Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Political Press Conference & Media Image

14 Jan 2006 WP Launch of Manifesto
From left: James Gomez, Dr. Poh Lee Guan, Low Thia Khiang, Sylvia Lim, Mohammed Rahizan bin Yaacob, Tan Wui-Hua

For any political party in the world, it is inevitable that it needs to engage the press and local mass media to maximize its public outreach. Holding Press Conference is one important way of getting political messages and ideas across to the masses.

In Singapore's context, we all know how bias the local media could be when it comes to political news and reporting. I am a very keen observer of local mass media reporting of local political news. For the last election in 2001, it was really an eye opening experience to see how skewed and bias the local mass media could be in putting up the WORST shots on alternative parties they could get from rallies or walkabout to put up on newspapers and prime time TV news on all channels. We have Dr. Chee's close up shots of his shouting incident, TV shots on the falling of chairs and speakers during one of SDA rallies, TV shots on a man wanting to go to WP rally stage and speak but was wrestled away by police, shots on candidates stretching heads, shots on the commotion and SDA supporters stopping buses and vehicles to paste SDA posters on them....etc etc.

A picture speaks a thousand words, a stream of films speaks a million words! It is important for us to learn how to make use of every opportunities provided to put up the BEST images to the press so that they could take good camera shots from whichever angle they choose to.

The recent press conference for our launch of Manifesto 2006 is pretty successful in the sense that we have managed to improve on the image front for good camera shots. Take a look at the following photos which were taken last year on 5 March 2005 for Casino Forum and 15 Oct 2005 Youth Wing Forum. Make a comparison with the photo above, taken on 14 Jan 2006 Launching of Manifesto.
5 Mar 2005 Casino Forum
From left: Goh Meng Seng, James Gomez, Chia Tilik

15 Oct 2005 Youth Wing Forum
From Left: Michael Cheng, Sylvia Lim, Tan Wui-Hua, Dr. Kelvin Tan, Glenda Lim

I hope you see the vast differences betwen the three photographs. We have come a long way to learn and progress from the amateurish set up to a more professional image. We could observe that in the first public event, CasinoForum, that we held in our new HQ in 2005, the setup of the "stage" was not properly done. The speakers (yes, including me in it) were not seated in a conducive way for good photo shots. We were all seated too "spread out" and it would make photos produced to become "loose shots". Furthermore, the party logo and wording was not up yet. If it wasn't for the charts that I have put up, the back would look very bare.

For the Youth Wing Forum, we have improved tremendously by putting up the party logo and wording. However the sitting arrangement is still a bit loose as there was a gap between Michael Cheng, our guest speaker, and Sylvia Lim. Furthermore, if you observe carefully you would be able to see there is a vast difference between the photo on Manifesto Launch and the Youth Wing Forum. Although both photos are taken with the WP logo and wording at the back, the distance between the heads and this logo are different in the two photographs. Loose shots could occur by having people spreading too far from each other. It could also occur when the distance between the people and the object of interest (in this case our logo and wording) is too wide apart.

From a camera man's point of view, it is difficult to get a good camera framing or shots when the distance between the object of interest is far away from the people who are also the focus theme of the camera shot. You would feel that the first photo on our Manifesto Launch looks good at first sight but most people cannot explain why it looks better than the one on Youth Wing Forum. If you have seen the photographs published in the local newspapers or the TV news report on the Manifesto Launch, you would feel that the images are "good" as compared to previous coverage of WP's forums without knowing exactly why. The reason is very simple. Under the environment that is within our control, we try to do our best to fine tune the setting so that it could provide us with the best camera shots. If you click on the various photographs to enlarge and observe carefully, the main difference lies in the chairs the various individuals are sitting on!

The new chairs that we used in the Manifesto Launch are able to provide a "higher" seats to all the speakers on the panel. It provides adjustable heights to each different individuals so that they could adjust their seats according to their heights. If you look carefully you would find that the "head level" of each of the speakers in the Manifesto Launch are basically quite even compared to those in the other two photographs.

It is a common "camera trick" for studio or film makers to "adjust" the heights of those involved by various means; eg, adjustable chairs, wear high/low heels or simply put planks for the shorter one to step on it. Thus it is also important for us to learn how to make adjustments to the environment under our control so that we could present the best images for the mass media.

Goh Meng Seng

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog