gemini Review.

If you have any questions on the techniques used in this review video, please send a note in the comments. Thanks for watching “Was Battle of Winterfell TOO DARK in Game of Thrones,” in our Film Jams series!

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Gear used in this video:
-Canon C300 – https://amzn.to/2Fe9SlD

-QUASAR 2ft Q-LED Rainbow LED Light – https://amzn.to/2GUuhvz

-QUASAR 4ft Q-LED X Crossfade LED – https://amzn.to/2Won8tY

Other equipment we use to film:

-Canon C100 – https://amzn.to/2u04CMm
-Sony A7III – https://amzn.to/2TAoYqK

-Canon 24-105mm – https://amzn.to/2ILo9tp (main interview)
-Canon 100mm macro – https://amzn.to/2KsZuaF (product shots & CUs)

-Sachtler – https://amzn.to/2KTXbfH

-Sennheiser MKE600 – https://amzn.to/2ILulBP
-Sennheiser 416 – https://amzn.to/2INrtQy

-Litepanel Astra 6x – https://amzn.to/2KUBYCB
-Kino Flo Diva LED – https://amzn.to/2BuunZp

-Profoto Beauty Dish – https://amzn.to/2zgfjPV
-Profoto D2 500 Strobe Kit – https://amzn.to/2J28AZx
-Canon 5D mkIII – https://amzn.to/2KRE3zl
-Profoto Air Remote – https://amzn.to/2MU7MZa

Filmed on location at: https://www.LitewaveMedia.com in St. Petersburg, FL

Special Thanks to the St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commission Digital Creator Program

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