Hollywood Has No Idea What Real Cameras Look Like

I just saw this gem on the trailer for the new MacGyver series reboot (which is really happening):

This is located in what looks to be a really high tech/high end facility. I've seen a lot of weird/bad installs in the real world, but I've never seen someone use a camera that looks this bad. (Amazingly, google image searching "black ptz camera" gave me this as the fifth result... it's an actual Motorola PTZ, without the dome on.)

So not only do we have the CSI Effect, making folks believe cameras can simply "enhance" infinitely, they think futuristic surveillance is a black plastic eyeball.


The first time I saw a Mobotix camera at the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, I thought it was the ugliest camera I had seen. This at least looks like a camera. A cheap, fake like looking camera, but assuredly a camera. That Mobotix contraption had me scratching my head wonder WTH it really was.

I don't know about cameras, but when it comes to screenshots of security software in movies, Hollywood tends to make what we have in the real world look somewhat bland.

Take a look at Mark Coleran's showreels containing "Fantasy User Interfaces" that he has done for movies, and see how many VMS, access control... interfaces you see there.

Coleran Reel 2006.01 from Mark Coleran on Vimeo.

Coleran Reel 2008.06 from Mark Coleran on Vimeo.

Keep in mind the oldest of the above reels is 10 years old.

When you see a shot of a camera looking in a particular direction, or software screenshots in a movie, those shots are often contributing to part of the story, and how they relate to the real world isn't that important. The funny thing is, it is the same type of artists who design Fantasy UI's as real world UIs, but the goals are different in each case.

Several years ago I worked for a different company and was the lead software developer of a new access control product. I showed the reels above to the owner of the company - lets do something like this I said - lets do not no one has done and put a bit of sex-appeal into Access control :-). He actually approached Coleran and asked him if he wanted to design screenshots for our new software product, but it never happened. I think he was too busy.

It reminds me of the foscam ptz that we recently tested. Perhaps they chose a WiFi camera after reading this.

Also, on movies or TV shows when a person is using a chat program or something similar on a computer, when the letters are typed out from the remote user, it always makes a small clicking sound. Or like when they finally unlock a password and it starts to readout all of the secret information that they have been trying to crack, it makes a small clicking sound on the readout. It always usually with a black background with green lettering I have noticed as well. That never happens in the real word either.

Also, noone ever uses a mouse in movies.

As far as CCTV footage in movies, the footage has very little color and usually has a green hue to it. What cameras are these people using?