Here’s the Best Way to Watch ‘Roma’ at Home (Hint: Turn Motion Smoothing Off)

Follow this guide to get the most out of Alfonso Cuarón's black-and-white masterwork.
(L to R) Marco Graf as Pepe, Daniela Demesa as Sofi, Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marina De Tavira as Sofia, Diego Cortina Autrey as Toño, Carlos Peralta Jacobson as Paco in Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Photo by Carlos Somonte
Photo by Carlos Somonte

As anyone who’s seen “Roma” has already told you, the best way to watch Alfonso Cuarón’s wrenching drama is in a movie theater. If that’s not possible, fret not: The acclaimed film made its Netflix premiere this weekend, allowing you to take in the crisp black-and-white cinematography and absorbing narrative from the comfort of your own home. Before you do that, consult this guide on the best practices for viewing the movie on your TV.

The first few rules are fairly simple and common — turn off motion smoothing or interpolation, set your color temperature to “normal,” and enable HDR. Motion smoothing is anathema among filmmakers and cinephiles (including Tom Cruise and Chris McQuarrie), making that one no surprise.

However, the guide’s rationale for the temperature setting is of note: “‘Warm’ color temperature can make the film appear tinted sepia or yellow. When set to ‘cool’ the film can appear overly blue.” Both outcomes are best avoided, especially given the black-and-white aesthetic.

Other settings:

Picture mode: Cinema or Movie (NOT Sports, Vivid, Dynamic etc)

Sharpness: 0% (This is the most crucial one to set to zero — although Sony sometimes uses 50% for the “off” setting, confusingly. If the image becomes blurry at 0%, try 50%)

Backlight: Whatever is comfortable, but usually at 100% for daytime use. Adjusting this will not deteriorate picture quality.

Contrast: 100%

Brightness: 50%

Color: 50%

Hue: 0%

Gamma: 2.2 (or 0 if the TV doesn’t have it in a range of 1.8-2.9 but uses whole numbers instead)

Tint (G/R): 50%

Read More: Before ‘Roma,’ Alfonso Cuarón Didn’t Think He’d Be Able to Work in Mexico Again

“Roma” has won top prizes from the New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association in addition to receiving three Golden Globe nominations. It has also been chosen as Mexico’s entry for the Academy Awards, and the nine-film shortlist will be announced tomorrow.

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