Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Two-Cent Tuesdays: Keeping It Real

This is another of those things where I wish I'd kept the link to the article I'd read because now I have no idea what it was or where it was or when I read it.  Anyway, around the time The Hobbit Part 1 (of 999999) came out, I read an article where some critic was complaining about the new technique the movie used of high-speed 3D film.  In his mind it was TOO REAL.

As I read it, I could sort of understand what he was getting at.  Maybe we're not at the point he was warning about yet, but at some point we might with all this newfangled technology.  That point is where the film becomes so clear that every little imperfection or blemish will be visible and thus make it impossible to immerse yourself in the fantasy of the film.

What the guy meant, to summarize, is that eventually it would be hard to mask the fact the actors are wearing makeup or prosthetic parts or are carrying fake swords.  Then it'd be like if you were sitting onstage watching a play.

On some level this kind of thing already happens.  I mean watch some of those old movies from the 80s (even the Star Wars movies) and there are places where you can see how fake the effects are.  The tauntauns in Empire are a good example--why did they not fix those in the "Special Edition?"  Then in 90s movies where they just started to use CGI you can tell where a lot of it is being used.

Even in movies from this century it still happens.  I remember watching the X-Men Origins:  Wolverine movie and there were parts where it was so obvious they were shooting in front of a green screen.  When you start to notice that it's hard to just kick back and enjoy the movie.  And really just watch one of those Syfy Original movies with their terrible effects.  Yikes!

So the point I think the critic was making and that I'm making is that sometimes things can get too real.  It's nice to want to make things clearer and sharper, but you don't want it to get to the point where the audience can't just enjoy the story anymore.

I'm sure that's a good point for writing too.  I mean most dialog as it's written in books isn't reflective of "real" life.  There aren't as many awkward pauses and ums and uhs and so forth.  And sometimes someone might try to do that or do that stream of consciousness thing and it gets to be really annoying to the reader.  Because to a large extent we don't want REALITY in our stories.  Very often we don't want reality at all.  Not to say that you shouldn't ever do any research and just do whatever you want, because if the story is set in modern times on this planet, people expect a little bit of realism.  It's the old "suspending disbelief" thing.

Tread carefully.

5 comments:

  1. Good point. Sometime we can outsmart ourselves.

    S

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  2. I saw this recently in viewing the Phantom Menace in high definition. Really, the Phantom Menace had high production values and is not that old of a film being the first of the prequels. Yet there it was on Darth Maul's head: I could see the putty they used to attach his horns. I've never seen that before and it was plain as day in high definition.

    Yuck.

    Ah well. The first time around did give me an effective illusion so noticing it a decade after the fact doesn't really spoil it all that much for me.

    I also read the same article that you read, and I think it was maybe featured on io9 or on Blastr (or copied from a source onto one of those sites). It was talking about how Peter Jackson was exploring the new high frame rate and how James Cameron was going to go even further with Avatar 2. I think the new technologies are good and that it's fun to experiment. We will see if it actually adds or detracts from cinema experience overall, and if it does...then they can always go back to the old way of doing things.

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  3. Interesting post. I can see where adding new technology like HD to old movies might reveal the flaws. Perhaps it's better to leave old movies alone. However, I tend to be forgiving if I'm hooked on the story because I know it's not real anyway. All those muppets in Star Wars were never realistic even back then.

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  4. I remember playing an old text adventure game called "Alternate Reality" which was a simulation of living in an old medieval town. You had to eat, sleep, drink and use the bathroom just like in real life. In real time. I tried to explain to someone how much fun it was and they said it sounded boring. I feel like that guy as you explain this book. When keeping it real goes too far.

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  5. I think all the high-def and 3D can overload the senses. The eyes venture away from the main action and you start to look at the background - especially if it's three dimensional.

    Some people can't watch 3D movies for that reason. They get headaches since their eyes are all over the place, taking everything in. My daughter is like that - she's got very sensitive eyesight. Nothing escapes her. This comes in handy if I drop something like a contact lens on the carpet. She will find it.

    But I think many people are just getting sensory overload with some of this new tech.

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