Inexorably Changed

Deborah McAdams is the Executive Editor of TV Technology.

The earthquake-triggered tsunami in Japan last month yielded the type of video footage that Hollywood disaster fiends could ill-conceive even with the best CG systems extant. One particularly illustrative amateur clip appearing on Asia News Network shows blackened water pouring over a seawall, shoving cars and large fishing vessels out of the way like toys. About half a minute in, you see that the video is being captured from the balcony of a seaside building. The railing appears to be lined with people holding DSLR cameras.

Another clip picked up by Al Jazeera shows the impact on the Miyagi prefecture village of Minami-sanriku, making it seem like a roiling soup of houses and buildings instead of a town. There's a shot of a small group of people right at the edge of the flooding, one of them nearly getting swept away.

The footage was dramatic, not in a hugely explosive Hollywood way, but rather for the surreality of a landscape of real homes housing real people, slowly turning to sludge.

For those of us not yet directly affected by a natural disaster, it's nearly unfathomable to imagine the trauma of such an event. Yet life appears to be going on as usual in most of Japan, as it did in the United States after New Orleans was devastated by Katrina.

The companies that supply the broadcast and video industries reported continued operations in most cases, with some temporary suspensions to accommodate rolling brown outs. That means people are going to work, despite the disappearance of villages and the displacement of some 434,000 people. They are carrying on the way any one of us might have to at any moment, should nature take her turn at our front door. But the suffering is far from over for many.

May all healing, aide and recovery come swiftly to them.