A Shot by Shot Breakdown of the new OutFront Promo…

CNN’s OutFront premieres next month. That gives the network less than 30 days to introduce Erin Burnett to its audience. Oh she’s been on a few times already talking mostly business news on other CNN programs but she remains mostly an undefined identity to the vast TV watching public who didn’t sit glued to CNBC all the time. Therefore it is up to CNN to define Burnett and how it wants Burnett viewed by the public.

All of which makes the first promo video for OutFront so critical in the run up to the show’s launch. Remember those inane pre-launch Parker-Spitzer promos which suggested the show would indeed be as awful as we feared? Promos can positively create an impression or negatively re-enforce one that already existed.

With that in mind lets take a look at the various shots used for the OutFront promo. None of these were accidentally chosen or chosen at random. They were chosen with a purpose and chosen to send a message. It seems that most of these were chosen to define Erin Burnett in terms CNN wanted to play up; specifically her reporting and journalism background. There are not many original ways of accomplishing that anymore. Most of these types of shots have been done so many times, particularly at the local TV news level, that we’ve become desensitized to them to the point that they are cliche.

The solo shot of the reporter working on their notebook. Obligatory basic journalism shot here.

The shot of the reporter touring the scene of something they are reporting on. This shot is meant to convey that the reporter will go out in the field and do their own legwork.

Another location shot with the reporter and her team.

Obligatory shot of the reporter interviewing a subject on the road; notebook open and pen in hand.

Shot of the reporter as one man band – although technically we never see Burnett slaving away over a desktop video editing package. But this shot is there to convey to the viewer she’s more than a mere journalist; she’s also technically proficient with equipment and can go out and get footage on her own if need be. We’ve seen this shot used several times before by CNN with Anderson Cooper out in the field wielding equipment. But we know Cooper does shoot video for some of his special reports. Apparently Burnett will too.

The one TV news journalism cliche that’s not present here is the shot of the journalist working the phones in the newsroom. Instead we have its 21st century cousin; the shot of the journalist working their Blackberry/Smartphone. This shot also serves as a re-enforcer to the one man band shot – that the journalist is not a technophobe. They’ll use the latest technology if it will benefit the story.

There’s one shot that’s conspicuously missing from this promo reel…any indoor studio shot. All these shots are of the journalist on the road, on the story, interviewing subjects, shooting video, working the Blackberry. Not one shot of the the journalist as live interviewer. That could be entirely because OutFront’s set isn’t built yet. But it could also be a not unintentional decision to focus on Burnett as road warrior.

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4 Responses to “A Shot by Shot Breakdown of the new OutFront Promo…”

  1. Thankfully she didn’t reveal the title in a lame video like John King did. “Hey, here’s a scrap of paper with the crappy title of my crappy show.”

  2. Grandpa Dave Says:

    the first promo video for OutFoxed

    Freudian ?

  3. Pen and paper! How retro.

  4. Freudian ?

    Guilty. I had it on my mind as I was typing this up.

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