Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the universal logo...

so, i have been obsessed with the soundtrack and film 'the wiz' as of late, and i have been clamoring to get some writing done about it (thanks, michael)... as i was prepared to write about it i took note of how DVD/digital culture has essentially altered how we view things graphically... it would seem that, as time goes on, graphic design would develop to a point where things look at least have a vague sense of realism, but as i noticed from the universal logo, that is not the case.

before the feature film comes on, we see a dark screen. what looks like a sunrise then appears, becoming brighter and brighter, its rays washing over some sort of dome. 'sunspots' then form over what seemingly becomes formations of land. the rays become laser-like. the lasers emanate from the earth's formations. the animation pans across the dome, which is eventually acknowledged as earth, travelling in (some sort of) space. the bodies of water are are massive. the earth's land formations become brighter and brighter.

another formation begins to creep up on the still-forming beams of light upon the earth. the land patterns of green and red disappear into golden layers, as the 'earth' pans away to give attention to this newer formation. thus, we now have the 'universal logo'.

the rays of light have been relegated to the background, and a portion of the planet (which look like north and south america) has not been lit with that special light... and as the globe turns, relegated to backup singer to universal's star, the sphere looks sadly like a big rubber ball, with some speckles (for stars) in the back. ah, the wonders of computers- hardly fitting for the majestic soundscape which presents its logo to audiences.

now, it's real easy to say, 'well, back when i was younger things were more creative...' but in this case i am going to just let the descriptions speak for themselves.

the universal logo, circa 1978 displays a more realistic portrayal of the earth and its contents. the screen flashes momentary lapses and returns of stars before the logo appears (which is ultimately film stock, but who's asking?). intro fades in, appearing to be a closer examination of space, its murkiness and vagueness in tact. the galaxy becomes grainy, and the stars look like snowflakes. out of this murkiness a ball comes out of it chameleon-like structure, becoming inevitable to the viewer that the earth is approaching. the earth's appearance is apparent, yet is still floating into the murkiness. as the earth comes closer to the foreground, you can still see visions of north and south america, amazingly enough. as the globe turns you even get to see a glimpse of australia. some gaseous rings form around the ball, and a metallic-looking 'universal' gravitates toward the planet. as the earth gets closer, you can visualize the existence of rock formations and continental drifts.

ah, the wonders of technology...

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