CGI Killed the Video Star?

I’m sure most of you have heard the song ‘Video killed the Radio Star’ by the Buggles (it was released in 1979, so I’m showing my age here!).  It wasn’t exactly a hit, but has been making the music rounds all the time, in one form or another.  It’s a song about how television killed off the radio.  Although not technically true, radio is more popular now than it has ever been (mainly because more people have access to radios than ever before) but the premise was that the new moving picture box, in the corner of the room, ended the era of when people gathered around the box full of old diodes and tubes that was called a radio.

History lesson ends.

Now there is a new dimension to film making: CGI or Computer Generated Imagery.

With the continuous development of faster processors, bigger and better computers, the ability to produce life-like graphics has become a reality (notice the pun?).  Films like Avatar have shown what computer generated imagery can achieve in a spectacular way.  Compared to one of the first CGI films, Final Fantasy, graphics have come a long way.  The story may be a rehash of the Last Mohican but the eye candy was undeniably stunning.  However, this is just the start.  CGI films have been around for quite a while, Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Flushed Away are a few examples.  These are CGI films as we accepted as the norm; cartoon like characters in a family film.

Now that we have seen that film companies can produce life-like characters with stunning clarity, does this mean that we will soon see the end of actors?

Not really.  Although Avatar was a CGI film, it still required actors to act each of the scenes whilst the computers were capturing their movements.  The voices were human as well as the interaction, but they were covered by a layer of computer graphics.  So, we still need the actors and actresses to play the parts in order for the computer to capture the motions, but it does mean that their real faces/bodies are not seen.  Will this be an issue in the future?

I doubt it.  For years, now, actors have been perfectly happy to do voice-overs for films.  Let’s face it, it is certainly easier than learning lines and then acting out scenes in front of a camera.  Ok, maybe they are established actors who’s faces are already famous, but in time this won’t be a consideration.  Voice acting is still as difficult as acting, maybe more so when you think about it.  When acting a scene in front of a camera, the actor can interact with his surroundings making it easier for him/her.  When just doing voices or motion capture, the actors have to visualize their situation.  A much harder procedure, I think.

Either way, we are now entering a new phase of CGI film making.  Producers that have been restricted by the physics and limitations of the real world are now free to explore the limitless possibilities of fantasy worlds where they are no longer restricted by what is physically possible.  This is good news for the film lovers as films should become more fantastic and laden with even more impressive special effects.

But not all film makers are going to go down this new, technological path; not 100% anyway.  There will still be thrillers and dramas in which real people will take the lead for the foreseeable future.  Maybe, someday, when actor’s salaries become even more inflated than their egos, producers may just try and create CGI versions.  Until that day, men will have gorgeous actresses to lust over and women will have their dreamy male actors.

Me, I’ll be happy with more special effects, blowing stuff up and space wars, leaving the sloppy, love stuff to people who like that sort of thing.

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To Blog or Not To Blog?

Let’s face it, most of us crave attention.  Be it from our loved ones, our pets or even the whole world, we are a social animal and that’s one of the reasons things like Facebook and the like are so popular.  If we don’t get attention and people ignore us, we go and sulk.  Well, I do!

Which leads me nicely onto my subject.  Why do we blog?  Why blog if people aren’t reading your witty yet insightful articles that both stimulate the brain and the laughter muscle?

You have to agree that blogging has to be one of the more difficult of the social networking options.  Although you could get away with writing a single line of text every now and then, you would probably be better off sticking to Facebook or Twitter.  Blogging requires a certain amount of skill.  Being able to write whole sentences is useful, too.  Blogging requires thought and time and is usually a thankless task.

I started blogging as a means to keep my brain at least partially occupied.  I have always wanted to be able to write and I thought that if I wrote some witty articles as well as some more serious, I would garner a loyal following and get pleasure in entertaining my readers.  As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I don’t actually find writing easy and often just stare at the screen, my mind blank and my fingers unmoving, hovering above the keyboard waiting for any hint of activity in my brain.  This can last seconds of even hours.  Sometimes I don’t write an article for weeks and then a flurry of them appear, all at once as my brain disgorges whatever thoughts have been running through my drug addled brain.  I have started another site where I decided that I would give my thoughts on current affairs (there is a link somewhere on this page) just to see if that is what people out there prefer to read.  So far it isn’t working.

So why continue if all I am doing is writing articles that people don’t read?

I suppose that I am in the same situation as many other bloggers out there in cyberworld.  There are a few extremely talented people who have the ability to draw in readers, either because they write what is interesting or their skill in writing is just worth reading.  There are others that use the blog as a photo album; their pictures are stunning to look at and we keep going back for more eye candy.  But for the majority of us, a few friends reading your earnestly written missive is the best we can hope for.

There is another thing that I have noticed since I started taking this blogging malarkey more seriously.  When I am not well enough to open my Macbook (a quick advertisement there!) I worry that I should be writing something on my site.  Why am I worrying?  It’s not like I have a deadline or a million people will miss out on anything.  It’s purely psychological.  I imagine that those few readers I have will give up on me if I don’t post regularly.  How’s that for preposterous?  However preposterous it may sound, I’m afraid it’s a fact!

No matter who does or does not read my scratchings, I still enjoy sitting here and typing on the keyboard, throwing random letters together and sometimes creating sentences that make sense.  It’s a purely selfish thing.  I enjoy the fact that somebody, someday will enter a word into a search engine and a link to my humble yet awesome blog appears.  Out of curiosity, that person clicks the link and is rewarded by pages of obscure scribblings from some bloke in England.  Most rewarding of all, however, is that this person actually enjoys reading my musings and clicks on yet another article.  Later that same day, the unknown person sends a link to my blog to a friend or two, suggesting that they may enjoy a moment or four reading this blog.  Ahhh, isn’t fantasy world a wonderful place!

Back in the real world, my unknown person doesn’t even register the link to my site from their search results and moves onto a flash game that will occupy him or her, for a few moments because they are bored at work.  May I suggest Peggle?  It’s a lot of fun!

So endeth another musing session, with a little fantasy added for extra appeal.  I shall continue to dream and my space allowance on this site will gradually diminish as I post more and more literary masterpieces (I did say fantasy was added).  I feel sorry for those that are unfortunate enough not to have found my blog and revel in my abstract insights and dark humour.  I write for the simple pleasure of writing.  I sometimes read my own ramblings and laugh at my naïve and sometimes conceited opinions.  It keeps me occupied and entertained.

So, I blog just for the sake of blogging and the enjoyment I get from writing.  It’s just a pity that the ability to write is in decline, but that is another subject for another day.  For those of you that do read this, thank you and I hope it brought at least a smirk for your trouble.