BBC Television programmes  permalink

wobbly cam

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  • Message 1. 

    Posted by shirley (U15490528) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    Can someone please tell me why some BBC TV programmes have started using 'wobbly cam' ?

    Why, when I am watching a cooking programme, which is my main source of annoyance, bombarded with out of focus bowls, taps, saucepans etc instead of the actual food going into the bowl, mixer, etc and what it should maybe look like at that stage?

    Not only that, as the camers wobbles around, goes in and out of focus, it also swipes so quickly from one place to another, my eyes and brain can't keep up, and it's like having your vision and balance impaired! It's completely crap camera work and does my HEAD in.

    Is this meant to make the programme look hand made? real life? Well please don't it's flippin rubbish! Normal cam please, non of that wobbly rubbish!

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  • Message 2

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    Posted by thedogcody (U14659366) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    Welcome shirley-have you met anita -who complained about the same thing a few days back

    www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

    or isobel perhaps

    www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

    on the same subject

    There seems to be a pattern emerging

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  • Message 3

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    Posted by thedogcody (U14659366) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    or colin-again on the same subject

    www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

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  • Message 4

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    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    Welcome to the board shirley.

    You bring up a topic frequently complained about on this board, not that directors, editors or producers are interested in our opinion.

    These nauseating tricksy camera and editing techniques are currently fashionable among the pretentious and self-indulgent kids fresh out of Meeja Studies, and seem to be used mainly as a distraction from poor scripts, plots and acting.

    Those responsible aren't interested in the effect on the people who watch the junk they produce, but hopefully they will eventually grow up, things will move on, and the next generation of producers and directors will think of other ways to irritate the viewer.

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  • Message 5

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    Posted by Maxibaby (U14151672) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    Welcome to the board shirley.

    You bring up a topic frequently complained about on this board, not that directors, editors or producers are interested in our opinion.

    These nauseating tricksy camera and editing techniques are currently fashionable among the pretentious and self-indulgent kids fresh out of Meeja Studies, and seem to be used mainly as a distraction from poor scripts, plots and acting.

    Those responsible aren't interested in the effect on the people who watch the junk they produce, but hopefully they will eventually grow up, things will move on, and the next generation of producers and directors will think of other ways to irritate the viewer. 
    Hear, hear! It seems to be considered "edgy", "cutting edge", or whatever the current buzz word/phrase is to whizz the camera around rather than rely on giving a good, clear visual on the subject matter. Hope the fad soon passes.

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  • Message 6

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    Posted by SAB888 (U14777346) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    Well Shirley, the nasty wobbly cam has been used for many years, it isn't new. Apart from that, I agree with everything you say. The Directors won't listen though because they think they know better. I just stop watching these programmes.

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  • Message 7

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    Posted by Bethgem (U14263559) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    Welcome to the board shirley.

    You bring up a topic frequently complained about on this board, not that directors, editors or producers are interested in our opinion.

    These nauseating tricksy camera and editing techniques are currently fashionable among the pretentious and self-indulgent kids fresh out of Meeja Studies, and seem to be used mainly as a distraction from poor scripts, plots and acting.

    Those responsible aren't interested in the effect on the people who watch the junk they produce, but hopefully they will eventually grow up, things will move on, and the next generation of producers and directors will think of other ways to irritate the viewer. 
    Hear, hear! It seems to be considered "edgy", "cutting edge", or whatever the current buzz word/phrase is to whizz the camera around rather than rely on giving a good, clear visual on the subject matter. Hope the fad soon passes. 

    Too right, I too hope the fad disappears, forever! It's worse than junk mail.

    All our junk mail gets chucked in the bin for the recycling collection service.

    We don't pay for junk mail, but we do pay for what is broadcast on our very own BBC.

    Hence the complaints directed to the Beeb in the hope that something will be done about them.

    I do say "hope"; that is the thing with the Beeb, they do not care a jot really.

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  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by Jan-Ann (U14322193) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    I just stop watching these programmes.  I have to take my eyes away from the screen, so it's a no goer if the BBC want us to watch the TV.

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  • Message 9

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    Posted by Bethgem (U14263559) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    Well Shirley, the nasty wobbly cam has been used for many years, it isn't new. Apart from that, I agree with everything you say. The Directors won't listen though because they think they know better. I just stop watching these programmes.  Yeees...a case for the waste-bin approach...every time.

    They get paid for this rubbish, while we, in effect, chuck it away.

    What a waste.
    smiley - doh

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  • Message 10

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    Posted by SAB888 (U14777346) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    I just stop watching these programmes.  I have to take my eyes away from the screen, so it's a no goer if the BBC want us to watch the TV.   Yes, when it gets to the stage when I also have to look away from the screen several times, I know it is time to stop watching. I find that it gives me an uncomfortable feeling and have to look away. It's almost painful to actually keep watching.

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  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by SAB888 (U14777346) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    Well Shirley, the nasty wobbly cam has been used for many years, it isn't new. Apart from that, I agree with everything you say. The Directors won't listen though because they think they know better. I just stop watching these programmes.  Yeees...a case for the waste-bin approach...every time.

    They get paid for this rubbish, while we, in effect, chuck it away.

    What a waste.
    smiley - doh 
    I seem to remember one of the first cookery programmes to suffer the wobbly cam and fast focus-pulling (I think it's called - I have another word for it! smiley - winkeye ) was an Ainsley Harriet programme some years ago. For some reason, Directors of this type of programme think it's what the viewer wants! I couldn't watch that either.

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  • Message 12

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    Posted by Maxibaby (U14151672) on Sunday, 4th November 2012

    My first memory of this was when Jamie Oliver was first shown. The camera was whizzing around and about and up and down, and I felt quite nauseous - quite put me off the food!

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  • Message 13

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    This posting has been hidden during moderation because it broke the House Rules in some way.

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 10.

    Posted by The Neanderthal (U2299133) on Monday, 5th November 2012

    I too find the camera tricks tiring to watch. When confronted with something blurred out, I have to look away, or close my eyes. The final effect is to lose interest and fall asleep. Dramas are particularly bad for blurring, even a character who's speaking is often out of focus. I wonder what the actors must think if they find they're given this kind of treatment. That awful 'background' to the newscaster, cannot something be done about it after all this time? Don't watch Strictly any more; glaring lights and over vivid colors.

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  • Message 15

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    Posted by shirley (U15490528) on Monday, 5th November 2012

    Welcome shirley-have you met anita -who complained about the same thing a few days back

    www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

    or isobel perhaps

    www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mb...

    on the same subject

    There seems to be a pattern emerging 
    No, as new to this complaining online forum, just glad it's not just me! Whether the beeb do anything about it is a different thing. Shame as Nigel Slater & The good cook were good ( amongst other wobble cam programmes ).

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  • Message 16

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    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Monday, 5th November 2012

    It's what happens when you get people that got their degrees in meeja studies from colleges that used to be swimming pools... and of course, the fact it has become prevalent in the colonies (which the BBC must slavishly ape) means it's here to stay.

    In SOME situations - such as battle scenes - it can make sense in terms of conveying a hectic and confusing battlefield. That said, I think it's more often used to hide dodgy effects, bad directing and poorly choreographed fights (I'm looking at you, Hunted).

    When it's used in factual programme - one can only assume it's being used as a crutch by those who feel that their own ego is more important than the programme they are making.

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  • Message 17

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    Posted by eviled2 (U14446578) on Monday, 5th November 2012

    Can someone please tell me why some BBC TV programmes have started using 'wobbly cam' ?

    Why, when I am watching a cooking programme, which is my main source of annoyance, bombarded with out of focus bowls, taps, saucepans etc instead of the actual food going into the bowl, mixer, etc and what it should maybe look like at that stage?

    Not only that, as the camers wobbles around, goes in and out of focus, it also swipes so quickly from one place to another, my eyes and brain can't keep up, and it's like having your vision and balance impaired! It's completely crap camera work and does my HEAD in.

    Is this meant to make the programme look hand made? real life? Well please don't it's flippin rubbish! Normal cam please, non of that wobbly rubbish! 
    Glad you just became aware of it....I have been suffering it for bloody years.
    Has made many a potentially interesting programme or series totally unwatchable.

    Then there is the loud intrusive background music....Frankie Cocozza narrating the story of the latest discoveries in Quantum Physics and Katie Price presenting ""The Sky At Night".

    Ok, not yet but you take my point I hope!

    All the best Shirley.

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  • Message 18

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    Posted by Bethgem (U14263559) on Monday, 5th November 2012

    Another BBC programme I happened to see, as I was scanning the channels, is "Robbed, Raided, Reunited", this morning, 5/11/12.

    I saw it at about 11:20am and for just long enough to find that I could not continue watching due to the ever-so-wobbly cameras, filming inside and outside.

    As with other posters, this procedure was unbearable to watch, making pain in my eyes and confusion to my brain. And for what, I wondered? No answer came to mind.

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  • Message 19

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    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    Isn't it ironic that so much money, time and effort was spent to develop auto-focus and steadicam, yet they now churn out stuff that would shame Joe Public, using a cheap mobile 'phone?

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  • Message 20

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    Posted by Andy (U2269368) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    It's not only the deliberate wobbles and sways that irritate. We also have to endure the sudden, unnecessary 'extreme close-ups' of mouths, ears and noses. What makes the director think we viewers want to see these things filling our screens?
    Then there is the change to monochrome, again for no reason whatsoever.
    Please will someone (preferably a director or editor) tell us why they do these stupid things?

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  • Message 21

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    Posted by Huckerback (U14411634) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    I'm sure it's 'on trend' and directors like to think it's pretty funky.

    But I reckon it's real appeal is that it masks a genuine lack of technical expertise.

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  • Message 22

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    Posted by SAB888 (U14777346) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    I'm sure it's 'on trend' and directors like to think it's pretty funky.

    But I reckon it's real appeal is that it masks a genuine lack of technical expertise. 
    I think you are correct about it being a way of avoiding a technically challenging task, especially in action scenes. Everything can be done in the editing suite with digital technology.

    Other than that, I hope it's a passing fad that will disappear.

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  • Message 23

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    Posted by Bethgem (U14263559) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    smiley - laugh No,no,no, that's not it! The camera sways and tilts and goes awry when even the simplest task is being filmed! Many times this has happened, and I have to turn away and eventually I stop watching.

    There is no answer to why they do what they do. Extra close-ups of faces; swirling round in all directions; changing to monochrome and back to colour; blurring; all these and possibly more that you know of. I find watching TV nowadays offers only two choices - put up or switch off.

    I live in the dread of one day being in a nursing home somewhere where they have the TV on all day and we are placed in front of it without the chance to move away or to change the channel or to mute it, and we are forced to have this rubbish on just to keep us occupied. I really would hate all that. I just hope I never find myself in that position.

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  • Message 24

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    Posted by Maxibaby (U14151672) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    Oh Bethgem - a true nightmare scenario! Brought to mind the scene in "A Clockwork Orange" when the gang leader is parked in front of a TV with his eyes held open by a sort of paper-clip thing. Shall have nightmares tonight! smiley - yikes

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  • Message 25

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    Posted by Bethgem (U14263559) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    Oh Bethgem - a true nightmare scenario! Brought to mind the scene in "A Clockwork Orange" when the gang leader is parked in front of a TV with his eyes held open by a sort of paper-clip thing. Shall have nightmares tonight! smiley - yikes 
    smiley - laugh
    Oh dear!
    I have not seen that movie, forunately, as it sounds like a nightmare from your description of it!
    Sleep well, think of nicer things.

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  • Message 26

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    Isn't it ironic that so much money, time and effort was spent to develop auto-focus and steadicam, yet they now churn out stuff that would shame Joe Public, using a cheap mobile 'phone?  I think the irony is lost on the perpetrators. They have the ability to deliver pictures of unparalleled quality and yet seem to spend the vast majority of their time making things as difficult to see as possible - I'm lookin at you again, Hunted!

    But I reckon it's real appeal is that it masks a genuine lack of technical expertise. 
    Oh, I agree. All these people with their meeja studies degrees from swimming pools are likely compensating for an inability to direct/edit/do anything.

    Although, it would be marginally worse if they were capable of creating a scene without the wibbly wobbly and didn't simply because they felt it wasn't artsy enough.

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  • Message 27

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    Posted by SAB888 (U14777346) on Tuesday, 6th November 2012

    I know what you mean Bethgem, that was just one example of how it is used. Yes, I also have to look away from the screen on occasions when the fast moving camera or zooming in and out actually makes it impossible to watch. I also hate the messing with colours unless it is used for a very good reason. Out-of-focus camerawork seems to be the latest trend that is really annoying.

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  • Message 28

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    Posted by Nick Brighton (U4274084) on Wednesday, 7th November 2012


    The first time I remember 'wobbly cam' was for the series 'This Life' I sort of got used to it...but I watched the first episode of 'Getting On' on the IPlayer last night and that drove me mad...the camera kept going out of focus, zooming in zooming out and jumping about all over the place..it drove me mad

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  • Message 29

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    Posted by Pampy (U1022836) on Wednesday, 7th November 2012

    Can't for the life of me understand why my message (13) was pulled. All I said was I agreed with the OP about "wobbly cam" and that I also didn't like strap lines that obscured important parts of the film being shown (like a chef's hands when he's demonstrating how to prepare something). Wonder if this will be pulled too??

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  • Message 30

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    Posted by Pampy (U1022836) on Wednesday, 7th November 2012

    I know what you mean Bethgem, that was just one example of how it is used. Yes, I also have to look away from the screen on occasions when the fast moving camera or zooming in and out actually makes it impossible to watch. I also hate the messing with colours unless it is used for a very good reason. Out-of-focus camerawork seems to be the latest trend that is really annoying.  Agree with the out-of-focus comment. A recent Nigel Slater programme showed him shopping for ingredients - but it was all out of focus. I really don't understand what the programme makers are trying to convey with this kind of trick.

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  • Message 31

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    Posted by Nick Brighton (U4274084) on Wednesday, 7th November 2012

    I know what you mean Bethgem, that was just one example of how it is used. Yes, I also have to look away from the screen on occasions when the fast moving camera or zooming in and out actually makes it impossible to watch. I also hate the messing with colours unless it is used for a very good reason. Out-of-focus camerawork seems to be the latest trend that is really annoying.  Agree with the out-of-focus comment. A recent Nigel Slater programme showed him shopping for ingredients - but it was all out of focus. I really don't understand what the programme makers are trying to convey with this kind of trick. 
    You spend a fortune on HD TV's and then they show you everything out of focus !!!!!

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  • Message 32

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    Posted by longmemoryintv (U15477482) on Wednesday, 7th November 2012

    Shal I tell you why it is? Firstly, all the people who learnt and knew how to do it properly are retired now (and if you think you're suffering, try watching 'Hunted' next to someone who does know how to do it properly, until he has to go out of the room in disgust). Secondly, there are a lot of tinpot little independent companies around now who are prepared to do it for peanuts. Thirdly, the BBC are more interested in paying layers of management than experienced production staff because they're scared rigid about charter renewal.

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  • Message 33

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    Posted by SAB888 (U14777346) on Wednesday, 7th November 2012

    The thing is, most of the wobbly camerawork is deliberate. For some reason, some people think it is modern, cutting edge camerawork.

    Take the Bourne films, The Bourne Identity was an excellent film but Supremacy and Ultimatum had a different Director, and for me, those two films are actually painful to watch as a result of the camerawork and editing. Two popular films that are maybe influencing other, younger Directors? Hopefully not.

    I've got Masterchef: the Professionals on now, and the fast moving hand-held camera is really annoying.

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  • Message 34

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    Posted by Bethgem (U14263559) on Wednesday, 7th November 2012

    Point to note: no-one has said it is ok, yeah?

    This thread could go on and on and we would still be nowhere near getting 'them' to notice.

    I'll have to take this one out of my Discussions list. I realise that the 'trend' and 'fad' wobbly-cam, as it has been called, is not popular with anyone so far.

    I agree with all comments made, but, alas, this thread is as far as they go. As for complaining to the BBC, well, that is another dead end!

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  • Message 35

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    Posted by The Neanderthal (U2299133) on Thursday, 8th November 2012

    Well Bethgem, sounds as though you're signing off, but I agree with your comments. Good programs are being ruined, by so called 'artsy' camera work that's extremely tiring to watch. This thread has appeared before under 'blurring'. We can only hope the powers that be will listen in the end. Meanwhile I'm gradually migrating to the minor channels to watch old films, that don't seem to be afflicted with these problems. HD? I very seldom switch to it.
    Perhaps if we all modify our viewing in this way, they will finally accept that since the dawn of the TV age, engineers have worked to get clear pictures, and later on in natural color, and that viewers will not tolerate inferior images in the name of art. It might be compared to driving a nice new car with handbrake on. No one would do that on purpose. I do hope it's not a dead end.

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  • Message 36

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    Posted by conion (U9432813) on Thursday, 8th November 2012

    . It might be compared to driving a nice new car with handbrake on 
    Personally, I'd it compare to driving in the rain with the washer intermittently spraying greasy water onto the screen and the wipers not working and with the exhaust broken off at the manifold and only "You and Yours" on the radio.

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  • Message 37

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    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Friday, 9th November 2012

    The constant grand quest these days in television is ..........................

    .................................INNOVATION

    It doesn't matter what it is or how stupid and ridiculous and pointless it is - if it looks different from how things were or is a noticeable device, however distracting and superfluous ...... it can pass for Innovative - and Innovative = Good, and that means getting commissioned by those who aren't that bothered about or aware of quality, and that means money all round.

    Cool!

    Once upon a time, long ago, programme makers would try to find methods of conveying and serving what a programme was about - as a problem-solving exercise. Now all that matters is purposeless effects as decorative eye-distracting flim-flam.

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  • Message 38

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    Posted by The Neanderthal (U2299133) on Friday, 9th November 2012

    You certainly have a point. I wonder what the boys with their irritating toys will think of next.
    My first experience with TV was in 1951. The set was home built, the screen only 9 inch, black and white of course and only 405 lines. Despite the early limitations pictures were clear, and there was no problem with the camera work. BGM? We might have wondered what that was in those days.
    I now have HD, but constantly wonder just what use it is when dealing with the latest dramas festooned with all the bells and whistles. Another irritating thing is the practice of shooting scenes though those awful Venetian blinds. Then they go up close, so that the slats leave a fuzzy bar to further impair the viewing. Often the room seems full of fog, another method of making the viewer squint. Must every light have a dazzling beam?

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  • Message 39

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    Posted by SAB888 (U14777346) on Friday, 9th November 2012

    Another irritating thing is the practice of shooting scenes though those awful Venetian blinds. Then they go up close, so that the slats leave a fuzzy bar to further impair the viewing. Often the room seems full of fog, another method of making the viewer squint. Must every light have a dazzling beam?  You'd have loved ITV's DCI Banks on Wednesday and Thursday. then. Another programme that used to be good but this week's episodes were dire!

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  • Message 40

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    Posted by Blithermiester (U15494975) on Friday, 9th November 2012

    Can someone please tell me why some BBC TV programmes have started using 'wobbly cam' ?

    Why, when I am watching a cooking programme, which is my main source of annoyance, bombarded with out of focus bowls, taps, saucepans etc instead of the actual food going into the bowl, mixer, etc and what it should maybe look like at that stage?

    Not only that, as the camers wobbles around, goes in and out of focus, it also swipes so quickly from one place to another, my eyes and brain can't keep up, and it's like having your vision and balance impaired! It's completely crap camera work and does my HEAD in.

    Is this meant to make the programme look hand made? real life? Well please don't it's flippin rubbish! Normal cam please, non of that wobbly rubbish! 
    I blame the "Blair Witch Project". It just gives me a headache and makes me feel dizzy.

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  • Message 41

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    Posted by White Socks (U1161464) on Saturday, 10th November 2012

    I think this is just a cost cutting exercise. Rather than employ professionals they get the cheapest deal they can and then expect us to try and watch it. If they were to employ carefully trained professionals instead of teenagers then program quality would improve.

    Amazingly the BBC might find that their viewing figures increase enormously as well.

    I always turn these programs of nowadays and can't even be bothered to watch any thing that even sounds vaugely interesting simply because I know I will feel sick.

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  • Message 42

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    Posted by longmemoryintv (U15477482) on Saturday, 10th November 2012

    Directors do have their funny little ways. For many many years there was one particular drama director who HAD to have a shot reflected in a mirror. No matter BBC or ITV - shot of a mirror reflection. We'd be watching something, and my husband would say 'there you are, that's so and so.' In those days you could read the credits - and there he was. Perhaps he thought the public would notice his little idiosyncrasy and he'd get famous for it, bit like Hitchcock and the McGuffin. In fact it was sometimes very difficult for the production staff - and it added nothing whatsoever to the story. The simplicity and ease of modern video technology has enabled many more would-be creative but totally unnecessary indulgencies - and it would seem that they are beginning to become annoyingly obvious to the viewing audience.

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  • Message 43

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    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Saturday, 10th November 2012

    Rather than employ professionals they get the cheapest deal they can and then expect us to try and watch it 
    Trainee under instruction.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • Message 44

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    Posted by Nick Brighton (U4274084) on Saturday, 10th November 2012


    This method doesn't make me feel sick...just annoyed

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  • Message 45

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    Posted by caissier (U14073060) on Saturday, 10th November 2012

    I can well imagine that, back, in college, they were pressed to be original, creative, to 'explore the medium', to express themselves, to 'do something' with it ............. so that now it is ingrained that playing with the technology, cool effects and manipulation is what it is inseperably, just unqestionably, what the job is all about.

    I don't know if they are ever offered the idea that restraint could be a virtue, along with unshowy simplicity and straightforward communication. I bet, though, that competition for commissions tends to leads to flashiness to get noticed and the art of 'feel' has become neglected.

    I think BBC inhouse productions do suffer less from the horrible affectations so common now

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  • Message 46

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    Posted by Essential Rabbit (U3613943) on Saturday, 10th November 2012

    Rather than employ professionals they get the cheapest deal they can and then expect us to try and watch it 
    Trainee under instruction.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] 
    I have no idea why that link was removed.

    It was merely an inoffensive photograph of an orangutan with a camera!

    How odd.

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  • Message 47

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    Posted by Prophet Tenebrae (U5995226) on Saturday, 10th November 2012

    I thought the supreme irony of the situation was actually that a great deal of money was spent on getting highly trained camera men who are fully capable of running and still keeping a shot fairly smooth and in focus (the kind of guys that they had on Challenge Anneka made it an art form!) and such but then you have all these directors/editors/producers etc. from swimming pools turned colleges with their degrees is meeja studies getting them to act as if they're a drunken sailor on the high seas?

    Y'know, making sure to waste even MORE of our precious license fee!

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    Posted by designengineer (U11181100) on Saturday, 10th November 2012

    I thought the supreme irony of the situation was actually that a great deal of money was spent on getting highly trained camera men who are fully capable of running and still keeping a shot fairly smooth and in focus (the kind of guys that they had on Challenge Anneka made it an art form!) and such but then you have all these directors/editors/producers etc. from swimming pools turned colleges with their degrees is meeja studies getting them to act as if they're a drunken sailor on the high seas?

    Y'know, making sure to waste even MORE of our precious license fee! 
    BBC Maida Vale Studios actually used to be a swimming pool. Perhaps they inherited some of the staff.

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