Sunday, 6 May 2007

A week for pet peeves, this time my turn

Seems every photography blog I read this week had pet peeves running. So now it's my turn: cameras and TV & film product placement.

I've nothing against the practice of product placement, per se - it often lends an air of authenticity to productions and these guys have got to pay the bills in new & interesting ways with advertising revenue declining. No worries there. My peeve is with the way cameras, especially serious stuff, is portrayed.

2 great examples (the ones that really get my goat) - CSI, the US TV phenomenon and press photogs in general in film.

To the first - the forensics whizzes in Las Vegas. I vaguely remember (dim & distant past) that in early series they used proper gear: pro bodies, macro equipment (ring lights & twin lights), quality lenses, the woks. All Nikon gear (actually, no one ever shoots Canon in the movies) probably with the data verification gear aimed at these applications. the real Macoy. Now it's all change. They're toting the latest entry level DSLRs, using the built-in flash (usually at inappropriate distances), basics zooms etc. they now all look like tourists, wielding the cameras like a bunch of no-hopers. The realism is gone for the sake of advertising. With the amount of effort spent on every other area of a production like this trying to get a sense of reality, it's amazing how such a simple thing falls short.

Then to number 2, the press in movies (seems less of a problem in TV). Watch any real news event, short of a war zone, and you'll see a gaggle of big-glass toting photogs trying to get in close. Pro bodies, fast wide zooms or 70-200 f/2.8s. Longer lenses if they're behind a barrier. 2-3 cameras each. Large flashes, diffusers etc. 95% Canon (but I'm not going to blame movies for their choice of brand). A proper, professional looking outfit. Occasionally they'll have a single camera if running around but it will be top pro equipment.
Now to the films. Again, basic cameras, slow zooms, single outfit, small flash. They look like amateurs. Get with the program, guys. I even watch one show where the plot revolved a paparazzo and the sneak shots he was getting. they dug up his "cameras" - all film kit (key point was his one digital camera had been nicked). Where were the back-ups, the hard-drives, the laptop of the modern digital professional? Does a single press photo still own, let alone carry a film camera?

Don't the producers/directors think that a single photographer watches their stuff?

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