EDDIE: So what about the Avengers movie?
GUS: Superheroes aren’t my favourite genre, but I thought Joss Whedon managed to weave a compelling drama laced with imaginative set-piece action sequences …
EDDIE: Why do you talk like that? Nobody talks like that.
GUS: … while deftly choreographing an impressive ensemble cast and delivering a rousing finale.
EDDIE: Whatever. Let’s talk about the visual effects.
GUS: Please, let’s not.
EDDIE: But they’re, like, totally awesome. That big outfit did them … what are they called? Industrial Light Beer.
GUS: Are you absolutely sure that’s the name?
EDDIE: Dunno. Maybe it’s Root Beer. Anyway, I heard they recreated a complete 3D computer model of New York City just by going out and taking photographs on the streets.
GUS: Has someone spiked your drink?
EDDIE: It’s true. These schmucks went out with cameras for like weeks and weeks, shooting every square inch of the city. Like Google Street View. They brought all the photos back and, you know, did stuff.
GUS: What ‘stuff’? How can you turn a series of photographs, which contain only two-dimensional data, into a three-dimensional representation of a metropolitan space?
EDDIE: Dunno. Didn’t read that far. Maybe they printed out the photos and glued them together. You could do that. Like building a house from playing cards. You’d need a big roll of sticky tape. Maybe a warehouse.
GUS: Have you ever thought about seeking professional help?
EDDIE: Like I say, I’m fuzzy on the detail. They used Lidar to scan things.
GUS: What’s ‘Lidar’?
EDDIE: Like radar, only instead of using radio waves it uses … uh … something else. Probably liquid. That’s what the ‘L’ stands for. They have this thing like a fire hose and they spray the special liquid on all the buildings and measure how it splashes off and then they can work out what shape the building is and make a model of it in the computer. They have a special program that ignores all the bubbles.
GUS: You have no idea what you’re talking about, do you?
EDDIE: Not really, no. Another pint?
GUS: I’ll only continue to drink with you if you promise to stop obsessing about visual effects. Spectacular they may be, but they’re valid only in as much as they support the story the filmmakers have chosen to tell.
EDDIE: All right I’ll stop. Same again?
GUS: Yes, please.
EDDIE: (pauses) Those Light Beer guys totally nailed the Hulk, don’t you think?
GUS: (head in hands) Why me?
(with apologies to Industrial Light & Magic)