May 7, 2010

CNN’s new angle dizzying

*May 05 - 00:10*

The New York Daily News has a review on how CNN is making use of its new Atlanta studio — and it isn’t overly flattering.

“After watching for a few days, I’m certain that someone there must own stock in Dramamine,” writes the paper’s Richard Huff, referring to the network’s use of wide, sweeping shots.

“Almost every segment starts with the camera taking a long shot of the anchor, then zooming in and occasionally swirling around the side and over the anchor’s shoulder. None of this is smooth, either,” Huff writes.

Huff adds that the technique becomes particularly distracting when combined with the network’s glitzy new set that’s stocked with moving backgrounds and high-tech screens.

It’s interesting to note that MSNBC tried a similar approach when it launched its new 30 Rock studios, making heavy use of handheld, steadicam-style shots throughout the day that whipped viewers through the complex in a matter of seconds. The shots even showed up MSNBC’s parent network’s “Nightly News” broadcast. The technique, however, was quickly scrapped on both networks, though it’s not entirely clear why.

Possible reasons for the technique’s short life could have been viewer complaints but also could have had to do with the bottom line. Such shots, whether achieved using hand-held cameras or jibs, take additional floor crew to accomplish and often require someone with training on how to use the particular device, all of which adds to the cost of producing each hour of programming.More simple shots, on the other hand, can be achieved with robotic or manually controlled studio cameras.

CNN appears to have taken this a step farther, however, by having reporter live shots shot with handheld, moving cameras as well, such as CNN’s Ed Henry at the White House.

Adding movement to shots can be an effective way to add energy to the newscast — if done right. It’s important to keep shots steady and not moving too quickly. Movement for movement’s sake isn’t always a good thing and can be more distracting than anything.

How long will this technique last for CNN? Vote here.

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One Response to “CNN’s new angle dizzying”

  1. This guy needs to get a life. Dizzying? Give me a freaking break. Jon

    Reply