Illustrator, Designer, Writer

A rant on localisation

Added on by Hans von Schröder.

Hi there. I have to get something of my chest. Like many people of my generation I enjoy the variety and convenience of online streaming. Be it Netflix, Amazon, iTunes or Google Play. Having a massive collection of instantly streamable content at your fingertips at all times is lightyears beyond television, pay-tv or the cinema. I can just kick back relax and then decide what I want to watch. Maybe even take my digital version in any form-factor I choose. 

However there is one thing that has always annoyed me to no end. Something especially prevalent in my country and that is forced localization. 
I love watching stuff in its original form. I believe that while half of acting is visual the other half is in language. Annunciation, Tone, Dialect and the fact that the person speaking is actually in the scene in front of the camera. 
I also support dubbing – something Germany does to every movie and tv-show there is – I don't personally enjoy dubbing in my movies, I can read subtitles fine – thank you very much, but in general the idea of opening up a piece of art beyond its language barrier is admirable and has a positive effect. 
But in this digital age this creates a problem that is incredibly annoying and that has ruined many a movie night for me. That is the problem of versions. Out of all the streaming platforms I named in the beginning of this column only Netflix allows me to set a default language and provides the original version to all its properties. With all the rest you either have to hope for the best or you have to find the tiny fine-print that will tell you what language versions are available. Not only that but sometimes there isn't even an original version. Non of this would be a problem if I would just be allowed to use the english version of the site which will have the original versions of everything but most of these are incredibly stubborn in that they will keep returning you to the page coupled with your geographical location. I understand that this is a legal question, if I live in Germany I should also pay tax on media bought in Germany but this does not excuse the fact that since I am in Germany I will be forced to watch the German Versions only or to severely restrict the amount of original programming I have access to. I mean its not like its about the serverspace. Amazon is one of the biggest providers of servers around the world, yet they don't manage to put the original audio for a film on their server for Amazon Video DE? What is that about. 

I understand that my preference for watching the movie that the people involved in its production actually made is a strange one in Germany but I can't believe that I am the only person that feels like this. Most DVDs have multiple sets of audio with your standard compression a movies audio file comes to about 250mb that makes 1gig with the inclusion of 4 entire languages, 500mb with just the original and the German. Even worse is the lack of any subtitle other than German. 
This is a multinational country, there are not just German speakers living in the country, so you are going to essentially bar them from your service, WHY? Because there is no space, you know thats not true. Because there is no demand? Well I am here demanding away. Seriously I can't even come up with more. I know its not a legal question, you already own the rights to sell the property in your way, is it considered a second property to include the original version. If I buy a DVD its not, and you are quite beyond VHS, so if that is it that is Idiotic but I don't believe it is. 

I will send a copy of this as an email to all the services that are guilty of this in order to find out the reasoning behind such asinine decisions. But I really had to just get this of my chest and I don't believe my ranting will change the situation. Nor do I believe that this in anyway compares to the real problems in the world right now but there you go, this is my website and I can talk about what I want. I promise the next thing I write will not be about consumer service. 

Best,

Hans

Short travel-narrative from 2014

Added on by Hans von Schröder.

In the summer of 2014 I went to Italy. As part of the exchange program I went there for we wrote a couple of travel narratives. This is my story describing my trip to the Necropolis of Cervetery

Cervetery

July twelve, two thousand and fourteen

Sheep; my first impression of the overarching complex of the Necropolis of the Banditaccia was a flock of sheep passing our bus, as it pulled into the small dirt parking lot at the head of the ten hectare complex that marks the visible part of the four hundred hectare large ancient city of the dead. As the doors opened the cling cling of the sheep bells drifting into the bus, probably in much the same way as they would have done during the construction of these tombs in the 9th century BC by the Etruscans. 

Over a gravel alley leading up from the parking lot we reached the entrance into the public part of the Necropolis. To our left and right we could see what seemed to be fields, yet openings and dark entrances marked every seemingly natural hill. Over one thousand tombs are spread throughout the structure and that becomes apparent even when walking up to its current entrance. Passing the Italian inspection, faking British accents, we entered the main structure. Small overgrown pathways wind around giant stone mounds to all sides and openings are built into seemingly every part of the landscape, truely this is a city of the dead reminiscent of a very morbid shire with its grass mounds. Before we were let loose we got to hear a preemptory talk explaining how the structures were created, by working them out of the rock creating the circular mounds that are seen today. They also described square tombs that were added in the 6th century BC to extend the capacity for the growing Etruscan noble class as well as subterranean tombs that are set into the surrounding hills. 

After the talk a friend and me left the group behind to head off the beaten path and explore without supervision and I am glad we did. Heading over a patch of grass between some trees we made our way to where some of the decrepit “dice”, the square tombs added three centuries after the original structures were created, stand in rows that remind me of a suburban neighborhood. The tombs line an overgrown “street” at both sides. Their entrances are created in the same style that is used for almost all tombs here, with variations dependent on the families wishes obviously. A stone archway opens up to stairs heading down to the entrance of the tomb, most of them have one main room that opens up at the base of the stairs with some including side rooms with other tombs. Most main chambers have up to four sarcophagi along the walls, with two to the left and right of the entrance and two more behind a open separating wall, further inside the tomb. Stone seats are placed next to the squares meant to hold the sarcophagi, to give the grieving a place to hold watch over the deceased.

The graves we found at first were all flooded to different levels and inhabited by a myriad of spiders. As we went further form the prepared ways we found more and more beautiful overgrown tombs to all sides, some of the reaching high over the forrest ground with vegetation all over the mounds making it seems like the high dark entrances are growing out of a high thicket. As we walked deeper into the structure, sketching broken down graves and passing lone archways just standing freely by themselves, the space becomes more cluttered, graves are shooting out of the hills all around us and after mounting a metal staircase, with a big warning sign, we get to a space were the graves stand so close that we had to duck through narrow spiral walkways overgrown at all sides. One of these walkways lead us to a clearing with the biggest mound we had seen so far. The giant structure maybe fifty meters in diameter reaches up another twenty, Its entrance is not at the ground level like with the others but halfway up its slope, with very worn stone steps. Around the structure other tombs stand facing the central one. There are no signs, but this place clearly feels special, with a little metal bridge leading up the giant structures’ entrance. Inside the structure is a grave that is more elaborate than the others but not in fact bigger. One small room holding the remains of one sarcophagus. Before we could find out more or even round it we realized that we were already ten minutes late. I will definitely have to come back here, as I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of this strange city, but for now we were of to see more things. 

About this Blog

Added on by Hans von Schröder.
wisefry

Welcome potential reader. This is going to be my blog about all the things that are on my mind and which I cannot help myself but write down somewhere. Since the lengthy rants and short-stories I am prone to are not welcomed by my Facebook friends and I do not really know where to put them in the first place this is going to be the "somewhere" that has been missing. I have no idea if anyone will ever read these or if my ramblings will enrich the world in any way or if I am just wasting Squarespace's server-space with a couple of bites of self-indulgent and dyslexic text that noone will ever read. But this is what im doing so deal with it.