Well, we did it! Despite the last-minute glitches, the strong opposition, and the inevitable birth pains, Philippine elections have finally stepped into a new age. However, that’s not the only thing that took a monumental step up as TV coverage of the national polls also did a complete 180.
The 2 biggest networks in the country, ABS-CBN and GMA-7, have literally raised the bar when it comes to overall presentation by using new, never-before-seen special effects on Philippine TV.
First seen on CNN during the 2008 US presidential elections, GMA-7 claims to be the first local channel to make full use of holograms. They contracted the services of Vizrt (the same guys who made the CNN hologram) to pull off the gimmick. It was successful, but on the whole, it just feels like a high-tech novelty. ABS-CBN, on the other hand, also had their own holographic technology, although they used it more for graphics rather than reporters on the field.
The war of war rooms
We were really surprised to see that both channels invested a lot in their war rooms/news centers for this election. Both studios were enormous, to say the least, and used dozens, if not hundreds, of computers and LCD screens. GMA even had a revolving platform for the news anchors while ABS-CBN boasted a humongous touch-screen TV where they showed tweets and status updates from their followers online.
We’ve gotten pretty used to seeing computer graphics on TV, but the 3D images we saw yesterday (and are still seeing now) are definitely a cut above the rest. They’re more animated and have more depth than the usual, albeit still far from the ones seen on CNN and BBC. With a little more hands-on use, however, we’re sure our graphics artists will be able to master the art in no time.
ABS-CBN and GMA-7, however, aren’t the only 2 channels that covered the elections. We have to give credit to the other networks that upped their game. Net25, in particular, broadcast their coverage in HD (ISDB-T channel 49), a feat that neither of the big 2 undertook. NBN4 used a gigantic LED billboard as backdrop, and TV5 remodeled their broadcast center by plastering the background with numerous LCD TVs.
As far as we’re concerned, these high-tech advances prove that given the chance, the country’s best can stand toe-to-toe with the best of the world. We’re hoping that the strive for excellence continues way beyond election season because ultimately, it’s the Filipino people who will win.
Of course, we have to stress that despite the flashy imagery, the heart and soul of news coverage is still the content, so we have to extend our kudos to the reporters, producers, and crew who made it all possible!