Issue: Volume: 25 Issue: 9 (September 2002)

Reality Bytes

I'm a baby boomer, weaned on The Three Stooges and every TV detective created. If you try to make sense of the film business, you remove its license to steal, beg, borrow, and generally pull the wool over viewers' eyes. It's a visually recorded magic act of sorts.

Consider TV detective Joe Mannix, who would have had multiple skull fractures and contusions, if not comas, because in episode after episode he got hit in every part of the head with every conceivable object. We didn't know in the '60s that Mr. Sulu of Star Trek would not have had to contend with mechanical toggle switches and chronometers. But we didn't care about the details...and we still don't-we watch for the excitement of it all.

As a low-budget indie videomaker, I look back at all those great movies and TV shows of the past and find that none of them make much sense, either. This business is mostly about fantasy and you're not supposed to look at the physics of things or the logistics of the civilization being sold to you. Filmmakers are in it for the ROI, not the message to society, in most cases. If I had to offer an analogy, I'd compare film and TV products to side-show carnivals and oddities. Many of these are made-up gimmicks, but they still spark curiosity and a sense of "what if?" Although this may seem like a rebuttal to Mr. Roelof's letter, it actually isn't. I think I'm just looking at the same thing from a different angle.

Randy DeFord
Monticello, IN

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The review of Side Effects Software's Houdini on pg. 58 of the July 2002 issue incorrectly refers to a package called Houdini Complete. The product is in fact called Houdini Master, and lists for $17,000 rather than $6995, as stated. The Houdini Select product costs $1299.

On pg. 69 of the July 2002 issue, Weta is referred to as the maker of the behavioral animation system Massive. Massive Ltd. ( in fact makes Massive. In addition, a free version of Massive is no longer available.

On pg. 14 of the July 2002 issue, we stated that Opticore (Troy, Michigan) and Immersion Graphics (Columbus, Ohio) have agreed to combine product lines. The Immersion Graphics referred to is actually located in Southfield, Michigan.

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