Did ABC & Gibson Use Camera Trickery To Belittle Gov. Palin?

September 13th, 2008 10:28 PM

Did ABC use particular camera tricks to make Governor Palin look small and powerless in their Charlie Gibson interview? I've been pointed to a blog that makes a compelling case that they did just that. Using still shots of the Gibson interview with Palin compared to similar Gibson interviews with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, it seems this blogger has proven it to be an open and shut case of manipulation of the viewer. The writer shows how ABC used special camera placements and lenses to make Governor Palin seem small and Charlie Gibson seem overpowering and large by comparison.

By now, just about everyone is aware of Hollywood's special effects and camera techniques. There have been so many TV shows explaining them, so many DVD extras laying out the techniques that most Americans are at least a little familiar with the effects and techniques that filmmakers use to heighten and enhance their work. The anonymous blogger is familiar with these special effects, claims to work in the business in Hollywood himself, and does a great job explaining and pointing out where such effects were used to belittle Governor Palin.

Citing the anti-conservative, Hollywood hatemongering we are all familiar with our blogger remains anonymous. He says he doesn’t want to hurt his career any more than he already has being a conservative in Hollywood. So, with deference to "HollywoodTrench's blog," I'll lay out his argument for you all to decide if he has hit the spot or if he is a bit too conspiratorial for your tastes.

Illustration One - Gibson/Obama

Notice how the camera angles for the Gibson interview with Barack Obama makes them both appear to be equal in size. Notice how their heads are aligned, neither looking smaller or larger than the other. Notice also, our Hollywood blogger says, how the shot was never a "tight" one, that it was a wide frame shot.

Illustration Two - Gibson/Clinton

Just for good measure, our blogger friend throws in a still shot of an interview Gibson did with Senator Hillary Clinton. It shows the same framing technique as the Obama interview.

Illustration Three - Gibson/Palin

Here is what our blogger says of the angles and framing of the Palin interview:

Now take a look at Sarah Palin's interview below. Funny how all the shots are no wider than the one on the left. There's a reason for this. While it's true that Governor Palin is of less stature than Mr. Gibson, the deliberate choice of the camera's height, framing and the use of telephoto lenses all serve to make Mr. Gibson look overpowering and Governor Palin the weak prey. This is common shooting technique we use to make a villain appear more ominous. How intuitive of ABC News to correctly portray themselves.

I have to say, it is an interesting observation that Gibson never looks larger, or seems to be occupying a higher position in the frame when he was interviewing Obama and Clinton. Gibson is always shot as an equal with Clinton and Obama. When compared to how monstrously large he was in juxtaposition with his subject in the Palin interview, well, it certainly makes one pause to think. Was ABC using camera techniques to make Charlie Gibson seem large and commanding and Sarah Palin correspondingly small and weak? Did ABC attempt to put Sarah Palin at a disadvantage to give the viewer the worst possible impression before she was asked even the first question?

I think the blogger makes a good case.

What do you think?

(This little tip came from the "B-Cast" from BreitbartTV folks and was brought to my attention by Evan A Slatis. By the way, the B-Cast mentions our Newsbusters post on the Tom Toles/Obama plagiarism story.)