Thursday, July 11, 2019

Getting Out of a Rut

I seem to have run out of steam again.  It's happening a lot these days.  I just seem to be stuck in a rut creatively where I can't come up with anything new or worthwhile to write about.  To be fair, I seem to be in a rut generally.  The other day I realised that when I'm online I seem to keep visiting the same old sites and forums, endlessly checking for updates.  I mean, the web effectively gives you access to the whole world via your PC, laptop or phone, yet there I was, just monotonously travelling the same old roads in ever decreasing circles. I suspect that I'm not alone in this.  Anyway, in response to this realisation, I decided to go back in my browser history, to the 'six months and older' section to see if I've always been this boring - I was sure that there wa a time when my web browsing was more varied.  Well, I certainly found myself venturing off of the beaten track - from old issues of 'Meccano Magazine' to a database of photographs of warships, (I was able to see pictures of every member of the Royal Navy's 'Battle' class destroyers built 1944-46, complete with potted histories of most of them - some survived into the mid-1970s, although most spent most of their careers as part of the reserve fleet). 

Most interestingly, I stumbled back into site which attempted to explain the various colour film processes such as Technicolor, Eastmancolor and DeLuxe, for instance.  I'm afraid that a lot of it was far too technical for me, although I think that I can now vaguely  grasp the difference between 'additive' and 'subtractive' colour systems, (the former uses prismatic lenses and/or coloured filters on the camera and/or projector to add colour to film shot on black and white negative stock, the latter system uses a variety of methods including cementing prints of different colours together, or using dye transfers to produce colour film using specialised negative stock).  This site, in turn, led me to research a 1928 part-sound movie (it had a music and sound effects track, but used inter-titles for dialogue) called The Viking, which had been the first film shot in Technicolor's 'System 3' two colour dye transfer process.  In the course of this, I learned that the 1926 Ben Hur had been filmed with some sequences in the earlier Technicolor System Two Subtractive Two Colour Cemented Print process. Among these colour sequences was a topless sequence which was cut from US prints, but survives in overseas versions.  In researching the 1928 The Viking, I also found that there was a 1931 film of the same title.  Whereas the earlier film was actually about the historical Vikings, the later one was a about a ship called The Viking and has a certain notoriety because an explosion on said ship during filming killed a large number of the film crew (including one of the producers) ad, intriguingly, a stowaway.  I subsequently found myself wandering to various other web pages stemming from these subjects.  All-in-all, a fascinating and rewarding experience and a timely reminder that there is more to the web than the handful I sites I regularly look at.



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