Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

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Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2018-12-06 07:47pm

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This has been a landmark year for Tom Cruise. In Mission: Impossible – Fallout he made the action film of his career. He’s currently filming a sequel to one of his most beloved films, Top Gun. And it’s been rumoured that he has plans to make history by literally filming Mission: Impossible 7 in space.

How on earth could Tom Cruise manage to top all this? Simple. He’s made a video urging you to switch off motion smoothing on your TV. For this, he deserves everything. Welcome back, Tom. We’ve missed you.

At 9:46 last night, Tom tweeted an 87-second video in which he and his go-to director Christopher McQuarrie explained the concept of video interpolation and why it is the death of all good things. Video interpolation, they explained, is a digital video effect used to improve the quality of high-definition sport. “The unfortunate effect is that it makes most movies look like they were shot on high-speed video rather than film,” said Cruise. “This is sometimes referred to as the ‘soap-opera effect’.” They explained that most HD televisions come with video interpolation switched on by default, they explained how to switch it off, and then they both nodded with total sincerity.

Now, it’s worth noting that Tom Cruise is by no means the first film-maker to rail against motion smoothing. Back when he was still the Guardians of the Galaxy director, James Gunn tweeted that he, Edgar Wright, Rian Johnson and Matt Reeves were also peeved about the default nature of video interpolation, to which Reed Morano replied that she started a petition to fix the issue a number of years ago, to little avail.

Why did it fail? Possibly because none of these people are Tom Cruise. Because Tom Cruise has made a career of total commitment. Take him to a premiere and he’ll spend hours on the red carpet, shaking every single hand until everyone’s happy. Put him in a movie with helicopters in it and he’ll teach himself to fly a helicopter to the level of a veteran stunt coordinator. Break his ankle on the side of a building, and he’ll stagger out of frame on his ruined legs rather than blow a shot.

So you’d better believe that, if Tom Cruise wants you to turn off motion smoothing on your television, you will turn off motion smoothing on your television. This video is just the start. The next stage will be visiting your house personally and asking you nicely. After that he’ll visit your house and verbally threaten you. If you still haven’t switched off motion smoothing by then, Tom Cruise will force himself through your TV screen using willpower alone, like the girl from The Ring, grab the remote out of your dumb cow hands and turn off motion smoothing himself. He will do whatever it takes.

The thing is, he has a point. Video smoothing is the worst. It’s too sharp and too cheap-looking, and undoes all the millions of dollars that go into making a film look nice. My younger brother Pete has a TV the size of his living-room wall, and he still hasn’t switched off motion smoothing. He invited me around his house not so long ago, to watch the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson film San Andreas. And it was legitimately unwatchable. With video interpolation turned on, the whole film looked awful, like a kaleidoscope made of different types of migraine. Tom Cruise is doing a good thing here. He deserves our respect.

Plus, you know, it’s just nice to see a Tom Cruise video appear online that isn’t somehow about Xenu. If nothing else, that has to count for something.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Broomstick » 2018-12-06 07:50pm

...sounds like Tom Cruise...
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-12-06 07:51pm

...I'm sorry, this is news? I mean. Telling us to turn off the frame smoothing is probably nice and all. More people should definitely do that. But come on.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Gandalf » 2018-12-06 08:15pm

Good on him. Motion smoothing is terrible.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Esquire » 2018-12-07 01:31am

I had not heard of this, and probably would not have noticed it as a thing. So, meh?
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-12-07 01:34am

Huh, okay. Can I get a visual example of motion smoothing? As I don't really know what they're talking about otherwise.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Zaune » 2018-12-07 07:37am

There are worse things he could be doing with his spare time, I guess.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by houser2112 » 2018-12-07 08:33am

I can confidently say there are worse things he could be doing with his spare time, because I've seen him do them. Count me as another person who hasn't a clue what the fuck Cruise is talking about.

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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by tezunegari » 2018-12-07 09:01am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-12-07 01:34am
Huh, okay. Can I get a visual example of motion smoothing? As I don't really know what they're talking about otherwise.
basically it's the 30 fps to 60 fps upscaling by interpolating the missing images.

Film is still recorded with 24-30 fps (historical and technical reasons, The Hobbits was the first to try recording in native 48 fps IIRC)
TV usually is recorded with 50-60 fps.

At fast movement the steps between 30 fps are larger than at 60 fps and you start to conciously see them.

This interpolation removes this step-by-step and can cause a feeling of wrongness in the image.

I had this for some time when we went from analog sd tv to hdtv channels... the same episodes of a show looked different - and that was just a step up from 24 fps to 30fps.

It was a bit worse on Youtube when I saw the first 60fps HD video. A few days later it felt weird watching 30 fps videos instead...
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-12-07 05:22pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-12-07 01:34am
Huh, okay. Can I get a visual example of motion smoothing? As I don't really know what they're talking about otherwise.
Basically: it's what makes HDTV broadcasts look somewhat unnatural, compared to old lo-def TV. That's my understanding of it, anyway.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-12-08 10:22am

I absolutely hate the soap opera effect and almost returned my TV when I realized the only way to switch it off was to turn the TV into a lower power mode in which it never uses it's full brightness. The only reason I didn't frankly was I needed to borrow a vehicle to do so, and while big it wasn't that expensive so I questioned that I'd actually get another screen which didn't have the same problem.

In theory motion smoothing could work great, but in reality the amount of processing power a typical home screen has to throw at the problem is far too low to do a good job, it's sensitive to what the source material is doing, and the result varies radically and obviously as a result. I have no idea why its a default even on fairly expensive screens, on a cheap screen it can plaster over some quality issues in some contexts.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-12-08 10:44am



Having no idea what this is about I decided to have a look. To my non expert eye, 60fps looks a bit disjointed in some parts, particularly the scene when the car with Pepper is moving after having been kicked by Tony.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-12-08 12:04pm

This has been a pet peeve among film/video buffs for years. While it's true that many casual viewers may not notice the difference, to people who work a lot with film/video, it is incredibly obvious and distracting. I'm firmly on Cruise's side with this.

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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by tezunegari » 2018-12-08 06:53pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2018-12-08 12:04pm
This has been a pet peeve among film/video buffs for years. While it's true that many casual viewers may not notice the difference, to people who work a lot with film/video, it is incredibly obvious and distracting. I'm firmly on Cruise's side with this.
I am only with Cruise in so far that movies should be recorded in native 60 fps instead of interpolating 30 fps to higher framerates.
mr friendly guy wrote:
2018-12-08 10:44am


Having no idea what this is about I decided to have a look. To my non expert eye, 60fps looks a bit disjointed in some parts, particularly the scene when the car with Pepper is moving after having been kicked by Tony.
To me it'S the opposite. 15 fps is nearly like the really old stop-motion effects to me (a bit of hyperbole here) and 30 fps is looking strange while at 60 fps everything looks so smooth to me. Then again most stuff I watch and play is in 60 fps now that my brain has become accustomed to it and sees the 24-30 fps of classic movies as abnormal. I wonder if that same feeling would happen with a jump from 60 fps to 120 fps as well...
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-12-08 08:58pm

tezunegari wrote:
2018-12-08 06:53pm
I am only with Cruise in so far that movies should be recorded in native 60 fps instead of interpolating 30 fps to higher framerates.
I don't think you even understand what the issue is. "More" frames per second isn't "better". Even without getting technical on the subject, or getting into the specific reasons why 24, 30, and 60 fps are used in different contexts, it's ridiculous on its face for you to say that film-makers shouldn't be allowed to exercise any aesthetic judgment with the movies they make because you have some stick up your ass about what frame-rate is "correct". Your stance is also completely irrelevant anyway, since it doesn't apply to the vast bulk of content that has already been recorded at different frame rates.

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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by tezunegari » 2018-12-09 05:22pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:
2018-12-08 08:58pm
tezunegari wrote:
2018-12-08 06:53pm
I am only with Cruise in so far that movies should be recorded in native 60 fps instead of interpolating 30 fps to higher framerates.
I don't think you even understand what the issue is. "More" frames per second isn't "better". Even without getting technical on the subject, or getting into the specific reasons why 24, 30, and 60 fps are used in different contexts, it's ridiculous on its face for you to say that film-makers shouldn't be allowed to exercise any aesthetic judgment with the movies they make because you have some stick up your ass about what frame-rate is "correct". Your stance is also completely irrelevant anyway, since it doesn't apply to the vast bulk of content that has already been recorded at different frame rates.
Cruise wants people to switch of a function in their TVs so that they can watch his movies in the framerate it was recorded in so that it is more similar to the version shown in the cinema.

I only stated my oppinion, no reason to get anal about it.

To me videos with higher framerates are just visually more pleasing.

And what impact does my statement have on existing material? Do I appear to promote their destruction or what?!
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by SolarpunkFan » 2018-12-09 05:52pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-12-06 07:51pm
...I'm sorry, this is news? I mean. Telling us to turn off the frame smoothing is probably nice and all. More people should definitely do that. But come on.
Just thought I'd post something on the lighter side is all.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-12-09 11:11pm

tezunegari wrote:
2018-12-09 05:22pm
To me videos with higher framerates are just visually more pleasing.
Do you make a distinction between videos originally recorded at a higher framerate and videos recorded at a lower framerate and then having an algorithm try to fill in the missing frames ?

I like the first. The second depends on the quality of the algorithm and I haven't heard of any good interpolation algorithms.

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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by tezunegari » 2018-12-11 06:21pm

bilateralrope wrote:
2018-12-09 11:11pm
tezunegari wrote:
2018-12-09 05:22pm
To me videos with higher framerates are just visually more pleasing.
Do you make a distinction between videos originally recorded at a higher framerate and videos recorded at a lower framerate and then having an algorithm try to fill in the missing frames ?

I like the first. The second depends on the quality of the algorithm and I haven't heard of any good interpolation algorithms.
Distinction between interpolation and native? Yes.
IMO the image quality of native fps will always be better than interpolated as the images will have less blurring when objects move.
Though nVidia is working on a new algorithm based on neural networks IIRC, the news release was about 6 months ago I think, and the few video examples did look good.

I have recently tested the Smooth Video Project interpolation and when the algorithms work they work well... but can be rather computing intense.

For example during the opening scene of Star Wars Rebels 4.09 (17 sec) when the camera follows the TIE fighter and pans across the fleet of ISDs... the stepping effect on 25 fps is just murder to my eyes.
With Smooth Video project active and the fps set 50, 75, 125 or even 143.75 fps that movement of the pan suddenly looks so much smoother and the light grey of the ISDs doesn't seem to flicker into black as strongly as it does at 25 fps.
Admiteddly the stepping effect is still there but a lot less intrusive.
Eyeballed I'd say the stepping goes down from 1/2 of an ISDs neck to 1/8 which makes it still noticable but a lot more watchable, at least for me.

And when it then shows Hera in her X-Wing... the smoothness of her head moevement is at first so strange.
Or just the approach and the opening of the S-foils have heavily reduced stepping at 50 fps and at 125 or 143.75 fps it's barely noticable to me (which I attribute to the interpolation algorithm, I'd really love to see those scenes in native 125 or 143.75 to compare).

The downside of the algorithms is that when they fail the stepping effect suddenly becomes quite obvious or there are small artefacts in the image.
And the computing requirements are rather high I'd say... my 4930k goes from 8-12 % without it to 30 % load with short spikes into 40 % during playback (that is with the quality option set to maximum though).

So my personal preference is:
  1. high native framerate
  2. interpolated high framerate
  3. "cinematic" framerate (24-30)
I attempted to make a comparison video... but that only leads to the software interpolating the 25 fps source video... so the difference between source framerate and interpolated framerate is heavily reduced to unnoticable. have to toy around with that a bit more.
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Re: Tom Cruise declares war on TV frame interpolation

Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2018-12-13 07:32pm

My parents TV makes the Star Wars films look like they were recorded on a handheld video recorder. Is this what Tom Cruise was talking about? If so, I'm on his side. Movies shouldn't look like garbage on default settings.
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