The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The HD Dilemma

As I have posted before, the future ain't what it used to be. All the "futuristic"-sounding new wave music from the 80s doesn't sound like 2007, it sounds like 1984. One of what makes old science fiction so unintentionally hilarious is this future world of 2000 still use technology that was made obsolete seconds after filming, like tape reel mainframe computers and dot matrix printers. I watched some episodes of the old school "Battlestar Galactica" and on one, the crew of the Galactica discover a spaceship that contained some humans in suspended animation. They surmised that the only thing they could figure out about them was that they were obviously far more technologically advanced. I was going to have to take their word for it; after 25 years of my slow-building cynicism, if you've seen one set spray-painted silver, you've seen them all. The only thing that they seem to have was Disco rope light technology. Don't think this has stopped because we have all these wonderful gadgets that make our lives that much sweeter, even something as recent and forward thinking as The Matrix is starting to show it's age.

The thing that I always notice now are the displays; from the painted screens of "Star Trek" to the monochromatic picture tube displays of almost every sci-fi movie from the late 70s-early 80s, it crushes the "illusion" of the future that made it so easy for me to get lost in when I was younger. It doesn't help that one of the most enduring elements of old sci-fi is that font that everyone used that made it seem like everything in the future was going to be written out using pocket calculators. Like this:

Even though it could have been easily done, George Lucas didn't screw with the starship displays when he redid the original Star Wars trilogy and that, to me, clashed jarringly with the stuff that he did digitally "enhance".

This, believe it or not, leads me to HD TV. I had my first real taste of big screen HD this Sunday when I went to a friends house to watch football. It was like the first time I saw color TV, it made me see familiar things in a whole new way. The most striking thing was the contrast between programing made in HD and things that aren't. I realize that they don't make Plasma TVs to make the old way of broadcasting look good, but the HD stuff looked positively three dimensional, nearly to the point of distraction. You get caught up with watching the blades of astro-turf and not all the beefy football dudes falling all over it.

But, as you might have heard, not every one is excited about High-Definition. The Porn industry has never met a technological advance that it couldn't ride to a multi-million dollar bonanza-from VCRs to the internet and almost everything in between, but HD is another story. Every stretch mark and ingrown hair is now in clear and unflattering focus in High-Def. From what I saw from my football-filled Sunday, is that may be good that they're showing some restrain in that area. But, they're far from the only objectors, and it was obvious to me why people in front of the camera would be concerned. The amount of make-up shellacking that everyone from Beyonce to Terry Bradshaw is subjected to is really obvious in this format. Beyonce has the advantage of being a beautiful woman, but Terry looks like a pink-frosted face on Mount Rushmore.

HD is real (or more real) and TVs and movies are not about the real. As anyone who has worked on a movie or TV set can tell you, if you don't see it in the shot, it probably doesn't exist. With the ease and wide spread use of digital effects, seeing it doesn't make it real; be it a Transformer to the dead celebrities that dance with stuff that didn't exist while they were alive. But clogged pores pose a bigger challenge to maintaining the illusion of perfection that make regular people feel bad about themselves.

But now we as viewers have made it clear want the HD, we want the real. It's just a little more real than Hollywood has learned to cover quite yet; it might just take an extra layer of shellac to get us there.

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