Monday, March 26th, 2007
My television design business used to be tied to the cycles of Federal Express and the costs of blank D2, Betacam, and Digital Betacam tape. Those days are largely…yet not completely…gone. If you had told me that my current project, a state-of-the-art traffic, weather, and community events channel for a really large phone company that has dipped its feet in the land of cable, if you told me that it would bring me back to the days in 1997 when I recorded high-quality animation via firewire to a tiny Sony camcorder and then rushed the tape off to the local FedEx, I’d express a healthy skepticism.
And if you added that in order to do the sports programming they’re planning on, I’d be forced to return to the not-so-halcyon times when I created elements for the Chyron Infinit (which used to be spelled, as I recall, with about eight exclamation points), I’d start running in the opposite direction.
And yet, this device (which showed such promise when I first heard Chyron’s VP of Engineering Roi Agneta describe it in an excited voice) and its half-baked implementation of the FTP protocol lives on, the bane of the existence of every TV graphic designer in the last 15 years or so.
It’s a fine enough character generator, but it uses a file format for its zip disks and 3 1/2″ floppies that no other machine, not Mac, nor PC, can read. There’s nothing Infi-neat about that.
Yes, I’m going through a busy period, and my mind is filled with this stuff, and I’m wondering why, exactly.
I could be railing about the administration or learning Ruby on Rails, but no, I’m rolling a (very tiny) tape, laying down color bars, and cut after cut of carefully hand-crafted animation. Just as I’ve done in one form or another all my adult life.
And we’ll use jet fuel to get it to Stamford, Connecticut in the wee hours tonight. There ought to be a better way. They are, after all, bits.