Tom Cruise has stepped up the fight against motion smoothing.
The star of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” was joined by the movie’s director, Chris McQuarrie, in a video posted Tuesday explaining what motion smoothing on high-definition TVs is, and why movie fans should turn it off.
Motion smoothing, aka “the soap opera effect” or video interpolation, is designed to reduce blur in high-motion video, like live sports. HDTVs that have the feature insert (i.e., interpolate) frames that didn’t exist in the source video to smooth out the action.
“The unfortunate side effect is that it makes most movies look like they were shot on high-speed video, rather than on film,” Cruise explained in the video.
McQuarrie added, “If you own a modern high-definition television, there’s a good chance you’re not watching movies the way the filmmakers intended.” The message was timed to the release of Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” on Blu-ray on Tuesday.
By default, motion smoothing is typically enabled on most HDTVs. Different TV makers call it by different names, including Sony’s MotionFlow, Samsung’s Auto Motion Plus and LG’s TruMotion. Cruise and McQuarrie recommended that consumers do an internet search to find out how to disable motion smoothing on their HDTV sets.
In his tweet, Cruise wrote that he was “taking a quick break from filming” — he’s currently at work on the “Top Gun: Maverick” sequel — to address the subject.
Over the last few years, several Hollywood directors have lobbied against the feature, including Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson, Rian Johnson, Reed Morano and Jonathan Mostow. They’ve called on the Directors Guild of America to engage in talks with TV makers to give filmmakers control over how their work is presented.
Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “Looper,”), who once dubbed motion smoothing “liquid diarrhea,” applauded Cruise McQuarrie’s stand:
Others including Ben Stiller and Mindy Kaling also weighed in on the duo’s cri de coeur: