Saturday, January 23, 2010

Welcome to the 21st Century, Andrea. Nice to have you with us.

So, it happened again.

First, I should explain about my televisions. They are old. Both of them. Yep, I still live in the world of analog when it comes to my television sets. They are both more square than rectangular. They both have a curved surface screen. Without Directv, neither would pick up a signal of any kind, let alone a digital one. And as much as I love television, watching television, watching movies, my DVR, and the look of the Planet Earth series on a 60" plasma screen, I flat out (no pun intended) refuse to pay more than $200 for a television. So, my TVs are old.

And they are small. I have high hopes for bigger screens, but I have to wait until Heinz gets a new TV. You see, how it works is Heinz gets a new TV. The old one moves into Mother’s living room. The TV in the living room moves up to the den. The TV in the den then moves into the back of my truck and on to my living room. The one in my living room moves into my bedroom. And the one in my bedroom goes to the highest bidder. Okay, so the only way to even get charities to take it is to leave it at their back door, knock and run before they make me take it back! So, until Heinz gets a new TV, I’m stuck with analog.

“What does that mean to the average viewer?” you ask. Here is where my story gets its meat.

Now days, television shows are shot in an HD format, or what you might call a wide screen. They are shot to fit within the space of the new televisions. The digital receiving, HD ready, flat screens. Most times the action of the shot occurs in what we call “TV”, the smaller screen, and those who have the wider will get more background or more of the shoulder of an actor in the corner of the screen. Every now and then, much to my chagrin, the action will take place in “HD” - a.k.a. the space that is outside the scope of my TV screen.

The first time this phenomena happened, I was watching my favorite show, Glee. It’s a fantastic show. I encourage everyone to watch. Anyway, coming out of a commercial, the screen fills with what I think is an establishing shot, that first shot of the scene that introduces the setting before the actors appear and start talking. But the establishing shot is going on for a long time. It’s just a shot of a football field. Nobody is there yet. But I can hear them talking. Sometimes they do this. You see an empty set and hear the actors talk right before they appear in the scene. But the actors never appear. They keep talking. Then a football flies across the screen. Then it flies back. This goes on for the better part of the scene. I am dumfounded. What’s going on?! What is wrong with the picture?

That is when it hit me. There is nothing wrong with the picture. It’s my old TV. If only I had a wider screen I would see clearly the actors, throwing the football back and forth to each other from opposite sides, in “HD”. Once I realize what is going on, I just laugh. I work in television production. I watch the monitors, so I see what goes on in “HD” verses “TV”. I also know that for the most part, directors try to keep the action in “TV”. It is a bold director who puts both actors in “HD”, successfully hiding them from the analog watching viewer. We don’t all have the new TVs yet. I guess if that scene was any indication of what is to come, I will have to either break down and buy a new tv, or get really good at recognizing voices!

It has been a while since that scene. I have watched a lot of television since, but haven’t had a recurrence. Until tonight. Supernatural. Another great show I highly recommend. End of the show. Poignant and touching scene. Dean sits to address his long time friend in a wheelchair and tell him how much he means to him. Except, all I see is Dean talking to the wall. The friend completely gone, hidden from my sight line, in “HD”.

In closing, I leave you with this thought:

Heinz! I think there is a big TV sale going on down at the Best Buy this weekend! You should definitely check it out.

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