Product placement finds its way to BBC News

By Calvin Palmer

Product placement in movies is a big deal and an effective form of subtle advertising.

It always seems strange how everyone’s TV set in a movie just happens to be a Sony and their laptop an Apple.

And what is good for movies now appears to have extended to TV news interviews.

BBC America’s World News tonight featured an interview with photographer David Burnett who has produced a book, 44 Days, documenting the revolution in Iran in 1979.

Burnett was interviewed in his office/studio. Being a keen photographer I was interested as to what camera he uses. In the background a camera mounted on a tripod had one of Canon’s signatory white telephoto lenses attached.

Another one of his cameras lay on a table next to Burnett. Its lens was at a 60-degree angle to the camera that was filming him. Looking closely and with some difficulty, it was possible to make out that it too was a Canon.

The interview showed some of the poignant images Burnett had captured in 1979 in Tehran, with him providing the narration. It then cut back to him. At some point, someone had moved his camera so that it was now pointing directly at the one filming the interview. The Canon name was much easier to read.

I was left wondering who had instigated this change in the camera’s position.

The interview did dispel one myth that regularly floats around Leica Talk, a forum on the Digital Photography Review Web site. The Leica is not the camera of choice of most photojournalists or press photographers. Of course, notable exceptions do exist – Thorsten Overgaard springs to mind with his Leica Digilux 2. But in the main, photographers pitched into frontline news situations, and faced by daily deadlines, will carry either Canon or Nikon cameras because of their rugged build and telephoto lens capabilities.

Hard news demands a tough camera and Leica’s M8/M8.2/M9 cameras do not have the same kind of durability that Canon and Nikon cameras possess to withstand the rigorous demands of capturing news as it happens.

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Filed under Advertising, Cinema, Media, News, Newspapers, Photography

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