Sunday, April 8, 2007

“Computer, Zoom in on Section 530 to 670”

This is one of my least favorite lines (including all variation) in the genre of science fiction and/or modern thrillers, and yet it screenwriters never seem to tire of it. It even appears in otherwise decent movies like “Blade Runner” and “Children of Men.” The problem isn’t that the computer should zoom in on section 532,670 (although that is also a problem), but a more fundamental issue about how data works.

Essentially computers can not simply “create” data that isn’t there, which is precisely what the inevitable follow-up line “Computer, increase resolution” is asking. Whatever level of detail is recorded by the original medium is the limit and beyond that there is nothing to zoom in on. Every screenwriter and/or director that makes this mistake should be forced to watch “Blow Up” 20 times continuously.


Mad Dog said...

This shit happened all the time in X-Files. They'd just magically do something to a photo and--holy shit!--now you can see Bigfoot or whatever.

Patti said...

To be fair, if they started looking at the image "zoomed out", or in a lower resoution than the image was taken in, they could indeed zoom in. However, that's certainly not always the case I agree with your point that it's ridiculous.