Archive for the ‘Hollywood’ Category

Tom Cruise finally takes a stand… on your parents’ terrible TV settings

December 5th, 2018

Anyone who owns a high-definition TV has likely experienced the nagging sensation of something being not quite right when watching films. It's not all in your head. The effect is called video interpolation, or motion smoothing, and last night, Tom Cruise and writer/director Chris McQuarrie dropped a surprise PSA on Twitter (apparently filmed on the set of Mission Impossible: Fallout) to warn us about this evil.

Okay, so motion smoothing isn't actually evil. It's more of a double-edged sword. The feature is great for watching sports, but it makes movies look like "they were shot on high-speed video rather than film," says Cruise. In other words, your Hollywood blockbuster movie will look like a 1970s BBC TV series. That's why it's commonly called "the soap opera effect."

Why does this happen? Essentially, the feature uses image processing algorithms to insert (interpolate) "extra" frames between the actual frames. The TV will process one frame, then another, and then the algorithms will try to guess what a new frame inserted between those two frames should look like. This increases the frame rate to 120fps, to match the HDTV's 120Hz refresh rate. It will smooth out the image and make fast-paced events easier to follow, like basketball games or NASCAR races—or even the nightly news, which isn't meant to look cinematic. But it won't have that "film" feeling anymore: it feels "unnatural," or rather, a bit too real, ruining the illusion.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, HDTV, Hollywood, home viewing, motion smoothing, soap opera effect, Tech, video interpolation | Comments (0)

Complex networks study ranks the most influential films of all time

December 3rd, 2018
The rankings are based on an "influence score" determined by how many times each film has been referenced in subsequent films.

Enlarge / The rankings are based on an "influence score" determined by how many times each film has been referenced in subsequent films. (credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Well, this is sure to spark some intensive debate. The classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz is the most influential movie of all time, with Star Wars: A New Hope and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho in second and third place, respectively. That's the conclusion of a new study by Italian scientists in the journal Applied Network Science, suggesting a fresh metric for determining a film's success, similar to that used for scientific publications.

According to co-author Livio Bioglio of the University of Turin, the usual metrics used to measure a film's success are inadequate for evaluating its true quality and significance. Box office receipts, for example, are affected by such non-aesthetic factors as advertising and distribution, while reviews are by nature inherently subjective. Plenty of now-classic films bombed at the box office and/or were critically savaged at the time of their release. (Ahem. Blade Runner, anyone?)

The Italian scientists reasoned that maybe the science of complex networks can help. "We propose an alternative method to box office takings and reviews for analyzing the success of a film," said Bioglio. "We have developed an algorithm that uses references between movies as a measure for success, and which can also be used to evaluate the career of directors, actors and actresses, by considering their participation in top-scoring movies."

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Posted in film, Gaming & Culture, Hollywood, networks, Physics, science, Wizard of Oz | Comments (0)