Television, the drug of the nation

Last Updated on September 30, 2010 by Dave Farquhar

I successfully edited DVD-quality video, pulled straight off a DVD, in Premeire last night. And I think I can do it again. I’ll share the secret if I succeed a second time.
I got tired of listening to my neighbors screaming–my former neighbors screamed at each other; my new neighbors, well, uh… never mind–so I went over to a friend’s house and watched the pilot episode of Quantum Leap, the last TV show I really liked. I loved the episode. He lept into a test pilot, then into a baseball player. Airplanes, baseball, and dated bad computer jokes. How could it be any better? Too bad they decided to ruin the show by trying to make it better–they tried to give it mass appeal by making him leap into lives close to celebrities. Didn’t work.

But I know I’ve been doing too much video editing. A few parts of that pilot episode were computer-rendered, and you could tell. Available technology in 1989 paled compared to today. In 1989, you couldn’t do a compelling render of a B-29 dropping an X-2 rocket, escorted by an F-86. And using the real thing was out of the question. There are a few flyable F-86s still around, but there’s only one flyable B-29 left (and they had to cobble it together from parts in the late ’60s) and the only X-2s left are in museums. And good luck finding someone who can fly an X-2.

So they used stock footage. And the stock footage didn’t go together–you could tell from the differing colors of the sky that the B-29/X-2 footage wasn’t even shot in the same part of the country as the F-86 footage they used. Well, I could tell. To an eye not looking for that kind of stuff, it’ll just look kind of wrong.

Today you could do some color correction on the video clips you used to make them match up more closely. Or you could just render the planes.

But Quantum Leap wasn’t about special effects. It was about emotion and nostalgia.

I’d say they don’t make TV shows like that anymore, but I can’t really say that. I honestly don’t know if they do or not. And I’m not sure that I want to know. It’s just a whole lot more fun for me these days to make the stuff appear on the tube than it is to watch someone else’s stuff on it.

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4 thoughts on “Television, the drug of the nation

  • December 3, 2001 at 3:03 pm

    Brick, it keeps the neighbors sounds out.

  • December 3, 2001 at 6:47 pm


    They tell me Scott Bakula will be the captain of the Enterprise in the new Star Trek fanchise.

    I used to live with a couple who had really loud sex, really loud. I spent a lot of time at the local 7-11.


  • December 3, 2001 at 7:24 pm

    He is in the new incarnation of star trek, and it’s a sad at attempt at reincarnating one’s career.

  • December 4, 2001 at 1:30 am

    I suspect writing for Quantum leap was a difficult task because the theme was that of a man trying to make a difference and it had to be squeezed within the constraints of a network wanting ratings by pandering to the National Enquirer crowd. Which episodes of Jesus’ life do you think the networks would aim for vs. which were most important?

    On a completely different track… When I watch Babylon 5 I KNOW the FX are digital, but I don’t know how! It really puzzles me: maybe the left side of my brain dowsn’t know what the right side is doing.

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