When I watch "Everyday Italian," I feel like I'm in a slightly disconnected and very pristine food universe. It's like looking over the shoulder of the production squad for the Ikea catalog. It's like eating sushi on a white plate while Philip Glass is piped into my cortex.
It's like having a conversation with the typeface Helvetica.
I've wondered why this is, and it is a little difficult to decode since I'm not trained in the vocabulary of film editing. This morning I spent some time considering it, and here's what I came up with: there are two factors at play. One is that the vocal narrative happens naturally, like a normal continuous time progression, but the editing is very discontinuous in time. I suppose this is normal for various how-to shows like "The Way Things Work," but I get a similar floating-in-outer-space feeling when I watch that, too. She's talking normally over images that skip forward through normally time-consuming processes.
The other factor is that there must be quite a few cameras rolling simultaneously, because the editing seems to anticipate exactly what Giada's about to do next. She reaches for a full head of garlic, and magically you see a closeup of perfectly-cut garlic in her hand. She moves toward a bowl of pasta, and the camera jumps several seconds ahead to a perfectly-framed image of two pieces of penne on her fork.
Sorry, folks, this stuff just really gets me. I don't know why. I'm wired funny.
Wondering if there's any truth to this, I poked around a bit online. It turns out that the show has won several Daytime Emmys for "Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Editing" and "Single Camera Photography." I looked at the CV of one of the photographers, Richard Dallett, and he's been involved in quite a few award-winning documentaries. (Hey, he did a documentary on Elizabeth Bishop! Why hadn't I heard of that before?)
So I guess I'm not off my rocker...
A Collection of Things in the "Read Later" Folder
- Why do plant stalks emerge from the main stem in the patterns they do? Wolfram offers a hypothesis, though I suspect it's what Turing was getting at. (Page 410 of A New Kind of Science.)
- Photos from a balloon that went into... space? What the earth looks like from up there.
- "Driftnet is a program which listens to network traffic and picks out images from TCP streams it observes. Fun to run on a host which sees lots of web traffic."
- U.S. Pat. 6,368,227: "Method of Swinging on a Swing," by five-year old Steven Olson.
- Very good. Edward Tufte on better scientific presentations that would have, say, prevented the Challenger explosion.
- Cashed out from your startup early in life? Here are Philip Greenspun's thoughts on "Early Retirement."
- Go simulate some neurons on your PC. The CMU Hodgkin-Huxley Simulator software.
- Looking for something to read? Bloom's Western Canon (check it out).
- Another Brockman book: Curious Minds: How a Child Becomes a Scientist.
- CNN.com: "Getting 'unstuck': Does your life need a coach?"
- A Java simulation of wave refraction that might help you think about how lenses work.
- Finally, the drop-dead awesome ripple tank simulator. Click though the many built-in examples using the pulldown menu in the upper right. Say goodbye to 30 minutes! You can move the sources around by dragging the (+) icons. If you've wondered why phased arrays work, or how lenses work, or...
-g, who just realized I should have put "Bourne Shell" as the last comic below...