Saturday, 23 May 2009

BBC's slipping standards

Comment sent to BBC via their web site this evening:

This morning on BREAKFAST there were at least two (I think three) clips in the feature on Morrissey where 4:3 footage was "stretched" to 16:9. I am not a follower of Morrissey, but this picture distortion was immediately obvious to me. For a professional broadcaster, this is simply shoddy. I'm sure your editors and engineers have heard of zooming and cropping - or, of course, they could have used pillarboxing with vertical mattes.

The analogy that always comes to my mind is wedding photographs - no-one would consider accepting these if the bride and groom were shown 33% wider than in life, so why does the BBC (that we expect to uphold broadcast standards) do this?

This isn't the first time I've seen this on the BBC. I get slightly irritated when I see spelling mistakes in BBC captions too (which seems to get more frequent), but they've probably got more of an excuse for that. The people who put out TV "magazine" programmes are trained in broadcast techniques - I'm not, and I spotted the distortion immediately. That must mean they can also see that it's not right, but just don't care.

I know lots of people actually have their wide screen TVs set to make all 4:3 material look "fat" but surely we can expect higher standards from the BBC than from your average, uncritical viewer?

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