It's always nice to discover that you have something in common with Tom Cruise – and it turns out Which Hi-Fi? is passionate about smoothing movement, or interpolation, (more regularly referred to as "processing of the movement") as the Top Gun star.
In a bizarre but brilliant tweet, The Cruiser published a video in which he and Mission: impossible – Fallout director Chris McQuarrie makes a passionate request to turn off the TV movement before watching their (or other) films.
I'm taking a break from shooting to tell you the best way to see Mission: Impossible Fallout at home (or any movie you love). pic.twitter.com/oW2eTm1IUADecember 4, 2018
Since this is good advice, we have prepared instructions that will help you disable motion control of almost any TV, from LG to Samsung to Sony.
But it is worth pointing out that not all the leveling of the movement is bad and there are some implementations that are worth leaving active, at least in part.
But first, what is the leveling of the movement and why does it exist?
What is the leveling of the movement?
Motion leveling, also known as motion interpolation or motion processing, is a technology incorporated into most modern TVs designed to reduce the flicker and blur of video sources.
It generally works by introducing artificial video frames between the actual frames provided by the source. It's exceptionally smart when you think about it, but why do you want to insert additional frames into the video you're watching?
It's because the frame rate used for many content is actually quite low: 24 fps for almost all movies and most of the TV shows with scripts. It is quite slow that with a fast movement an object or a person can jump from one point of the screen to another a few pixels away.
Your eyes often perceive this as any combination of flickering, blurring or bizarre artifacts around the subject in question, depending on the speed of movement and the native response time of your TV.
However, any TV can display much more than 24 frames per second. In fact, they naturally show 50 frames per second in countries such as the United Kingdom that have a network frequency of 50Hz. In other countries such as the United States, a network frequency of 60 Hz results in the display showing 60 frames per second. Many TVs now update each frame at twice the speed, while others claim to triple it or more (though they often do not).
Most of the sources designed for 24fps output actually speed up the video at 25fps for better synchronicity with a 50Hz TV, but still leaves the TV with two choices: view each frame twice or add a frame between those he receives to fill the gap. The first choice may involve some flicker and / or blur, while the second is the interpolation (smoothing of the movement) that Cruise warned.
The crucial point of the case against the leveling of the movement is that it can cause an unnatural movement, which in its worst cases is often referred to as the "soap opera effect". It may be difficult to point the finger exactly on why this kind of movement looks "wrong", but generally there is a feeling of overcrowding, things that move artificially quickly and / or strange artifacts that appear around objects in rapid movement.
These problems are created because the TV essentially provides, with an exceptionally high speed, what will be the next "real" frame and will invent a frame that is halfway. Consider everything that happens in every single frame of a movie, and that's great. Inevitably, TV often misses the elements and this can cause the flaws described above.
But while we are in agreement with Cruise that the leveling of the movement is often turned off, it is not always the case. In some cases, switching from the default mode to a slightly less aggressive mode can result in a useful reduction in vibration or blurring without damaging the naturalness of the image. Only one manufacturer, meanwhile, offers its televisions with predefined motion settings that we generally recommend leaving as they are.
And for what it's worth, we do not believe (as some seem) that the processing of a TV's movement should be turned on for some sources and turned off for others. If the leveling of the movement is not good enough for the films, it is not good enough for nothing else for us, including sport.
Fortunately, it's actually quite easy to disable motion control by flicking through the image settings menu until you find an option with "movement" in the name: we've listed the name (s) used by each manufacturer down.
If you simply disable the function it is slightly less simple, however, thanks to the variation in the native update rate, response time and the implementation of the leveling of the movement between the models of each manufacturer. Of course, we can not list all the models of all brands here.
Furthermore, personal taste comes in this: some people find the natural vibration of a 24 fps presentation that distracts, while others are barely aware, and some people are particularly sensitive to the peculiar nature of interpolation.
For these reasons, you should not simply do what we – or Tom Cruise – recommend. Instead, find the relevant settings or settings as described below and try turning them on and off to see what works best for you. To help, here are two of our favorite clips to test the movement:
Guardians of the galaxy Vol.2
The opening scene sees Ego and Meredith (Kurt Russell and Laura Haddock) driving through the Missouri countryside. He pays special attention as Meredith pulls her arms out of the open roof of the car: most of the processing of the movement has a real problem in distinguishing her arms from the fast moving scene behind and flicker or vanish altogether.
Then look at the car that enters the Dairy Queen: you may see some vibrations and / or blurs, depending on the specifics of your TV and how you have processed the motion you have selected.
Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix
Within the first minute about this item in the Harry Potter the series provided two difficult panning shots; one vertical and one horizontal. With the horizontal panorama, pay attention to the complicated motif created by tall grass, observing the addition of unnatural artifacts by any processing of the movement.
You could also see some judder here, but it's the vertical pan, a header from the city and the park, this is the real test of judder and blur. Experiment with the settings of your TV until this seems right in your eyes, also paying attention to the flow of machines that move through the image.
How to disable the leveling of the movement on a Hisense TV
Setting: Ultra Smooth Motion
Hisense televisions suffer more than most users when the motion smoothing (called Ultra Smooth Motion) is turned off completely, so we generally opt for the Media setting. This often involves a slight, unnatural, excess of movement, of which Mr Cruise would not approve. For us, it is the best compromise (or the least bad).
Some Hisense models, including recently reviewed AE6100UK models, have no motion smoothing options, in which case you get what you are given.
How to disable the leveling of the movement on an LG TV
The motion leveling setting of LG TVs is called TruMotion and you will find it hidden deep in the image setup menus. It is set too high by default (Clear is usually pre-selected) and many people will find that simply turning it off gives them the most satisfying movement.
That said, others will appreciate the User mode, which allows a subtle adjustment of the "dejudder" and "deblur" settings. Two to three points on each of these offers movement that some people – some of our reviewers included – prefer.
How to disable the leveling of the movement on a Panasonic TV
Settings: Smart Frame Creation, Black Frame Insertion, Clear Motion
On most new and recent Panasonic TVs, you are looking for the Intelligent Frame Creation option in the image settings menu. Again, this is set too high by default, but rather than turn it off completely, we usually prefer to switch to Minimum setting. This offers a bit of Judder reduction without the introduction of unsightly artifacts or artificial sharpening. Of course, you can simply prefer to completely disable Smart Frame Creation.
You may find that your TV also has a Black Frame Insertion or Clear Motion option. If so, it's probably already disabled and you'll want to leave it like this.
How to disable the leveling of the movement on a Philips TV
Settings: Motion Styles, Perfect Natural Motion, Perfect Clear Motion, Natural Motion
Most Philips TVs in recent years have a simple setting of motion styles towards the end of the options in the image settings menu. This will give you a number of options to choose from, such as Standard, Smooth, Movie and Off.
In most cases we have found that off is the best choice for natural movement, but with the new OLED models of the company – the OLED803 and OLED903 – we prefer the Film option, which is much more natural than the Standard mode, excessively aggressive, but still reduces Judder sufficiently.
Some models will give you a Perfect Natural Motion option (or simply Natural Motion). In most cases, we prefer this, but with some models, especially the more premium ones, the transition to Minimo increases the quality of the movement without making it artificial.
How to disable the leveling of the movement on a Samsung TV
Setting: Auto Motion Plus
Leveling motion on a Samsung TV is called Auto Motion Plus and is usually set to Auto by default. Left this way, the movement seems too elaborate and unnatural, so for many models the best solution is simply to completely deactivate the mode.
However, some of our reviewers prefer the company's recent QLEDs with Auto Motion Plus set to Custom, which opens up the ability to manually edit "Blur Reduction", "Judder Reduction" and "Clear Motion". Setting these to 10, 3 and Off respectively reduces blur and flicker without adding the dreaded soap & opera effect.
How to disable smoothing of motion on a Sony TV
Sony is the strange one out here, because its movement smoothing is generally so good that it's worth going on. The setting is called Motionflow and in most cases it is set to Standard by default. In our experience the result is a degree of sharpness and smoothness that maintains the natural appearance of the image and does not introduce artifacts.
There are exceptions, of course, and some low-end models will be better served by turning it off completely, but with most Sony models, even Maverick would be happy with Motionflow.