Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Green Threat to Color in Movies

I am happy and proud to say I purchase energy efficient light bulbs. Did you know that incandescent bulbs (the kind with filament made from tungsten, the little metal part that breaks free when the bulb is dead) are soon going to be all but gone from the world and more importantly from movie sets? Many countries globally have already begun phasing out the use of incandescent bulbs completely. While not completely phasing out incandescent light bulbs completely, between 2012 and 2014, the US will implement minimum efficiency standards, greatly reducing the use of less efficient bulbs in America. Before I read an article in Variety today, I would have hands down, 100% said that is fantastic! For once the world is in agreement and putting policies in place that will help the environment globally. If there are only energy efficient options, think how efficient the world could be. Then I learned of the effect on movies. Hold the phone!!

Without incandescent light, colors do not correctly show up on film. The movie industry, cinematographers and directors of photography (DPs) and the Academy are doing their best to find solutions using LED that will allow for the desired colors and shades to be visible on film. Our eyes adapt without a point of reference to color without tungsten so the mistakes are not visible to our naked eyes. Film does not lie. A seemingly white image, can be blue on film. The conclusion I came to after reading the article is that movies will be just fine with energy efficient lighting. Still, got me taking pause.

I really do not perceive Thomas Edison the way I did growing up. Guess Nikolai Tesla got the last laugh. I did not even know who Tesla was until I saw Christopher Nolan's 2006 movie, the Prestige. David Bowie was Tesla. Who ever played Thomas Edison? Glad you asked: Spencer Tracy. Not too shabby, but Bowie is way cooler. John C Reilly and Grispin Glover portray Tesla and Edison in a Funny or Die Drunk History video. I seriously recommend hitting stop at the 4:11 mark. The drunk guy pukes and it is gross, all the funny parts are precede 4:11. Prior to that point, there are some laugh out loud moments in the reenactments. The only point of interest after that it is that apparently Tesla died in a hotel room at the age of 82. And he really liked pigeons.

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