It's about our community and our spirituality!

A Different Perspective

Is it too late to do a post about the movie Avatar?  I mean this special effects fest is the ultimate in video graphic eye candy.  Rumor has it that this film uses the absolute latest in three dimensional technology.  James Cameron, the show’s producer, helped to invent special cameras and had helped to develop special graphic software and was instrumental in having special supercomputers built all to bring this new standard in movie making to the silver screen.  The film employs a new stereoscopic filmmaking process that is being touted as a breakthrough in cinematic 3D technology.

The lead visual effects company employed as many as nine hundred people to work on this one film.  A huge server farm using four thousand Hewlett-Packard servers was used to do the rendering.  Rendering refers to the process of generating synthetic images based on a computer model.  The model is only a description of an object in computer code.  The computer code compensates for geometry, viewpoint, texture, lighting, and shading information.  The image ultimately generated is a digital rendering.  Creating the principal occupants of Pandora, the Na’vi characters, and making them appear as the bastard offspring of the Blue Man Group and the Thundercats is the product of more than a petabyte of digital storage and I heard that each minute of footage takes up more than seventeen gigabytes of storage.

Now this may be an oversimplification of the entire process, but the real key to the 3-D generation is the simulation of a visually stereoscopic perspective.  In order to get a true appreciation of the image being filmed, it has to come from two slightly different angles.  And although the angles show a slightly different perspective of the same thing, the two images combined will make a more complete picture than any single image alone.  By looking at an image from two different perspectives, a viewer has a better chance to see depth and develop a better appreciation for size and texture and order of the objects in view.

The people who dreamed of this film were trying to do something big and they accomplished it by learning how to capture and analyze and retransmit levels of data previously unimaginable for a film.  Nothing was too trivial.  The quiver of an actor’s face was captured and regurgitated as the fanciest computer generated interpretation of reality technology can buy.  All of this was done to add the most realistic and complete picture of what’s actually happening in front of the camera.

Now compare that philosophy, the one that the more data gained the more data to put together to build a better understanding of events or happenings, to the popular philosophy of simply ignoring perspectives that are simply too painful or too old or too whatever to add any worth to the conversation.  Instead of looking for a different perspective to expand on the image before our eyes, we cover it up or look the other way.

Hardly a day goes by before I get that standard refrain from generic America that I’m a racist because I am the one keeping racism alive and well by trying to give a different perspective on certain events that appear to be of a questionable racial disparate nature.  When do we see unarmed white people being shot in a hail of bullets from police?  When do we ever see white people being dragged out of their home for being angry at the police?  When do we see tapes of boot camp guards killing young white teenagers while a camp nurse looks on?

Day in and day out we’ll see our tolerance of racial disparity and allow people to chalk it out to white people being so superior.  Unemployment in the black community is higher because black people don’t value school.  Schools in the black community are inferior because black people don’t value employment.  The popular perspective is that the two go hand in hand and before you can do something about one you have to do something about the other, which is probably why it is a perpetual condition that we seem to just tolerate more and more.

A different perspective of the subject doesn’t really matter to a lot of people.  That’s just the condition of the black community and until black people want something different it won’t change.  Do people really think black people want cops to shoot unarmed black people for walking down the street?  I’m pretty sure you’ll get a unanimous vote from unarmed black people who’ve been shot by police that they’d like to see something a little different.

But that’s the type of thinking that might give a better view on the situation at hand.  And that type of view really isn’t something a lot of Americans would like to see.  Not unless somebody like James Cameron does a special movie about the condition of the black community and how it is being overrun by a people who could not care less about the damage being done to the black community’s environment.  Instead of using those four thousand servers to make all the details in the fantastic land of Pandora, maybe he could’ve done something a little more close to home like what’s in the black community.

But then again, for Mr. Cameron to even see the black community he might need a new perspective that just isn’t in his purview at the moment.  Mr. Cameron could use his vivid imagination to paint a picture of abuse and neglect and conflict a couple centuries into the future and a few light years on the other side of the moon.  But based on his choice to limit his perspective, he’d probably be hard pressed to recognize anything resembling that type of abuse and neglect in the black community.

Monday, February 22, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Life, Racism, Thoughts | 3 Comments