Wednesday, September 3, 2008


TV6 ran a story on Tuesday night with a woman with a hyphenated name discussing dengue prevention at a workshop.
Unfortunately the woman was very short and the podium with the numerous microphones towered over her head, so the viewer just caught a glimpse of the speaker through the myriad of mics stacked in front of her face.
The reporter and cameraman are probably saying it's not my fault she is short, and it's not my fault the people who organised the workshop did not make provision for vertically challenged presenters.
We agree with you 150% on those two points. However.
You cannot expect your audience to accept that poor shot.
Can you hazard a guess at how many of your viewers actually heard what the presenter said in that soundbite? They clearly would have been distracted by the fact that they could not see her face because she was lost behind all those microphones.

There were two simple solutions.
1. Assuming the reporter thought to ask the cameraman if he got a clear shot of the presenter's face and the cameraman responded in the negative, then the reporter could have approached the presenter during a break in the proceedings and asked her to expand on the point she was making during her presentation. You would not have had to tell her you did not get a clear shot of her. Just ask her to clarify her point while facing your camera, thereby eliminating the need to use that non-shot of her at the podium.
If the cameraman was there on his own and could argue that he did not have a reporter to help, well some initiative would have been welcomed, since you would have already known that no one would be able to see the presenter's face. During the break or after the session, you could have asked the presenter to repeat a few salient points while facing your camera which you would have locked, and with you holding the mic.

2. If the reporter and cameraman reasonably claimed that they had to rush out after the session and could not catch up with the presenter again, then the reporter could have asked the cameraman to ensure he got a shot of the presenter at the head table or wherever she was sitting, so that an establishing shot of her could have been used, then use her voice as she gave her points at the podium but with b-roll video over her face so that viewers did not have to see the tower of microphones.

(And surprisingly this second suggestion was put to us by a layperson - someone who has never even worked in the media! They said "Why didn't they just use her voice and use shots of the crowd over her face?")

Another point for TV6.
When is someone going to talk to Dr. Morgan Job about his posture on the Morning Edition set?
While interacting with Dr. Indra Haraksingh on Wednesday morning, the director gave us a shot which included interviewer and interviewee. Dr. Haraksingh sat with her ankles neatly crossed under the table. Dr. Job on the other hand sat with his legs spreadeagled under the table, his white socks peaking out from the hem of his grey slacks, and slouched down in his seat so that his ill-fitting jacket looked like it was swallowing him.