Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


Pet Peeve: Enhancing Images

The heroes in our film or show are trying to catch someone. Unfortunately, all they have is a really small, low-resolution digital glimpse of their nemesis in the reflection off a soup spoon caught on the security camera from halfway across the room.

What to do?

The obvious answer is to take it to a lab and have the image "enhanced." After a lengthy process, the computer finally spits out the spitting image of their Uncle Mort, who is then arrested based on this incredible technological proof!

As exciting as such a string of events can be, it is horribly inaccurate and a total cop-out for writers who don't understand technology.

So, I give you this:

Pet Peeve: Enhancing Images

I'd love it if I could throw together a sketch and then let the computer construct a perfect image of Camilla for me.

But that's not going to happen. Even if I gave my computer two weeks to do it.


My computer can't even render four hours of HDV footage for web delivery in that time frame. There's no way it could take my Picasso and turn it into a Rembrandt.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor


The Life Within

I guess I haven't blogged about it, but I was really unimpressed with Beowulf. The CG just wasn't there. The motion was very poor and the animation suffered from a claymation feel.

A few days ago we got to talking about Final Fantasy: Spirits Within which came out a good six years earlier than Beowulf.

Here are my impressions after watching the DVD. I had seen the movie once before in theaters...

Aki's Eye

Good skin detail. They added freckles because perfectly smooth skin looks plastic. Overall, the motion was better than the modern stuff, but there were still many places where it felt like I was watching my wife play Sims 3 rather than a ground breaking animated film.

Also, hair just wasn't very good back then. They really worked hard at it in a few key moments, but it still wasn't anywhere near that of Sulley in Monster's, Inc. I'm not blaming Square, considering Zemeckis hadn't improved on their look.

The other major problem with "photo-realistic" animation is that objects just don't interact with each other properly. It just didn't feel like they were connecting in the kissing scene. Rather, they looked like two puzzle pieces that didn't quite fit.

Unfortunately, the DVD quality was horrible. For a movie that was originally rendered on a computer, having the image grainy and washed out is simply unacceptable. Also, I think the sound was a few frames off which can also happen when you have poor compression. Both of those facts made it really difficult to judge the quality of the animation.

Was the lame fire effect because it was made in 2001, or because the DVD was put together so poorly?


I'm pretty sure that primitive particle engines--that fling dust and debris around virtual space--are part of the issue. But the bad compression certainly didn't help anything.

The lesson? Your movie can be "hurt" at every point... even when you put it onto a DVD. So be careful at each stage.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor