I would like to point out that this is my personal view of things and I am not sure if this was the first place to express my concern with this. I apologize if this was the wrong thing to do.

Colors It has been a pain to follow the trend in which TV-production (reality shows especially) has been taking. Technology has been getting better, higher resolutions, more colors, more contrast levels to use...yet the production seems to be in love with the cheap fake look of things. oversaturate and burnt colours which make people skin, clothings, everything seem...horrible. If you take such a video material under closer observation and you checked the values of colors and such...it would be a conclusion to say that those frames are ruined, not usable material. Using such high saturate colors and burning things actually makes things loose details, so actually an old DVD material would have more actual details in the image than a 4K sharp reality-TV.

Focus/Depth of field Also my observation has been that a very deep depth of field effect is being widely used, which is alright. However it also seems that in production they tend to film people closer and closer these days. These two with the fact that the camera is shaking quite a bit, makes things very claustrophobic to watch.

Final words This trend seems to also be taking over in web-production, Youtube shows etc...I am worried.

1 Answer 1


Your post seems to be more of a rant than a question, but let me attempt an answer anyway (might be convoluted).

First of, what kind of crap have you been watching? The thing is, there's low and high quality content in every media. The best match for your description are daily soaps and, to some extent, reality TV (note this also differs from country to country). Those aim at overloading your senses to hide the fact that the actual content is very shallow. Kind of like trying to make a bland photograph more interesting by making it black-and-white, adding a vignette and stuff like that. It's the same with depth of field. A shallow DoF can be used to highlight fine detail such as facial expressions, hand gestures et c. That wouldn't really work in a show like The Big Bang Theory, where you are bombarded by a staccato of one-liners and audience laughter.

If you see the same thing on YouTube, it might be a Monkey see, monkey do effect. Most YouTubers have not had a formal education in videography but have learned the technical aspects of it (i.e. using the editing software et c.) by watching/reading online tutorials and neglected to learn anything about aestethics. So they just duplicate what they've seen on TV. This is why there's a lot of crap on YouTube as well.

This may sound overly negative, which isn't actually my intention. It can be argued that though formats like that may seem cheap and badly-done to video editors or video artists, the goal of those TV stations is to make money. And if those formats are what their target audience wants to see, you can't blame them for producing that kind of content. Same goes for YouTube. If they have success with it, who are we to tell them they do it wrong?

On the other hand, I don't think the overall quality of TV shows is going down. This may seem the case if you only watch cheap and quickly produced reality TV or daily soaps, but there's also a lot of high-quality programmes. For instance: House of Cards, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones. Those all have intricate plots as well as high-quality videography and editing.

One example for this (WARNING, Breaking Bad season 4 spoilers ahead):

The final shot of the last episode zooms in on the Lily of the Valley in Walter's backyard, revealing that it was Walt who poisened Brock, not Gus Fring:
Lily of the Valley shot in Breaking Bad Breaking Bad Season 4 final scene on YouTube

Admittedly this is not the best example. Watch House of Cards, they play with depth of field a lot.

There's a theory laid out in Steven Johnson's Everything Bad is Good for You that concludes that the general complexity and cognitive demands of TV shows is going up, not down (as is often suggested by certain media outlets). The reasons for this are too complicated to reiterate them in this post, but I highly recommend reading the book if you are interested in the development of popular media.

tl;dr: You wouldn't read The Sun if you want high quality journalism. So don't watch cheaply and quickly produced shows that are intended to be easily consumable if you want high-quality videography.

tl;dr the tl;dr: Go watch House of Cards.

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