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50 More Things I Learned

In route to looking up other things By Charlie White

Last year on Digital Media Net you might have seen an editorial entitled "50 Things I Learned." A large number of readers responded positively to that column. Due to popular demand and after much thought and deliberation, here is the second list of 50 concepts, truisms, old sayings, half-truths and simple opinions I've picked up on my way to looking up other things. This list is not confined to just technology issues or digital video editing, or anything else for that matter. Keep in mind, many of these items are just my personal opinion. I could be wrong. But probably not.

1. Macs are now using IBM chips. Soon there will be no more IBM PCs. Yet still, many longtime Mac users refer to any computer using Microsoft Windows as an "IBM."

2. Have you ever gotten onto an elevator and accidentally pushed the wrong button for your floor? Why isnt it possible to de-select a button that you pushed on an elevator? This is possible in some areas in Asia.

3. If the north polar ice cap melts, coastal areas will not be flooded. Test the validity of this concept by filling a glass nearly to the top and then adding ice cubes until the water is almost flowing over the rim of the glass. As ice cubes melt, youll notice the glass does not overflow. Water displaces the same amount of volume whether it is liquid or frozen. Now we just have to figure out what to do with all that melted ice on land masses, such as Greenland and Antarctica.

4. The commercials on the Super Bowl are usually more interesting than the game itself.

5. If you shoot and edit video, the commercials in the Super Bowl will probably be much more interesting to you than the game. However, your comments about the commercials from the standpoint of a video expert will not be as interesting to your viewing companions as they are to you.

6. Watching football has an entirely different meaning for those who have actually suited up and played this excruciatingly violent game. Watching in high definition with Super SloMo, its remarkable how well one can remember exactly how it feels to be hit from various directions and velocities. Tip for those who havent suited up: The helmets and pads dont help that much.

7. People say they dont want to see sex and violence on television, but will still watch a whole program in which theyre not even interested in order to see either one of these compelling topics depicted, even briefly.

8. By writing a letter to a television network or the FCC, you have more power than you may think. Thats because these broadcasters and federal regulators know that for every letter that was actually written there were probably more than 10,000 viewers who didnt bother to write but felt the same way. For even more clout, set up a Web site that enables like-minded viewers to easily write a letter to these entities with a single click. Then youll have more power than most politicians.

9. If youre creating a promo for a program that contains any sex and violence, be sure to subtly notify the viewers of this; the ad will attract more viewers this way.

10. Current weather forecasting technology is not accurate enough to predict what the weather will be a week from now. The weatherman is hoping that by days six and seven of his seven-day forecast, you will have forgotten what his prediction was a week ago. 

11. Speaking of the weatherman, its easier to chromakey video when producing high definition television. Look forward to the day where you dont have to spend lots of tedious moments tweaking chromakey shots under pressure.

12. The 180-day school year is based on the Agrarian calendar, where farm children were expected to help tend to vast fields of various crops during summer months. Its going to be difficult for our young scholars to compete in a global economy against other students from highly developed nations such as Japan and Germany, which have school years that exceed 240 days of attendance.

13. Television news programs will be the last area in which we see the dawning of high definition television. Theres too much investment already in standard definition equipment in this area of television production. Its also harder to execute high-definition live shots using todays technology. Another reason for slow adoption is high definitions time-consuming production flow, which doesnt lend itself to the fast pace of television news production.

14. In the United States federal prison system, 59.6% of the inmates are serving time for drug offenses. Tobacco, which is responsible for the deaths of nearly a half a million people in the United States annually, has killed more people each year than all of the people killed by all of the illegal drugs in the past century. While the absurdly unsuccessful War on Drugs rages on, there currently has been no War on Tobacco declared in the United States.

15. Even though the high-definition Monday Night Football is arguably the most technologically advanced broadcast on television today, all of its text graphics are still produced on standard-definition equipment.

16. While the relentless clock-speed increases in computer chips from such companies as Intel, AMD, and IBM were big news last year and years before that, this year and next year the big techno-news will be concerning the precipitous drop in prices of LCD flat panel displays, both for computers and for television use.

17. TiVo users hope the market for digital recorders will expand, thus lowering the price and increasing development on their favorite television recording platform. However if personal video recorders get to be so popular that almost everyone has one, then the business model of commercial television will collapse because no one will be watching commercials anymore.

18. Even if a medication has no effectiveness whatsoever, if a person believes it works, it will 50% of the time. Its called the placebo effect.

19. Some of the newer pro-oriented camcorders such as the Canon XL2 have elaborate color correction controls. Unless youre editing the footage yourself, you might make an enemy in the edit suite by tinkering with these controls as you shoot. Whether you ruffle feathers are not depends on how controlling your editor is. But if you do get yelled at for these unwanted video ministrations, your editor probably has a point because its usually much more efficient to manipulate color correction in postproduction using the sophisticated tools included in almost every nonlinear editing package.

20. As people get older, characteristics of their personal appearance tend to become inverted. For instance, instead of brown hair and white teeth, their hair turns white as their teeth turn brown. Lucky for them, these particular characteristics are reversible. However, some are not. 

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