It's time for an update on a few things I posted about in the past.
First up, way back in December of '05, I posted about the state of Stephen Colbert's TVs, demanding they be fixed. I'm happy to report that Stephen listened, making sure his TVs were correctly formatted within a month of me posting that missive. There was no apology. Hey Stephen, I'm glad you took the required action, but an apology would have been nice. I'm putting you on notice until you do apologize.
Next up, we'll take a trip back to February '06, when I posted about how I just didn't see the big deal about the potential hubbub over Pluto's planetary status. Well, as you undoubtedly know, the demands I made in my post were eventually met -- like they almost always are -- and everything turned out OK. Except for the little detail about how everyone is completely freaked out. You'd think this was the end of the world or something, what with all the bloggers trying to come up with new Johnny Mneumonic devices ("Nestea™!! My Very Elderly Mother Served Us Nestea™.. How hard was that?") and generally lashing themselves over the pain and tribulations today's schoolchildren surely must be going through.
To that I say, "It isn't a big deal! Children in today's schools learn new things at least once a week; one more new thing to learn isn't going to cause them any troubles."
"Sure," you might reply. "That's all fine and dandy, but what about the books?? We'll have to make new ones! We can't have books with outdated info in them."
Well, my solution to that is simple. All we have to do is print up some of these stickers:
Then we just slap that puppy into any book that talks about the solar system. Problem solved.
I've decided that if I ever intend to produce Fair Use TV, I need to get off my butt and get my art skillz up to par. I've always had trouble producing likenesses of actual people, so I'm going to try to make more of an attempt to get good at it. When you realize that FU TV is comprised entirely of likenesses of actual people, and that my voice impressions are even worse than my art, you begin to realize that the visuals will have to carry the brunt of the recognition factor to the table. (This is of course leaving context out of the equation; I have high hopes that the context will be able to give me a little bit of recognition factor boost, because as you'll soon see, I need every bit of help I can get.)
With that in mind, I'm going to be posting my craptastic attempts at likenesses and caricatures here. The idea being that my embarrassment will help motivate me into getting better at it. Here're tonights results:
Here's my attempt at Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.
Stephen Colbert came out more like Sally Jesse Raphael :(.
This is the only one that I think is remotely decent, and I only found it in my sketchbook tonight, I actually did it a few months ago. In case you can't tell -- which is extremely likely -- this is supposed to be Penn Jillette.
Know what drives me nuts? When people buy really expensive widescreen TVs, and then have them set up for the wrong aspect ratio*. Everyone looks fat and squashed, circles look like ovals, etc.
Know what drives me even more nuts? When people on TV, who work in the TV business do this. The Stephen Colbert Report is a prime example of this, his set having at least 2 widescreen TVs on it, all of them incorrectly configured. How come none of his photoshop monkeys complain about their work being streched out?
I've handily taken some screenshots that prove my case, which you will see below.
Here is the Colbert Report's logo, as shown in the opening credits:
Here is the Colbert Report's logo on incorrectly set up TV #1:
Here, I've cropped down the picture on the TV and scaled it to 4:3, where you can clearly see (allowing for the slight downward angle that the TV is being filmed at) that the logo is nearly identical to the one in the opening credits:
It seems that the computers feeding the snazzy animated graphics to the TV are feeding it a 4:3 picture, while the TV itself is set for 16:9.
This problem could easily be solved by two different methods. First -- and easiest -- set up the computer to output 16:9 in the first place. Second, if for some reason The Colbert Report is unable to pay for a computer graphics system that can output 16:9, they could simply create the graphics at 16:9, and then squash them down to 4:3 before outputting them. This way, when it is then stretched to 16:9 by the TV, the picture will display properly.
Now this might seem extremely nitpicky, it is after all just a logo, but this same problem affects the TV he uses to display actual things during the show. Things like:
The United States of America as seen on a map I stole off the internet:
Here's the USA as seen on The Colbert Report's 4:3 TV screen. Looks normal huh?:
Here's the USA as seen on Colbert's incorrectly set up 16:9 TV:
Looks like Colbert is making "from sea to shining sea" last a bit longer here.
For comparison purposes, I've gone ahead and scaled the 4:3 USA to 16:9, and shockingly, it looks just like Colbert's "revised" United States of America:
Something else you might see displayed correctly on Colbert's #2 TV is the band Asia. Watch them here morph from the semi-normal looking body weight presented on Colbert's TV to the actual emaciated version presented on the 4:3 screen (specifically, keep your eye on the Asian on the left):
If you've managed to stay with me this whole time, I will have conclusively proved to you that the tech guys at The Colbert Report have some tweaking to do. Perhaps you should check out the state of your widescreen TV as well, so that you don't look as silly as Stephen Colbert does every night?
*: Sure, not all programming is widescreen, but that's no excuse to just stretch out the 4:3 picture so that everyone looks fat and short. Pretty much every widescreen TV on the market has several options for modes to preserve the aspect ratio while still using up the whole screen. Granted, not all of them are ideal; some zoom in, cutting off the very top and bottom of the screen, others leave the center of the screen at the proper aspect ratio, only stretching the edges. It seems to me that either of these options would be preferred to having everything be all stretched out, but maybe I'm in the minority here.