Frame Interpolation and the Soap Opera effect - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 104 Old 10-31-2018, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Frame Interpolation and the Soap Opera effect

There has been lots of grunts and groans about using frame interpolation creating the Soap Opera effect. Many are seeking out projectors that do FI, but there are lots of yays and nays regarding it. But have you wondered why? I've been reading stuff on the internet (and I know it's true because I read it on the internet..lol ) about why the controversy.

Well, it turns out that eyes don't see true fluid movement but rather blurred-frame movement--what? Not frames exactly, but eyes are closer to seeing blurred frames than fluid movement if that makes sense. Take your hand with fingers spread apart and wave it across your face and what do you see--yup, blurred judder--you are catching a glimpse at those fingers and you see flashes of them individually, but blur in between. You might say that your eyes see about 30 to 60 frames a second about the sweet spot for TV to maintain reality. People with heightened awareness training can see up to 240 frames per second. If you blend the frames through interpolation too much, at some point you go beyond reality and can feel nausea. Since movies are at 24 frames a second, they are just below the threshold of what humans like to see, but can be more real looking at 48 frames a second--but without blurring as the eyes do between frames, that begins to have an unnatural effect as well. But go much over 60 frames per second and that fluid hyper-real look sets in. You will notice that high frame rates are great for gaming because of the constant need to move within the scene.

Here are some good youtube videos about FI and how we see:



Of course, the use of 24fps has a lot of history based on mechanical limits of cameras and projectors back in the startup of motion pictures. To counteract that today--the judder caused by panning--videographers have developed a combination of lower shutter speeds and f/stops to create blur while panning. That's why the current mix of movies seem ok. Avoid panning and fast moving objects and if you do, then lower shutter speeds. A common problem with home video is high shutter rates, which causes judder even in 60fps as each frame becomes a complete non-blurred image in bright light. Ever wonder why action videos are often created in poor light? Well, that's so film shutter speeds can be lowered to cause slight blur without overexposing the film.

Here is an older video of why 4K won't succeed and we don't need it because of how our eyes see--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxNBiAV4UnM&t=957s


OK, let debate begin....
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post #2 of 104 Old 10-31-2018, 04:09 PM
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I still blame CGI for why The Hobbit looked bad at 48fps. All the scenes with just humans moving looked better, IMO, but as soon as a CGI monster or camera flyby is used, it looks like a video game or soap opera type effect. I think interpolation causes the soap opera effect because it's just smoothly duplicating and filling in frames. It's not what you would get (exactly) if there were real frames in-between and that's where I think CGI goes wrong as well as computer animation is probably not as realistic a simulation of movement as we'd like to think it is. At lower frame rates our brains fill in the missing data and they do it as we'd expect. When a computer/interpolation or incorrect simulated CGI movement fills in the data, it looks like a super smooth video game (i.e. smooth, but not "real"). I think the reason people call this the "soap opera effect" is because we associate "fake" with soap operas (i.e. bad acting and/or cheap sets and distinct difference in camera shots from what we expect from a regular TV show and/or movie which screams at best "different" and at worse "fake").

I think high rate film would work great for movies without CGI. The Hobbit looked fine in shots where I didn't see CGI being used. As soon as a spider would come into the frame or something CGI generated, wham, "fake" looking. That flyby in circles around those castle ruins were by far the fakest looking shot in the movie (no real camera on a helicopter moves like that). Fix the CGI (or don't use it!) and high frame rate would be great, IMO.

I've noticed 3D movies look good with high interpolation and I can only think this has to do with the added dimension somehow overcoming the brain's ability to see the motion as "weird" looking as it does in 2D, even with effects. I generally use full interpolation with 3D movies and "low" on 2D movies (just enough to overcome the overly jerky shots modern pans do to 24fps).
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post #3 of 104 Old 10-31-2018, 05:43 PM
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I don't think it makes it look cheap or fake necessarily, I think it's just an artistic choice that works better for me personally on some subjects rather than others. I love high frame rate for nature documentaries, sports, porn, etc. but just can't get used to it for fiction no matter how hard I try.


Here's my analogy. If I want a likeness of my wife to look at while I'm at work I would choose a painting, a photograph, or even a charcoal sketch over a bust.

Even though the bust may be more lifelike, have the advantage of different angles, and may be in many other ways "better". Aesthetically I just prefer the other artistic methods.


I've just come to accept that I like 24fps for some things and don't feel bad about it no matter how hard someone tries to convince me that high frame rate and/or 3D is superior.




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L + L = R
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post #4 of 104 Old 10-31-2018, 07:24 PM
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When you are in a room with artificial light they are running a 60HZ (US power 50HZ in the UK) so they are flashing on and off 120 times a second so we live in a world running at 120fps a large % of the time. Wave your hand in front of your face out side in sun light and it is a different story.

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post #5 of 104 Old 10-31-2018, 08:15 PM
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...waved hand in front of me - man that's too tiring! lol


subscribed! interesting read.
my Z6 has FI/ MB/ SOE & yeah it's a love hate situation, good thing I can adjust the intensity or just turn it off.

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post #6 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 04:22 AM
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60hz is 60 off/on cycles per second not 120.
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Originally Posted by rekbones View Post
When you are in a room with artificial light they are running a 60HZ (US power 50HZ in the UK) so they are flashing on and off 120 times a second so we live in a world running at 120fps a large % of the time. Wave your hand in front of your face out side in sun light and it is a different story.
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post #7 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by primetimeguy View Post
60hz is 60 off/on cycles per second not 120.

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I am an Electrical Engineer their are two off periods per cycle, look it up. One cycle is a + voltage transitioning to - voltage so it goes to zero volts twice per cycle.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rekbones View Post
I am an Electrical Engineer their are two off periods per cycle, look it up. One cycle is a + voltage transitioning to - voltage so it goes to zero volts twice per cycle.
One cycle starts at zero, crosses zero and ends at zero...a simple sine wave. A cycle is measured crest to crest (or trough to trough). 60hz has 60 crests and 60 troughs....that does not make it 120hz.

By the way, I am also an EE :-)
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post #9 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 06:14 AM
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There are many of us still. At least I hope I’m not the last one that enjoy the “Film Like” quality of cinema, especially old cinema that was made on film and presented on film, even in today’s digital age. Frame rate and brightness levels and color gamut associated with film of that era should IMO be part of those presentations.

That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy new digital media and games or 3D sharper and clearer approaching reality. Cinama as I have been saying for the last few years is an ever-changing media. It has always been that way the only difference is in the rate of change. I am all in favor of moving ahead but I don’t want to change the past.

On a side note 60 cycle goes to zero twice every 1/60 of a second.
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post #10 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primetimeguy View Post
One cycle starts at zero, crosses zero and ends at zero...a simple sine wave. A cycle is measured crest to crest (or trough to trough). 60hz has 60 crests and 60 troughs....that does not make it 120hz.

By the way, I am also an EE :-)
The light goes on when the voltage is positive goes out then goes on again when the voltage is negative thats twice per cycle. I never said its 120hz it's 120fps.

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I take a lot of 3D video and edit it myself. It's usually shaky with a lot of quick pans, so hard to watch on my projector. But when watching it on my 60" LG passive 3D with interpolation, it's almost perfect looking. Takes away the shake and panning blur and makes it usable 3D.
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post #12 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by primetimeguy View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by rekbones View Post
I am an Electrical Engineer their are two off periods per cycle, look it up. One cycle is a + voltage transitioning to - voltage so it goes to zero volts twice per cycle.
One cycle starts at zero, crosses zero and ends at zero...a simple sine wave. A cycle is measured crest to crest (or trough to trough). 60hz has 60 crests and 60 troughs....that does not make it 120hz.

By the way, I am also an EE :-)
He said it flashes on/off 120 times per second not that it's 120Hz. That is correct. AC powered lights come on above or below 0 volts. The polarity matters not a whit. One cycle has two halves, one positive, one negative. The light comes on during either half cycle and off at zero in-between both half wave and full wave measurements. That's 120x per 60Hz cycle, no ifs ands or buts about it and extremely basic first year material so sorry, but I have to question your education at this point. I'm 18 years out of school now and still it's not something you forget as it's basic to all AC waveforms.

It would behave exactly the same even with a full wave rectifier attached as it still pegs zero regardless of polarity without the RC components added, at which point you'd have DC instead and the light would be on continuously. Of course various lights might never go completely dark due to residual energy/persistence for such a short interval, but you'd still get dimming type strobing.

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post #13 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagnumX View Post
He said it flashes on/off 120 times per second not that it's 120Hz. That is correct. AC powered lights come on above or below 0 volts. The polarity matters not a whit. One cycle has two halves, one positive, one negative. The light comes on during either half cycle and off at zero in-between both half wave and full wave measurements. That's 120x per 60Hz cycle, no ifs ands or buts about it and extremely basic first year material so sorry, but I have to question your education at this point. I'm 18 years out of school now and still it's not something you forget as it's basic to all AC waveforms.

It would behave exactly the same even with a full wave rectifier attached as it still pegs zero regardless of polarity without the RC components added, at which point you'd have DC instead and the light would be on continuously. Of course various lights might never go completely dark due to residual energy/persistence for such a short interval, but you'd still get dimming type strobing.

I'm an EET (two degrees with a minor in English as well).
In a full wave rectifier the frequency of the ripple is twice the input frequency in hertz.

A good case can be made for a full wave rectifier doubling the frequency.

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post #14 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 10:46 AM
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If you place an optical sensor near a lightbulb (the old-fashioned kind), and then feed the sensor's output to a spectrum analyzer, the analyzer will display a fundamental frequency of 120 Hz.
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post #15 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 10:52 AM
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I think it was just a bad analogy to use a lightbulb running at 60hz to relate to 120fps. Let's just move on and get back to the original topic.
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post #16 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 12:34 PM
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I'm not an EE but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express. From that perspective the analogy of a light bulb running at 60 Hz relating to 120 fps seems reasonable to me given that it creates a type of strobe effect that becomes obvious to anyone accustomed to 60 Hz lighting the second they step into a room with light bulbs running at 50 Hz.
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post #17 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 12:58 PM
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For fast moving action scenes on a big screen, 24fps is painful. FI and HFR are the future as far as I'm concerned, particularly with 3d content.
The so called soap opera effect to me isn't a real thing at all. Maybe bad FI implementation or other production issues with HFR contributed to the negativity, but to me 24fps belongs in the past.

I get that 24fps is 'theatrical' and is a medium that can be justified for artistic reasons, but it's just ancient and needs to die.

There's my opinion :-)

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post #18 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 01:11 PM
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This conversation may or may not drifted off topic.

Here are the light bulb analogy looked at from a physics point of view.

Answer <6> brings the light bulb analogy full circle in terms of vision. Making the analogy very much relative to the thread.

https://physics.stackexchange.com/qu...ange-with-time

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep07861

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post #19 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
In a full wave rectifier the frequency of the ripple is twice the input frequency in hertz.

A good case can be made for a full wave rectifier doubling the frequency.
Well, it's certainly an "effective" frequency of 120Hz at that point (looking at it on a scope, you would measure 120Hz peak-to-peak). Whether from a circuit standpoint, you'd want to actually look at it that way, I dunno. I'd still tend to think of it as a now rectified waveform from a 60Hz input signal. An incandescent light bulb would literally behave identically with either signal, but I think that is the point being made. The bulb flashes 120x a second either way, not 60.

I had a Commodore Amiga in the late 1980's until 1991 when I got an Amiga 3000 with a "flicker fixer" on it (scan doubler/de-interlacer) and with an RGB monitor, the Amiga could easily switch between PAL (50Hz) and NTSC (60Hz) (quite handy for playing European games at the proper speed that based the timing on the video display). PAL flickered (not interlaced, just refresh) badly compared (shimmer look to my eyes) to NTSC. When I got a PC in 1999, I noticed I preferred a refresh of at least 120Hz, although even 70Hz looked noticeably better than 60Hz.

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post #20 of 104 Old 11-01-2018, 01:44 PM
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I am one of those people who isn't bothered by the SOE. I mean if we get down to it, it's that everything looks TO crisp and in focus all the time, which after a brief adjustment period after I got my first 4k TV I just don't see any more. I've turned the motion smoothing off and on, and all the other setting you can change and it looks no different to me. I do kind of like the hyper real look if I am honest, but I know for many people its aggravating. Part of the problem is it removes a bit of the suspension of disbelief you have when watching a movie or TV, your brain KNOWS what your seeing isn't reality but when you get to that hyper crisp and in focus everything like you do with the SOE it messes with your brain.
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post #21 of 104 Old 11-04-2018, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skoolpsyk View Post
. I love high frame rate for nature documentaries.

Where can I find a list of hfr documentaries?
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post #22 of 104 Old 11-04-2018, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by noob00224 View Post
Where can I find a list of hfr documentaries?
don't know; there is some stuff on youtube; maybe NHK has made some, but I usually just use frame interpolation, which works well for the most part but has it's challenges on scenes with fast motion...

L + L = R
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post #23 of 104 Old 11-06-2018, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 3DBob View Post
People with heightened awareness training can see up to 240 frames per second. If you blend the frames through interpolation too much, at some point you go beyond reality and can feel nausea. ... But go much over 60 frames per second and that fluid hyper-real look sets in.

From what I've been able to find and read about our human eyes, 240 frames per second does sound quite right.


On the other hand I'm unable to report that with my Optoma's Pixelworks Motion Engine set to "high" I've ever experienced a "hyper"-real look or something that remotely causes nausea.


Thanks to Creative Frame Interpolation I'm able to experience an increase in immersion because of the life-like appearance of images that apply for all video program content I could possibly think of.


Again, I remain confident that negative remarks about the "Natural Motion Effect" provided by FI (i.e. the pejorative "Soap Opera Effect") mostly originate from the way many of us had been conditioned since childhood with 24fps theater or 60 Hz TV images.


Interestingly, one of my friends apparently is such a character. In the beginning he was always bitching and moaning about FI, asking me to please deactivate it.
Over the last years I've been increasingly ignoring his requests when he comes over to watch a film and the last 5 times he didn't complain any longer at all (even though FI was set too "high", my default setting).


I guess it's something that does take time to be appreciated in some cases.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank714 View Post
Interestingly, one of my friends apparently is such a character. In the beginning he was always bitching and moaning about FI, asking me to please deactivate it.
Over the last years I've been increasingly ignoring his requests when he comes over to watch a film and the last 5 times he didn't complain any longer at all (even though FI was set too "high", my default setting).


I guess it's something that does take time to be appreciated in some cases.
I don't like it on high for movies, so I turn it on low. I do like it for 3D especially, and it makes my homebrew 3D look professional, taking away all the judder.
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post #25 of 104 Old 11-06-2018, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank714 View Post
From what I've been able to find and read about our human eyes, 240 frames per second does sound quite right.


On the other hand I'm unable to report that with my Optoma's Pixelworks Motion Engine set to "high" I've ever experienced a "hyper"-real look or something that remotely causes nausea.


Thanks to Creative Frame Interpolation I'm able to experience an increase in immersion because of the life-like appearance of images that apply for all video program content I could possibly think of.


Again, I remain confident that negative remarks about the "Natural Motion Effect" provided by FI (i.e. the pejorative "Soap Opera Effect") mostly originate from the way many of us had been conditioned since childhood with 24fps theater or 60 Hz TV images.


Interestingly, one of my friends apparently is such a character. In the beginning he was always bitching and moaning about FI, asking me to please deactivate it.
Over the last years I've been increasingly ignoring his requests when he comes over to watch a film and the last 5 times he didn't complain any longer at all (even though FI was set too "high", my default setting).


I guess it's something that does take time to be appreciated in some cases.
I agree I think a big part of the trouble wit SOE, has more to do with how we have all grown up seeing tv and movies. Your brain knows its watching a movie or tv because it doesn't look "real" or hyper real however you like to say it. Our brains have been trained to view movies and tv in a certain way and when it get to real looking it messes with your brain because it doesn't know what its "looking" at part of is screams movie and part scream that doesn't look like a movie. That was part of the issue with the HFR release of the Hobbit. There were scenes where there was a close of up a character's face and it looked like they were sitting right next to me real, not like im watching a movie real. The higher frame rate gave your brain more details and sharper images than your used to seeing. If I remember from when the movie released there was kind of an age gap of people who did and did not like the look of the HFR, with older people (relatively speaking) having more of an issue with it than younger people. Its the same thing with the SOE on 4K tv's, when I got my first 4k tv it WAS a little jarring I had not seen anything like that before, but after a short time it just became normal to me. I can turn mothing smoothing or FI or whatever the want to call it, off or on and it looks no different at least to me.
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post #26 of 104 Old 11-06-2018, 09:33 AM
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The term soap opera effect derives from the simple fact that movies shot on film at 24 fps and converted by FI to 60 fps are perceived to appear more like TV soap operas that were originally shot on digital cameras at 60 fps. If we converted 60 fps soap operas to 24 fps we'd call it the movie or film effect.

The fact that DI may not be perfectly implemented and can cause image artifacts is secondary to the fundamental difference in how we subconsciously categorize the two different frame rates based on previous visual experience.
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post #27 of 104 Old 11-06-2018, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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We also have to realize that humans don't see fluid movement as is depicted in using too much FI, making the real appear unreal. It's why 60fps appears to be about the norm for looking real--and not hokey, which can be achieved with low FI for a 24fps movie. This will also get rid of a fair amount of judder. But as we know, it's a very individual taste.

It is interesting, if you read the history books, that Edison had discovered that 46 fps was the best for film. He wanted to get that frame-rate going, but there was too much 16fps technology being used in the day, which eventually ended up as 24fps. That is why we see the Charlie Chaplin effect when those old movies are shown today at 24fps.
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post #28 of 104 Old 11-06-2018, 10:19 AM
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As an “older” person and a fan of classic films going back 100 years. (Film Like) is very important to me and not just because I’m used to it. It is what the director of the movie not having a crystal ball into the future knew the audience was going to see. It is the same in some ways to adding color to a B&W masterpiece. It wasn’t intended to be seen that way. It is just not frame rate that makes Film Like it is having a darken theater and watching with the proper brightness that replicates the period. Citizen Kane was not intended to be HDR.

My theater has the ability to function for a wide range of uses. I watch the Super Bowl with house lights on and 45 FL brightness and fast frame rates would be of no issues. It’s modern it’s sports and it’s TV. Newer digital movies and prestige TV are the same I watch them in the dark mostly with added brightness and super smooth frame rates seem more appropriate. IMAX in its hay day went all in on super resolution and flawless images and that’s how they should be shown.

IMO its great technology and it has its place.
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post #29 of 104 Old 11-06-2018, 10:32 AM
 
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The Soap Opera Effect is a misnomer, I think.

60 fps is closer to reality than 24 fps, so it's more appropriate if 24 fps had a nickname associated with it.

Like Flickery Choppy Motion Blur Effect.

Poorly interpolated 60 fps or 120 fps often have artifacts, using older processing methods, but I dispute whether those artifacts are the main cause of the hate for HFR.

Many people hate high framerate irrespective of whether the HFR is real or faked. I think those who hate MEMC hate real HFR even though it has no interpolation artifacts to speak of.

However, objectively speaking, real 60 fps or 120 fps content is actually less of an "effect" on the incoming shots. It's often frustrating to see 24 fps being called an artistic choice, namely an effect, but high framerate is considered unnatural despite it being literally the reduction of an extreme effect of chopping up light coming in a camera into blurry exposed sensor buckets we call frames. The more frames captured, the closer it is to reality.

So I think people who are opposed to HFR are actually arguing in bad faith most of the time. They praise the "artistic effect" of low framerate, while claiming they want purity, and call the absense of unnatural blurring and choppiness, to be also an effect.

One thing that people ignore in all this, is the fact that TV manufacturers leave MEMC on by default, because it helps sell TVs in the show room. Which should tell you all you need to know about how popular it really is compared to the hype that the lowframerate purists are pushing.

If Samsung, etc, saw MEMC hurting sales, because more people hated it than liked its effect on motion, they not only wouldn't turn it on by default, they would likely remove it entirely.

To anyone who knows anything about business and market research, do you think it's a sensible hypothesis that these TV companies, which spend millions in market research and billions in R&D, wouldn't know exactly the effect MEMC had on TV sales?

These companies are turning on MEMC on the showroom floor for the same reason that brighter TV modes are the default: because brightness sells TVs, and smoother motion sells TVs, too.

Otherwise it simply wouldn't add up that they'd enable it by default, if it hurt sales. Do any of you actually think the default settings on all these electronic gadgets aren't specifically chosen because they appeal to the most people?

I think the anti-SOE crowd is deluding themselves into believing that their preferences are more popular. And there are studies our there which confirm this. HFR is more popular than LFR. It is also, more a more accurate depiction of reality, less unnatural.

And I think that's the case even with MEMC based HFR, which in recent years has gotten so good that it's main problems are basically negligible compared to real HFR. That can be debated or analyzed, and I'd like to see some scientific comparisons between the various MEMC techniques and chips out there. This technology is constantly improving. Heck, even Valve has just added frame extrapolation (lag-free) to SteamVR. And artifacts in VR are especially noticeable and disconcerting. But having a smooth constant framerate is better than having some rare issues due to the processing. I don't know why TVs or projectors would be any different. MEMC is a terrific new addition to VR (instead of mere re-projection when it detects late frames), and it seems to be popular enough to boost TV sales in a crowded showroom. When TVs are seen side-by-side, those which have the smoothness setting off are at a competitive disadvantage.

MEMC being set to enabled by default is a direct result of hyper-capitalism, where tons of market research is done, proving MEMC's effects are not only not perceived badly by the general population, but that it's actually preferred.

Apple's moving to 120hz now, and with VR and AR, I think it's only a matter of time before 24 fps joins SDR in becoming obsolete. I don't want people who hate HFR to be forced to watch it though, so I think they should film everything at 120 fps and then produce 120, 60, 30, and 24 fps versions for various markets and distribution methods. It's easier and better to blend high framerate into low framerate than the other way around, but technology is getting so good that going in either direction is going to allow everyone to watch their content exactly the way they want to, without being forced to sit through something that bothers them.

I only get irritated when I see 24 fps super fans tell others to STFU and take it, as if their preferences are good and right and proper and ours aren't. It's not only annoying, but it's also untrue. HFR is more popular than LFR and that fact isn't going to change, it's hard-wired into the human psyche. The argument that people prefer 24 fps movies because they're used to it is not a good reason to keep using it. Nobody uses film any more and higher framerates compress very well.
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post #30 of 104 Old 11-06-2018, 10:50 AM
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@BattleAxeVR , to the best of my knowledge no one is trying to convert 60 fps content into 24 fps content simply because they prefer 24 fps to 60 fps in all situations. Those who prefer 24 fps seem to only prefer it when the original content was filmed at 24 fps as @bud16415 describes. Many old movie buffs want to see the old movies presented today as they were originally and not artificially "enhanced." It's a personal preference, just as you continually express a personal preference for higher frame rates on everything. Personal preferences aren't debatable. We like what we like and no one can tell us differently.
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