Give Tom Cruise And Chris McQuarrie A Nobel Prize For This PSA

Taking on an issue close to many film-lovers' hearts.

Remember how everyone went bonkers for the Captain America PSAs in Spider-Man: Homecoming? Those were strong, and very funny, but they were about frivolous topics like health, fitness, civics, and self-improvement.

Tom Cruise and Chris McQuarrie, on the other hand, just put out a PSA that's equally earnest, but not played for laughs at all. Tied in to the home-video release of Mission: Impossible - Fallout, the video talks about an actually-important issue plaguing many people who might not even know it yet:

It's true: motion smoothing, designed to give that high-frame-rate look for people who love sports, soap operas, 60fps video games, or the Hobbit movies - is not just a useless bullet-point feature designed to sell TVs to clueless buyers, it's a blight upon filmed entertainment. Algorithmically making up frames that were never shot, it doesn't just make movies look cheap and chintzy, but actually lies to you about what's in the movie. It's the temporal equivalent of pan-and-scan, only rather than cutting out information, it adds false information.

Philosophically speaking, motion smoothing goes against the very nature of film art. It's designed to make content look more like "real life," but film isn't real life - just an artistic representation of it. Everything in the film image, from production design to lighting to framing to editing, is designed as a curated window into a constructed reality. The "low" frame rate of 24 frames per second is just enough to create the illusion of movement, yet low enough to separate it from reality and let your brain accept it as fantasy. Higher frame rates, including those created by motion smoothing, hold that artifice up to a cold, objective light. You see wigs, not hair; actors, not characters; sets, not places. It looks like shit, and indeed, it is shit, Austin.

You'll find many crusaders on Twitter who take it upon themselves to switch motion-smoothing off whenever they encounter it. These people are heroes, and must be championed as such. Now we can add Mssrs Cruise and McQuarrie to the list.