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Everything posted by presbytis

  1. Maybe because we in New Zealand are in a timezone ahead of everyone else, reports have now come in describing the specifics of the Top Gear fracas. For those interested and to end continued speculation please read below: Jeremy Clarkson reportedly lashed out at a Top Gear producer because he could not have a steak at the end of a day of filming - even though his lateness caused their dinner service to be cancelled. The controversial Top Gear motoring show host was suspended on Wednesday after what was described as a "fracas" with a BBC producer. That producer was later revealed to be Oisin Tymon and the Telegraph reported the drama unfolded when Clarkson arrived at the crew's hotel about 10pm and requested some hot food. He reportedly asked Tymon to arrange a sirloin steak with fondant potatoes, pan-fried wild mushrooms, grilled cherry tomatoes and peppercorn sauce. But Tymon told him the kitchen was closed and suggested a platter of cold meats and cheeses instead, which made the presenter very angry. Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is not one to shy away from trouble, with various comments offending lorry drivers, Americans and races. Witnesses told The Sun that staff knew the show would arrive late so organised cold meat and cheese platters for their arrival. "The chef had already gone home," one witness said. "Clarkson didn't like the idea. He wanted his own way. "The producer was being blamed. Clarkson didn't hit him — but he did use every possible swear word you can imagine. He had to be held back." Another witness also said no punches were thrown and Tymon stood quietly, looking embarrassed. "He was being blamed for not arranging hot food. The general manager ended up cooking for the presenters." Clarkson eventually got his own way, eating an eight ounce steak in his own room. To make matters worse, reports have suggested it was Clarkson's fault the crew had arrived so late at the hotel. Channel 4 reported they were meant to arrive at 8pm but Clarkson had kept them waiting while he sat in a pub drinking. A dinner service had been planned but had to be cancelled as they were two hours late. I must say I tend to agree with James May's assessment that Clarkson does seem a bit of a 'knob'. Counter to most people's assumptions on this thread though, it appears there was no physical altercation, merely verbal. In this case I completely agree with Andrew, this affair should have been dealt with internally by the BBC. It now appears the BBC want to be seen to be 'doing the right thing', pandering to a vocal minority. It would also seem that somebody high-up at the BBC holds a target on Clarkson's back and is looking for any opportunity to 'put him out to pasture'.
  2. ​Yes! Somebody else who gets it! Somebody else whose brain processes haven't been befuddled and constrained by 'PC' speak.
  3. ​There's a big difference between the narrow definition of something and the affects the manifestation of that thinking has upon society. I see it as beginning to mimic what George Orwell wrote about in 1984 regarding acceptable and unacceptable language with what he called 'Newspeak'. Certain words were deemed unacceptable so as to limit freedom of thought. In a similar way today certain 'memes' are considered unacceptable by the 'politically correct' middle classes in their attempts to not offend anybody. To talk of some of the 'memes' is pretty much social and political suicide. For instance mentioning a meme regarding 'victim mentality' and race will get you labelled a 'racist'. Mentioning the meme 'doubting the validity of Anthropogenic Climate Change' will have you labelled a 'denier'. Being identified with anything like that is political suicide for a politician and so they naturally fall in line with what's 'politically correct' because after all they need to be seen as reasonable, fair and caring individuals to win our votes. Thus you have the crazy situation of spending all that money on changing our flag, not for the benefit of the indigenous minority that supposedly this is about, but actually to satisfy the political correctness of the guilt-ridden white majority in order to win votes. If you were to ask Maori I'm sure most would want that money better spent by feeding their children. I hope that makes things a little clearer. Regarding Andrew, how can you say that when he states things such as: "In an effort to be transparent and impartial the BBC and other companies have opened their doors to any life-form on earth who happens to be offended by any-thing. This is creating a culture in the TV and film industry which is anti-creativity and anti-risk but most damagingly it’s anti-personality." and "Giving people something to laugh at and bringing some fun onto the screen is where Top Gear’s remit should end, but management everywhere now have ideas way beyond their station. Apparently, if you’re making a magazine show about high performance cars, you have to cure global warming too. If you run a sport called Formula One for 40 years, suddenly you need to put eco friendly engines in the cars. If you produce a long-running comedy panel show or quiz, now you need to equally balance the number of male and female guests in every episode to reflect society itself. If you produce a program about politics you need to give as much air time to racist skinhead candidates as you do to the prime minster. It’s all for the sake of ‘balance’ and ‘impartiality’ and ‘curing society of all its ills’. Strangely, I thought it was just entertainment. It seems middle-management pursue a moral crusade and a message in every single piece of content in our homes. I am sick of it."
  4. I'll make a specific post regarding the Top Gear incident. Like others I can understand the need to suspend Clarkson if he's actually punched a Producer. Having said this though I can find no news report stating a punch up, they state a fracas which may have been just verbal. What I do not understand though are the incidents leading up to this sad state of affairs - the bad comments, racial slurs etc. In these circumstances one must surely question the good taste and competency of the Producer and Director involved because these shows are highly scripted and set up with multiple takes. If Clarkson said something offensive why didn't the Producer or Director call him up on this in the field and do another take leaving out the offensive words. Even if this wasn't picked up in the field, why was it left in the edit that was broadcast - one can always cut around such things and as a last resort even completely remove the offending piece. Clarkson himself stated with the 'eeny meeny miny moe' piece there were other takes without the 'n' word and he emailed the Producer asking them to swap it out. This all sounds to me like a bit of a stitch up with a Producer trying to make an edgy controversial show. Perhaps some of the source of friction between Clarkson and him?
  5. Sure ​you can be focused on the Top Gear incident and find this irrelevant but I was speaking to the broader topic which I think is the source of Andrew's frustration and the reason for his diatribe. I don't think he's so concerned about the specifics of the incident, he's more concerned about the implications to the industry of this type of pandering to PC culture.
  6. ​ ‘Political correctness’ can be very bad especially if it flies in the face of common sense. To give you an example, I live in New Zealand which like many western nations is suffering from ‘nanny state’ malaise. I recently read an article about a Northland school that decided to ignore the ‘politically correct’ compliance laws regarding child playground safety because they simply couldn’t afford it anymore. This became an interesting social experiment. The children were allowed to play in the type of school playground that used to exist when I was at school, without extreme safety padding and measures, and without constant adult supervision. They were allowed to explore and make mistakes, challenge one another and sort out their own social hierarchy. Sure it produced a few more scraped knees and bruises but what was interesting was that bullying became almost nonexistent (before they had a very high incidence of bullying). What is more, vandalism at the school dramatically dropped, students became far more engaged and academic achievement skyrocketed! Having said all this, I’ve been amazed by many of the children in Indonesia while on film shoots there. They are like 'mini-me' adults. They do chores, wield knives, hunt, haggle, take responsibility and enter conversations with adults much like an equal (many of the things we wouldn’t allow our children to do in the west because we’d consider them incapable and some of the tasks too dangerous). They do all this because it’s expected of them since they could walk. No wrapping in cotton wool like many of our children, yet they grow up to be socially well adjusted adults. Also in the name of political correctness my country will be spending billions to change our flag (removing the Union Jack so as not to acknowledge our colonial past) and changing all the mapping so that the North and South Islands are named by both their English and their Maori names - the North Island being ‘Te Ika-a-Māui’ and the South Island being ‘Te Waipounamu’. This is at a time when the aforementioned school has between 60-70% of primary kids being sent to school without breakfast and the school having to provide food for hungry children. This is what I mean by political correctness flying in the face of common sense. In the case of the renaming, while they are lovely names, they are expected to be in common use and used interchangeably with the English. What a source of confusion! How many of you overseas people would understand if you asked me where I was from and I told you “I’m from Te Waipounamu, in Aoteoroa”? Imagine the potential confusion in the postal service, especially with letters or parcels from the US! We’ve already had Americans arrive in Auckland from LA thinking they were on a domestic flight to Oakland! “Goddamn, I never realised it was such a long flight to Oakland! And haven’t our domestic airlines really gone to the dogs, employing so many illegal immigrants with such goddamn strange accents!”
  7. ​By minorities Andrew isn't meaning racial minorities, he's talking about minority opinions - at least that's the way I took it.
  8. ​Andrew, While I do understand where this post is coming from, I still applaud you for the sentiment and for having the guts to state how you feel. I understand your frustration having worked in TV for almost thirty years. I now call TV 'The Great Mediocrity Sieve', meaning it turns most things into porridge. It's almost impossible now to have strong authorship, strong ideas/views, be risqué, daring, confronting or even be too affecting because a committee of exec producers will step in to tone things down for fear the film may be 'too much' for their audience. I recently had this happen to a show I worked on in which the true events were deemed too 'dramatic'. Of course their ratings ended up being nowhere near as strong as they could have. But I fear TV is just a reflection of our wider modern western society in which an epidemic of 'political correctness' aimed at protecting ourselves from ourselves has raged rampant. One can hardly move these days without encountering some legal requirement or having to fill out paperwork, pay a tax or levy, or need permission from a government department. What we're witnessing is the rise of the bureaucratic class that generates laws that then require even more bureaucrats to administer (reminding me of Terry Gilliam's 'Brazil'). It's part of the reason most western nations are so hopelessly in debt. I don't live in Britain but I know over the last few years public sector economic activity there has been greater than private sector, the place from where the tax monies come to pay for public spending. This means that Britain's national debt has ballooned out to over 5 Trillion pounds and rising. This is the reason things we took for granted twenty to thirty years ago can now no longer be afforded, including decent budgets for investigative and educational documentary. The UK is one of the last places in the world to have government funded television - you're lucky.
  9. ​But the E-M5 II does allow this. The IS has three settings: completely OFF; IS mode 1, which does sensor shift and a digital stabilise with a slight additional crop; and IS mode 2, which only does the sensor shift.
  10. I see things seem to have gotten a little hysterical on this thread regarding the E-M5 mark ii! I've had a decent look at what little material there is on the web and have made a few observations. Have people seen the new stabilisation comparison between the E-M5 mark ii and a GH4 posted on 43rumors.com recently? Pretty incredible really how good the Olympus stabilisation is in comparison. This is indeed what I think Olympus mean by cinematic quality images in their advertising blurbs - cinematic quality 'motion' in images (after all almost any mention of video in their advertising is associated with the mention of stabilisation). Apart from the stabilisation, one of the first things you notice is indeed the added crop on the E-M5. I doubt the crop factor is as much as 2.7x though, considering the GH4 was shooting 1080p and not 4K. I'm sure this added crop is a technical constraint required to give the degree of sensor shift needed for effective stabilisation of the amount of movement generated between the frames of video footage. After all, a person trying to keep still taking a still frame is a very different 'kettle-of-fish' to a video camera on the move. The oversize of the standard m43 lens image circle as opposed to the used area of the m43 sensor probably allows enough shift to compensate for the shake/movement produced when taking a still, but the added movement generated between frames of moving video probably requires this extra crop to be effective. With all the talk about moire and aliasing the other thing that surprised me with this footage was that I didn't notice any on the E-M5 side but did in the windows of the distant buildings on the GH4. Having said this though, the compression of this footage is appalling, making it difficult to say anything much. One thing I did notice though that is interesting, is the motion cadence of the E-M5 footage is extremely different from that of the GH4 even though the frame rate settings etc. are the same. Although the video from both look sharp when playing, when you pause the frame the GH4 frame looks much sharper due to the E-M5 footage containing much more motion blur. It looks like the difference between using a 180 degree and a 360 degree shutter. Perhaps this explains some of the disparity in results between different people's testing? If one test was from a tripod the frame grab from the E-M5 would appear sharp but if the frame grab was from an image that was handheld using stabilisation it may contain a bit more motion blur making it appear softer. Looking at Robin Wong's test I must say I agree with him that the E-M5 mark ii footage looks sharper and has much better dynamic range than the E-M1 footage. The other curious thing I notice (and others noticed this too in the bath towels test posted here) is that the E-M5 mark ii footage appears to have greater depth of field using the same lens at the same setting as opposed to the E-M1. Especially look at the dials on the top of the close up of the camera - what's going on here? I must say also the look of some of the videos posted on the web from the E-M5 mark ii seem really good. I actually downloaded the ungraded sample footage that John Brawley shot and cut this material into a timeline of shots I'd recently filmed for a commercial on my A7s. While the scenes were obviously completely different, I thought the material actually cut very well - it wasn't like I was noticing a big resolution hit every time I cut to the Olympus footage and that was viewing on a 4K monitor. I just think 'horses-for-courses'. I'd potentially use the E-M5 for tracking and movement shots within sequences of material shot by other cameras. I probably wouldn't mix static shots with those from another camera like the A7s within the same scene. But having said this, that's generally standard good practise anyway because different cameras produce different colour responses (especially to skin tones that we really notice), making the footage extremely difficult to grade.
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