I stare at the bars and tone, the image of colored stripes that people in television have used to calibrate video color for years. I used to say that the tone, an endlessly long beep of sorts, was cleansing. While it would drive some people crazy, for me, it was able to cut through all the crazy. It was direct, and steady, and it called you to attention.
Today, the bars and tone I have fixated on are simply a placeholder, the
video that fills a monitor when no other video is being fed to it. And
the volume is muted, so there is no tone. But even so, the image gives
me a sense of history. While the video on which I have worked in my
career has been quite varied, the bars and tone have remained
essentially the same. Maybe I am just looking for some common thread. Or
maybe this means that all of it is really essentially the same. Whether
you are working on drama or comedy or music or news, you still use
color bars. And whether you are working on drama or comedy or music or
news, you are still telling a story.
So, perhaps that is why the bars and tone are so comforting. They are a
reminder of where I've been, and a reminder that what, some days, feels
so different isn't really so different at all.
Look closely--you can see a lot in the color bars...