Yes, I Do Like Motion Smoothing.

Motion smoothing refers to techniques that modern consumer TVs and projectors use to add additional frames in-between the frames. While users going to cinemas are usually exposed to a frame rate of only 24 frames per second, movie fans watching at home often have a choice.

Yes, this is about an article published on today and, sorry, Samit, I disagree.

While I agree that it may add more artifacts in complex scenes, it solves the problem of having not enough frames per second. And I believe, more frames are better. Apart from it just looking choppy, the low frame rate is sickening for hypersensitive people and I would consider motion smoothing an accessibility feature.

The nearly 100-year old 24 frames per second seem to be the holy grail of cinema and, apart from terrible audio calibration and people making unwanted noise, it’s the main reason I hate going to an actual movie theater.

One of the main reasons I bought my LG Projector (HU810P) was that it has really good motion smoothing and I can watch movies better than I can in a movie theater.

So… If people like to watch movies at 24 frames per second while they could have 5 times that, that’s fine.

We just need to admit that it’s simply worse and it’s for nostalgic reasons. There’s nothing better about a lower frame rate.

The reason we perceive it as “cinematic” is because movies have been like this for a long time.

It’s the same reasoning that electric cars aren’t as good as ICE cars because there’s no “emotional” noise and gear shifts and therefore it’s a better experience to drive an ICE car. It is not. Noise and vibration is a flaw. Choppy frame rates are a flaw. I appreciate the technological advancements that smooth out little imperfections to give me a smoother experience. Back in the day, when sound was introduced to movies, some people also felt that the “talkies” were the end of cinema.

Some devices, including my projector, have an optional “filmmaker mode” that turns off motion smoothing to show content “as the creator intended”. Or whatever.

Most people don’t watch in a large high-end darkened cinema with a perfect sound system either. The idea of having a 55″ TV show a film “as the film maker intended” doesn’t make sense. These consumer devices make all sorts of adjustments to present a picture quality as good as possible, given the limitations.

In theaters, the overall volume and audio dynamic range is also often higher. I can only enjoy that with earplugs because I feel otherwise feel like it’s blowing my ears out. I have a much better experience at home where I can adjust the volume myself and configure my amplifier’s dynamics processor to reduce the dynamic range. Is this how the filmmaker intended? I don’t know and I think it doesn’t matter.

In cinemas, there’s also a brief pause between the projection of individual frames. Most consumer TVs lack that (and to me, it also just adds flickering.) Before there was motion smoothing, projectors like the legendary Sony Quaila 001 would insert brief black frames in-between the 24 frames of a movie to be closer to the experience in a movie theater. This means that even if we disable the motion smoothing on a standard TV, we still don’t get the BFI (Black Frame Insertion) like in a movie theater. It’s just not the same.

The idea that it’s not real because the new frames are “fake” is also not relevant because modern video codecs, even without additional motion smoothing, already create most of the video content using motion vectors. So of we stream Netflix at 24 frames a second, a big part of those frames are just some vectors that tell the decoder what information from the previous frame to move on the screen.

So, if we already have a limited number of I-frames anyway, why can’t we analyze the dominant motion and add even more frames to provide a less choppy experience just like we also allow people to adjust the volume and other things to levels they’re comfortable with?

“[…]uncannily fluid motion that robs films of their cinematic look”

Samit Sarkar,

What is “cinematic look”? I love cinematography and I think more frames look better, just like UHD looks better than HD because there are more pixels that make up the image.

“[…]turn off motion smoothing on your TV (or anyone else’s!)”

Samit Sarkar,

It’s ok, if you have your own beliefs and enjoy your video content in a certain way. But there’s no right way. If we want to watch movies at 24 fps that’s fine, but we shouldn’t force don’t force this on others that like their movies at higher frame rates. Because how something feels “cinematic” to somebody is up to them.

So… Now I feel like I need to apologize for this, but sorry, I like my movies at a higher frame rate.


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