The curious case of the invisible cameraman

Gracepoint, a new crime drama on FOX, is one of these rare shows where everything just works for me – the story, the actors, the setting, everything’s perfect. And yet, there is stuff like the following I just can’t look past. This is from episode 3.

In this scene, Detective Carver is interviewing Tom, his partner’s son. He’s recording the interview using a video camera on a tripod. There are three people in the room – Tom,  Carver, and Tom’s dad, Joe. This is the first “recorded” image we see of Tom – make a mental note of the time counter as well:

Image (c) FOX

Image (c) FOX

Detective Miller is watching the interview from her office, and the camera (the main camera, not the one the interview is recorded on) cuts back and forth. At some point, we can see the interview camera is clearly focusing Tom, and we can also see where everyone else is sitting:

Image (c) FOX

Image (c) FOX

So far, so good, right? Everything looks in order, until 28 seconds later, we get another look through the interview camera …

Image (c) FOX

Image (c) FOX

Suddenly, Tom is joined by his dad, who is sitting rather close now, and the framing is not the same as before – while Tom’s head was covering about two thirds of the first frame, it’s now less than 50%. Someone must have adjusted the camera, even though no-one aside the Detective is in the room and he clearly didn’t move enough to even look through the viewfinder. And no, the dad didn’t move aside from leaning back – which would cause him to be in the picture less, not more. As if that wasn’t bad enough already, the time counter managed to jump back by a whole six minutes. And that’s what you call a continuity error, kids.

Not sure how that one slipped through the cracks, especially since the time counter was added in post anyway, but it did, and it made me sad. Luckily, the rest of the show doesn’t suffer, but still … so sad. Aww.

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Search engines, how do they work?

This is about season 3, episode 4 of the rather entertaining CBS show Elementary, a show where these kind of errors always let my blood pressure rise a little bit higher because Sherlock is such an arrogant prick when it comes to errors made by everyone else.

So Holmes and Watson are interviewing a person of interest called Michael Webb – not that his name is relevant or anything. Michael Webb is a guy who doesn’t like to clean his apartment, but lucky for him, a friend of his entered him into a contest where he won a package of free cleanings. Isn’t that something! The cleaning company is called “Clean The House”, which is a rather appropriate name for a cleaning company, but Sherlock is not impressed. Instead, he’s asking Webb if it ever occurred to him to check out the company’s website because … yeah, why would he, actually?

Oh, because they don’t have a website! That’s a little suspicious in this day and age, at least according to Sherlock Holmes. I’m not entirely convinced – it’s certainly a rare occurrence, but in the end, a small cleaning business really doesn’t need an internet presence anyway. But that’s not what I’m rambling about – it’s this:

Image (c) CBS

Image (c) CBS

The face-palm is strong in this one. Entering something other than an URL into the browser bar of a smartphone – in this case it’s an iPhone with a made-up UI – would result in either the default search engine being queried for the search term or, if the phone has no internet connection, in an error message notifying the user about the lack of connectivity. It would not, however, display a 404 error, because that actually requires a file to be requested off a server. That did clearly not happen because the search term, and not an URL, is still displayed in the address bar.

The only chance a 404 error would be displayed as a result of this query would be if the search engine’s server was broken, but in no case would this lead to the screen Sherlock bases his suspicions on.