Typeset In The Future: Blade Runner

The font-nerdery in this is truly excellent, and I enjoyed the deconstruction of the errors in the replicant serial numbers, but it's when he tears apart the ESPER that it really shines:

Typeset In The Future: Blade Runner

This chunky-looking gadget is a voice-controlled photographic enhancer with an almost supernatural ability to follow its controller's verbal instructions. When Deckard inserts Leon's photo into the ESPER and asks it to enhance 224 to 176, it diligently enhances 197 to 334 as requested: [...]

Deckard continues to direct the ESPER to navigate around his blurry, out-of-focus photo. He asks it to enhance 34 to 36, and it obediently enhances 197 to 334 as instructed:

The ESPER zooms in further still, focusing on the mirror on the far wall of the next room. As image quality becomes more and more challenging due to distance, resolution, and the fundamental laws of physics, the ESPER's enhancement algorithm automatically switches from "blurry VHS" to "high-quality film stock": [...]

I'm not going to lie: this whole scene is spectacularly geographically confusing. By my reckoning, the final photo above is a reflection in a mirror of a reflection in a mirror, although even then I'm not entirely sure.

To try and help, I've put together a precise map of how I think the apartment's layout works, which will hopefully help us all make sense of what's going on:

Indeed, things got so confusing at this point in the movie that I decided to make an painstakingly-edited recreation of the entire ESPER sequence, just to work out how far we crop, zoom, and enhance at each stage of the machine's photo-processing. Here's the entire thing, for your delight and delectation:

That's right: by my calculations, that final photo of Zhora is a 667.9-times zoom in on the original photograph. It's no wonder, then, that the image of Zhora that Deckard prints from the ESPER machine is a little bit grainy.

Also, BR9732 is a truly ridiculous 3D model of Deckard's apartment:

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3 Responses:

  1. mspong says:

    I always assumed the image was a semi hologram thing, at the end of the sequence he seems to pan sideways to reveal Zora, but now I wonder if that thing she's hiding behind is a hair on the photo?

  2. Tim says:

    In case you haven't seen it: enhance!

  3. Film grain yo, how does it work?

    Yeah, that thing at the end is nicely skeptical; here's this nice solemn treasure Deckard's invading, and if you haven't lost your shit yet, how about winging around the boa on the corner, out of view path 2 ways, then Deckard smells the bath bombe and asks for hard copy?

    Don't forget Phantom Quest Corporation OAV 4, where the heroine pays an expert on spec to troubleshoot her Polaroid. Halfway-ish? (Yuugen Kaisha: Pioneer/Madhouse if that helps)

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