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The power of staging and scenery.

(42 Posts)
Ellianne Tue 02-Mar-21 10:14:11

Is the setting important to convey the message? I'm thinking of Harry and Meghan, sorry, in beautiful gardens.
Also, The Queen in her sitting room and Robert Peston in his scruffy study/spare room, (or Matt H in what looks like his toilet).
Does the staging add or detract from the interview? Spending thousands of dollars to get the right effect might well speak volumes in itself. Or is it pure Hollywood?

Dragonella Tue 02-Mar-21 10:20:06

Not pure Hollywood at all. I'd say it was part of being professional, just as presentation matters in most business settings. I found it interesting that sales of 'smart-looking-books-by-the-metre' have increased during lockdown as people want to create Zoom backgrounds that make them look intelligent!

kittylester Tue 02-Mar-21 10:28:10

I do regular zoom sessions and was going to do them in the study (largely dh's domain) but took one look at the back drop and decided people would get too stressed looking at the 'piles'. So, yes I do think it matter.

Calendargirl Tue 02-Mar-21 10:54:52

Yes, I’m sure settings do matter.

H&M’s will have been chosen to emphasise how peaceful and beautiful their garden is, the glorious weather, how relaxed and ‘normal’ they can be, showcasing their new lifestyle, casually chatting away to Oprah. Much better than being indoors.

As for others, Matt Hancock, Robert Peston et al, I am always trying to read the titles of their books. Probably many of them have never left the shelf.


M0nica Tue 02-Mar-21 10:56:52

Of course it does and always will, Whenever we meet someone, see photographs etc we are automatically 'reading' it - how someone is dressed, how they look, what there surroundings are.

Any posed photos of anyone in the news will be especcially thought through. H&M's photo in 'the garden of their beautiful Californian home' was designed to give the message that Prince Harry's life is now the antithesis of his previous life, relaxed and casual in a garden setting that hints of foreign climes. The setting for the Queen's photo is saying how comfortable and happy she is in her life.

It has always been done. It is fascinating to analyse those portraits from the 16th century onwards, Lords and monarchs, painted with background that tells you so much of weho they are and how they want to be seen.

grandmajet Tue 02-Mar-21 11:06:54

Yes, of course it does.
My daughter, a psychiatrist, had to ‘attend’ a coroner’s court by zoom, and assumed she would be able to choose an alternative background to her pile of breakfast dishes in her kitchen. However, the Zoom set up of the meeting was not her usual one and she had to appear, kitchen clutter and all, as an expert witness! She was a little embarrassed.

J52 Tue 02-Mar-21 11:20:38

When I zoom on the large screen computer in DHs office, I choose one of the National Trusts downloadable backgrounds. They’re always a smart, glam background.

ixion Tue 02-Mar-21 11:24:39

Does the presence of the Union Flag add a certain gravitas to the pronouncements of Cabinet ministers addressing us from their homes?🤷‍♀️
Perhaps MH hasn't got space in his red downstairs loo?

(Can anyone recall when this addition became a feature?)

kittylester Tue 02-Mar-21 11:42:51

J52, someone on a Zoom call I recently did had put a sunny beach scene back ground on but every time she moved she got a halo of fuzzy green hair so I have been scared to do that!

Aveline Tue 02-Mar-21 11:48:47

I like the beautiful wood panelling and doors in the No10 briefings. I get distracted wondering if they polish the wood or beeswax it. The Persian rug is beautiful too. I suppose it's right that the British PM and ministers speak to the nation from such a plain but high quality setting.
(Van Tamm's little step is painted a discreet black I notice)

lemsip Tue 02-Mar-21 11:56:19

well of course it matters. that's why people go to such lenghs to set up ' work from home' zoom meetings.

H an M oprah setting is in a friends garden not their own.

Boz Tue 02-Mar-21 12:08:51

When I sell on Ebay, I always pick a nice setting. It's usually shoes which I place on a garden table, surrounded by plants!

Ellianne Tue 02-Mar-21 13:06:06

I think the comment "how they want to be seen" is true. I agree The Queen wants us to see her as being stately (furniture), and yet homely (family photos) at the same time. I also think she could sit in the garden shed in her Barbour and still get her message across.
The union jack behind them does add a certain importance to politicians' speeches too. The backdrop enhances their message and maybe makes them feel more confident and proud. Although, to be fair I think ministers are doing a fairly good job when they are interviewed from the kitchen table. Whether this makes them more human, I am not sure.
The younger royals like Catherine and William seem very at home on zoom and engage well. I've noticed they sit very close to the screen, so the background is shown less.
The Oprah garden interview is an interesting one. It is obviously going to be meticulously staged as it took 2 days to film at great expense. The tranquil background may well serve as striking contrast to the explosive material up for discussion, but is it really necessary when eyes will all be on the faces and expressions of Meghan and Harry and what they say? Would zoom with Oprah not have had the same effect?
Thinking about Neville Chamberlain's WW2 announcement on the radio, no one even saw his face or the background, but the sounds of that message resonate to this day.

Ellianne Tue 02-Mar-21 13:18:16

grandmajet that must have been embarrassing for your daughter, the whole truth your Honour dishes and all!

M0nica Tue 02-Mar-21 15:53:48

I must confess when ever I see any interview online, on the tv or in a magazine, whether a personal interview or formal, the first thing I do is deconstruct the background and/or comment on the decor.

NellG Tue 02-Mar-21 16:04:47

I refuse to Zoom anyone, but will occasionally FaceTime grandchildren because they have zero interest in judging what's in the back ground and wondering whether I have dusted sometime in the last 20 years...

Did anyone see that poor woman in Ireland who'd left something dubious on her bookshelf when she was being 'zoomed' for the news?

But yes, staging and placement are extremely important if you're managing an image, or trying to sell something...

AGAA4 Tue 02-Mar-21 16:08:34

Sometimes the background distracts from what is being said. I became interested in a rug in Professor Semple's home this morning and missed a bit of the dialogue.

Ellianne Tue 02-Mar-21 18:15:29

I feel we have become far more tolerant of people's home background settings and their personal appearance over the past year. There's no need for a polished, well scrubbed up image any more because we've all become accustomed to each others' scruffy hairstyles and dubious decor. There's almost a sense of security and togetherness in seeing these scientists, politicians and even royals in their own homes. I quite like it.

Ilovecheese Tue 02-Mar-21 18:39:19

To me those huge flags behind politicians just look ridiculous. How many people really do have one in their own home.

ixion Tue 02-Mar-21 19:09:59

Prof Jason Leitch, Scotland's National Clinical Director, interviewed one morning recently, admitted, IIRC, that he received as many queries about his Tanzania zebra painting on the wall behind him as questions about the virus.

Georgesgran Tue 02-Mar-21 19:17:23

My DD was in a zoom meeting last week and was asked to move her head to one side. When she did so, the comment was ‘OMG L***a - is that a Summerhouse in your garden!’

So, yes - people must notice the background.

polnan Wed 03-Mar-21 10:40:23

lemsip! I too get distracted by the Union Flags behind Hancock, or Johnson.. .. I keep analysing the slight discrepancy in the folds of each flag! now everyone will start looking!

I am not easily impressed by backgrounds, and really, really not interested in Harry etc.. but of course the photos are put right under my nose (as it were!) and comment I read about his shoes.. so I got to look at them. other than that..

no not easily impressed by backgrounds, though of course, not wanting to look at anything "yucky"¬ !!

grandtanteJE65 Wed 03-Mar-21 10:41:35

If setting did not matter, all theatrical performances and films would be played against a medium grey background!

Most of us if we were going to an important function, or even just to work, chose our clothes, shoes and make-up to suit the occasion. Now with zoom we are doing the same.

It is all part of the professional image.

How many of you invited visitors in the days we could do so, and let them see an overflowing dirty clothes basket, a not very clean toilet and hand basin and yesterday's washing up in and around the sink?

I doubt any of you did and probably felt embarrassed if people who just popped in saw any of the above.

Peasblossom Wed 03-Mar-21 10:55:05

OH and I moved in together just before lockdown. My furniture was mostly tat and was thrown out. His is good quality, much loved pieces, so was kept.

But I’m very conscious that my background is not representative of me. I actually have to keep telling people that the way the house looks is not my choice, because of the assumptions they’ll make about me from what they can see.

I try to zoom from the kitchen if I can, which we’ve had redone to me.

Gwenisgreat1 Wed 03-Mar-21 11:00:53

"fraid I'm usually trying to read the titles of their book, and feel we should be given a guided tour of the room in use!!