February 13th, 2009

Buddy (Six-String Samurai)

"Yeah, I left it noisy. That way it scares any pain-in-the-ass innocent bystanders away."

I am a mean, lean, mixmaking machine.¹ I should have a rough draft of it by the end of the three-day weekend. It is a composer collection, and will be followed shortly by a companion album of the same theme, but with music by another composer! Both of these will be symphonic mixes, which will be something of a return to form for me after the primarily electronic Alone in the Dark and the funky and prickly Urban Danger, and are going to kick holy ass, I think. More later.

For some reason, every time I go browsing through the Blu-ray section of a video store, I almost invariably hear somebody condescendingly explain to their wife / girlfriend / mistress / whatever that Blu-rays are for special effects, and should not be wasted on dramas or comedies. This attitude perplexes me. If anything, special effects don't look that great in high definition, because the increased resolution is more revealing of the methods of their creation, whether optical or digital. Dramas, on the other hand, rely on acting, and the more nuanced the performance, the more involving it is in high def. Francis Ford Coppola draws attention to how much more effective Al Pacino's performance is in the Louis' scene in The Godfather, where the actor is playing a character who is himself acting a role. The layers are barely visible in standard definition, but become much more apparent in high def.²

Another area where high def tends to excel is in filling in detail in the characters' environment. Due to the nature of the compression required to fit a movie onto DVD, the bandwidth tends to be devoted more towards preserving faces and movement, which means that on a larger screen the compression artifacts and pixelation are more apparent in the background. How important this is to the viewing experience depends greatly on the nature of the film, of course, but a movie like Amadeus, with its lush sets and elaborate costumes, is a demonstration of exactly how that can be a benefit.

This is a similar issue that I have mentioned before with respect to the tendency among home theater enthusiasts to demonstrate a good sound system by playing the loudest parts of the movie. Yes, that can and should be impressive, but what often makes an effective sound mix is how it handles the quieter portions of the film, the balance between the dialogue, diegetic sound and music, the way that the sonics reflect the physical space being displayed on screen. With a few exceptions — Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World being one of the most notable — the loud portions of a film often have a very similar quality to them; this isn't a criticism, it is simply the nature of the beast.

I found this amusing tidbit on Fark.


Collapse ) — Okay, maybe the "lean" part is a bit of a stretch... insert "stretch mark" joke here.

Collapse ) — I have mentioned before that seeing The Godfather on the big screen allowed Robert Duvall's performance in his scene with Al Lettieri to be much more impressive as well with subtle qualities restored to the Blu-ray edition but barely visible in standard def, if at all.
Pat Mustard (Father Ted)

A Modest Proposal

At this point, it is quite clear that baseball has lost its way. It is no longer a pastime for the people as the cost of going to a game with your family is insanely expensive. Overpaid players are busted cheating at a children's game. People take the Human Growth Hormone to be able to come even close to the accomplishments of someone like Babe Ruth, a fat bastard who smoked cigars, drank beer and ate hot dogs before each game.

On the other hand, the city has invested several hundred million dollars into the construction of two new stadiums, the new Yankee stadium and Citi Stadium. It would be a shame to have wasted all of that money. I therefore propose that Major League Baseball be suspended and that these two stadiums be converted into Thunderdomes, where former baseball players, now with unlimited access to whatever steroids they care to take, face each other in pitched battle with only one rule: two men enter, one man leaves.

Consider some of the possible pairings:

Mark McGwire vs. José Canseco

Bill "Mad Dog" Matlock
vs. Oral "The Pit Bill" Herschiser

Roger Clemens
vs. Mike Piazza

Lenny "Nails" Dykstra
vs. Cleon "The Hammer" Jones

Pete Rose
vs. Bud Harrelson

Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hraboski
vs. Mark "The Bird" Frydrich

Darryl Strawberry
vs. Keith Hernandez

Dwight "Doc" Gooden
vs. Josh "Doc" Gibson

I think that this is the best way to handle the current situation. If you have any suggestions for possible pairings, comment below.

Special thanks to Charlie and Dre.
  • Current Music
    John Barry: Mary Queen of Scots suite (Raine/City of Prague Philharmonic)