Friday, 17 August 2012

Films, Inspiration

When I go to big blockbuster Hollywood movies I'm not expecting amazing acting or even original story lines.  Obviously it's nice when a film has an interesting plot and goes in unexpected directions, but you can be assured of the dramatic finale and the happy ending.  One strange thing that has started happening though is I can always look forwards to being inspired.

The inspiration comes from the fact that the impossible really becomes possible on screen.  People have started being able to create these entire worlds, crazy action sequences and CGI characters that are completely real and tangible.  I think because we've seen so much of it, we've lost the perspective on how amazing it is.  But now that I'm programming more and playing with signal processing, it's reminded me how hard and long the journey has been to get to this stage in our technology, and how the programmers will have started with really basic building blocks - the syntax of the programming language.  From that, the industry has created tools which make CGI possible.  But also, until you get your hands dirty with low(ish) level programming, I don't think it's possible to comprehend the scale of the task that they've accomplished.


The same is kind of true with audio and electronic music.  The plugins and workstations we've created over the last couple of decades are huge and complex, and can create new sounds and new music that wouldn't have been concieved of a short while ago.  The software uses advanced maths and cutting edge algorithms.  With audio though, for me, inspiration comes more from the musicians, who have really quickly adopted these technologies and made them human instead of some engineering interest.  So I guess the drive for audio programming is that one day the tools I write could be used musically, by musicians.  (Also, I guess the sounds that come out are pretty cool).

On a kind of related note, I've got into the University of Southampton, where I'm going to do Electronic Engineering, probably with Computer Systems.  I can't wait to start picking up skills specific to my career.  I think over the next 50 years the world is going to change in some amazing, unpredictable and crazy ways, and I have a gut feel that new electronics and software will be leading us into it.

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