Tom Cruise is asking you politely to turn off 'motion smoothing'

13 Dec 2018 | Rasmus Larsen |

Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie have an important message for you if you want to watch Mission: Impossible Fallout – or any other movie you love – the way the filmmaker intended: Turn off motion smoothing.

Mission impossible?

Tom Cruise and filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie took a short break from filming Top Gun Maverick last week to talk about video interpolation – also known as motion smoothing or the soap opera effect. These systems calculate and insert artificial frames into the video stream.

In short, the two filmmakers want you to turn off motion smoothing whenever you are watching a movie. The feature is on by default in most TVs; even TVs from manufacturers who claim to respect the filmmaker’s intent.



In 2017, Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie joined other directors such as James Gunn, Rian Johnson and Christopher Miller in an effort to make TV manufacturers stop the practice. A few years prior, Reed Morano had started a petition. And earlier this year, Christopher Nolan and others proposed that TV manufacturers should implement a ‘Reference Mode’. In the video above, the two filmmakers reiterate that the industry is working with TV manufacturers to find a solution.

Most movies today are still shot in 24 frames per second, with very few exceptions such as The Hobbit and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk that were shot in 48 and 120fps, respectively – also referred to as High Frame Rate (HFR). James Cameron has also said that he is considering filming the upcoming Avatar movies in HFR. Some people tend to conflate motion smoothing with HFR but it is important to keep the two separated. Using HFR is a deliberate choice in the filmmaking process, whereas a TV’s motion smoothing alters the source in various ways while also introducing picture artefacts.

So how exactly can motion smoothing be deactivated? Quick, follow the link to our guide before Tom Cruise gets mad.



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