Watch a child magically materialize in the background of this BBC News clip

In the future, when the technology allows it, I would like to hire you to follow me around and do this in real time.


Not literally. The cut to b-roll is still evident, so there’s a different perception (perhaps not a conscious one) on the part of the viewer when it comes to the on-camera clip from a given interview vs. the covered portion (VO/SOT) that there may not be continuity. In this case the editing occurs within the on-camera clip and is unacknowledged (unless you notice Houdini Jr., which ends up as confusing at worst and hilariously sloppy-looking at best)

Also, the “umms” and “errs” and pauses (and in the uncovered OC clip, the body language) aren’t wiped out as they are with this technology.

Agreed, and it will also provide truly bad actors who screw people over with the technology to say “well, mainstream media outlets do the same thing” when they’re caught. There’s no reason that the BBC, of all news organisations, has to use this lazy, corner-cutting tech. But it’s not much better when local Eyewitless News shops do it.

That kind of thing was a big no-no in my old shop. There’s an art to cutting a package, but the standard was to leave as much of a person’s usable statement in place (including "um"s – this is how most people talk) to get the point across before cutting to the next usable statement under whatever b-roll coverage was needed.*

A good reporter knows how to ask questions in a way that elicits enought distinct, useable, and at least semi-coherent statements/soundbites for the editor to cut together. If she doesn’t let the subject ramble during the interview it makes for cleaner cuts.

Yep. Media literacy, along with personal financial literacy, are left out of all too many American K-12 curricula. Civics education doesn’t seem to be a high priority, either. The powers that be like that just fine.

[* to be fair they were still using Beta and U-matic editing decks, which would have made such fine-toothed edits difficult. Digital has changed a lot in newsrooms, for better and worse.]


I remember seeing a lot of this on The Rick Mercer Report in Canada.

be sure to tell the man who comes to look around your house for tvs. (because obviously it makes perfect sense to make the tv tax not required if you don’t own a tv - then send men out to search your house for tvs if you don’t pay it :roll_eyes: )

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are we sure this isn’t simply the side exit from Platform 9 ¾?


it is creepy with the visuals. visuals feel like they should be more true, somehow.

for me, cg in movies tends to stand out like a sore thumb, while most of my friends couldn’t see that princess leia in rouge one wasn’t a real actor. let alone tarken.

on the other hand, i thought for the longest time that interviews on talk radio and podcasts were “live” - when they are anything but.

even npr and the bbc edit the #@$! out of their radio interviews. it’d be trivial for them to make up the news, we simply have to trust they can’t get away with making up things whole cloth . a) because eventually someone in the know would call them out. and b) because we believe ( even despite both outlets towards normalizing extreme viewpoints ) they are trying to accurately report the things

there’s a lot of trust when you consume news.

oto, i guess maybe part of keeping that trust is being (more) transparent about what they do. creepy morphing tech included.

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That’s what I was getting at discussing McLuhan, above. There’s an expectation there, especially for viewers like you and me who notice the seams and rough edges.

Those interviews are sort of an in-between format called “live-to-tape”, where the interview is done live (in the sense of being uncut, although some are edited), but recorded for later playback.

Bleeping out the naughty words is considered acceptable in broadcast news as long as the bleep is audible, but cutting out or morphing over the curse words is (or perhaps was) not. It goes to what I was discussing before, making sure a statement or soundbite makes a complete statement and that nothing (not pauses, not “ums”, not body language) is removed from the clip without signalling to the audience.

Print allows a bit more latitude for cutting/“morphing” things mid-statement, since the “ums” and pauses and body language don’t matter as much when you’re reading something rather than viewing or hearing it. Even so, a writer will sometimes leave them in if she feels they’re important (mainly to show that the subject is lying or waffling about something).

Brand and reputation are critical in that regard, although increasing audience polarisation makes things tricky. Fox News has been able to convince a large number of unsophisticated or politically orthodox consumers into believing that they’re trying to accurately report things, despite decades of media analysis showing that they regularly lie and BS and that their “errors” are far too frequent and biased to actually be errors.

The normalisation of extremism by the more reputable media is the deeper problem precisely because they are making a good-faith effort to be accurate and fair. The problem with NPR or the NYT in these situations is that they’re not willing to directly address and challenge the lies and BS of their subjects, whether it’s the “Nazi next door” or Dolt-45. The same goes for The Atlantic’s decision to hire Kevin Williamson as a columnist in the interest of balance or the New Yorker’s decision to include Steve Bannon on a panel.

In either case, reputable video news brands adding this morphing technology is only going to make things worse and give bad actors cover.

It’s really hard to be transparent when using morphing tech because (unlike a cut or transitional effect like a wipe or fade) it’s a CGI special effect like Leia or Tarkin, which by definition is not intended to be perceived by the audience. This one just happened to be sloppy enough to be noticeable, but videographers will quickly learn to frame their shots and position their subjects to avoid these errors.


Not quite as disturbing as this:

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