Friday, October 5, 2012

Soapbox: Zoom and Enhance and other crimes against reality

Okay I'm stepping up and calling out the film and TV folks on this one.

Maybe back in the day when folks couldn't watch show episodes online, couldn't set up wikipedias with every last detail of every moment and so on, it was okay to be sloppy with the details. But that day is long past and the time has come for writers etc to stop with this nonsense.

What nonsense is that. Well it falls into two categories. One is continuity errors. Screwing up details like characters age and such. Now that writer's assistants don't have to spend all afternoon photocopying script pages they can help write character histories etc and verify that the right information is used.

But the other one, the one that really irks me is making stuff up that violates reality. And most of the time it isn't necessary. It's more just sloppy and lazy.

In the season premiere of Person of Interest, for example, Reese refers to the book labeling as 'the Dewey Decimal System" but it isn't. It isn't even close. It's just some random system that probably dates back to before Dewey. So why not just call it 'shelving codes' or 'acquisition numbers'.

IP numbers are often given that aren't even in the numbers used in IPs. Why not just use real IP numbers say to the show's network home page or the city website for where the show takes place or depending on the show, perhaps a public interest site connected to the episode topic.

Phone numbers are another fun one. That old '555' trick wasn't as noticeable when folks couldn't rewatch shows but now its become a joke. Do as one might do with an IP and find a real number. Some shows have done it. Their stars have some big charity interest and their characters phone number actually calls whatever group they support

Using the wrong terms for various medical or forensic terms, totally unreal computer interfaces etc. The list goes on

But the big one, the one that has become something of a joke on the web and shows still pull off on a weekly basis is the classic "Zoom and Enhance". We've all seen it. It's a common one in police shows where they are looking at camera footage. It's all grainy etc and someone says they will enlarge it and clean it up. But it's always photo or video quality that is too poor to do anything with to get more information. My all time favorite is Enemy of the State. They are looking at Will Smith in a retail store and pull a magical 180 degree turn around to see his bag. WTF? How about "do we have a camera on the other side?" It's a high end store so there were probably cameras everywhere.

Seriously writers it's beyond time to clean up your acts. Get the facts, keep the straight and make your stuff make sense. We do notice and that kind of sloppy, lazy stuff can turn us off so much we turn off our TVs.

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