Guest Post: 24th Ghana Music Awards Through the Eyes of a ‘Couch Potato’

Guest Post: 24th Ghana Music Awards Through the Eyes of a ‘Couch Potato’

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I watched the live telecast of this year’s edition of the VGMA (Vodafone Ghana Music Awards) on TV last Saturday and I would like to point out some ‘aspects’ of the live TV broadcast which were somewhat ‘appalling’. For the young and uninitiated, they may not concur with my opinion but that is okay.

From where I sat last Saturday (in front of my TV of course! LOL.), the camera movements and angles seemed quite uncoordinated. Although the visuals, coupled with the picture quality, looked very top-flight on TV, the same cannot be said for the TV camera operation.

The crew in charge of switching from camera to camera in the production control room (PCR) didn’t help matters either. Whenever it was necessary that they switch to the audience cameras for TV viewers to see audiences’ reaction, for instance, they rarely switched to those cameras, much to my chagrin! That is not all, the sound on TV was terrible at certain times of the show (or was it my ears?? LOL.). And the least said about the lighting in the auditorium the better.

We are in an era (a digital era, to be precise) where people are very exposed to high quality television productions coming from other parts of the world and so when local productions turn out to be below par, they noticed it immediately.

I ain’t in anyway trying to compare our well-beloved VGMA to the Grammys, BET Awards, Oscars, MTV Video Music Awards or any of such awards. Nope! Those award shows are light-years ahead of ours and thus too high to compare with.

But at least, we can learn from our fellow Africans in Nigeria and Mzansi (South Africa) who are doing incredibly well when it comes to live TV production. South Africa is actually a foundational cradle of the TV production industry on our continent, which is why Steve Harvey and his team (from America) had to fly Ghanaians all the way there (South Africa) just to shoot the African version of “Family Feud” TV game show.

To say that South Africans don’t “joke” at all when it comes to live broadcasting for TV and over the Internet will be stating the obvious. The annual South African Music Awards (SAMA), which is always a delight to watch, is a good case in point, and also not forgetting the defunct Channel O Music Video Awards which received rave reviews.

One of the reasons why Africa and the rest of the world fell in love with the Kora All Africa Music Awards (or “Kora Awards” for short) was the excellent manner by which the crew from Clive Morris Productions (CMP) handled the live telecast of the award ceremony, and I am talking about all the “Kora” editions held in South Africa between 1995 and 2006.

CMP (based in South Africa) being Africa’s foremost TV productions company, I think it would be apt for the VGMA organisers to engage them, so as to assist the local production crew here in producing the award event for live TV.

It is no gainsaying that the number of people who watch the VGMA outside the auditorium (be it via linear TV or the Internet/social media) far exceeds the number of folks at the venue. For this reason, the organisers ought to channel more resources into the live transmission of the award show, and also ensure that it is above par.

But if the organising team do not currently have the wherewithal to bring on board “experts” from elsewhere, they should just record the whole event and later air it on TV and the Internet, in lieu of telecasting it live which often turns out to be under par. I have been watching this award show on TV since its inception and so I am not just ‘ranting’ and ‘raving’.

In spite of all these, I savoured every moment watching all the razzmatazz on TV. My best dressed personalities on the night were Adwoa Noella, Anita Akua Akuffo and Francis Doku (all from TV3 Ghana Network/Media General).

It is high time our “fellow Ghanaians” and fellow Africans understood the importance of donning our traditional apparels on this kind of occasions, instead of prancing around on the red carpet in western attires, looking like “Met Gala” wannabees (no disrespect, “chale”!).

On the musical performances, it is worth mentioning that our Ghanaian musicians have improved tremendously, vis-à-vis live band performance. They all showed showmanship on stage and deserve a pat on the back for those riveting performances last Saturday. Gone are the days when our local music acts would show up on stage holding a “dead” microphone to mime to their songs, as if they fear electrocution from “live” microphone. Those days are far gone, right?

If not for those technical glitches and hitches, Medikal’s entry would have gone down in the annals of the VGMA as the best (so far). The idea was great, but unfortunately, it was not delivered with military precision. Besides the microphone going “on” and “off”, AJ Akuoku-Sarpong was just rushing through her words, bungling everything in the process.

But given the situation, ‘tis quite understandable. Suffice it to say that the pressure on “AJ” that night was getting “worser”!

By: Eugene Selorm Owusu

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