Culture

Dramatic Pictures

Most of the news coverage from the Christchurch Earthquake in New Zealand has been excellent. The stories are tragic and many of the images are harrowing. They raise in us, the audience, strong emotions. We want to help the people who are going through the aftermath of a terrible event. The ability to identify with the plight of others is one of the better parts of human nature.

On a couple of occasions I saw some of the news footage had been edited into slick, packages and set to music. Some of the images were put into slow motion. In one case the music was Gary Joules’ cover of Tears for Fears’ Mad World.

I wonder if this standard treatment of news is appropriate at this time. Rescue efforts are continuing in New Zealand. The experience of the disaster is ongoing. The scale of the event has not been measured. What it means and how people feel has not been processed.

Using filmmaking techniques that maximise an audience’s emotional response seems redundant when the people of Christchurch are still reeling from this terrifying earthquake. We, the audience, know how we feel. We are shocked to see the destruction and loss of life. The news footage tells the story. We require no polish and no dramatic soundtrack to understand that something awful and heartbreaking has happened to our New Zealand brothers and sisters.

Phil Jeng Kane

4 thoughts on “Dramatic Pictures

  1. We had ABC24 on for a short time last night, trying to catch up on the day’s events. It was mostly good – no real horrible montages or heartstrings moments.

    Then, for a very short time, we flicked over to 7 where the reporter breathlessly motioned for the camera man to pan over and see how close they were to the “action”.

    Action? Seriously Channel 7? It’s a real life disaster, not a Jerry Bruckheimer film.

    All I could think watching the news from the quake, and the cyclone before that, and the floods before that, was how the news rooms from the commercial channels getting prematurely hard over the thought of snatching a Logie for their “coverage”, which in most cases translates to “best disaster montage”.

  2. I think Channel 7 streamed a live feed from TVNZ3. That was th best coverage. Unedited stuff just coming out of the camera and hitting the screens. Couple of swear words got through. Verite is the way on this one IMHO.

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