Animation is used to play a role in telling the toughest part of the stories. For example, it is used to illustrate natural disasters, and crisis. BBC has produced an animated video footage to report how tsunamis happened. With the advance development of technology, the use of animation is now used more frequently in news industry. Animation takes on even more prominent role in news making process, while some media organizations start to produce the news videos using melodramatic animation.
These animated news videos feature character modelling, background music and sound effects. It unfolds the news event with the animated characters and detailed story plot. It raise the concern among the scholars and practitioners, since it may compromise the objectivity and credibility of the news. The unverified version of news is animated, although the practitioners argue that it helps to fill the gap of news stories that cannot shown by videos clips. The technology also engage the audience and attract their eyeballs.
The melodramatic animated news not only produced in Asian cities, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and India. It now has a global impact while some international media organizations also adopt these types of new videos to illustrate political events and crisis. Some news videos did go viral. For example, the videos of Tigerwood Martial affairs attracted large number of views globally. The inclusion of animation in news production is on the rise, it is important to explore the impact of this new presentation format on the audience and explores the appropriateness of using animation in news industry. Does animation facilitate the news story telling? Does the use of animation in news upset the journalistic principles? More discussion and study is needed among the media scholars and practitioners.
In an increasingly globalized environment, where viewers consume more foreign audiovisual content than ever, Kruger, Doherty, and Soto-Sanfiel’s study tackles an important issue. When viewers engage materials composed of foreign languages, subtitles become the necessary tool for communicating meaning over the language barrier. But do subtitles, commonly presumed as distraction, in fact lessen the enjoyment of such materials?
“Original Language Subtitles: Their Effects on the Native and Foreign Viewer” concludes that subtitles do not significantly reduce immersion; not only did they not act as distraction to the viewers, they on the other hand increased transportation [to fictional reality], character identification, and perceived realism. Such result is agreeable since subtitles are attached to the characters’ faces which, even if they demand additional visual attention from the viewers, only strengthen identification.
There is, however, a serious limitation of this study that may affect how generalizable the results are to audiovisual narratives in general. The study employs the American investigative medical drama series, House, MD (2011), as audiovisual material for viewing. This could be limiting due to the nature of television drama. This form of audiovisual narrative advances its plot mainly through dialogue. And since subtitles are within the province of the dialogue and only direct more attention to it, viewers are bound to have higher immersion. Conversely, feature length films tend to rely more on visual elements to make meaning and advance the narrative. In this regard, subtitles, now a competitor of visual attention, would be driving viewers away from the narrative.
The authors are sensible of this limitation and have stated in brief such concern in the last section. Considering this is such an important study in a globalized setting, this limitation shall be treated with extra attention.