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.

It’s almost time…

Pre-Production for Big Brother 2012 started for the House Directors on 14th May. Of course many other people never left the site when the Celebrity version finished on January 27th. In fact, the Task Team had two weeks off and were right back in again. But for the Directors who were just starting back again, the first two weeks consisted mainly of training new staff and ironing out potential issues and problems with the camera positions and the new design. The Big Brother House gets a makeover every series, with sections ripped out and new features installed. Old items are taken out and new items put in. And every season it gets bigger and better. But it does mean the Directors need to start fresh with installing enough cameras in the right place to capture all the action.

It’s a real buzz to walk around the camera-runs during the new build and see an army of designers and fitters laying new carpets, applying wall prints, testing lighting, installing furniture, installing hot-head cameras, new windows go in, one-way mirroring applied, etc. Every day sees something new come to life. It’s great to see the camera stack come ‘on-line’ one camera at a time. At the beginning of the contract the Reality Gallery monitors looked like this:

Big Brother 2012 Reality Gallery monitor stack

As you can see no cameras were up so there wasn’t much for us to work with! Installing everything takes a long time and there are miles and miles of fixed microphone and camera cables to install and test. The hot-head cameras aren’t permanently up inside the House. They travel around the world to be used on other television projects (The F1 racing, for example). Once they are fixed inside the House they are adjusted to make sure they are straight and balanced. During the run it’s common for a House Director to state the infamous words “Camera 13 is on the piss”. And once we’re on-air you can’t just walk into the house with a spirit level and a screw driver to fix it. They are either sneakily fixed through the night whilst the housmates are asleep or during the day whilst the contestants are locked down in another area of the house or on a Task. Clearly this is an inconvenience so getting it right before transmission is vital.

By the beginning of week two most of the cameras were up and we were able to do some training. It’s traditional for new staff to go in as test Housemates and spend a few hours roaming around whilst the Directors follow them and carry out further camera adjustments. It’s customary that the Loggers (the people who type up and timecode everything they see and hear 24/7) and the Runners (the ones who make the teas and coffees and do a lot of work that others can’t/won’t do) be the subjects for these tests. They sit down in the lounge area, we cover it. They try out the beds, we cover it. They roam around the garden, we cover it. It’s a good one-day test.

A week or so before the Live Launch show there is a full dress rehearsal with actual contestants who have applied for the show. It’s called Guinea Pigs, and lasts anywhere between two and five days. This run-through also happens on other reality shows such as ‘I’m A Celebrity’. It gives the Producers a chance to see the House in action, allows the Editors to cut together ideas they want to use for the series and allows the Task Team to see how some of their ideas will play out. More importantly for the Directors, it allows us to see what sections of the House need more coverage by moving and adding cameras.

By the end of week two, the 2012 Guinea Pig rehearsals were coming to an end (just as I was beginning to learn their names!). To add to my adrenalin levels, on the last day the Production team had a deliberate fire alarm activation to see how the crew would handle it. We did pretty well, following the procedures set out by Health And Safety. You can imagine my horror as I watched the housemates disappear from camera coverage through a fire door from the garden and into the camera runs, quickly apprehended by the Security team and escorted to a safe house. I could hear them but not see them. Such a horrible feeling!

Last minute changes are made in the final days before Launch. Where things haven’t worked out they are adjusted, removed or replaced. New boards go down in the camera runs to stop any squeaky floorboards that have developed during the set-up. Black drapes are put over every mirrored window in the camera runs so the Housemates can’t see a thing, even if they press their faces right up against the glass (which is a rule break, according to the Big Brother Housemate Welcome Pack). With minutes to go before Launch there are still people in the house making final adjustments. Just as Brian is recording his “in thirty minutes” and “in fifteen minutes!” teases, the Gallery crew are handed laminated sheets with Housemates photos and names on. This is the first time we get to see who the contestants are. Contrary to popular belief, 95% of people working on the show do not know anything about the Housemates before Launch day. The Producers are extremely good at keeping secrets and using code words.

As the title states… It’s almost time…

If you haven’t seen the teaser trailer, here it is: