See the video, not!
April 9, 2008 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Do modern videographers ever think about sub-titles/overlays when composing shots?

It seems like these days, most news programs fill the bottom 1/3 of the screen with crawls and overlays of one form or another. I often see video shots where the most 'interesting' part of the video is completely covered up by these intrusions. It seems pretty rare for the TV station to compensate by shifting the original video up, and cropping the often empty-sky in the top 1/3rd of the frame, or squashing it all into the 2/3rds of available space.

So, finally, my question, to anyone currently in school for TV videographing, or working in the field, is there any industry-wide awareness of the need to re-think how shots are framed with this in mind?
posted by nomisxid to Technology (3 answers total)
No, not unless you have special reason to -- and sometimes there is. But for the most part, losing part of the image to an overlay outweighs having a poorly composed shot if no overlay ends up being used. Plus, you might use that footage for something later, and you want it to be the best composed you can make it, and that assumes there won't be a lower-third graphic.
posted by starman at 11:34 AM on April 9, 2008

Best answer: All news camera-persons working in studio are aware of this and adjust their framing accordingly (for instance to accomodate the typical overlays over the shoulder of the anchor). For outside broadcasts, it varies, because they do not always know in which context (typical full-screen news format, or by the 24 hours news channels, or even later on in a documentary that includes language subtitles) their shots will be used. Thus, they usually frame it for a standard TV ratio, without text or borders.

Finally, there is also the case of the switch in signal that is currently happening (moving from NTSC to HD broadcasting), and that sometimes results, depending on your particular TV set, broadcast signal as well as the format of the original sequence), into seeing an image that has been re-framed (with the adding of black borders) once or even twice, thus leaving room for the addition of overlays.
posted by ddaavviidd at 11:46 AM on April 9, 2008

Absolutely. You should always think about what will be broadcast on the screen when you're shooting. This is true for tv shooters and still photogs (always leave room for the name of the mag!).

I work in tv, and many of the big shows are currently faced with the fun dilemma of having to shoot for two different formats simulataneously...standard and 16:9. All the monitors and cameras in the studios have makeshift means for the operators to flip into standard vs hi-def, and the set designers are going nuts.
posted by nevercalm at 1:26 PM on April 9, 2008

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