Friday, February 22, 2008

Are you ready for your closeup? I'm not.

I'm a television producer, so I live my life around video cameras.

In fact, I even spent part of my career performing on-camera. Yeah, that's me over there playing a "Doc Brown" ripoff for a kids science show on PBS.

So you'd think that because I'm a ham, I'd like the fact that parks are starting to add on-board video cameras to roller coasters.

Surprisingly, I don't like it at all. In fact, it creeps me out.

When I'm riding a roller coaster, it's the one time in life when I can lose all of my inhibitions and totally yell like a maniac. I have a really stressful job, so I see a roller coaster ride as therapy with a $49.95 admission fee. After a few laps on a roller coaster, my stress seems to melt away. I guess it's because I can yell and scream without anyone watching me.

But now, that's not necessarily the case.

Last summer, my brother Greg and I took a trip to an amusement park and we took a spin on one of our favorite inverted coasters. I had ridden it dozens of times before and was really looking forward to another ride.

But when I sat in the seat and pulled down my shoulder harness, I noticed a camera lens starting at me.

"What the hell is this?" I asked Greg, pointing at the electronic eye.

For some reason, I didn't like the fact that someone, somewhere would be able to watch me riding the coaster if they wanted. I'm sure they have privacy protocols in place, but what would stop a rogue employee from downloading a particularly embarrasing video and anonymously uploading it to YouTube?

Anyway, my ride on the invert just wasn't as liberating as in the past. I couldn't get over the fact that every yell, scream and occasional cuss word were being saved on a hard drive somewhere. But I guess I'll have to get used to it.

These days, video cameras are everywhere. Most times, you can't walk into a public place without a camera capturing your every move. So, why shouldn't it be any different on a thrill ride?

What do you guys think?

Join our discussion on this topic in the forums.

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