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Amid Ladakh standoff with India, Chinese Army produces 'action-packed' propaganda video

India Today logo India Today 14-09-2020 Ankit Kumar
a group of people posing for the camera

As tensions between India and China have risen in Ladakh, the internet is flooded with hundreds of images and videos showing Chinese military drills in the Tibet region. With a production quality that can even put action movie directors to shame, these videos are now an integral part of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) strategy with the sole purpose to intimidate the enemy.

India Today's OSINT team analysed a recent PLA film showing a border defence regiment from Xinjiang Military Region to understand how much thrust the Chinese army put in producing these videos. The short video released by PLA showed an actual team confrontation drill.

The 100-second movie, filmed in Hollywood style, shows a confrontation exercise in a mountainous area with 20 armed PLA reconnaissance officers and soldiers. It contains dozens of camera angles. Assuming that it was a live military drill and not made for camera (where the drill would be paused after every shot to move one camera from another), we can safely deduce that at least 10 irreplaceable and uniquely positioned camera crews would have been required to cover all angles. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the PLA propaganda video.

Scene one starts with a three seconds indoor shot of PLA soldiers picking up their weapons.

The next scene involves a close-up shot of the same process but from a different angle.

A third camera is stationed just outside the huts where soldiers are seen leaving with weapons as they storm out of the huts.

The fourth camera has been deployed near the military vehicle which captures a close up of the men boarding the vehicle.

The fifth one is a drone-mounted airborne camera which captures a couple of shots of 20 men moving in the mountain valley.

The sixth camera is placed to capture the dramatic tracking shots of moving personnel, as they continue to move towards the firing zone.

The seventh camera position is placed near a water stream before the firing zone which captures more tracking shots of armed personnel as they approach target zone.

The video shows multiple shots of firing zone between 27 and 31 seconds, we have assumed that at least one camera was deployed to capture all the shots.

The ninth camera was required to capture the close-up shots of the snipers positioned on the hills.

The tenth unique camera is mounted in the headgear of the armed men which captures their gun positions and targets.

Apart from these, there are interviews of PLA officers, mixed and moving cutaways, shots of the landscape, etc. which we have not counted as these could be filmed using one of the earlier cameras.

The analysis shows that the video production of the drill is equally (if not more) important to the PLA leadership as the drill itself. The scale of the production truly reflects the value PLA attaches to their propaganda machinery.

Apart from addressing the domestic sentiments in China, the prime purpose of such propaganda videos could be to cause shock and awe among the opponent forces by projecting an ostensibly larger-than-life might of the Chinese armed forces, which remain fairly inexperienced in terms of real battle situations.

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