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The story below was originally published on Theo’s Roundtable, for which I am contributing writer.
With all this talk about technology lately, it can be easy to forget that none of it—not one pixel—matters if the content is crap. I’ll admit it’s easy to get wrapped up in all this new technology and all the press releases surrounding the latest and greatest gizmos and what not—it is. I know I’m more than a little guilty of such from time to time. Recently, I was having a Twitter conversation with a few of my fans regarding some of the details surrounding my next film. Some were curious if I’d be filming in 4K while others just wanted to know if it would be available on Blu-ray, given my recent “rants” on streaming. Truth is, I have no idea. I just hope the story is good.
Fellow writer Michael Gaughn recently wrote a rebuttal of sorts to the back-and-forth over technology trends and Hollywood that have taken place here on Theo’s Roundtable. He makes an interesting point that we as consumers (aka viewers) need to “stop obsessing over the tech, stop trying to escape, take a chance, andengage.” Now you could argue that the latest technology—be it audio or visual—helps us as viewers to engage, but I think that too misses the greater point.
For example; what makes a film “classic”? Look at Jaws—hardly a film anyone would proclaim as the pinnacle of technical achievement, and yet it stands up. In spite of the shark and many of the effects appearing laughable at best, we love Jaws still. And we don’t love it ironically; we love Jaws because it’s a good film—flaws and all. The original three Star Wars films continue to excite and amaze even though many of the characters appear crafted out of gaffers tape and garbage cans. That’s what a good story does. It makes it so that other things like budgetary limitations or technology don’t matter. In my opinion, Jaws would be just as engaging told over a campfire by Mr. Spielberg as it is on the silver screen. There are countless other examples of this scattered throughout the history of Hollywood, though maybe they’re growing fewer and further between as we push to replace magic with cynicism.
Maybe that’s the bigger issue still, the fact that none of this stuff is magic anymore—it’s merely expected. Talking about 4K or high-resolution audio with enthusiasts isn’t a discussion of either technology’s “majesty” but rather the viewers’ almost divine right to it. And the manufacturers aren’t helping things either. Why should they? The whole system has been redesigned to serve sales—not discovery. The answer to one’s entertainment woes isn’t the content itself but rather the number of pixels they’re viewing it in. The Adam Sandler comedy That’s My Boy didn’t suck—you just didn’t see it in 4K. And so it goes.
As a technology journalist and screenwriter, this duality of having to care about both technology and story makes for quite a quandary—one that…
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