The Real Reason Game of Thrones's 'The Long Night' Was So Dark


The Battle of Winterfell, featured in Game of Thrones’s latest episode “The Long Night,” was very hard to see—and that’s putting it gently. Viewers were annoyed at many too-dark scenes, including the beginning of the battle in which the Dothraki headed straight into the black void of the wight army. As the army retreated while the dead descended on everyone else, the picture on the screen became one big blob.

Fans complained on social media about not being able to see a thing.

If you were wondering what was happening in those very dark scenes, there’s apparently a simple explanation.

The battle taking place at night made the episode that much scarier, but according to TechCrunch, it was a bad decision because of the nature of home video streaming.

TechCrunch explains that footage has to be compressed before it’s sent over the internet, which has its limits. In addition to HBO’s master video of the actual footage, there are special effects and color work that are composed of tons of gigabytes or even terabytes. It contains all the information on every pixel in every frame.

“Imagine if you tried to ‘stream’ a terabyte-sized TV episode,” TechCrunch says. “You’d have to be able to download upwards of 200 megabytes per second for the full 80 minutes of this one. Few people in the world have that kind of connection—it would basically never stop buffering. Even 20 megabytes per second is asking too much by a long shot. Two is doable—slightly under the 25-megabit speed (that’s bits … divide by 8 to get bytes) we use to define broadband download speeds.”

Cinematographer Fabian Wagner, who worked on the “The Long Night” and other famous Game of Thrones episodes like “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards,” blamed compression for the poor lighting as well. While speaking to TMZ, he explained that since the series “has always been very dark and a very cinematic show,” it’s recommended to watch in a room that’s as dark as possible, and avoid streaming on your phone.

Compressing a file affects the color and brightness of the video, and that’s why the episode was very hard to see. The good news: if you calibrate your TV, the color of the picture should come out better in future episodes.

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar


Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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What Movie Do You Want to Watch? This Website Analyzes Film Critic Reviews to Help You Choose

She's smiling because it only took her two minutes to choose a movie.
She's smiling because it only took her two minutes to choose a movie.
Rowan Jordan/iStock via Getty Images

Much like sommeliers can detect subtle notes of who-knows-what in a sip of wine, film critics are fantastic at identifying influences and drawing parallels between movies. Cinetrii is a handy website that crowdsources all that movie knowledge to help you find your next favorite film.

Basically, you enter the name of a movie you enjoyed in the search bar, and the site will show you a node graph with film recommendations splintering off the search query. Click on one, and you’ll see a quote from a critic (or critics) who referenced the films together. This way, you get a list of recommendations based on different aspects of the movie, and you get to decide for yourself what you’d like to see more of.

If, for example, you were blown away by the special effects in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, you might like Doctor Strange; according to Variety, it boasts “a staggering visual effects innovation, in which the building-bending seen in Christopher Nolan’s Inception is taken to an extreme that would blow even M.C. Escher’s mind.” If what the Chicago Tribune calls an “elegant brain-bender” quality appealed to you more, The Matrix might be a perfect fit.

Films above your search query were released before the movie you typed in, while films below came out after it. The shorter the line, the more closely the films are related, as calculated by the website’s algorithm. And, as Lifehacker points out, that algorithm doesn’t give any special treatment to massive Hollywood blockbusters, so Cinetrii is an especially great way to find hidden gems. Because it shows you the critics' actual quotes, you’re not left to wonder why a certain film landed on the recommendations list—which can’t always be said for “Watch next” lists on streaming services.

You can explore Cinetrii here.

[h/t Lifehacker]