I receive an email when someone posts a comment (which is something I think you can sign up for). Anyway, I just received an interesting comment from the May 10, 2009 post about the Omega Station from someone who was still working there when it closed. I thought it had actually closed earlier than 1997.
His comment brings up an interesting thought. With technology changing so quickly in the past decade or so, data storage space getting smaller and smaller, digital having replaced analog, etc., how much of this former technology is actually being saved or preserved? I realize there are at least 2 schools of thought on the practicality and purpose for saving anything outdated--those for and those against! As a set decorator we always have a problem with both current "high tech" as well as retro-outdated technology. Wanting current high tech means it is most likely being used which means having 100 film technicians around tends to be a bit disruptive. On very RARE occasions they used to let us film inside the FAA headquarters inside Diamond Head Crater (now moved) which looked like a James Bond film set with all the radar screens and scopes glowing in the distance. We sometimes filmed a Magnum episode at this high tech Japanese / American business place that had those old giant reel-to-reel tape storage machines the size of a refrigerator. Those old giant machines with all the dials and switches and red lights made for great background set dressing. It wasn't even all that difficult to rig something up with parts from Radioshack and some stainless steel Formica back then.
Set Dressing would also get stuck with surveillance van interiors as well. You know, giant reel to reel tape decks, mixers, amps, dangling wires, headphones, clip boards and coffee mugs that barely fit into a large milk truck. I think the last time I was asked to do one I said, I hate to tell you but an entire surveillance van would now fit into a briefcase--that's how long ago that was. Today, it would probably fit into an i-pod along WITH the i-pod. Now in the films and CSI shows, they seem to use a lot of plexiglass and projections and strange colored lights in the background as an attempt to make up for the formerly clunky hardware that actually did something in the background other than glow mysteriously or flash strange computer generated charts and graphs.
The bigger problem is finding the old technology when you want it now--particularly in Hawaii where we don't have basements or old warehouses to store things, but do have salt air and rust. There are a couple of prop houses in L.A. that carry some of the old technology items for retro sets, but as a society, we generally embrace the trend towards miniaturization and advanced technology. Even the collection of 78's I have are waiting to go onto cd's so I can get rid of the records. Given that my last Cuisinart coffee maker only lasted 3 years, the new one broke after 3 weeks and I am about to buy my 2nd weed wacker this year, it's probably good that we keep moving forward since so much of the craftsmanship now doesn't allow for much permanence anyway. Anyone remember having to go to the drug store to test a tube from the TV or radio that had already lasted more than a decade?
So just some ramblings about technology sets. I haven't posted on my flickr site for awhile, but I got carried away with visitors and Halloween and looking for work.