Tom Cruise is worried about the settings on your TV. And he’s worried that a particular setting is robbing you of seeing him at his best in those movies where he does all of his stunts for no reason other than the fact he’s Tom Cruise. And he’s right.
What Is Motion Smoothing?
Cruise has made a PSA with Mission Impossible: Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie drawing attention to motion smoothing. Motion smoothing is an effect technically referred to as video interpolation and more commonly known as “the soap opera effect”.
Whatever you call it, the result is the same. Motion smoothing means your TV will literally fill in the gaps between frames, resulting in smoother video and less motion blur. Unfortunately, while motion smoothing is great for sports, it makes movies look worse.
Tom Cruise Hates the Soap Opera Effect
Cruise and McQuarrie deliver their PSA against motion smoothing on the set of Top Gun: Maverick. And while it starts out light-hearted, Cruise soon puts on his serious face to really drive home how you’re ruining his movies by using motion smoothing.
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. pic.twitter.com/oW2eTm1IUA
— Tom Cruise (@TomCruise) December 4, 2018
After explaining what interpolation is and does, Cruise explains how most new TVs come with motion smoothing turned on by default. McQuarrie then literally tells you how to Google “Turn off motion smoothing” on your television set. Which is rather good advice.
Making Films Look Like Liquid Diarrhea
Cruise and McQuarrie aren’t alone. Rian Johnson, Edgar Wright, and Chris Nolan have all previously criticized the effect. Johnson suggested motion smoothing makes movies “look like liquid diarrhea”. And as the director of The Last Jedi, he should know.
While this isn’t the most serious issue facing the world right now, motion smoothing is a crime against movies. And not just because Tom Cruise said so. If you’re in the market for a new TV, here’s how to pick the right TV for your living room.