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Old 07-16-2004, 01:12 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Albany, NY
Posts: 4,014
Default "I'm not quite dead yet!"

Haw, turns out my mother's boyfriend brought his laptop along and there's an ethernet access point in the hotel. Today we went to the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History. Both of them were quite awesome.

However, if any of you are going to the National Museum of Natural History, do not see the T-Rex offering at the IMax theater. From the sound of it it sounds like it's going to be some dino documentary, but it ends up being some shitty family movie. Basically, the plot is that this one girl - well, she must be about twenty, but according to the plot she's in high school or college or something - has a father who is a paleontologist, and the father always dismisses her. She has these theories that the T-Rexes laid eggs and the mothers were very protective, but her father dismisses her theories, too. Anyway, the father finds some T-Rex egg at a dig, and he takes it to the museum that he works for, and she inadvertantly knocks it off of the desk when he's away, whereupon things start to get really fucked up. It's as if she goes on some sort of LSD trip, walking around the museum and hallucinating that she's at this one famous paleontologist's dig site, and she's talking to the guy about her theories, and then suddenly she's back in the museum, and she hallucinates that the T-Rex skeleton is real, and she hallucinates that she's talking to another famous paleontologist, and so on, and eventually she winds up back in the museum and she's all happy to see her father and her father ends up hugging her and saying that her report is great and it ends all saccharine-sweet and crappy. I hated it.

It was visually impressive at times, but even that suffered due to the fact that the two films were poorly mastered. The way an IMax theater works is that there are two independent cameras, one corresponding to each eye. When you enter the theater, you're given a pair of glasses that kind of look like those old 3D comic glasses, only the way they work is that one lens is polarized in one direction and the other lens is polarized in the perpendicular direction. Likewise, during mastering one filmstrip is polarized in one direction and the other filmstrip is polarized perpendicularly. Both films are projected onto a huge curved screen, the two projectors positioned such that the images are projected slightly apart from each other. This simulates the parallax effect found with stereoscopic vision, and I have to say that when they were showing things like the flyby over canyons and rocky terrains, I really felt as if I could reach out and touch it. However, going back to what I said about poor mastering of the respective films, it appears that they filmed the scenes directly onto polarized film (as opposed to filming on normal film and then reprojecting onto polarized film) and didn't give any consideration to the fact that sometimes blocks of film will have different quality from other blocks, and as such around 50-75% of the scenes had some form of ghosting. In some cases, you would see the appropriate single scene in one eye and in the other eye you'd see the appropriate scene with a slight ghost of the other eye's scene. In other cases, you would see slight ghosts of the opposing scenes in both eyes. In still other cases, it was almost as if the film was completely unpolarized, resulting in triple-vision. It was horrible. <img src=smilies/headshake.gif>

Anyway, the wasted 50 minutes of my life aside, the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History were positively amazing, and you should all go without a doubt if you're there. <img src=smilies/thumb.gif>

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