Ideas and Opinions

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Mega Serials Parade

When I was in College, I used to fight with my Mom during my holidays over the control of the TV. This happens every night at 9PM, when usually star movies or HBO show the first run of the movies. I usually want to watch that movie, while my MOM wants to watch the infamous (among the likes of me) mega serials. It is usually a tug of war over the remote, and my Mom ends up winning the game. Sun TV rules in this game, they start this at 9PM and doesn't end till 11 PM (and now it seems it goes as much as 12 PM). Usually the primetime programmes (6 to 9PM) are supposed to be good and popular, but these days it seems the buzz starts at 9PM, when the kids go to bed and Moms have finished their household activities. What is the value add in watching these? same as any ordinary movie or popular English sitcoms - Entertainment, except that Mega serials are supposed to be emotional and sensational and they go on forever. The titles are usually a relationship figure in a family and the whole story (yes all the thousand episodes) revolves around this character. Simple titles - Kanavan, Manaivi, chithi, kulavilakku, kuthuvilakku, onnu vitta thatha, rendu vitta patti.

Theme: "I am this character as the title of the movie, and I usually am the centre of the story, every other character sucks and they plan to dismantle my popularity. There is hardly any character with good will and they are picturised as the pathetic and helpless creatures. The spot light goes to me and the villians around. Of course, the title song belongs to me and it runs for a ridiculous 5 minutes everyday between 5 minutes of commercial before and after. There is a camera trick that you should like, I stand in the centre and the camera would go around me with the wind blowing at hurricane katrina speed, playing a dramatic music. This footage alone will occur for 30 seconds every minute in the 5 minute title song that will be aired daily ".

Alright, so why am I rambling about this so much ? I am not going to try and justify that this is bad or good. It just happened. They saw the demand and they do the business and the housewives (and some exceptional husbands) are intrigued by watching it, as the story usually is more like their own lives. I have no problem in them watching that and even being addicted to watching that. My only pledge to those who watch is, Don't live by what you watch. It is just an entertainment thing and one shouldn't try to relate or adopt what they see. I have seen people behave/think dramatically just the way it happens in those serials. The worse thing is the toddlers and kids seem to be enjoying the song and the ads between the serials. They are so glued to a "Sakthi Masala" ad that they refuse to eat food if they are not allowed to watch it. So I am going to cut this post short by saying the one line:
"Watch it, but don't live by it and most of all, keep your little kids away from it."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Review: The adventures of Indiana Jones

The DVD Pack - Adventures of Indiana Jones ( 3 movies and a bonus feature) was released sometime in 2004, when I was in India. I hoped to buy it when I made this trip to US, but didn't actually buy one because I got those movies recorded in my DVR through my cable. But recently, for the love of home theater and Dolby Digital, I bought the Indiana Jones Trilogy adventure pack and also the Back to the future Trilogy pack via a deal in Amazon. I took this weekend to watch all of Indy on my hometheater and I have to say I felt as though I was watching all of those movies for the first time once again.

The movies were made in the 1980's but the DVD's were painfully restored digitally, frame by frame of picture and bit by bit of sound, to give an amazing picture and sound quality. Technically, it was fantastic and we know George Lucas is nothing short of perfection. The deal got me all of the 4 DVDs for $50 and it was totally worth it. I can watch those movies any number of times. The fun part was to watch the making of the 3 movies. Boy! some great efforts in the days when computer animation and effects were a dream. It was hilarious too, Spielberg was so young, the man was so pumped up and active around the set. In one scene, where Indy drives out the snakes with fire torch, the snakes actually didn't look to be frightened by the fire. Steve says cut and then grabs a snake and says ," You're supposed to be scared of fire, why don't you be frightened by fire ! you are ruining my movie !" Some fun the crew has had, over everything on making those great movies.

My favourite of the three is the last movie - The last crusade. Packed with so much action and history's one of the most important theme - the holy grail, it turns out to be the most amazing adventure. The last 3 challenges that Indy faces to grab the holy grail is the most interesting part. The least favourite of the movies was Temple of Doom, but even that on a home theatre, it was very enjoyable. We watched it non-stop, sitting at the end of the couch, as though we were watching it for the first time. The sound effects had us together.

Indy is a great classic!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Think Freely

Everyone has a dream,
a dream to achieve,
to achieve the goals,
the goals constrained by reality,
the reality that narrows one's view,
the view that restricts one's thinking,
the thinking that is the only free birth right,
the free birth right that can boundlessly flow,
the boundless flow that can shatter the hurdles of reality,
the hurdles of reality that can be killed by Thinking Freely.
Think Freely! Think Freely! Think Freely!

Author: Yours truly.

I,
thinking freely, came up with these lines,
the lines that can emerge by thinking freely!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A lesson on Dolby Digital Vs DTS

To all the amateur audiophiles, wannabe's and just any one who might be interested, I have a little lesson on Dolby Digital and DTS.

I used to think Dolby Digital and DTS only deferred in their brand name and encoding technique, and that the quality of sound is same from both types. It turns out DTS offers much more than Dolby Digital. DTS uses lesser compression than Dolby and hence has less information loss. Dolby uses the lossy AC3 encoding technique. It was last week and I was watching a Tamil Movie - Gillie ( I usually don't watch Vijay movie, but this one was different, he really kicked some ass!), especially for the roaring sound effects and I must say I was pretty impressed. The DVD had 2 audio options - Dolby Digital (DD) and DTS and my Home theater receiver automatically detected DD. I then chose DTS to see how it sounds, only to be left with a silent living room. Huh! I thought I had to do some setting in my home theater and spent some awful lot of time going through the manual and trying different settings. Well, I gave up after an hour and just watched the movie in DD.

Few days later, I sat down and asked Google what am I missing. I also turned to Wikipedia to learn about Dolby Digital and DTS. Google told me to look closely at my DVD player first, it had a D followed by an inverted D and then the words Dolby Digital on it. I looked for DTS all over and it didn't seem to be there. The lesson was, I needed a DVD Player which could decode DTS signals and send them as raw output data via Digital out. I bought this player last year when I really didn't have an idea about Home theater and was not even planning to buy one, the time when I believed consumerism is luxury. So here is something to keep in mind :

1. If you have got a Home theater but don't have a DVD player which cannot decode DTS, well you have to buy one that does. When you do so, go for the one which has an optical output, it will be much clearer than Digital output.

2. If you don't have a home theater, but have a DVD player, check if it decodes DTS, otherwise mark it somewhere that when you plan to buy a home theater or when you buy a new DVD player, go for the one which has DTS and optical output.

3. If you have neither, well future proof it by buying the one that has all or perhaps future proof it by waiting for a few months to get that HD DVD player or the blu ray player that can play almost everything.