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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

curated: watching TV or movies at high speed is an abomination

Why even bother? Entertainment is not medicine to be swallowed while holding your nose.


posted in:
easter eggs
  • Danielm80

    I’m trying to imagine what Steven Wright or Bob Newhart would sound like speeded up. It would sound like ordinary human speech, which entirely defeats the purpose of Steven Wright or Bob Newhart.

  • RogerBW

    We’ll have to disagree here.

    Most TV is designed for people who aren’t paying attention or thinking very hard, so there’s lots of slow explanation and repetition (not to mention recaps after the ad breaks) – and American speech is generally a bit slower than British already. The only way I can enjoy it is to speed it up to the point where things are actually happening at reasonable rate.

    Everything is speeded up together, so any pauses or slow or fast speech still carry their original effect.

  • Danielm80

    A lot of American shows already get speeded up when they go into syndication. The stations want to fit in more commercials, so they not only edit out scenes and cut out the credit sequences (or squeeze them into a tiny box at the bottom of the screen), but they speed up the episodes so that the characters are speaking in high-pitched voices. You may not mind it, but I find it genuinely disturbing.

  • RogerBW

    Ah, my speeding-up uses a pitch shifter as well, so the vocal tone stays the same – it’s just faster.

  • amanohyo

    I know I’m turning into a crotchety out of touch geezer, but deep down I still feel like Lynch did almost a decade ago when all this madness began: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKiIroiCvZ0

    People are free to ingest content in whatever manner they please, and I suspect some modern programs might even be designed to be watched sped up on a phone/tablet, but the whole process reminds of that red zone football network that cuts out everything except the “exciting” parts of the game.

    Now there’s obviously a market for people who desire that kind of instantaneous, efficient, intense stimulation, but for people who prioritize world building, overall composition, and atmosphere over plot and dialogue, it feels a bit like destroying your bedroom wall because you don’t like the colour of the door. There’s more to dialogue than the meaning of the words, and as an air traffic controller, I’m not quite as optimistic as the transhumanists are about the degree to which the human brain can be overclocked.

    Like most things, I guess it comes down to personality and priorities. At one end of the spectrum, most of us agree that dictating to someone exactly how fast they read a book would be ridiculous, but how about a book on tape? Is that dramatic pause one second instead of 0.75 seconds for a good reason? What if you make the pause 0.95 seconds to save 5% of your time? The experience would be qualitatively the same for the majority of the population. Can you really say that the experience would be quantitatively different in a meaningful way? That’s the customizable world we live in now – quantized, materialistic, a world of pixels and clicks, cents and seconds. There’s no going back at this point, but as long as slower, contemplative films/shows like When Marnie Was There are still being made, I’ll be happy… confused and hopelessly out of touch, but happy.

  • Wow, I had no idea. This is pathetic. Yes, there are a lot of great shows that I want to watch, but the idea of speeding them up in order to get through them faster is kind of sad.

    If you have that much on your docket that you feel this is necessary, maybe it’s time to rethink your priorities in life. Maybe go outside. Read a book. Step away from it all. Realize that, at it’s core, consuming media is less important than many people take it as.

    Heck, I don’t even get the whole binge watching thing. I’ll watch en episode every other day. Maybe two if I’m really caught up in it. I couldn’t stand sitting around all day watching shows back to back. Plus, I like a little suspenseful build up. Everything goes by too fast as it is already. Why make it go by even faster? I’d rather preserve the experience.

    I also love my podcasts. No way would I want to rush through them, though.

    People are strange.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I’m not sure that’s what the people in the article are doing. The technology on video now allows for increased speed just by skipping frames. Doing so doesn’t change the pitch of the audio. Youtube lets you crank it up to 1.5 speed. Any faster and I think you loose too much information to make dialog intelligible.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Long ago – I think during season 2 of “24” – I came to realize that on a lot of serialized dramatic television, there were inevitably going to be plotlines I didn’t care about. I can cut 10 minutes, 15 minutes, or even more out of a 45-50 minute episode by skipping past those scenes. If I’m particularly disdainful of the plots (like any of the “Dawson’s Creek” soap opera romance nonsense on “Arrow”) I will literally say, out loud, “Skip!”

  • RogerBW

    Judgmental much?

    It’s not for everyone. Nobody’s saying you should do this if you don’t want to.

  • But how do you know you don’t care about those plotlines until you see them? How do you know they won’t connect to plotlines you *do* care about later on? It seems like you’d have to do a lot more work to figure out which bits to skip than it would take to just watch the whole show…

  • Most TV is designed for people who aren’t paying attention or thinking very hard

    I think that’s less true than it used to be. Almost every show that has a devoted audience has that devoted audience because the shows are deeply engaging and reward close attention.

    Which shows do you speed up?

  • RogerBW

    Pretty much everything I watch, but the speed factor varies. The Expanse, British TV and youtube videos around 1.3, most American TV 1.5.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Because I watch them for a while, pick up on the tropes they’re employing, and make educated predictions about where they’re going. These are all B plots, inserted into shows to fill out a 20-25 episode season. (There are fewer of them in 10-13 episode cable series, but occasionally still.) And I’ve seen enough film and television to pick out the B plots pretty reliably. Even when they do tie into the A plot, they do so in ways where you don’t need to watch every minute to get the key issues. (Example: the William/Logan/Dolores plotline in Westworld) Episodic television also tends to burn a lot of running time on recapping key developments. Time skipping features on DVRs and streaming services make it very easy. It’s not like the old days of VHS.

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