Archive | June 2012

Silent Hill: Escape The Tower

Working in film and TV can be hard. No matter what your job is. Having started as a Runner (on the lowest rung of the career ladder) and working my way up to a Director, I take any opportunity I can to help others in the film/TV industry to explore their options and push people in the right direction.

As such, now is the time for me to help out a crew I worked with in 2012.

In April I was working on a Zombie film called The Undead Records (as a zombie extra!) when I had the opportunity to work with this crew. Their make-up style and design is brilliant and they deserve recognition for their talents. They are passionate about their maticulous work and travel the length and breadth of the country to take part in horror and zombie events. Most of the time they spend their own money to tke part.

Fronting this operation is Jason Wright, the Creative Director behind Silent Studios. As an incredibly talented photographer with many years experience, he has stepped into the role of Director of Photography. Utilising his skills of lighting, composition and design to bring an exquisite style for film and TV. They have become masters of the horror genre. Their work on The Undead Records is stunning.

Silent Studios offer not only photography work for film and TV but can offer make-up artists, models, actors and extras for the industry too.

Their intention is to create a short feature which will be submitted to Film Festivals around the globe, showing off their skills and style in horror. They have started a campaign on IndieGoGo to help raise the funds for this feature, helping to reduce the amount of their own money they pump into their work.

Therefore, I ask that you click on the link below and read through their manifesto, offering anything you can to their cause. Every penny counts towards giving this crew the future they deserve.

http://www.indiegogo.com/escapethetower?a=433880

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Big Brother and The Glass House; A Comparison

Click HERE to read the disclaimer!

UPDATES:

  • Added “The Glass House” ‘ABC’s The View’ video
  • Corrected spelling mistakes

The term “Big Brother” comes from George Orwells’ novel ‘1984‘ based on a society monitored under complete surveillance. The original idea for Big Brother as a TV show was 24/7 coverage of people in a House and started with the simple idea of Housemates evicted one at a time, one per week, as the result of whoever had the most number of votes from the public. Big Brother airs a round-up of the best action in a daily show, and also has a magazine spin-off show with audience interaction and a panel of guests to digest and discuss the show. The Big Brother format has dramatically changed since its inception in 2000 and now has multiple evictions on the same night, Housemates voted in as well as out, Vote To Save instead of Vote To Evict, a Live Feed that was reduced and then axed altogether, etc. As such, the format of the show exists in a modified fashion.

The Glass House, although on appearance seems similar, is quite different. The premise is a reality show with HouseGuests in a House made of glass (?) who interact with the public via huge screens in the House. The public ask questions with multiple-choice answers and the HouseGuests, who compete against each other in teams, interact by answering those questions with various actions, such as moving to different parts of the House. HouseGuests answers affects their teams and then become the reasons for being ejected from The Glass House. The show is reported to have a Live Feed with streaming video accessible via the internet (?), but not 24/7. It’s alleged it will only stream up to 7 hours. Shows are then cut from all the footage over a set period (not necessarily 24 hours) and aired as a TV show once per week. It isn’t a 24 hour turn-around, like Big Brother.

The two shows are similar. Considering they are both Reality TV shows it’s common sense that their set-ups and operations would be similar. I imagine the design and technical set-up for both will be almost exactly the same. But there are also vast differences:

Big Brother

  • Remote cameras
  • One-way mirrors with camera crews behind the glass
  • Close-ups with full manual camera control (depth of field, etc)
  • 24/7 coverage for 12 weeks (3 weeks Celebrity version)
  • DAILY highlights shows (More than 60 shows over a 9 week series!)
  • Spin-off magazine show
  • Tasks set by BIG BROTHER
  • Nominations come about by Housemates voting against each other
  • The Public vote for Housemates who are put up for nomination

The Glass House

  • Fixed cameras
  • NO one-way mirrors or camera crews behind glass
  • 24/5 coverage
  • Group shots only
  • Tasks set by the PUBLIC
  • WEEKLY highlights show
  • TEN episodes in total
  • NO spin-off show
  • Nominations come about through the results of HouseGuests interactions with the public
  • HouseGuests effectively put themselves up for Ejection through their interactions with the public

The Big Brother House works with a series of moveable remote ‘hot head’ cameras, capable of 360 degree coverage and night vision. This looks to be the only way The Glass House operates. What makes Big Brother different is that it also uses several dozen one-way mirrored windows in every room which allow an army of camera operators to use much better quality HD cameras that can go from an incredible wide shot of an entire room and crash right in to a teardrop on the face of a Housemate who’s on the other side of the House. These cameras allow tiny focus detail and control and are of far superior quality to the remote cameras. The Glass House does not have one-way mirrored windows, and uses remote cameras only, and appears to use a lot of group shots and no real close-up shots at all. Also, The Glass House seemingly runs 24/5 and not 24/7. After five days the HouseGuests are individually holed up in a hotel over the weekend (?) before going back in again. This does not happen on Big Brother. Nor is there any form of contact with the outside world on Big Brother unless under extreme circumstances, or part of a Task. The ejection of HouseGuests from The Glass House is entirely down to their own actions as responded to by public interaction.

It’s very likely that the differences between the two shows would give very different results for their respective participants.

It was put to a U.S. District Judge in an 11-page document that The Glass House is violating copyright laws and that trade secrets are being shared as some 19 crew members working on The Glass House had previously worked on Big Brother USA. Part of ABC’s defence was that production techniques couldn’t be considered intellectual property and therefore cannot be copyrighted.

But the sharing of staff across projects is common. Freelancers who work for the BBC also work at Sky, ITV and Channel 4. Freelancers who work on Britains Got Talent also work on The X-Factor, Got To DanceThe VoiceBig Brother, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, etc. It’s how the industry works.

The outcome is, so far, predictable. The Judge in the case agreed that although “CBS [sought] to protect the idea of a show of contestants in a house where cameras are running“, his answer was “you can’t copyright that“. CBS suggested a copyright holding for Big Brother with regards to the way the show was produced. ABC stated in its defence of The Glass House that “processes and techniques [are] already well known to everyone who has ever worked in reality television“. The Judge seemed to agree, stating “generic reality show elements” cannot be protected under copyright law.

A Temporary Restraining Order to halt the airing of  The Glass House in the USA was denied. The show aired in America on June 18th 2012. However, the court case continued. But not before a few episodes of The Glass House were edited and shown to the public.

What does the future hold for ABC airing The Glass House as an entire series?

More importantly, will the outcome of the court case between ABC and CBS have any impact on other reality shows?

We’ll have to wait and see…

One thing I DO know is if it comes to the UK, it will become another phenomenon. And I’d love to be part of it!

Big Brother 2012 AKA BBUK Series 13

Firstly, a disclaimer: Anything I write here is not in any way an official comment or statement on behalf of Big Brother, Endemol, Channel 5 or any other form of affiliate. What I write is my own thoughts or comments rewritten from information published elsewhere and already in the Public Domain. The words herein should not be taken as fact. They may be my opinion, misinformation or misunderstood comments from elsewhere on the internet. Just to be clear these are my words, and my words alone, and are not written here in any official capacity whatsoever nor connected in any way to anyone else.

Tuesday felt like a very successful launch show. As with any Live show there are always glitches and hiccups, but I didn’t notice anything too severe. Mind you, I wasn’t fully concentrating on what you saw at home as I was technically on-shift and in the Reality Gallery every now and then making sure everything was as ready as can be.

The audience filed in early on Tuesday and were caught out with the rain. Thankfully lots of poncho’s were handed out. Every Live show has a warm-up act who keeps the crowds in high spirits. It’s usual for “We Will Rock You” to be played for the audience to sing along to and do Mexican waves, etc. it’s all good fun. Even better when it doesn’t rain. I expect some fantastic Live shows throughout the summer. Nothing beats hearing the music playing, the Production Village cabins shaking with bass, hearing the audience roar and watching the show come together as a Live event.

If you are interested in audience tickets for the Live shows by the way, you should head over to www.applausestore.com and register your interest. Big Brother tickets are regularly dished out. I’ve read elsewhere the capacity is over 600 and if you’re local you stand a better chance, but not essential.

It’s such a blast being a House Director. I’m constantly laughing my head off at conversations and the bizzare things I hear and see. I regularly find myself entering their heated debates with my own opinions. Sometimes the housemates conversations can move onto something different, yet the camera operators and myself continue the debate!

I don’t fully understand the lack of a Live feed, but I do know that if there was one it’d be on constantly in my home. Covering the Housemates for eight hours at a time on shift simply isn’t enough for me! I’m a massive fan! I completely understand there’s a whole process of employment, kit hire, and massive cost involved in setting up the Live feed. Who knows.

I have noticed that the social networking side of Big Brother is working fine. Twitter and Facebook are covered in media. I’ve seen coverage I’ve literally just done appear on the website within seconds. They’re bloody quick! Of course, a Live feed would be quicker 😉 Hey ho. Times have changed.

Ready For Launch

Hello Big Brother fans… Google analytics informs me you read this, so here is an informal hello. *WAVES!*

It’s almost time, nearly there…

On Monday a fellow Director and I spent more than five hours running around the Big Brother house with cameras and a bunch of equipment to film lots and lots of cut-away shots for the show. I tried to go microscopic. Some of the shots are ultra-close-ups of various objects. I’m hoping people will look at a shot and say “What is that? Where is that in the House?”. Some were just wide shots. And a few shots of a *chair*?

I don’t know what they’ll use in the show, it’s down to the Producers and Editors. But there’s plenty of things to chuck into the edits. Look out for lightbulb filaments, kitchen utensils, shiny things. Oh, and my favourite.. DRIPPING TAPS!

Anyone in the House had to either wear silly blue plastic bags over their shoes, or take their shoes off. I opted to take my shoes off. Everything was fine till there was a torrential downpour and water started dripping into the camera runs, right into my shoes! I ended up driving home that night with bare feet as my shoes were still soggy and my socks got soaked too. There had been some changes to the House since a few days ago, so some of our previous coverage had to be changed or re-shot for continuity. Overall it was a successful day, if not incredibly tiring. I was shattered when I got home (put my feet up and watched the Jubilee Concert in HD).

The show launches Tuesday 5th at 8pm with the Auditions show, followed by the Live launch.