Mythbusters Exhibit in Fort Worth

The Mythbusters Exhibit is in its last week at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History so I thought I would take a look. The exhibit features artifacts from the show starting with the JATO rocket tubes from the very first episode and a Citroën turned motorcycle from the 2015 season.  Featured were duct tape canoe and airplane and outfits worn by the cast. Later in the gift shop you will be given the opportunity to buy a black beret or t-shirt that has one of the slogans from the show.

For the exhibit visitors are given an iPod touch in a case that blocks access to the home button but allows the user to use the touch screen to interact with the exhibits. I liked the idea of the aid but the implementation lacked something that made it more of a distraction than an aid. When compared to the aid that was used on the Indiana Jones exhibit it was harder to use.

The second section of the exhibit turned into a hands-on showcase of various myths. Here you are encouraged to try the experiments for yourself starting with a contraption for dropping toast so you can see if it will land butter side up or not. At the booth for testing the myth about flicking playing cards I was able to land a card in the target on my first try earning some amazed glances from people who had been trying it for several minutes. I decided to quit while I was ahead leaving the only successful hit in the target for the day.

Another gag let you test your reaction time against a gun fired at you from ten foot away or pull a table-cloth off a table without knocking over the dishes. Have you ever wanted to test the running in the rain myth or superhero changing in a phone booth? Now you can.

The final section of the exhibit was a live show where they let children go on stage and see if they can dodge a paintball fired directly at you. Parents must sign waiver.

Overall it was a fun exhibit. If you or your kids are a fan of the show, I highly recommend go see it before it closes.

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Dinosaurs at FWMSH

I’ve always had an affinity for dinosaurs, megafauna, and kaiju. At the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History they have a life-size Allosaurus outside the building. The guy has been there for at least 20 years that I know of. Whenever we go for a visit to the museum I take the obligatory photo. This cousin of the T-Rex is in need of a coat of paint but otherwise still provides the necessary effect on small children.

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Side by Side

I was very slow to move from film photography to digital photography. I wasn’t willing to buy into DSLR photography until I felt the quality caught up. Arguably digital photography still lacks something when compared to film but the cost, immediacy and flexibility made it easy for me to switch and not look back. When it comes to video, I’ve never used a film camera. My first video camera was a Sony Hi-8 camcorder. Later I upgraded to Digi-8 format. For me video was about capturing the action and not the art.

The documentary Side by Side (2012) features Keanu Reeves interviewing Hollywood directors and cinematographers about their transition from film to digital. Some of the interviewed were bemoaning the death of film while others were leading the way to digital. The move to digital is nearly complete. Save for a few anomalous releases like Interstellar, movies are only being distributed in digital formats and being projected digitally.

The movie explores the history of film and digital cinema. It describes the technology of film making. The descriptions of color timing were very interesting. I found it very interesting that the filmmakers who lament the death of film are at odd with the realities of distributing a roll of cellulose to a theater and having it run through a projector several times a day. James Cameron talked about how the reels of Titanic were falling apart from so many showings.

On the digital side you have George Lucas and Robert Rodriguez who have pushed to medium to accomplish things that could never be done on film. Star Wars Episode I was distributed digitally. I remember driving to Plano to see it on the first DLP theater. When Episode II came out it was entirely shot digitally. James Cameron pushed the envelope even further a few years later with Avatar. I found it interesting to know that O Brother Where Art Thou had a digital effect on every frame to give it that aged yellowed look without washing out the blues.

So Hollywood has gone digital. Your local theater now has digital projectors. The projection quality no longer degrades the longer the movie is out. The best part of the digital film experience is the trickle down to the home theater. You can now get 4K systems and there is starting to be content available.

On the down side, archiving digital media is not as easy as it should be. In the history of film there has basically been just one standard. Color and sound were added over time. When it comes to digital there have been 80 formats. Anyone who has tried to open a WordPerfect file or an early digital photo has experienced that frustration. I have hundreds of old home movies that I need to convert to a modern format. Hollywood needs to work on archival for both historical films and modern movies. Perhaps they could work something out with the likes of Netflix and YouTube.

As a documentary I found it very interesting. It is available both on Netflix and Amazon. I recommend it for any lover of cinema.

Side by Side Movie Poster