Home Theater

Tom Cruise PSA: Turn off HDTV Motion Smoothing, Avoid ‘Soap-Opera Effect’

Taking to Twitter, Tom Cruise wages war on video interpolation (motion smoothing), garnering thousands of responses from A/V geeks and jokesters alike.

Tom Cruise PSA: Turn off HDTV Motion Smoothing, Avoid ‘Soap-Opera Effect’
Twitter brings out the geek and the giggles as Tom Cruise denounces motion smoothing on modern-day HDTVs.
Credit: Video provided via Tom Cruise's Twitter account

Andrew Nichols · December 6, 2018

Tom Cruise, worldwide film star, producer, and...custom integrator? Well, sort of, as the actor took to Twitter recently to discuss his new movie, Mission: Impossible Fallout, and how it should best be viewed on an HDTV. 

The tweet features a video where Cruise, alongside Mission: Impossible Fallout and Top Gun: Maverick writer Christopher McQuarrie, go over why the film industry dislikes the video interpolation (or motion smoothing) option in most modern HDTV sets.

"The unfortunate side effect [of motion smoothing] is that it makes most movies look like they were shot on high-speed video rather than film," says Cruise, likening the results to the "soap-opera effect."

McQuarrie agrees, saying, "If you own a modern high-definition television, there’s a good chance you’re not watching movies the way the filmmakers intended.” 

The problem is, most TVs come with motion smoothing already on by default, and turning it off often isn't easy, as manufacturers force customers to go through a series of menus, and oftentimes brand motion smoothing with custom names like Samsung's AutoMotion Plus.

It's also tricky to detect, according to McQuarrie: "Without a side-by-side comparison many people can't quite put their finger on why the movie they are watching looks strange."

Read Next: Tom Cruise, Jimmy Fallon Discuss 2-Channel Vinyl Listening Rooms

According to Cruise, filmmakers are working with manufacturers to change the way motion smoothing is activated on TVs to allow viewers to more easily access the feature and toggle it off if desired. 

In the meantime, when installing a new TV, consider asking customers if they'd like the feature on or off, or find out if they plan on watching a lot of movies on that screen and turn it off for them. It's a nice way to be proactive and give customers the best viewing experience possible. 

Alternatively, HDTV owners can take matters into their own hands and search "How to turn off motion smoothing [enter TV brand/model here]" and go through the necessary steps. 

Twitter Reacts

Cruise and McQuarrie won (mostly) kudos from the Twittersphere, and a lot of yuks.

The winning response

 And the comments keep coming, now numbering more than 3,600:



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  About the Author

Andrew is a journalist and educator living in the Providence area. He was previously the Editor-in-Chief of a gaming and tech website, and the Managing Editor of his university newspaper, The Torch. He received his Bachelors in Writing and Masters in Teaching from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Andrew at andrew_nichols@ehpub.com

Follow Andrew on social media:

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View Andrew Nichols's complete profile.



  Article Topics


Home Theater · Displays · News · HDTV · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by Carlton Bale on December 8, 2018

For the next PSA, they should warn website designers against having static navigation headers and hovering ads that make watching embedded videos extremely frustrating on mobile devices, especially when the videos don’t automatically play in full screen and the full-screen video control buttons don’t work. Yes, I’m talking to you CEPro.
https://i.imgur.com/l9xpM4K.png

Posted by AndreFloyd on December 7, 2018

We all know the danger of using generalizations, but apparently some of us use them anyway.

In the video, Tom states that “most TVs come with motion smoothing turned on by default” and says that manufacturers make it difficult for users to turn it off.  In Sony projectors there are nine Picture Modes or Calibrated Presets.  The Motionflow default is different depending on the mode you choose.  For “movie modes” (Cinema Film 1, Cinema Film 2, Reference and Bright Cinema) the default is “True Cinema” which removes the 2:3 pulldown that is built into the 60 fps video format.  For “TV modes” (TV and Bright TV) the default is “Smooth Low” which provides some interpolation that makes the image appear smoother with less motion blur but does not incur the “soap opera effect” which is quite evident in “Smooth High” setting.  Smooth High setting is certainly appropriate for watching televised sports like hockey and basketball which is created at 60 fps but includes inherent undesirable motion blur.  Smooth High is not recommended for dramatic programming, but Smooth Low is not objectionable for dramatic content.  For the remaining picture modes (Photo, Game and User) the default setting is “Off”.

Setting Motionflow to “Off” will actually provide a result that is not what the creators intended because the native video signal has motion judder due to the fact that it is not mathematically possible to evenly divide 60 by 24.  True Cinema mode takes advantage of the 120 fps refresh rate of the projector to properly display movie content by showing each frame of the movie for 1/24th of a second, as it was created.

Of course, at any time and in any picture mode the user can easily access and change the Motionflow setting to the choice they prefer.  When a user first presses the “Menu” button on the projector or remote control, the picture menu appears and Motionflow is the fifth item down on this menu screen.  Selecting Motionflow on this screen brings up a list of choices (which may vary slightly depending on projector model) and the user can easily choose any available mode, including OFF.

Posted by AndreFloyd on December 7, 2018

We all know the danger of using generalizations, but apparently some of us use them anyway.

In the video, Tom states that “most TVs come with motion smoothing turned on by default” and says that manufacturers make it difficult for users to turn it off.  In Sony projectors there are nine Picture Modes or Calibrated Presets.  The Motionflow default is different depending on the mode you choose.  For “movie modes” (Cinema Film 1, Cinema Film 2, Reference and Bright Cinema) the default is “True Cinema” which removes the 2:3 pulldown that is built into the 60 fps video format.  For “TV modes” (TV and Bright TV) the default is “Smooth Low” which provides some interpolation that makes the image appear smoother with less motion blur but does not incur the “soap opera effect” which is quite evident in “Smooth High” setting.  Smooth High setting is certainly appropriate for watching televised sports like hockey and basketball which is created at 60 fps but includes inherent undesirable motion blur.  Smooth High is not recommended for dramatic programming, but Smooth Low is not objectionable for dramatic content.  For the remaining picture modes (Photo, Game and User) the default setting is “Off”.

Setting Motionflow to “Off” will actually provide a result that is not what the creators intended because the native video signal has motion judder due to the fact that it is not mathematically possible to evenly divide 60 by 24.  True Cinema mode takes advantage of the 120 fps refresh rate of the projector to properly display movie content by showing each frame of the movie for 1/24th of a second, as it was created.

Of course, at any time and in any picture mode the user can easily access and change the Motionflow setting to the choice they prefer.  When a user first presses the “Menu” button on the projector or remote control, the picture menu appears and Motionflow is the fifth item down on this menu screen.  Selecting Motionflow on this screen brings up a list of choices (which may vary slightly depending on projector model) and the user can easily choose any available mode, including OFF.

Posted by Carlton Bale on December 8, 2018

For the next PSA, they should warn website designers against having static navigation headers and hovering ads that make watching embedded videos extremely frustrating on mobile devices, especially when the videos don’t automatically play in full screen and the full-screen video control buttons don’t work. Yes, I’m talking to you CEPro.
https://i.imgur.com/l9xpM4K.png

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