This is the story of how Analog Bob did everything impossible to win the hand of Cathy Digital, the prettiest dame to ever walk through the mean streets of Wolfcrow, a rough town whose citizens wrote, shot, edited and got paid.
The story of their union is the stuff of legend, and like all stories this one too starts at the beginning and ends at the end. It’s the middle that always confused Bob.
“Who am I?” he often asked himself, sometimes loudly.
“You’re a videographer, son, just like everyone else”, replied his mother, a retired sound editor. “Your father was an Analog, your grandfather, too, and his father. In fact, we have your great grandfather on tape somewhere. Too bad we can’t play back that tape anymore. They don’t make them like they used to. Speaking of which, don’t forget to drop these tapes over at Professor Sampler’s.”
The tapes in question were too large to fit into Bob’s tiny hands. He hated his hands. They were too small to handhold the latest camera. At school he was always handed the thinnest equipment possible – which usually happened to be the boom.
“Stupid tapes. Do they make tapes to fit the camera, or the other way around?”
“Stop blaspheming, Bob! What kind of people do you think we are for heaven’s sake – Film folk?”
Wolfcrow was a tough place to grow up in. You were always stepping into somebody else’s shot. If you raised your voice you were asking for trouble – Bob’s mom had filled his childhood with tales of over-stressed and underpaid sound recordists going berserk after someone ruined a take.
Bob’s father, Paul, was a respected and busy cameraman. He shot birds, presidents, white balance cards, sometimes with a camera. Everyone loved him. He always had a spare battery for an unfortunate soul. Bob adored his dad. His fondest memory of his father was the time they discussed the rationale behind the color bar and audio tone before a video signal. His father spent three hours explaining it, and that night Bob dreamt of being gifted a billion-color monitor and a 4MB RAM upgrade. In those days adding ‘mega’ to anything quadrupled the thrill factor by three. The dream ended with the question: “Will there ever be a day when we won’t need timecode?”
As Bob approached Professor Sampler’s house at the metadata end of Tripod Lane, he had a sense of foreboding. Something was different. What usually moved at 29.97 frames per second seemed faster today. Or was it slower? It was exactly at this moment that a cab passed him in bullet-time.
Inside, in the back, was the prettiest girl Bob had ever seen. A sensor he never knew existed suddenly came to life inside him. The subconscious Bob screamed like an actor in a silent film: “This is the inciting incident, dummy! Do something! Action!”
But Bob didn’t move, and the car left the frame. He had just failed to capture the decisive moment.
“Analog and digital don’t mix.”
The voice was Professor Sampler’s. “Many people have tried and failed.”
“A rebel, are we? Don’t forget you are an Analog.”
“I’m sick and tired of hearing that! I don’t even know what that means, Professor. Why can’t I be different and find my own workflow?”
Professor Sampler studied Bob for a minute.
“I once knew a digital. This was long before the tag ‘mega’ was applied to pixels. Loved her even. Didn’t end well for me, though.”
“You know about digital? Will you tell me, please?”
“Mere mortals cannot handle the bit stream, Bob. You’ll get lost in ones and zeroes, gigibytes and gigabytes, 2K and 4K, frame rates and field rates, levels and curves – it’s no place for a decent soul.”
“I can handle it! Please, Professor Sampler, help me. I won’t let you down, I promise.”
“She has really gotten to you, hasn’t she? On the one hand your chances of success are two f-stops below zero. But on the other hand, somebody did mention a 27K sensor. There is hope. Keep in mind, if you fail you’ll be stuck with a lot of obsolete equipment, unreliable cards and failed hard drives; not to mention buggy software with poor tech support. Remember, life is a one-take deal.”
“I’ll take that chance.”
“Come inside before I change my mind.”
Next:Analogue is Analog