Shooting in secret


Kieron Seth# TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Kieron Seth
Issue 88 - April 2014

Now showing on Channel 4 is Endemols new and highly popular Secret Eaters series. Based round a fixed rig production, the series uses newly developed mobile fixed rig technology and incorporates a number of recently introduced technical innovations, vital for fast turn-around TV.

Secret Eaters is one of a string of current prime time television shows that are made using fixed rig technology. While the speed of installation and the relatively low cost of the equipment are important factors, the programmes shot by discreetly installed cameras are often very intimate, touching and compelling. The absence of a camera crew, long intrusive lens and microphone has seen the evolution of a new genre of television production where participants appear totally at ease with the production process.

For Secret Eaters, Specialist broadcast service provider Minicams installed a range of equipment to record the surreptitious behaviour of the participants. Nick McLachlan, MD of Minicams comments:

Its an intense programme, with 24-hour in-house multi-camera recording, covert filming from cars and studio-based scenes. This means a very quick kit turn-around, no room for technical error and the need for a very wide variety of equipment.

One innovation developed for the show was based around Panasonics small HE2 camera head. Small and lightweight, the unit has a 95o shooting angle and a small minimum focus distance, making it perfect for placing in tight locations. In the case of Secret Eaters, this meant situating the HE2 at the back of the home owners fridge to catch every lapse in maintaining the imposed diet. A motion sensor was used to auto-trigger the camera to record as the door opened.

Set in real domestic environments, Minicams used their new mobile production vehicle, specifically designed for very fast set-up fixed-rig filming. The vehicle provides all the functionality of a traditional studio system in virtually any conceivable location. The portable production unit (PPU) installed in the MPV allowed the producer to monitor each camera, control feeds to the switcher and manage the microphones hidden away into every room. The crew designed automated processes into the PPU in order to ensure audio follows video where appropriate and to route active camera groups to the vision mixer.

Crucially, the Minicams PPU MPV newly developed camera fixings and microphone mounts are designed to be quick to install and de-rig, enabling the Endemol production team to keep to its exceptionally tight schedule.

With 8 contributor houses to rig each in a matter of hours the production uses kit thats built to withstand everyday knocks. The main hot head used was Panasonics sturdy HE120 PTZ camera which is built to a very high standard yet is still light enough to be ceiling mounted.

Even so, this kind of fast turn-around job is a potential minefield: were working in peoples houses so our installation and cabling team has to be very conscious of respecting the properties. The crew constantly has to innovate to work around the idiosyncrasies of every house we work in; its a continual challenge. Ends McLachlan.

The results are touching and revealing, with the miniature cameras giving the audience a real insight into the lives and temptations - of normal members of the public. Critically, the HD experience is undiminished.


Tags: iss088 | Secret eaters | Minicams | Panasonic | fixed rig | Kieron Seth#
Contributing Author Kieron Seth#

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Polecam Toshiba Minicams at BVE 2014

    Polecam Toshiba Minicams at BVE 2014

  • Polecam Slow Motion Minicams at BVE 2014

    Polecam Slow Motion Minicams at BVE 2014

  • Polecams range of accessories and minicams at IBC 2013

    Polecams range of accessories and minicams at IBC 2013

  • Polecam at IBC 2015

    Polecam at IBC 2015

  • CameraCorps at BVE 2015

    CameraCorps at BVE 2015

  • Polecam Antelope Pico at IBC 2014

    Polecam Antelope Pico at IBC 2014

  • Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

    Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

  • Panasonic show VariCam at IBC 2014

    Panasonic show VariCam at IBC 2014

  • Panasonic at BVE 2012

    Panasonic at BVE 2012

  • Holdan and Panasonic at BVE North 2011

    Holdan and Panasonic at BVE North 2011

  • Panasonic at IBC2011

    Panasonic at IBC2011

  • KitPlus filming rig used at BVE 2017

    KitPlus filming rig used at BVE 2017

  • Den Lennie considers what kit and cameras to buy for 2015

    Den Lennie considers what kit and cameras to buy for 2015

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

  • Belfast TOUR

    Belfast TOUR

  • Polecam talk accessories on BroadcastShow LIVE 2013

    Polecam talk accessories on BroadcastShow LIVE 2013

  • Holdan on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013

    Holdan on BroadcastShow Tour May 2013


Related Shows
  • The KITPLUS Show discussing streaming from ingest through to delivery

    The KITPLUS Show discussing streaming from ingest through to delivery


Articles
Living LIVE at BVE with Ross Video
Jon Pratchett KitPlus’ Jon Pratchett chats to Stuart Russell, Ross Video, in the BVE studio. Covering customer partnerships and loyalty, pain points, growth, industry trends, pace of IP adoption, 12g SDI technologies, UHD / HDR, 8k, AI and we try to get a hint of new products on the horizon...
Tags: iss136 | ross video | 12g sdi | uhd | hdr | ip | bve 2019 | bvexpo | Jon Pratchett
Contributing Author Jon Pratchett Click to read or download PDF
NAB Intelligence
Bruce Devlin - new It's that time of year again. 06:30 on road bikes on the Las Vegas Strip with a merry bunch of folks who believe they look good in lycra. As we pedal West up the hill towards Red Rock there will be stories of the year just gone and questions about what to look for at the show. I, for one, will be attending the Devoncroft event to check up on who is spending what and where. I will then look forward to the topics that might be buzzing around the halls. I predict there will be many displays of Machine Learning hiding under the banner of Artificial Intelligence. Some of these will show better picture quality, others will show personalisation engines, some will be improved search tools and yet more will be synthesising pictures and motions to replace reality with and Artificial reality that's more compelling for the viewer.
Tags: iss136 | nab | class | ai | smpte | st2110 | imf | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Keeping Your Post Prodction on Track with Subclips and Search Bins
Alex Macleod

For my 2nd Kit Plus article I thought I’d try and build on the theme of my first, and that’s one of making sure things are organised at all levels of your post production projects.

Last time I talked about trying as best as you can to stick to the ‘two week rule’, making sure that the names & locations of every asset you import, and every bin & sequence that you create in your project - will make sense to you regardless of how long it is you spend away from it.

Tags: iss136 | mediacity training | subclip | premiere pro | gvs | bve | bve2019 | Alex Macleod
Contributing Author Alex Macleod Click to read or download PDF
BSC Expo 2019 Report
Paul MacKenzie BSC Expo returned to the Battersea Evolution on Friday February 1st and Saturday 2nd. It is a busy and friendly event though this year in need of some temperature control: exhibitors around the entrance area were uncomfortably aware of the wintry conditions outside and the main hall was in need of cooling.
Tags: iss136 | bsc | cinematography | canon | c700 | c200 | cartoni | holdan | blackmagic | peli | panasonic | sennheiser | sony | fs5 | teradek | viten | flowtech | Paul MacKenzie
Contributing Author Paul MacKenzie Click to read or download PDF
Painting Performance Analytics with ChyronHego
KitPlus By now, most people are familiar with the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) and its leading organization – UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). And while the sport and its leading promotion are only 25 years old, a great deal has changed in those 25 years, including the training of UFC athletes.
Tags: iss136 | paint | telestrator | ufc | chyron | chyronhego | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF