Shine TV deploys smartphone rigs for A Very British Lockdown

Shine TV, part of the Endemol Shine Group, has created an innovative documentary about these difficult times using LiveU’s LU-Smart mobile app to do so, fully adhering to current COVID-19 lockdown rules in the UK. Called A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline, which aired on 21 April on ITV, it follows NHS staff, nursing home workers as well as members of the public to reflect the reality of current lives.

Executive producer Tom Hutchings at Shine TV said, “A lot of productions have been put on hold, for obvious reasons. Networks are now faced with finding content to fill their schedules. Production companies are trying their best not to shut up shop, adjusting to new ways of working to make compelling TV in the current climate while adhering to government restrictions.

“This is what we have done with this documentary, creating TV simply with LiveU technology that provides a real cross section of what’s happening. It means we can stay safe and ensure we capture great content. Everything in the film – with the exception of GVs (general views) – was shot through the app.”

Drawing on their experience in making technically challenging productions such as Celebrity Hunted and The Heist, which utilised LiveU’s technology, Shine TV began to develop a workflow to allow remote filming by members of the public while maintaining editorial quality.

Having reached out for possible participants, Shine TV ensured each one downloaded LiveU’s LU-Smart app to their smartphone. That meant no crew onsite – or physical contact at all with participants – with footage then uploaded to Shine TV servers and edited from home by Shine TV’s editors. Using LiveU Central to manage and monitor what was being shot in real-time, additional instruction updates were communicated to participants as and when required. Shine TV was able to adhere to all lockdown rules while creating quality content that still had the desired feeling of being raw and real. Although this documentary is about the UK experience, Shine also received footage from other countries, including India and South Africa.

Tom Williams, executive producer of the documentary said, “Lockdown is the most extraordinary time in recent British history, and we were desperate to tell ordinary people’s stories of hope, fear and resilience in the fight back against the pandemic. But how can you film unfolding dramas without ever actually meeting the people involved? By teaching our contributors remotely to use an app on their smartphones we cracked it!

“A Very British Lockdown is a really intimate picture of the first month of lockdown told by Britain’s families, shopkeepers, key workers and those most vulnerable to Coronavirus. This new way of filming has taken us behind closed doors into some totally different worlds. We’ve ended up making a really candid, unfiltered film in a way that we simply wouldn’t have thought possible, and certainly wouldn’t have tried, before lockdown.”

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