The soap opera effect is an industry-recognized term that describes the visual effects of a video when using motion interpolation – a feature that sees high-definition televisions increase the refresh rate of the video source. origin to reduce perceived blurring.
While motion tween can be beneficial in certain scenarios, many people find that it adds a sense of cheapness when watching motion pictures and TV shows. Even Tom Cruise took a break from filming to explain the downsides motion tweening can add to your viewing experience.
Luckily, the motion tween, aka the soap opera effect, is incredibly easy to turn off. Even those who consider themselves complete technophobes shouldn’t struggle too much with this relatively simple step-by-step guide.
Plus, we’ll also highlight when you should consider using this feature and why it came about.
What is the soap opera effect?
As Tom and Christopher McQuarrie have so eloquently put it, the soap opera effect is a visual effect that occurs when using motion tween – a feature found in most televisions. high definition with high refresh rate. Motion interpolation works by increasing the original source’s refresh rate to improve motion handling and reduce blurring – an artifact that often occurs when viewing fast-moving images on LCD TVs. Less responsive LEDs.
While older CRTs and even plasma TVs were renowned for their impressive motion-handling capabilities, the same certainly can’t be said for modern LCD-LED TVs. Most modern panel types typically struggle with movement, especially in large-screen TV variants. Even OLED TVs that deliver near-instantaneous pixel response times use motion interpolation – with many sets enabling the feature from the factory.
Unfortunately, most manufacturers use their own brand name for motion tween, confusing many people when it comes to physically disabling it on their new set. Depending on the brand you use, you will likely see terms such as; motion interpolation, motion smoothing, ME/MC (motion estimation/motion compensation), TruMotion, Auto Motion Plus and MotionFlow used for this particular function. Luckily, regardless of brand, turning off motion smoothing is actually incredibly easy.
How the soap opera effect works
The soap opera effect works by “guessing” what is happening between frames in the original source video. The motion tween will effectively create a new hybrid frame that sits between the two original frames – created by merging the two frames that occur before and after. Naturally, this results in a much smoother viewing experience.
Motion tween works best when viewing content shot at 30 or 60 FPS (frames per second), as it generally provides better detail right off the bat. That being said, users may still experience artifacts when using motion interpolation, especially if the TV does not have advanced motion interpolation processing.
Also, when viewing a movie on a TV that has motion interpolation enabled, most people won’t be able to put their finger on why the video looks weird. It’s only when you watch a side-by-side video of the two that you can clearly see the difference. And while many don’t know they’re actually using it, most people tend to dislike this visual feature when they realize it’s in use.
When the soap opera effect works
It’s not all bad news, though – there are scenarios where the soap opera effect works incredibly well.
As just mentioned, Motion Interpolation was developed to reduce the motion blur that would often occur in LED TVs when viewing fast moving images (games and sporting events). Motion blur would blur certain objects and scenes, reducing the clarity and smoothness of the video you are watching.
In these scenarios, the soap opera effect works very well – effectively doubling the frame rate to increase smoothness and sharpness.
How to deactivate the soap opera effect?
Turning off the soap opera effect, aka motion tween, is incredibly easy no matter what TV or brand you have. Often it’s as simple as a few clicks. The hardest part is actually finding the feature in your TV, as it often goes through a variety of different labels.
As mentioned above, different manufacturers use different tags for motion tweening, adding confusion to what is a relatively simple task. However, almost always manufacturers will use “Motion” in the name. TruMotion, Auto Motion Plus, MotionFlow, Motion Smoothing and ME/MC are all examples of brand names for motion interpolation, with Hisense being the only exception to this rule – using UltraSMR instead.
As the soap opera effect is increasingly recognized by the everyday user, this annoying naming structure is one of the main reasons why so many people struggle to turn it off. It’s becoming such a frequently asked question that the UHD Alliance has proposed that all major TV manufacturers implement a simple “director mode” in the remote that disables the feature instantly. Brands such as LG, Samsung, Panasonic, and Vizio have all started using Filmmaker modes, allowing users to experience the movie as intended.
Unfortunately, Filmmaker Mode isn’t available on all sets, which means you’ll need to follow these steps to disable the soap opera effect:
How to turn off soap opera effect on LG TVs
Although many modern LG TVs have Filmmaker Mode, not all do. For those using an LG TV that does not have this picture mode, follow these simple steps:
Start by pressing the home button on your remote – this will bring up the TV’s main menu.
Access the “Picture Mode” tab from the main menu options.
In the “Picture Mode” tab, find and select the “Picture Options” tab.
Find the “Smooth” setting and disable TruMotion.
How to turn off the soap opera effect on Samsung TVs
Again, most modern Samsung TVs have Filmmaker mode, directly accessible via the remote. That said, not all do, so looking for the “Auto Motion Plus” setting will turn it off:
Grab your remote and press the “menu” or “settings” button
In the main menu, navigate to the “Image” tab and select it
Navigate to “Expert Settings” in the “Image” tab and select them
In “Expert Settings”, look for the “Auto Motion Plus” tab
Simply turn off “Auto Motion Plus” from the available options to turn off the soap opera effect
How to turn off the soap opera effect on Sony TVs
Sony TVs don’t use Filmmaker Mode as much as the brands above, so chances are you’ll need to follow these steps to disable the soap opera effect:
Press the “Settings” button on your remote to open the main settings menu
Navigate and select the “Image Settings” from the available options
Select the “Advanced Settings” option from the Image menu
Finally, go to “Motion Settings” and simply disable the “MotionFlow” option.
That’s really all there is to it. If you have another brand of TV, disabling the soap opera effect will probably have a similar method – navigating through the picture settings until you find the motion modes.
Of course, disabling this feature will impact your TV’s performance when watching other content. Sporting events and games will likely look a little worse after disabling motion interpolation, as the TV will likely experience some perceived blurring artifacts. In this scenario, simply re-enable motion tween to get the best visual experience.
Ultimately, all televisions work in unique ways, which means you’ll have to see what works best for you. That being said, it’s no secret that the soap opera effect is hated by many, including Tom Cruise.