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dave.hartley

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About dave.hartley

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  1. Interesting idea ... I'd say that the only factor in having a "wow" movie would be a great story. CG is just the latest in a long line of technological advances in movies. Take the advent of sound -- I'd contend that Metropolis is a much better film than the first movies to make use of sound! Similarly, many movies which (over)use CG are worse than those that proceeded it. I think that, as filmmakers realise that "less is more" in terms of effects, and that it's the story which grabs us, we will start to see more "wow" films Don't forget that it's not just overuse of CG which cripples movies -- we have such things as Sequel Fixation -- if a movie is a hit, we must make a sequel. (Interestingly, I'd put the Matrix trilogy in here!) Star Power -- if we have the latest Screen God/Godess, it doesn't matter about the script No-Brain Audience -- audiences can never think for themselves, so we absolutely must spoon-feed then everything so they "get" the movie (this is similar to Studio Knows Best, where studio bosses can tinker with a director's movie as much as they want until they understand it ... never mind what the director actually wanted to say) ... and many other factors, of course. I think we could amend the equation and say that Great Story + Great Visuals = Excellent Film. Going back to Blade Runner, I showed it to a friend of mine last week who had never seen it before. He was absolutely blown away by the visuals -- because they were done so well, they drew him into the movie. (And not a CG model to be seen!) I'd also be wary of saying that technology has "nowhere" to develop to ... I think what we're seeing on screen now would have been thought impossible even 10? years ago. Who knows what we're going to see in the next 5?
  2. I'll join in the moan! After immersing myself in the world of Blade Runner courtesy the box set from Amazon, I am in awe yet again of the world that is portrayed on film ... all without a single CGI model. There's just something about filming a physical model that makes it look ... real. CGI has certainly come a long way in a relatively short time. Movies that first used computer effects in (say) the early 1980s have very dated effects by today's standards (yet, if the story itself is compelling, you can overlook the naff effects). Comparing the "Genesis Effect" in Star Trek II or the Lightcycles in Tron (or even the T-1000 in Terminator 2) with the wind blowing through King Kong's hair shows the massive advances that have occurred. Processors have become far quicker and cheaper, putting the power of a film effects studio into a PC. And here, I think, is the problem. It's the old adage -- just because one can doesn't mean one should. We appear to have a generation of film makers that are "wowed" by just how good it all looks on film ... without thinking too much about what the film's actually about. It's all too easy to great good looking "fluff," but the "X-Factor" that makes the difference between a hit and a dud hasn't changed -- and it's just as elusive as it was before colour came along! King_Eddy's "equations" are spot on Great CG will enhance a great movie, whereas great CG can't save a bad one.
  3. Thanks for the comments ... some food for thought there I didn't notice any artefacts when I set it up last week -- maybe they were in the actual recording? Hopefully we in the deep south won't lose TOO much by not getting a DVB-T signal (he says hopefully) ... Just another question now -- I've been looking at FreeViewShop's website (lots of goodies to buy there!), and I quite like the look of the Topfield PVR. However, it says this: Twin CI allows reception of FTA and Encrypted or Pay TV Excuse my thickness ... does this mean it can decode Sky as well? Or am I just barking up the wrong tree here ... :confused:
  4. After helping a mate set up Freeview over the weekend when he moved house, I've been mulling it over and doing some research on the 'net about it. I must say, I was quite impressed with the picture quality from the DSE box we bought -- looked very good, even on his 29" CRT. However, I've been thinking about how using a Freeview box would apply to my setup, and wonder if anyone has any comments on these vague thoughts of mine ... Obviously, the settop boxes being sold now only allow you to tune to one channel at a time. Does anyone know of anything like the MySky setup with an HD Recorder in the works? Talking about that, has anyone involved with setting up Freeview thought about the amount of re-training it's going to take to get people time-shifting recording programmes off the Freeview box? Getting them trained to use the built-in tuners in our VCRs (which are going to obselete soon!) was hard enough ... now they have to be UN-trained! Looking at the coverage map on the freeview website, I see that good ol' Invercargill doesn't look like it gets a terrestrial transmitter. Does that mean that we will be left out of the HD loop, as it looks unlikely that we'll get Mpeg4 via the satellite feed? Lastly (as an aside), does anyone know if/when Sky will cease its UHF transmission? I only ask as one of the more useful bits I have is a BaseBand decoder plugged into a decoder slot on my aging Sony VCR. Means I can timeshift recording (the limited range of 3) Sky channels if needed in an emergency (although I haven't done THAT for a while!), but if Sky's going to pull that then I maybe need to look at getting MySky ... (As an aside, looking at the back of the DSE box we got I see there's an optical digital out for audio. Can we hope for DD 5.1 or better in the future?!) Any comments would be most appreciated!
  5. Hmmm. From what I've gleaned off the web, it looks like this player has an HDMI output, but is not an "HD-DVD" player.
  6. Philip K Dick's novel is, indeed, a very good read. I recommend it -- partly because, even if you've seen the movie, there's so much more in the novel it could almost be a different story Agreed -- Ghost in the Shell is another great movie (I have that and Akira in my collection). Another I really enjoyed that explored "what is reality" was Dark City (a guilty pleasure of mine! )
  7. Michael Bay? C'mon ... I still use the Ferrari sequence on my The Rock LD for testing out my surround system when I set it up! For escapist testosterone-fuelled popcorn time-wasters, there's none better ...
  8. I've just been browsing through this thread, and since it hasn't been mentioned yet, I thought I'd put my 2c in ... Blade Runner My movie fascination started in the late 1980s when I left home and went to Uni. I boarded with some distant friends of the family, and their son (who was a few years older than me) had one of the first stereo VHS machines available. On that he introduced me to a whole library of movies -- Alien/Aliens, Terminator, 2001 ... but for some reason, Blade Runner was the one that "caught" me. I found myself just being totally lost in it! I loved the characters, the sets, the whole concept. And, having popped in the Criterion LD recently, I can say it's lost none of its power over me ... I'm just hanging out now for the ultra-mega-multi-disc release of this classic on DVD!
  9. To be honest, I have no idea! I thought I'd just see how the auction went. I've got really mixed feelings about selling the gear ... this was my first "real" sound system, and even though it may not be high-end stuff, it sounds good Especially with the Marantz speakers ... I bought the system for $400 when I was a scarfie (late 1980's) off a mate of mine who had just upgraded, and used it constantly until I bought a Yamaha Dolby Digital amp in 1998. I know I won't get anywhere near that ... but what price do you put on an amp you love? :confused:
  10. Something I've been musing about for a while now (and brought to the fore now I've had a 20-min power cut!) -- what are your thoughts on a UPS for a DVD Recorder? Especially one with a HDD? (I know my Sony one reacts "not too well" to power cuts, having just spent the last 10 mins re-setting up some of the things it "forgets" when it loses power.:mad: ) I always advocate buying a UPS when people buy a computer, since power cuts can be somewhat damaging to HDDs etc (in fact, it should come as standard equipment, but I digress..) But since there's a HDD inside my DVD recorder, shouldn't I be protecting it too? :confused: Does anyone here have a UPS they use with their home theatre gear? If so, what model do you recommend? If so, what components do you protect with it? Any thoughts/recommendations would be much appreciated
  11. Hi everyone! Although this is my first post, I've been lurking for many moons, and have enjoyed immensly reading posts on the wide variety of topics that surface here. Over this long weekend, I decided to take the plunge and buy a DVD Recorder. After doing a bit of research, I've bought a Sony HX900. I bought it in the full knowledge that (a) its editing capabilities are somewhat "limited" (on the HDD, it's simply A-B Erase -- no title splitting or combining), (b) it only has 8 timer settings, and © it can't record NTSC (hence my LD collection still lives! ) ... however, what got me was the quality of recordings -- I'm blown away by what I can record (mainly off Sky movies). And at least it DOES have A-B Erase! As far as I can tell, the recording quality settings (HQ, SP, LP etc) simply set a fixed bit-rate for encoding -- 10.08 Mbps for HQ, 5.04 Mbps for SP and so on (data from Sony's Asia-Pacific help desk website). So I can record a movie to the HDD at a very high quality. Of course, when I want to "dub" (using Sony's terminology) the movie to DVD-R for posterity, I need to reduce the quality so it fits onto the 4.7Gb disc. Here's my question: when talking about "dubbing", the manual says that down-converting from HQ/HQ+ quality to a lesser one, it uses "variable bit rate", thus "retaining the picture quality as much as possible". Does this mean that I get a better picture if I record in HQ then down-convert to fit it onto a DVD-R, than if I simply record in (say) SP to start with? The reason I ask is that it basically takes the time to play the movie to down-convert ... whereas if I can simply record in a quality mode to fit on a DVD-R, it takes a lot less time to physically write the DVD. I've done a few comparisons over the course of the last couple of days, and can see little difference between the two methods ... just wondered if anyone else had any ideas on this.
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