Right now the tv is offering great footage from the earthquake in Japan. We can watch live how the tsunami waves roll in sweeping away cars and houses. We can truly sympathise with the pain the Japanese are experiencing. Unfortunately, we get to see only slightly over two thirds, about 70 percent of the vivid images.
The lower third of the image is covered by the info panels where the main information seems to be that this is BREAKING NEWS. At best this is repeated three times. Yes, the image is a composite from several sources but nevertheless we, the viewers, get to enjoy all those flat colours and texts screaming BREAKING three times instead of the actual breaking news images.
It is especially annoying in shots where the focal point of the whole composition is clearly just under the panel. In the fire images we are left looking at the smoke plumes. With the rolling waves there’s also the problem that the movement should have some space to go to.
But luckily at least it is video image. So sometimes the camera moves enough to reveal what’s really going on. And these unfortunate shots are swamped with good ones. But they create this frustrating feeling that obviously there is all this great footage and we are just teased with it.
I just wonder do the tv channels nowadays bother telling the cameramen they’re going to cover one third of the image with panels? I wonder how frustrated he or she feels if he/she compares the original footage to what was broadcasted. And as it really is such breaking news with such vivid imagery, do we really need to see the info panels all the time?