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The “smoothing motion” of HD TVs in Tom Cruise's viewfinder and the world of cinema

The actor says all the harm he thinks of “video interpolation” technologies, supposed to fluidify the movements at the risk of betraying the artistic intention of the filmmakers.

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At age 56, Tom Cruise goes on a crusade. Not against the “Syndicate”, the criminal group against which he wrestles with the group “Mission Impossible”, nor as part of a historical film. From the plateau Top Gun: Maverick, in progress, the American actor has released a video, Wednesday, December 4, to promote the DVD release of his latest film and to say that “The best way to look Mission Impossible: Fallout (or any movie you like) at home » is to disable the effects “Video interpolation [or[ou[or[ousmoothing motion in English] , the default setting on most High Definition (HD) TVs.

Directors' nightmare

Between two takes for the next Top Gun, the actor and producer – accompanied by the director Christopher McQuarrie who gives him the reply – says all the harm he thinks of these technologies supposed to fluidify the movements. While they are welcome for retransmissions of sports events, they have become the nightmare of filmmakers and art lovers.

These effects enabled by default on TVs give the impression of seeing a more detailed image, shot with a camera at very high speed. Each manufacturer has developed its own technology, whether it is Sony Motionflow, Panasonic Intelligent Frame Creation, Samsung Motion Plus or LG TruMotion. A French giant of the distribution of household appliances explains on his site that “The process consists of adding images in addition to those provided by the source, so as to increase the sharpness of the rendering during the display, and enhance the experience of the viewer”.

“Soap opera” effect or “liquid diarrhea”

For Tom Cruise, this “Artificial interpolation” disfigures the films, giving them an effect called “Soap opera”, so to speak low-end. Some, like Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) go further: in a tweet of October 6, 2017 (which he has since deleted), he compared this effect to a … “Liquid diarrhea”. “If you want the movies to look like liquid diarrhea, very well “, he wrote, adding that this must be a choice on the part of the viewer, not something suffered. He also questioned the technological feat of navigating the menus of a modern TV to disable these settings.

Already in 2014, a petition was launched by the director Reed Morano (the first three episodes of the series The Handmaid's Tale, for which she won an Emmy), with relative success – 12,000 signatures in four years – in which she asks that the artificial interpolation ceases to be a “Default setting of TVs (…) which deprives filmmakers of their artistic intention “.

Before Tom Cruise joined this crusade, James Gunn (The Guardians of the Galaxy), Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc.), Matt Reeves (Cloverfield and The Planet of the Apes: The Clash), but also Christopher Nolan (Interstellar) or Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Inherent Vice, Phantom Thread) have asked the TV manufacturers a function to disable these settings in a few manipulations.

The solution at the end of the search engine

A bit more anchored in the XXIe century, Christopher McQuarrie explains that to disable them, just start a search on the Internet, “Turn off the fluidification of movements + brand of his TV”.

This crusade could be a rearguard, knowing that the TV screen is increasingly competing with phones, tablets and platforms like YouTube, as noted by a study of Nielsen (measure of audience) analyzing conventional and digital television consumption across all the screens in the United States.

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