Most people would never think that an Engineering Consulting Firm would have anything in common with Hollywood, in reality they both share a common bond in breathing new life into something outdated and making it relevant today.
Godzilla Gets a New Look Thanks to Technology
My wheels began turning on this subject after recently reading in the San Jose Mercury News about a 4K ultra high resolution restoration that is underway in Japan of the Godzilla film franchise. Although the appeal of an incredibly crisp, fully restored version of the 1954 classic is certainly there for a nerdy baby boomer like me, my takeaway from the article was focused more on the connection I felt towards what they were trying to accomplish.
In the article, the restoration team was quoted as saying that the scanning technology they are using is so good that they are discovering detail and nuance in the original source material that has never been seen since the film was made. The original transcription and projection technology was just not up to the challenge. Thus, the amazing depth and contrast resolution, that has been laying hidden in the silver nitride crystals of the old film stock can only been seen (wires and all!) by today’s technology. In essence, it has taken a new team of skilled technical people, armed with new technology to reveal the hidden features and thus breathe new life into a very old product.
I see the film restoration process as an excellent analog to the process that an experienced engineering consulting firm can bring to a company’s established products. It is something that I have been doing as an experienced systems electrical engineer for years.
Engineers are Skilled at Revamping Products
So, why use an outside firm to “restore” an old product? There are many reasons, but here are a few:
- Fresh Eyes: The consulting team can experience the product in a fresh way, and like the film restoration team, uncover the hidden detail and design intent of the product.
- Different Skillsets and Experience Base: My personal consulting EE experience range includes electronic design, robotics, wafer probing, surface metrology, infra-red microscopy, cleanroom technology, vacuum transport, and front end systems. When you add the other SERVICES of my firm to the mix, as a engineering team we are ideally placed to evaluate old implementations and propose new and novel ways to skin the original cat (or dinosaur).
- No Axe to Grind: An outside team is not influenced by office politics or the pet projects of an in-house team. The consulting engineering team can work with in-house resources to get at the original design intent in the same way that the film restoration team uncovers the director’s vision. They can also be objective and provide alternative implementation proposals, often bringing new technology from other fields into play to reduce cost, replace obsolescent designs, add features, and thus breathe new life into the old beast.
I am sure that the restoration team in Japan feels both excited and humble at their great undertaking. I share those feelings every time my team takes on a new challenge. It is the reason why I keep at it after many years in the business and look forward to hearing the “roar” of the finished project as it takes on the world-all over again.