Visual Effects and the (Re)Creation of Memories

Although I wasn’t around yet to see the Apollo launches, astronomy and space exploration were a defining part of my childhood. I saved up for my first telescope when I was 7 years old, built countless model rockets out of parts from the recycling bin, and one summer my parents were awesome enough to even send me to Space Camp. So when Apollo 13 came out when I was 9 years old, I can’t count the number of times I re-watched it on VHS. The spectacle of that launch and mission stuck with me to the extent that I feel as if I were a part of the space race generation. Movies have that power — to implant a sense of nostalgia for something we couldn’t experience first-hand.

This TED talk by visual effects supervisor Rob Legato explores that nostalgia as he talks about re-creating the Saturn 5 launch by focusing on the aspects of the launch that were part of our collective memories. Instead of focusing on archival footage and matching the launch shot-for-shot, he instead tried to re-create that generation’s memory of the launch. As he explains, it’s actually an important distinction.

Of course, I can’t post about space exploration without acknowledging the passing of one of the greatest men of the past century. Neil, we are in debt to your contributions. His footprints inspired the imaginations of generations and serve as a reminder of mankind’s ability to accomplish the impossible; his small step was the first in an ongoing journey to explore new worlds.


Interesting enough to link to

Following up my series of posts about using a keyboard with the iPhone, CNN contributor Amy Gahran says the iPhone keyboard arrived too late, as she’s already switched to Android. Her short article gives a few more reasons why a physical keyboard is a good idea for a phone, and even links to an Android bluetooth keyboard (that folds!).

And keeping with the iPhone/Android theme, Robert Scoble of Scobleizer writes a good summary of why he’s sticking with iPhone, unlike Louis Grey who just as compellingly advocates the Android platform.

Over at YouTube, you can now watch videos in 4K resolution … assuming you have one of the rare and super expensive 4K projectors. For those unfamiliar with 4K, imagine putting together 4 1080p televisions in a 2 by 2 grid, and you’re still not reaching the kind of resolution we’re dealing with. Viewing is only half of the problem, as 4K camcorders like the RED One are few and far between, not to mention beyond the budget of even many independent filmmakers. Of course, you won’t be able to take full advantage of this feature on even the largest computer screens currently available, but the notion of streaming ultra high definition video is a delicious taste of the future for tech nerds.

Then again, here’s a camera that will probably have the ability to record in 4K.  Canon has showcased a new “Wonder Camera” that promises to be the future of photography and video. Perhaps the most impressive and interesting part of it is the lens, which has an unheard of range of macro to 500mm. Not to mention its ability to capture up to 600 frames per second. The product is still concept, and Canon says we won’t see something like this on the market for another 2 decades.

iPhone 4 + Wireless Keyboard

I’ve been using the iPhone 4 and bluetooth keyboard as a mobile writing platform, or netbook of sorts, for a few days. I’ll talk more thoroughly about using the setup later this week, but for now I have to say that, for certain tasks, I absolutely love it. Pairing is effortless and the simplicity of tapping out a few hundred words when inspiration strikes is makes it a great alternative to booting up a laptop. Anyone with an iPhone who needs to crank out longer documents should go get one, now.

jedd goble

Cinematographer of Two Story Films. I'm passionate about film and the way that stories can shape the world and change our perspectives.