Embracing a New Technology

From: Richard W. Adkins, WRAL-TV, Raleigh, NC

High Definition Television is a reality. But the push for programming has out paced the development of equipment. That means there is more an emphasis on good solid photography than ever before in the video world.

A true HDTV edit suit offers little more than a few simple wipes and dissolves. Currently the bells and whistles available to many photographers in AVID edit suites and digital effects are not available in HDTV.

Shooting HDTV in the field now requires photographers to think about transitions, object placement and color quality. “Fixing it post” is not an option.

So what does this mean to Television News Photographers? The answer is a return to the basics.

There are four basic elements in great Television News stories; Excellent framing, clean crisp audio, exceptional lighting and great story telling. These elements are even much more important in HDTV.

Excellent Framing:
The HDTV frame is much wider, and it’s 1000+ lines of resolution gives the viewer more visual information than conventional television. Careless framing can cause the viewer to be distracted form the most important part of the picture.

Clean Crisp Audio:
Too often in television photographers forget they are recording sound as well as taking pictures. HDTV offers the listener the advantage of digital audio. Great sound helps the clear pictures come alive.

Exceptional Lighting:
The brilliant picture of HDTV shows every detail and flaw in the frame. Many people will not like the way they look on camera. Exceptional lighting will help soften skin tones and make the subject look more comfortable.

Great Storytelling: Every story needs a beginning, middle and end. Each story should have characters, the people involved in the story. The clarity of the HDTV pictures allows the viewer to make a real connection with those characters.

Many Television News Photographers have already had a chance to get their hands on this new format. Others are just beginning to learn about it. As the industry moves to the HDTV format it’s important the photographers share their experiences with this technology.

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