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View Full Version : What about that computer software from movies?



lucasdaytona
August 6th, 2012, 06:34 AM
When I watch some movies, particularly action movies, there's always funny software in the computers. Example:

Hero, named Terry: "Great, now we are in the computer room! Dave, could you disable the bomb???"

The Hero's helper, Dave: " I've never seen a program like that... I will do my best. "

And then the movie shows the computer screen, usually a lot of Unix logs, or something like that, Dave continues to smash the keyboard as a crazy man, and then the bomb countdown appears on the screen, the count is in 60 seconds, and asks for a password.

Dumb helper, usually named Timmy : " I can't die here, I said to mom I will be in home for dinner "
Terry: " Can you do something Dave?"


Dave is too busy to reply, we can see some sweat running down his forehead while he press all the keys at same time, when the countdown is showing 1 second, he manages to make a button named "Disarm bomb" appear in the computer screen, then he press enter, the city is saved.


Just another computer crazy software from movies...
My question is, who makes these programs?
And are the producers expecting to make the people believe that computers programs works like that?

9882

sirwiggum
August 7th, 2012, 06:29 AM
A useful feature for any explosive device configuration management tool is a disarm function.

When a TV programme computer performs any scan at all (fingerprints, facial recognition, tyre prints etc) it makes an electronic "flicking" noise, then when it finds a match makes an annoying "beep... beep... beep... beep...". This would drive you mad, the majority of work PCs have the volume turned off unless listening to music / in meetings or skype calls.

Some of the scripts - "I'll compile a visual basic gee you eye to cross reference those fingerprints". Whyyyyyy

And the "enhance" feature. Take a grainy face a few pixels size from a reflection on a car mirror from a poor CCTV image, "enhance" it = infinitely upscale, then run it past that first face recognition database "beep... beep... beep..."

When they use PCs they never use the mouse, even on image enhancement programs. I appreciate that keypress shortcuts are useful, but a mouse is essential when working with images. They just "tappity tap tap tap" on the keyboard and what they are doing is done.

And an episode of something (criminal minds?) where they had a guy with webcams with prisoners in some torture chamber. Instead of just getting their location from the IP address they did some convoluted mucking about.

And no-one uses Windows, MacOSX or Linux Gnome/KDE. Their UIs look like some weird Windowblinds / Linux desktop skin.

facattack
August 7th, 2012, 06:34 AM
I liked the Dennis Nedry avatar in Jurassic Park. It was based off Wayne Knight's appearance and the idea is that he hacked the security of the park but was too incompetant to escape!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfiQYRn7fBg

Tor
August 7th, 2012, 06:40 AM
I was quite impressed when a guy in a CSI episode managed to track a suspect via a GPS satellite just because the suspect happened to have a GPS receiver on his person...

To us vintage computer folks it's also nice to see that they all connect to their computers via 300-baud modems, it brings back old memories seeing the text on their screens displayed nice and slowly, character by character.

-Tor

sirwiggum
August 7th, 2012, 06:47 AM
I forgot the worst example of a movie computer.

Something that ruined a film that, until then, I had managed to suspend my disbelief to enjoy the effects.

The Mac virus in Independence Day.

He managed to interface a Powerbook (Wallstreet?) to a totally alien system, upload an execute a virus including being able to use the alien graphics subsystem.

The mac couldn't have done that interfacing with a contemporary PC, never mind a totally alien system presumably from a different evolutionary path and probably, given that they have mastered interstellar space travel, billions of years in advance to puny humans.

strollin
August 7th, 2012, 07:57 AM
I forgot the worst example of a movie computer.

Something that ruined a film that, until then, I had managed to suspend my disbelief to enjoy the effects.

The Mac virus in Independence Day.

He managed to interface a Powerbook (Wallstreet?) to a totally alien system, upload an execute a virus including being able to use the alien graphics subsystem.

The mac couldn't have done that interfacing with a contemporary PC, never mind a totally alien system presumably from a different evolutionary path and probably, given that they have mastered interstellar space travel, billions of years in advance to puny humans.

You beat me to posting this. I agree that it's one of the most far fetched movie plots involving computers/software, although in the movie Weird Science, 2 high school boys create a woman with their computer which is pretty far fetched.

facattack
August 7th, 2012, 08:00 AM
You forgot LIGHTNING! :D Their goal was modest, just animate a doll but a miracle happened!

barythrin
August 7th, 2012, 10:22 AM
Well, you've found the answer mostly. Lots of times it's just animation on top of the screen. The device is there and a prop but CG fakes the program usually. Other times there could be a real program doing the input but it's just timed, etc to put the next data on the screen. Never quite been sure why we don't see more realism in film unless it's a trademark/royalty issue. i.e if you really saw the Windows or Apple logo in the OS perhaps they would think they're worthy of some money vs the free plug.

Funny enough and I'm stealing a story from a day ago at this point lol but someone was telling me about a movie they offered the computer props for which they were using a model of terminal that has the acoustic coupler on top and print out display. The movie at least was trying to be somewhat accurate for it's time but they needed data to look like it was coming from the system and of course it wasn't really dialing into another system, etc. They had the output preprinted on the printer paper that's coming out and he had to hardwire a switch to the form feed function so whenever it was supposed to receive output someone nearby shorted the contacts to get the next output.

I'm not sure how many movies do more realistic commands but I've heard a few times the movie Antitrust which used mostly real unix commands when he was snooping around the corporate server system and figuring out some interesting secrets.

krebizfan
August 7th, 2012, 11:28 AM
Running a teletype with fake printed material makes for a better film experience. The actors have something physical to respond to. Can't film a CRT screen so postproduction work is needed to insert the material but it takes a good effects team to time the inserted video to match the already filmed actors reactions. I have seen a number of lower budget TV movies where the cast is expressing shock at what the computer is showing before the computer screen was updated to show it. Mouse is even worse. No one can tell exactly which key is being mashed but if the mouse is moved differently from the pointer on screen it can be quite obvious.

Doug G
August 7th, 2012, 01:56 PM
Can't film a CRT screen so postproduction work is needed to insert the material but it takes a good effects team to time the inserted video to match the already filmed actors reactions.I don't know if hollywood faked it but lots of movies have CRT screens on film. Most of the movie CRT's have some magical noisemaker that makes typing-like noises when the data is written to the screen too :)

WarGames had lots of CRT screens that Matthew Broderick used to talk to WOPR.

Agent Orange
August 7th, 2012, 02:56 PM
Urgent message from Joshua:

How about a nice game of thermonuclear war?

dorkbert
August 7th, 2012, 03:24 PM
Let us not forget that the Terminator runs on a 6502 with Microsparc's KeyPerfect (Nibble magazine and their key-in program checker.)

Compgeke
August 7th, 2012, 03:59 PM
I've always thought that what you see on the screens is just CGI, nothing real. There are some exceptions such as old movies where I could tell it was probably just some of what is called "batch scripting" today with basic "echo hello" "pause" and such.

barythrin
August 7th, 2012, 04:42 PM
Possibly common knowledge that the display data on Star Trek The Next Generation was done on Amiga computers for quite a while although I do think they later switched to Mac.

NeXT
August 7th, 2012, 04:54 PM
We call it "MovieOS" ;)

WMH
August 14th, 2012, 03:33 PM
Now that I think about it, the Encom 511 in Tron is quite advanced. This must be a MovieOS session:

REQUEST:
MASTER CONTROL PROGRAM
RELEASE TRON JA 307020...
I HAVE PRIORITY ACCESS 7

END OF LINE...