Thursday, December 6, 2018

It's not about Xenu, but Tom Cruise has an important public service announcement about something that's wrong - with your TV.

It's not about Xenu, but Tom Cruise has taken time out to do a very important public service announcement (PSA) to warn people about something that's very wrong - with your television.

In a video posted on his Twitter stream, Tom Cruise, taking time out of filming the follow-up to Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick, appears alongside Chris McQuarrie, the director of Mission: Impossible - Fallout to please become aware of the "motion smoothing" effect that by default is switched to "on" on new-generation TV sets and to switch it off.

Motion smoothing, a term known as the "soap opera effect" because it makes TV content look like soapies, is not something ordinary consumers are aware of or understand, although it's something TV manufacturers sneak into their TV sets and out of the box toggle to the default on setting.

When TV viewers watch films, they can sometimes realise that something is "wrong" but don't know what, or how to fix it.

While motion smoothing sounds like a good thing - like conditioner for your hair - it's actually not. It helps with watching fast-moving sports content, but makes everything else, especially movies, actually look worse and not like directors, producers and the cast meant for them to be seen.

Let's get technical for a very short moment: Video interpolation is the digital video effect employed by TV manufacturers to improve the quality of high-definition sport.

Why? TV set manufacturers think men watching sport are the top buyers of big-screen TV sets. And retailers, to show off those vibrant colours and "action" on screen, mostly switch TV sets to sport channels in window displays and on store shelves.

Motion smoothing makes fast-moving sport action look even better (but everything else worse), especially films that come across as "too sped up".

Tom Cruise is far from the only person who are complaining about the motion smoothing function, with several Hollywood top directors who have railed against the setting for screwing up how their films look on TV and how the audience perceive it that is different from what they intended.

In the 87-second video Tom Cruise says "I'm taking a quick break from filming to tell you the best way to watch Mission: Impossible -Fallout or any movie you love at home."

Chris McQuarrie says "video interpolation or motion smoothing is intended to reduce motion blur in sporting events and other high-definition programming. Without a side-by-side comparison, most people can't quite put their figure on why the movie they're watching, looks strange".

Tom Cruise says "the unfortunate side-effect is that it makes most movies look like they were shot on high-speed video rather than film, sometimes referred to as the 'soap opera effect. Most HD TV's come with this feature already on by default, and turning it off requires navigating a set of menu's with interpolation often referred to by another brand name."

"Filmmakers are working with manufacturers to change the way video interpolation is activated on your television, giving you easier access and greater choice over when to use this feature."

Chris says "If you own a modern high-definition television, there's a good chance you're not watching movies the way that filmmakers intended, and the ability to do so, is not simple for you to access."

"A quick internet search should provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to quickly disable the feature so that you can enjoy the movie you are about to see, exactly as the filmmakers intended."