Motion interpolation or motion-compensated frame interpolation (MCFI) is a form of video processing in which intermediate animation frames are generated between existing ones, in an attempt to make animation more fluid, and to compensate for display motion blur.
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Some video software suites and plugins offer motion-interpolation effects to enhance digitally-slowed video. Adobe After Effects has this in a feature called "Pixel Motion". The effects plugin Twixtor is available for most major video editing suites and offers similar functionality.
Film motion smoothing
Films are recorded at a frame rate of 24 frames per second (frame/s) and television is typically shot at 25, 50, 30 or 60 frames per second (the first two being PAL, the other two NTSC). Normally, when a fixed framerate display, such as an LCD screen, is used to display a video source whose framerate is less than that of the screen, frames are often simply duplicated as necessary (e.g. 3:2 pulldown) to match the video refresh, which may introduce a visual artifact known as judder, perceived as "jumpiness" in the picture. Motion interpolation intends to remedy this by generating intermediate frames that make animation more fluid.
Names of motion enhancement technologies
The commercial name given to motion interpolation technology varies across manufacturers, as does its implementation.
- Hitachi – Reel120
- Insignia – DCM Plus, for Digital Clear Motion 120 Hz, or Insignia Motion 120Hz
- Kogan Technologies – MotionMax 100 Hz, 200 Hz
- LG – TruMotion 120 Hz, 240 Hz, 480 Hz
- AOC – Motion Boost 120 Hz
- Bose - VideoWave II 120 Hz (Not named)
- Loewe – Digital Movie Mode (DMM)
- Mitsubishi – Smooth 120 Hz
- Panasonic – Intelligent Frame Creation (IFC) 24p Smooth Film (24p material only)
- Philips – HD Digital Natural Motion,Perfect Motion Rate
- Samsung – Auto Motion Plus 120 Hz, 240 Hz, Clear Motion Rate 100 Hz, 200 Hz, 400 Hz, 500 Hz, 600 Hz, 800 Hz (PAL video system), Clear Motion Rate 120 Hz, 240 Hz, 480 Hz, 600 Hz, 720 Hz, 960 Hz (NTSC video system)
- Sharp – Fine Motion Enhanced, AquoMotion 240 Hz, AquoMotion Pro
- Sony – MotionFlow 100 Hz, 100 Hz PRO (XBR series, Australia), 120 Hz, 200 Hz, 240 Hz, 400 Hz, 480 Hz, 800 Hz, 960 Hz.
- Toshiba – ClearScan 120 Hz, 240 Hz
- Vizio – SmoothMotion 
- Sceptre – MEMC (Motion Estimation/Motion Compensation)
PC video players
Many video players for computers, include motion interpolation.
- WinDVD uses Philips' TrimensionDNM for frame interpolation.
- CrystalPlayer uses Motion Morphing MultiSampling for frame interpolation.
- PowerDVD uses TrueTheater Motion for interpolation of DVD and video files to up to 72 frame/s.
- Splash PRO uses Mirillis Motion² technology for up to Full HD video interpolation.
- SmoothVideo Project uses Avisynth script-based on MVTools 2.5 libraries for frame interpolation.
Possible unwanted effects
Motion interpolation on certain brands of HDTVs is sometimes accompanied by visual anomalies in the picture, described by CNET's David Carnoy as a 'little tear or glitch' in the picture, appearing for a fraction of a second. He adds the effect is most noticeable when the technology suddenly kicks in during a fast camera pan. Television and display manufacturers, in the training and other technical literature typically available only to the service industry, usually refer to this phenomenon as a member of the class of phenomena known as digital artifacts.
Soap opera effect
The "video" look is a byproduct of the perceived increase in framerate due to the interpolation and is commonly referred to as the "soap opera effect", a reference to the distinctive appearance of most broadcast television soap operas, which were typically shot using less expensive 60i video rather than film.[clarification needed] Some complain that the effect ruins the theatrical look of cinematic movies. For this reason, almost all manufacturers have built in an option to turn the feature off. Others appreciate motion interpolation as it reduces motion blur produced by camera pans and shaky cameras and thus yields better clarity of such images. The soap opera effect can also be known as "Judder adjustment" or "Judder Removal". This "video look" is created deliberately by the VidFIRE technique to restore archive television programs that only survive as film telerecordings.
- Carnoy, David (October 25, 2007). "Six things you need to know about 120 Hz LCD TVs". CNET.com. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- Hitachi to Unveil New Line of Ultra Thin LCDs at CES
- Kogan MotionMax 100Hz TVs
- Samsung LN40C650 40" 1080p LCD TV – NEW
- Sharp intros slate of new AQUOS LCD HDTVs
- SONY UNVEILS FIRST BRAVIA FLAT-PANEL LCD HDTVs WITH INTERNET VIDEO LINK COMPATIBILITY
- Sony's site for explaining Motionflow 200Hz using the world's largest zoetrope and Kaká
- Intervideo WinDVD 8 Platinum
- Crystal Reality – ultimate video and multimedia solutions for PC, Symbian and PocketPC platforms
- "Video Enhancement – TrueTheater Technology". CyberLink. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- Mirillis Motion² technology
- MVTools plugin for AviSynth 2.5
- Biggs, John (August 12, 2009). "Help Key: Why 120Hz looks "weird"". crunchgear.com. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
- Moskovciak, Matthew (January 8, 2008). "Vizio adds 120 Hz LCDs to its lineup". CNET.com. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
- "What is the Soap Opera Effect?". Techtarget.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20.
- "VIDFIRE – The Doctor Who Restoration Team". restoration-team.co.uk/. Retrieved 2011-05-19.