A finished film is the final product of months of meticulous work by a crew of hundreds of creative and technical talents who worked diligently to meet the vision of the director. Shown on the big screen, the film will be seen by audiences as the director intended. But Tom Cruise wants you to know that your ultra-high definition television may be robbing you of some of the magic when you watch the same film in your home.
Cruise, who is filming the sequel to Tony Scott’s homage to U.S. Navy fighter pilots, “Top Gun,” took a break with “Top Gun: Maverick” director Christopher McQuarrie to explain to Facebook users why films often look so different on their high-def televisions in a short video.
In the post, Cruise and McQuarrie explain that many of today’s high-definition televisions employ a technical trick to smooth out motion blur, called video interpolation. The smoothing effect is great for watching your favorite sporting events, as players and fast moving objects — such as a baseball or a hockey puck — remain sharp and visible.
But when applied to film, where directors intentionally use motion blur to achieve a desired look, the result is a strange viewing experience. Cruise calls it a “soap opera effect,” though I’ve always thought it looks more like you’re seeing behind-the-scenes footage.
So, if you’re interested in fixing that somewhat disorienting look on your television or understanding why it happens, check out the short video by Cruise and McQuarrie and then head to Google for step-by-step instructions to getting the best viewing experience out of your television.
Have you ever noticed the odd look of a film when video interpolation is applied? Has it bothered you or did you just brush it off? Drop a comment below and give us your thoughts.
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