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Masters of the Air - first episode in January 2024


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32 minutes ago, Agent K said:

CGI has, ultimately it's limitations, albeit it is very good and convincing these days. To add to the overall quality and accuracy it's worth listening to the "We have ways" podcast where they speak with one of the shows creators and episode writers, John Orloff. He goes into good detail on how all the correct

As good as CGI has got after 25 years of development, I still think a lot of it looks pretty false and unrealistic. A good case in point? Most Marvel or DC superhero movies. Some of the shots look a little ridiculous, even given their "fantastic" situations.

 

Have you ever noticed how many details on people seem to completely disappear in CGI fight-scenes. Folds in clothing? Nuances like different skin-tones, hair-details, smaller items? All that seems to just fly out of the window when the scrapping starts.... I appreciate it's a very old example, but have you ever looked at the agent who jumps onto the car-bonnet in the highway chase in Matrix 2? He looks AWFUL. 

 

What a good point of comparison?  The first "Alien" movie. Made in 1979, on a budget of around $15 Million (which was considered on the high side then - oh, how times have changed!). With a few, minor exceptions,  the Alien SFX shots work very well and are believable. Want to know why? Because they were real models, reflecting real light, in real studios. For my money, CGI is a pretty poor substitute for the "real" thing.

 

Still, opinions, eh? 

 

Chris.  

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Read all of the above. Agree with some, disagree with some - doesn’t really matter which way round as it’s all personal. What REALLY got my goat? The portrayal of the RAF pilots. How cliched was that!

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2 hours ago, Agent K said:

CGI has, ultimately it's limitations, albeit it is very good and convincing these day

The actual CGI models are very good. But they have not used the models well IMO. The way they move around the sky does not resemble the way B-17s move around the sky. And you can tell that while there has been some effort, probably very well-intentioned and knowledgeable effort, to provide piloting insights, what they've done in the end is misapply those insights according to what they thought looked coolest

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1 hour ago, BillF67 said:

 The portrayal of the RAF pilots. How cliched was that!

 how do we know that ?   And I don't suppose anybody watching this will learn much about the merits or otherwise of 'area bombing' the 'Norden' sight, or whatever.  I'm interested in Graham's point about 'language' though. Just how different was it back then? Lots of F-words, were they used that commonly?  As for the CGI, we are so used to seeing 'Sally B' pootle around Duxford, I'm guessing they were flown much more 'aggressively' in combat?

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2 hours ago, BillF67 said:

What REALLY got my goat? The portrayal of the RAF pilots. How cliched was that!

It was cliched, but none of us can say "well, that never happened..." No-one knows. 

 

I can understand folks getting annoyed at this scene. At least an American production acknowledges that the British played a part in the war, even if it gives the impression it was a very small part. 

 

What mention did the British get in "Saving Private Ryan"? One very brief mention, saying that Monty was no where near as good as his legend suggested. Thanks a bunch, Hollywood scriptwriters! I think we all have a much better appreciation of the history of that tragic time. 

 

Cheers. 

 

Chris. 

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On 1/31/2024 at 4:55 PM, FalkeEins said:

I'm guessing they were flown much more 'aggressively' in combat?

 

My complaints are not really about the combat scenes (though you can't fly "aggressively" in a close formation of 50+ heavy bombers) , but the hopeless mischaracterisation of the aircraft in normal flight, especially taking off and landing. A B-17 cannot climb away at a 25 degree angle even when empty, never mind when full of fuel and bombs

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My only gripe so far has been the CGI. The aborted landing on Greenland looked cartoonish. CGI is perfect for wide shots of the squadron in flight, but up close it will never look as good as the real thing or in certain cases a really good model.

 

Overall I'm liking it but I'm not a big fan of any of the characters (can't stand Barry Keoghan's face) but let's be real, I'm here for the aircraft. I liked how over Norway they were attacked by Ju88's as many productions would've swapped them for the more identifiable 109/190.

 

I'm a bit miffed we'll be following the red tails as I feel they've been a bit done to death on screen and there are plenty of great characters and stories in the fighter groups of 8th Air force.

 

I suppose one advantage of CGI is we won't have to see a Buchon!

 

Edit: I've just watched episode 3 and thought it was a definite step up. Without spoiling too much it's the first Schweinfurt/Regensburg raid so that should give you an idea of the stakes.

Edited by DBSmith
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I think some people need a plumber...lot of people dripping ...I watching the first one and yeah you have a pop at this and that but seems ok to me sure you could moan about the acting but they seem like J Arthurs to me.

Try not to think of the negatives and enjoy the positives.Although I dunno how many B17 are around but the scene on the recovery from the first sortie seemed a little empty ....I guess they have achieved the best they can and it get a 👍 up from me.

Meanwhile...the hot poop there will be a prog on ch4/5 about the FAA and they have interviewed a load of aircrew maintainers and other trades including yours truely so that will be an absolutely hoofin programme to watch 😆

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8 hours ago, Modelling Masochist said:

Is this even worth watching, or should I just watch 633 Squadron again?

 

It's definitely worth a watch at this stage. The only criticisms I have of it are the somewhat dodgy animation and its a bit self-aggrandising. But the action is visceral and so far it seems to care about accuracy for the most part. Episode 3 was certainly better than 1 & 2 so hopefully that trend continues.

Edited by DBSmith
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On 2/6/2024 at 12:16 PM, Modelling Masochist said:

Is this even worth watching, or should I just watch 633 Squadron again?

 

 tongue in cheek... I hope.  There's enough clips on youtube from the three episodes to get an idea

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A film about the Ploesti raid would bring a little more publicity to the B-24 boys. They always seemed to take second place in the publicity department to the (arguably) more photogenic B-17.

Edited by Slater
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21 hours ago, DBSmith said:

 

It's definitely worth a watch at this stage. The only criticisms I have of it are the somewhat dodgy animation and its a bit self-aggrandising. But the action is visceral and so far it seems to care about accuracy for the most part. Episode 3 was certainly better than 1 & 2 so hopefully that trend continues.

Hit the nail on the head there...

To paraphrase my favourite racing film (which wasn't very good either)

"Flying is life, everything else is just waiting"

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On 1/31/2024 at 2:57 PM, spruecutter96 said:

I appreciate it's a very old example, but have you ever looked at the agent who jumps onto the car-bonnet in the highway chase in Matrix 2? He looks AWFUL. 


Well, I’m sure you’re enjoying driving around in your first-generation Ford Focus, making calls on your Nokia 1100, and posting to rec.models.scale on your Dell Windows XP PC via a 14.4k modem… Things for the rest of us have moved on a bit since 2003…


75% of CGI probably passes by un-noticed, and when you do notice it’s because the script asks for something unbelievable, the time and budget available isn’t equal to the ambition, or it ventures too far into the “uncanny valley.” If you’ve moved on from AOL or Freeserve and are on the-platform-formerly-known-as-Twitter, I highly recommend seeking out and following a guy called Tod Vaziri, who has many very well informed things to say about the uses and abuses of CGI…

best,

M.

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On 2/2/2024 at 10:20 AM, DBSmith said:

(can't stand Barry Keoghan's face)

 BIG SPOILER..................................

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You won't have to look at his face for long!

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16 hours ago, Slater said:

A film about the Ploesti raid would bring a little more publicity to the B-24 boys. They always seemed to take second place in the publicity department to the (arguably) more photogenic B-17.

Hmm good point there is going to be a second series I believe only ...and excuse my ignorance didn't the B24s fly from Italy so were they still part of the 100 bomb group...I don't know so don't anyone get antsy about it.

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B-24s flew from Italy and England. if that is what concerns you.  The entire 2nd Bomb Division of the 8th AF was B-24s.  I don't know whether there was similar apartheid in the 15th AF but in view of the different cruising speeds and altitudes (the B-24 was faster but lower) it would be sensible.

 

The first bomber group on the road up from London was a B-17 group, and hence the first choice for publicity.  And the B-17 was already well publicised before the B-24 appeared.

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The third programme was much better, mainly because it was more about a mission than the characters.  It will be interesting to see if B-24's appear in future episodes.

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One thing about GCI in movies etc (in cheaper productions anyway) where it has aircraft in formation is that the aircraft all rigidly stick to the same separation and each aircraft does not move in the air currents in relation to each other.  An odd error I have thought but perhaps corrected these days.  No doubt though that good GCI is getting much better as computer power etc increases.

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45 minutes ago, JohnT said:

No doubt though that good GCI is getting much better as computer power etc increases.

Of course - for anyone who has been through the various evolutions of MS Flight Sim will be aware of how each new level of realism seems to require an exponential increase in computing power. I imagine to get it spot on you would first have to accurately model the atmosphere with it's interaction with terrain and weather, plus of course the effect of the other aircraft moving through the air, flak bursts etc, Costs would follow the typical 80/20 rule - that last 20% of realism needing 80% of the budget if not more. So I guess a line has to be drawn somewhere.

 

I'd say the CGI in this one is as good, if not better, than most I've seen. In a couple of years, a similar show will be better.

 

Having young granddaughters, I'm exposed to a fair bit of Disney animation - it's interesting to see how it evolves through each release.

 

Cheers

 

Colin

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2 hours ago, Slater said:

The quality of CGI seems to be directly proportional to the amount of money spent on it.

It is, pretty much. Design time, texture quality and realism, complexity of physics models (eg modelling air currents and how they affect each aircraft flying through them versus modelling one aircraft's trajectory and spacing out the others to follow around it, to @JohnT s point)   etc all translate into people time, computing power and rendering time, which cost money. As does the degree to which you're prepared to go round and do something again but better if you can see the possibility of improvements. That's why James Cameron movies are so expensive and take so long to make. He's pretty uncompromising...

best,

M.

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My take on this series to date:

 

The original intention was to wait until the last episode and they watch the entire series on a Free Trial. This changes when I bought a new laptop which came with 3 months Apple TV+ included. As others may be taking my original route no spoilers here.

 

I agree with what most people have said about the CGI, it has the look and feel of a Video game during the flight/combat sequences. Many of the on ground scenes are probably CGI and you cannot fault these. 

 

I have deliberately not read any of Roger Freemans books while the series is on but I spoke to someone with some background knowledge of the series who told me that for the combat sequences all the aircraft details were entered in the computer to ensure that planes were attacked etc.. at the right point in the narrative.

 

It's not a documentary so no one with a reasonable knowledge of the 8th Airforce will learn much from the series. My main beef is that there is no obvious story objective for any of the characters. Even survival is not seen as a possibility. It's not a spoiler to say that a prisoner of war story comes into play so perhaps we will follow a character to end objective at that point. At the moment it's just "who will die next".

 

I acknowledge the great sacrifice made by the 100th GB and the B-17's but living on the Essex/Suffolk border the local line to the B-17 is the 381st and I note in the most recent episode about the Schweinfurt–Regensburg mission no mention all was made about the losses of the other groups involved or the success of the fighter support from both RAF Spitfires and USAAF Thunderbolts. It will be interesting to see how the 2nd Schweinfurt raid is dealt with. A key part of that raid was the diversionary attacks made by the 9th Airforce and I feel in general the activities of the 9th have been over looked in history as has the place of the B-24's based in East Anglia.

 

An additional bonus of have free Apple TV is coming across "Greyhound" well watching, based on a convoy across the Atlantic - where the CGI is far superior the Masters of the Air. Also, although not war related the police series Criminal Record. Both these have characters you learn a lots about and get involved with.

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