Netflix Tests Option to Adjust Speeds; Filmmakers Not Happy

Written by: Rachel Goodman – October 29th, 2019 8:44pm PT

Netflix has been trying out a new feature which would allow users to adjust the speed they watch content, and filmmakers are not happy.

The feature serves the purpose of allowing you to either speed through a show or movie, if you’re trying to get through it quickly, or slow down the content such as in the case of learning a new language. Either way, directors Judd Apatow, Brad Bird, and Peyton Reed are not having it.

“Don’t make me have to call every director and show creator on Earth to fight you on this,” Apatow wrote in a tweet. “Save me the time. I will win but it will take a ton of time. Don’t f**k with our timing. We give you nice things. Leave them as they were intended to be seen.”

“This is a terrible idea,” Ant-Man director Reed posted, “and I and every director I know will fight against it.”

After all, speeding up or slowing down a scene does technically change the way the film will be viewed, therefore altering the director’s vision.

A fellow fan, however, did not see it that way. Kevin Power responded to Reed’s tweet in defense of Netflix.

“What’s the big deal about Netflix introducing this feature?” he tweeted. “YouTube have had it with years & nobody spoke out about it. It’s just a novelty.”

While YouTube does not allow speed settings changed on every single uploaded video, one quick search for a high-definition film such as Dust’s The Candidate shows exactly how this feature might work. The film speeds up and as the actors speak, they sound more like chipmunks and there is certainly some level of image quality degradation. A site like YouTube that is more open to the public might be a valid place to have this feature, whereas filmmakers creating content for Netflix might expect a feature messing with quality to never make its way onto the site.

On the subject of quality loss, some fans don’t seem to care. M. Howlett, for example, tweeted that he’s too busy catching up on shows due to the oversaturated market to worry about the image or sound.

“Am I in the minority for wanting this feature?” Howlett said. “I’m so behind on shows that it would help me get caught up quicker. If there’s the risk of quality being lost because it was sped up, it would be at the cost of me not watching the show at all.”

Though Howlett brings up a fair point, Aaron Paul—who played Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad and El Camino: A Breaking Bad movie—also sided with the filmmakers. 

“There is NO WAY @netflix will move forward with this,” the actor posted. “That would mean they are completely taking control of everyone else’s art and destroying it. Netflix is far better than that. Am I right Netflix?”

There’s no news yet on whether the speed feature will be something that Netflix officially implements, but for now the filmmakers have spoken. With subscribers so bogged down by the influx of shows—and others who want to really slow things down to study a scene or learn a language—we might just be seeing this new feature in the near future.

About The Author:

Rachel Goodman is a Los Angeles based actress, host, and writer originally from a suburb of Philadelphia, PA. In college, Rachel wrote for the Penn State Abington Literary Review and was an editorialist for The Lion’s Roar and The Montgomery County Ticket.

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