The awful Three-frame format of news videos

I’ve been seeing this a lot in news clips. They often do this when showing a video of an event. The video clip being shown only fills the center third of the screen, and the other two thirds are either blank or severely blurred to death. Why do thy do it this way?

Because they are showing amateur video shot on a cell phone in portrait mode. Sometimes they fill the rest of the screen with black space, and sometimes they use blurred images just to fill the space to avoid having big black spaces on the screen.

We’ve had this question asked, and answered, a few times before, as recently as in January.

This irritates me to no end. America’s Funniest Home Videos has had no problem telling people that they’ll only accept video that’s properly framed (“Hold your phone to the side so the picture is wide”). If news outlets would follow suit they could nip that in the bud.

What’s even more irritating is there are people not just defending it but actually encouraging it.

Meanwhile, there is the actual news coverage. [youtube clip]

Sure, but they’ll just get fewer videos to use. By and large, people aren’t taking these videos to give to the news. They’re taking them and sharing them on social media (where most other viewers are using mobile devices that can be turned either way, not fixed computer monitors), and the news people are looking around and asking for permission to use them.

Exactly. As a news editor do you reject compelling video of a newsworthy event simply because it’s not in the right mode? If you did you wouldn’t hold your job long.

The other cause is that the video on youtube is pirated from someone’s copyrighted material (like many of the TV shows that are on there). Youtube & TV/film companies have search programs that comb thru youtube and look for matches to their copyrighted material, and get youtube to remove it. Putting sidebars around the video, especially ones that are not static, but moving starscapes or whatever, is a method to try to confuse those search programs so they don’t identify the copyrighted material.

News footage is news footage. Doesn’t matter how it’s shot. If it’s actual news, it should be shown and not altered in any way.