Saturday, February 13, 2010

Virtual lies

The first programme in the Virtual Revolution series begins with a lie, which is better explained by someone who knows where exactly the team went in Ghana:


"Outrageously the editing at the beginning of the first programme - that showed the team in a 4x4 speeding along a dirt road - suggested that their destination - Abiriw - was far from Accra and difficult to get to.

Actually, it is about 45 minutes from the edge of the capital and reached by a tarmac road that is mostly excellent and always good..

Postings by those on the programme-making team have stressed the distance from Accra to Abiriw. The editing described above reinforced this by suggesting the film-makers had to do 'the African thing', 'go into the bush', ' use a 4x4' ', etc., etc. Actually they just went down the road."

Its somewhat ironic that in these days of immediate global information liquidity/transfer, the people that made this series thought they could get away with creating a false impression of their derring-do in "Africa". Getting to Abiriw is no more of an adventure than getting on a plane at Heathrow and finding yourself in a suburb of Dallas a few hours later...

3 comments:

Pusoro 11:38 p.m.  

They don't get tired of doing this. Hollywood still does it ("Sahara", "Tears of the Sun", "X-Men Origins", the "Lost" TV series)
It's getting annoying...

Dan Biddle 1:18 p.m.  

I'm sorry that you feel there is some misrepresentation in the episode. You're criticising the intro sequence at the very top of the programme, when you say:
'"Outrageously the editing at the beginning of the first programme - that showed the team in a 4x4 speeding along a dirt road - suggested that their destination - Abiriw - was far from Accra and difficult to get to.', yes?

I can see where you're coming from with the sequence, but I think you are inferring the slight rather than the show making it - and certainly I feel it's a bit strong to label it 'virtual lies'. At no point in that sequence of shots do we say 'We're on the dusty road to Abiriw.' or 'This is the dirt road trail from Accra to Abiriw...' - nor anything similar to suggest that that is the road you state we are misrepresenting.

I appreciate your comments, which I have passed on to the series producer, and I'm sorry if you feel that there is a suggestion that the road depicted in the establishing shot is the road from Accra to Abiriw, but it's not what the programme sets out to do. We set out to create a compelling, interesting programme about the World Wide Web.

Many thanks,
Dan

Anonymous,  4:21 p.m.  

Revealing that Dan used the word 'slight'. This isn't about amour-propre. It is about what someone is prepared to do to make something ''compelling'.

On a more general level: The editing of the series often draws attention to itself. It is as if the director doesn't trust the story / argument to hold attention. And, of course, the editors have to put at least a mile between themselves and old style OU productions.

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