Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Future of TV

I forgot to mention the most mind-boggling thing I learned on the Warner Bros. tour:  Everything we saw about the way they shoot TV is coming to an end this year.

We were standing inside the soundstage where they film "Gilmore Girls" (which would have been way more impressive if I ever watched the show), and he took us to see the part of the soundstage that acts as their backyard.  We were standing on a flat surface that was made to look like patio tile, and looking at a fake wall that was made to look like a stone planter.  And there was a muslin sheet hanging in the background, with neighboring houses painted on it.

And our tour guide said that this is all going to be different next year, when the industry standard goes to HDTV.

And my jaw simply dropped.

Of course, it makes perfect sense.  With HDTV, home viewers would NOTICE the patio tile isn't really tile, the stone planter isn't really a planter, and the neighbors' houses are just painted on.

HDTV is all well and good for giving you a more realistic look at stuff like sporting events and talk shows ... even "reality TV" -- but it is absolute death for television that is all about "movie magic" instead of reality.

The solution, said our tour guide, is that they're either going to have to get more real stuff in there for sets and backdrops, or they'll have to go further into cgi.

Sad, I thought, that this new technology that is supposed to improve our television-viewing experience is actually killing the way television programs have come to be made.

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