Heavens, the dog ate the caviar again

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I enjoyed immensely my first viewing of Glass Onion.  I then enjoyed immensely my second viewing of Glass Onion.  In this blog article I will reveal how you can get an identical copy of the digital voice recorder (seen at right) that appears on the screen in this movie at 42:14. 

Of course I don’t want to spoil the plot twists in this delightfully crafted whodunnit.  So I won’t tell you which character it was that cleverly tossed this voice recorder, unnoticed, into a second character’s open handbag.  And I won’t tell you what that second character said later, to a third character, that got recorded by the digital recorder.   Nor will I tell you how and when that first character once again got the voice recorder back in hand.  And I won’t tell you what the reaction was of Benoit Blanc, world-famous detective played by Daniel Craig, upon hearing the things that the second character said, when the first character later pressed the “play” button on this digital voice recorder and played back the words of that second character.  No, out of respect for this delightful film I will not tell you any of those things.

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What I will tell you is that I have had this exact digital voice recorder with me since 2017.  I have used this digital voice recorder dozens of times over the past five years, typically during long drives in a car, to dictate chapters of books for later transcription.

Normally if you want to get your own copy of a very important movie prop, you have spend a lot of money.  But I am delighted to reveal to you that you can get this exact digital voice recorder for $14 by clicking here.  Or you can get it for $26 through Amazon Prime by clicking here.

7 Replies to “Heavens, the dog ate the caviar again”

  1. This looks like a scam. I used the Ali link and was offered the device for $1.98 plus shipping, total $3.65, as “new member deal”. I set up an account, tried to complete the purchase, and go a message saying that payment was denied on my credit card “for security reasons”. So now someone in China has my credit card number. They even had the gall to suggest that I try a different credit card. That would have given them two credit card numbers. Now I have to watch for fraud on my card.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I have placed around forty orders through Aliexpress in recent months, and I was luckier than you, I guess. All of the orders got shipped and I have saved thousands of dollars compared with prices for identical items through Amazon.

      For all of my orders, I used an American Express card. There would then be a pop-up window asking me to type in a Secret Code Number that had just been texted to me. This is some sort of two-factor authentication organized by AE, maybe especially for this merchant. I would check my phone, see the Secret Code Number, and enter it into the pop-up window. Next thing you know this would mean that my payment had worked.

      I have to imagine that this company runs into lots of orders being placed by somebody trying to use a stolen credit card number.

      The way it works with Aliexpress is that the actual vendors never get to see the credit card number. Only the Aliexpress company gets its hands on your credit card number. My best guess is that the Aliexpress company tries to comply with standards for this stuff.

      I am sorry you had that experience.

  2. Do you think this was a paid product placement, or just happenstance? I ask because the brand name is not visible which you’d think would be a requirement.

    1. Quite often when the camera takes a lingering “hero shot” on some branded consumer product, it is very clear that whoever it was, they paid gobs of money for that hero shot, as part of a deal that specified exactly how many seconds the camera was required to linger, and rquired that the logo be right-side up, and that it would be well lit. I have to imagine in some product placement contracts, the brand owner asks for and gets approval rights on the final edited section of film containing the hero shot.

      In Glass Onion, this specific digital video recorder actually gets three hero shots, plus a glimpse shot. The first hero shot is when hmm and Blanc are at a restaurant onshore, before heading out to the dock to board the yacht. And hmm sets up a hero shot of the recorder, explaining that “I have all of her TED talks on this, and I’ve been studying them.”

      Then there is the glimpse shot when hmm tosses the activated recorder into hmm2’s open handbag. If you freeze-frame it you can see it quite clearly. Finally there are actually two more hero shots in succession, when hmm presses the “play” button so that Blanc can hear what hmm2 said to hmm3, and a moment later when the recorded speech of hmm2 and hmm3 is heard.

      If this were an ordinary paid-for product placement on behalf of a well-known consumer electronics company (Tascam or Olympus in this context), I think it would be a very expensive placement. The actor explicitly talks about the product, shows it to the audience, and explains that the actor will use it to accomplish something that is important to the plot (here, studying the TED talks). Everything is set up to signal to us, the audience, that this must be a high-quality piece of electronic equipment, since the only way the plot task will work is if it reproduces the timbre and inflections of the TED speaker with high fidelity.

      Later it gets all set up again, this time signaling to us that this piece of equipment must have such a good microphone and such good analog signal path that it is able to pick up the speech of two people who are at some remove from the open handbag when they speak. Not only that, later when we see hmm’s finger pressing “play” on the recorder, the speech of hmm2 and hmm3 is crystal-clear, the voices clearly recognizable and the words they say clearly understandable.

      Yes we see hmm’s finger pressing the “play” button during the penultimate hero shot. Once again we have a famous actor physically interacting with the product.

      Layered on top of this is the implicit message that this recorder must necessarily be physically small and must not have any moving parts that make noise, so that hmm2 and hmm3 would be unlikely to notice the presence and operation of the device. The maker of the product had to miniaturize it to make everything possible.

      A company like Panasonic (Tascam) or Olympus would be absolutely delighted to rub these multiple placements and setups and messages into the noses of the tens of millions of viewers of this film.

      Which brings us to the branding. Conspicuous by its absence in the first hero shot, the glimpse shot, the second hero shot, and the third hero shot, is any hint or suggestion of branding.

      If one clicks around in Aliexpress or in Amazon, there are half a dozen vendors within each system who would like to sell you one of these exact recorders. On both Amazon and Aliexpress, you can find a few vendors who have silk-screened a brand name onto the recorder, usually Aomago. But most of the recorders (through both Amazon and Aliexpress) are sold in white boxes with no branding of any kind on the recorder or on the box. From context, it is clear that these recorders are manufactured in high quantities by some generic-goods factory in China that is not particularly interested in branding.

      And the recorder is not luxury priced which is also consistent with the lack of branding. As I mentioned in the blog article, you can get this for $14 from Asia or for $26 from Amazon.

      So no, I am pretty sure it was not a product placement. But yes, I can imagine that a Panasonic or an Olympus would have been glad to pay six figures of money for a placement this rich.

  3. I looked at the pictures in the link.

    I did not see a button that would do a “quick, short” rewind so that a user could listen to a bit of what had already been recorded before re-starting recording (a normal feature of a 1980’s micro-cassette dictation device ).

    Did I miss something?

    1. I am delighted to have this opportunity to add a side view of the $14 digital recorder. You can see the new side view now above in the blog article. There are rocker buttons, one with a “forward” icon and one with a “rewind” icon. It has been some time since I tried to use this feature, but IIRC you can be playing back a selection and then a momentary long press of either of the rocker buttons will move things forward or back by some increment.

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