This made me sad

For reasons I can’t even explain, this video made me sad. I mean, as I agree, it’s impressive. But it makes me sad, too. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because it is becoming so easy to fake “reality,” anymore.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Copper Quark

    Dang, Anchoress!

    You put up a real picture of yourself. It’s wonderful, too, but over the years I’ve enjoyed seeing you in my mind’s eye as the rosy lass on your masthead!

    Oh well. ;)

    [You know...there was a time when I actually did look kind of like that thing. Many moons and many pounds ago! :-) admin]

  • SuzyQ

    Don’t be sad, Anchoress. It’s marvelous, really! Drama has always required a suspension of our disbelief. It’s kind of like the stagehands who hustle out in the dark between scenes and rearrange the props. We know they’re there and what they’re doing. And consider the trompe l’oeil painted backdrops at the theater. Same thing, just really high tech. It comes down to the story and the actors’ abilities to make it real and cathartic for us.

  • Victor

    Don’t be sad Anchoress, when the real Lord does come down from the clouds, we won’t be fooled cause our hearts will know Jesus when He comes again to just the living and the dead!


  • newguy40

    My 17 YO son is interested in film and film making.

    We bought him Adobe After effects software program. He can do pretty much everything shown here. Just a question of scale. His green screen is blanket size rather than 3 story.

    Just a matter of adding canned special effects.

    I don’t feel especially sadenned. But, I do miss some of the old CB DeMille type struff — Ten Commanments. Now THAT was movie makin’!!

  • Bender

    Well, that does raise the whole philosophical question (which we last considered when The Matrix came out) — What is “reality”?

    Is what we think is reality, what we see and hear and smell and touch, the true reality, or is it all an illusion?

    Isn’t the whole universe just a green screen, with God providing the special effects?

  • philwynk

    Spooky. And a little freaky.

    But if you think about it, how is this different from shooting a film on location? The characters are still not really doing what we’re seeing them do on the screen. They’re still acting. The only thing that’s really different is that the green-screen backdrops makes location shooting a lot easier.

    What’s sad, I think, is the frank recognition that the stories are not real. We don’t like being told “It’s just stories.” It’s like being told how the magician did the trick; the magic is gone.

    And the scary part, of course, is that photographic evidence is no longer evidence. Tail, wag that doggie…

  • soozie

    I dunno Anchoress. We went to NYC just two years ago and saw all the places “Law and Order” et all, shoots. Can guarantee no fakes (my guess is none?) in those shows. Grit reigns.

  • Ricky Raccoon

    I think that video was faked.

  • Sally June

    It’s sad because even actors, whom we think of as the most free of persons, playing make believe across the canvas of the world, are now just like us–confined to buildings, pretending they are free to create.

    The element of chance, of grace, is squelched, but you can’t tell that it’s not there. It’s a pretend world, but it looks so real.

  • EJHill

    We should be amazed, amused and scared witless. How easy it might be to create footage to character assassinate or even start a war. Double source EVERYTHING!

  • Richard Clark

    Several years ago we took our kids to Washington, D.C. and visited the Capitol building where Congress meets. We were shocked to see how small the room actually is. When I expressed amazement to the guard about the room size and how it looks so different when seen on TV he asked me, “Do you believe what you see on TV?” The discrepancy we were observing was an issue of the lens used on a camera, without any green screen usage at all. And then there’s camera angle, and editing, and…who knows what else? We really should develop an on-going skepticism about what we see on the screen.

  • tim maguire

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the general decline in the quality of acting these days. The actors have so much less context to react to.

  • brooklyn

    Truly interesting.

    Perhaps it wouldn’t be so regretful, if the content weren’t so detached from reality. Maybe if the truth were considered more, the work would have better quality.

    The subjects, scripts, message, narrative, etc., all seem to be stuck on a mantra, and leaves all lacking. It is based not on a genuine connection with the real world, in an honest construction, but the fantasy of a tiny few – who often have an agenda.

  • Kristen

    This is probably the same technique the Chinese used when televising the Olympic opening ceremonies recently. Fake, fake, fake.

    So many of us have tired of fake. I think it’s one reason there are so many looking for the Truth that is found in the Church.

    It’s bewildering to me that so many believe what they see on the boob tube, and more so, that they are “entertained” by it. Sigh….

  • Steve P in Sparta, Wis.

    Perhaps analogously, but in a different medium, there is a nascent move among musical recording artists and their producers to return to “primitive” analogue recording, with minimal digital trickery. The idea is to restore a more “honest” sound to their recordings.

  • Ryan Haber

    Of course acting fabricates reality, but I think the Anchoress’ point is something like this: in times past, we had to fabricate reality by using it. While we thought we were creating like our Father, we could never be said to be doing more than building, creating-with-what’s-already-there. That is, of course, still the case and ever will be – but now there is a more dense and glamorous illusion of actually “creating” than ever before, and at the same time of being independent from the Creator and of reality.

    The question, “Isn’t the whole universe just a green screen, with God providing the special effects?” asked above perhaps tongue-in-cheek, is a deadly serious question. It is, precisely, the central question of existence. The various nominalist philosophers answer a resounding, “YES,” to it, while the realist philosophers choke on their tongues and pray to heaven for sanity in a world gone mad. The nominalist proposition, essentially, is that apparent realities aren’t really real, but are constructs of our mind – Matrix style. Christian nominalists skirt nihilism and moral suicide by saying that we are real “in God’s mind” or some such claptrap.

    The simple fact is that we ARE real. We have a reality, contingent upon God as it is, that is really, really, real. It is not “just” a figment of His imagination at all, even though He has issued it forth the depths of that Mind that imagined the depths of the abysses before they were ever wrought. Our reality, distinct from God’s, is attested by our ability to rebel against Him and to separate ourselves from Him morally.

    Christian nominalism – Protestantism – ultimately ends the mystery by saying either, in effect, that God does not reign sovereign over the world from all eternity, or that we are all really just actors in his play, doomed from all eternity to a fate we can only suffer and never engage.

    We Catholics walk the tightrope. God is God and all depends upon Him. People are people and He has made us free. How can both be so?

    It is only possible if reality is real.

    To think that we live on a green screen, in whatever sense, is ultimately to deny all five of my senses and commonsense to boot! But my senses are the source of all I can ever know about the world – to deny them is to deny everything. That was the first step on our culture’s current suicidal path… and we can see a similar step in the lives of suicides. It is a well known secret that suicides are usually not half so angry at themselves as they are at the world, and that they take their own lives in a vain effort to tear down what they in their hearts consider to be a Big Green Screen.

    But the rest of the world goes on.


    It’s sad because it’s like discovering how a magic trick is done and now the magic is gone. Anyone
    believing in most entertainment on TV or the movies now that’s sad!

  • Christy

    One would think that actors would be less credulous than their politics and appearances on The View suggest. They see daily how reality is faked.

  • Greta

    This is old hat. Everyone knows that the government used this type of stuff to fake the moon landings.

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  • OldeForce

    Had the “reverse” of this about a dozen years ago when my then-11 YO son was working on a pilot for a TV series. It was set at a firehouse in NY. A closed firehouse on the edge of Chinatown was “restored” – so well that sighns had to be put up to tell everyone to call 911 if there was an emergency.

  • Anglican Peggy

    The fake backgrounds don’t bother me much. Its a cost saving measure and a way to enhance an artistic vision. Artists have been enhancing reality for forever.

    Now I’ll be sad when they manage to convincingly fake the human actors. Its a comfort to me to know that everyone of the people in those shots was flesh and blood. :-)

    But for how long???

  • Bender

    Psst. Don’t tell Ryan that we’re just characters in Pam Ewing’s dream.

    (Yeah, it’s a 24-year-old joke — 24 years! — but it’s still funny.)

    (No it’s not.)

  • Maddog

    Film has gone through two great wheels of evolution in this regard. The first movies were silent and shooting on location was not much of a problem. This lasted until about 1930 when sound movies came to the fore.

    After that the problems sounds (as well as lighting, crowds and access) created on location drove filmmakers into the studio. See Hitchcock’s 1929 film Blackmail to see silent on location shots mixed with sound based studio shots.

    In 1948, The Naked City used hidden cameras, deception, and over dubbing to film on location. This would quickly become a standard.

    Over time, however, access and control of environment created real problems with locating shooting. Today the computer often is used to control variables which were previously uncontrollable. There are numerous examples of shots where one character exists in a cloudless blue world but the person talking to him exists in a world where the sky is cloud filled. This problem occurs because individual actors are often filmed for a single scene at different times. If these times are months apart the images can be incongruous. The computer solves many of these problems. Making for a more consistent film experience.

    As for those who dislike the idea of actors being replaced by computer images, if the image can act and the actor cannot, why would one complain. While watching a great actor ply her craft is sublime, a wooden actor will wreck a good movie. How good would Saving Private Ryan be cast with Keanu Reeves, or Jean Claude Van Damme as lead?

    Mark Sherman