Production Insights – Making TV Politics Look Good with Large Sensor Cameras


As a director of photography, there aren’t many chances in the TV world to help shape an entirely new program and start something from scratch. All too often, we have to pick up where others left off, or reiterate the same style or concept repeatedly. TV is hardly a medium of innovation these days, at least in the field of news and reporting. Narrative fiction is a whole different story altogether.

Around eighteen months ago, private TV channel ATV asked me to come aboard a new politics talk show concept in Austria. The show, “Klartext”, roughly translates as “frankly spoken” and is the brainchild of presenter Martin Thür. Martin and director Christoph Woska wanted to try something different and innovative.

Most politics talk shows on TV, whether at home in Austria or abroad, are shot in the same studio location time and again. They are often roundtable formats, meaning you have a bunch of people with massively different viewpoints on any given matter sitting at one table. All too often resulting in a blur of blabber for the viewers at home, as a moderator tries to prevent their guests from talking over each other. As we all know, it’s impossible to understand a word said on TV if people talk over each other. It’s annoying to watch and a major cause of frustration whilst watching political debates on TV.


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