Things That Aren't Funny in Video & Television

There is nothing funny about this page! That might seem odd, given that it's in the humour section, but this page does deal with the subject of humour.

There are some things in the video and television production industry which may appear humorous at first, but aren't considered funny by professionals. It's not that they are completely unfunny - it's just that they are routine situations which industry professionals have seen a million times (and at best they are only funny the first time you see them).

If you are having contact with the industry for the first time, you may be tempted to laugh when you come across some of the situations described below. This will draw attention to your newbie status. If you would prefer not to do this, imagine these situations from the point of view of a video veteran. If you laugh at them, you are announcing "I have absolutely no experience".


Noddies

Noddies are cutaways usually shot after an interview. Noddies consist of a series of shots of the presenter nodding and showing other expressions. This can look hilarious to anyone who hasn't seen it done before, especially if the presenter isn't actually looking at anyone.

Noddies generate a lot of curiosity from inexperienced people, as well as a lot of jokes. Video crews have heard them all — it's unlikely you'll be able to come up with an original joke about doing noddies.

In most cases it's not funny to try and make the presenter laugh during noddies.

Unflattering Shots

Some editing situations involve pausing a video clip with a close-up view of a person's face. Sometimes the pause happens just as the subject has an unflattering facial expression. Although some freeze-frames can be unusually funny, most of the time this sort of thing doesn't warrant any mirth. It happens too often to be funny.

Another unusual shot happens when the camera operator zooms in very tightly on a subject's face, usually around their eyes and nose. If you don't know what's going on, you might think that the camera operator is trying to be funny or ridicule the subject. Not so — it is simply a standard technique to get the best focus.

Communication Signals

There are certain non-verbal signals used in television production. Most people don't see these signals as particularly funny, but some people do. Here are a couple of examples...

Camera operators can "nod" or "shake" their camera as a way of saying "yes" or "no" to anyone watching the output of that camera. This can be useful in multi-camera situations. It's not very funny but sometimes newbies chortle in surprise when they first see it.

Floor managers have a set of hand signals to use when they can't talk, for example, to give a message to a presenter while they are on air. It's not at all funny to imitate them.

Mixing Formal & Casual Attire

Most people have seen shots of television presenters who wear formal clothing above the waist (which will be in camera shot) and casual clothing below the waist (hidden from camera view). It surprises and amuses a lot of people to see that this really does happen in television production. If a presenter spends the entire program seated behind a desk, there's no harm in letting them comfortably dress their hidden body parts, so many of them do.


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