Monday, March 1, 2010

"Nothing is Real"

A rare Monday edition of LNTAM because of a couple of things that blow me away (and are in keeping with the Godard sentiment at the top of the blog).

The use of CGI is usually regarded as the stuff of movie block-busters—the "2012's" and "Avatar's"—but the unreality is green-screen technology and CGI replacement is everywhere now. Special effects are now a cost-cutting move to avoid going on location, where the circus-like caravans (and pay-offs to government agencies) are considered more budget-busting. This has always been done to some extent; locations have been recreated in the safe confines of studios to avoid expensive travel. But now special effects are so relatively cheap that they're used for almost everything.

Take a look at this demo reel for the "virtual backlot" of Stargate Studios which does a lot of background work for television. It amazes me that it is less expensive to film "Ugly Betty" walking into a green pylon and replace it with a "virtual" bus than it is for her to walk into an actual conveyance on a backlot. But it apparently is.

This was mentioned by Mark Evanier in his wonderful "News From Me" blog.

Tuesday, Oprah Winfrey will have as her guests Chaz and Roger Ebert. Ebert, the nationally known film critic, has been famously quiet for the past couple of years, due to his treatment for cancer and some very painful (and ultimately unsuccessful) jaw-replacement surgery. But tomorrow will be his first interview. He will speak. Through another computer revolution—speech simulation—he'll be typing his answers to questions and a synthesized version of his old voice—and this is the important part—culled from his audio commentaries on DVD's, will be emanating from the speech generator.

Two thumbs way, way up.

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