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Old March 29th, 2004, 12:36 PM   #1
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"The Office" -- d'ya know much about its production?

After a few recommendations, I finally rented the first series of the BBC show "The Office." Pretty durn funny, I must say.

Does anyone know anything about the production of this show? Mostly I was curious what cameras and what sort of lighting set-up was used. Is everything from the BBC shot on PD150s and VX2000s? Or are shows like this typically shot with shoulder-bricks? There doesn't seem to be many clues on the DVD or on the website on how this show was produced (aside from the scripting elements).
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Old March 29th, 2004, 01:51 PM   #2
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Hi John,

The office has to be one of my all time favourite BBC sitcoms. I once did a spoof of one for a client. Any way that off topicÖ

Like you Iím not to sure, but if my memory serves me right I believe that they used "shoulder-bricks" as you put it - then again I could be wrong.

Yes the BBC does use PD150s vx2000s etc especially for real life documentaries and news.

The good thing about the show is that it is a spoof documentary and so is supposed to look like 'Real life'. You could probably shoot with a PD 150 in a normal well-lit office and get the same results, after all thatís what I done when I created my spoof.

Off the subject slightly - Has the American version been released yet?

Cheers,

Ed
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Old March 31st, 2004, 11:48 AM   #3
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The American version is not out yet -- after seeing how well "Coupling" fared in translation, I don't really expect the new version to last too long. It'll be interesting to see if the American version has the same "sense of place" as the original. The biggest disappointment is that Steven Carell is playing the US "David Brent" -- obviously that role should have gone to another Daily Show alum (also named Steve): Stephen Colbert. Or maybe not... Colbert might be a little too "on the nose" to come off realistically.

Do you know anything about the post work done to a show like The Office? When watching the deleted scenes (as well as the hidden, full version of "Free Love on the Free Love Freeway"), the subtle changes made to the final video seemed obvious. I'd love to know what some of the standard post corrections suggestions would be.

And I definitely think my DVC80 would be up to the task of a mockumentary, but the show just seems to look better than just a prosumer cam under ambient lighting -- was curious if they actually *did* use prosumer cams and just happened to get the best image out of it; or if they used more typical "production"/"shoulder-brick" cams (like Trading Spaces or some of those shows do).

BTW -- do you have your spoof posted online anywhere?
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Old March 31st, 2004, 12:08 PM   #4
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The US TV folks have a long history of ruining good Britcoms. Anybody remember an old British series called "Mind Your Language"? Very funny and campy old series. The US version was "What a Country". It was pretty bad.

And some British concepts just won't translate. Yes Prime Minister was a wonderful and remarkably brilliant and intelligent show, but could you imagine putting intellectual, multi-layered humor and dry wit into an American TV show? You could say that Spin City sort of tried to give that same kind of 'shrewd and devious second in command who is really in command' kind of thing, but it just wasn't the same.

Can anyone else think of any more 'borrowed' shows? There are many but I'm drawing a blank right now. Were any of them successful in the American market?

The most recent successful translation I can recall is Trading Spaces (not exactly a sitcom, but it's still a show). Changing Rooms was (and still is) its British counterpart. Not a good comparison though, because this is more of a reality show.
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Old March 31st, 2004, 12:40 PM   #5
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Hi John,

I don't have a web version of it <yet> But to tempt you, I created a photo montage of stills from the video:

http://www.ejjsproductions.co.uk/ima...ce_montage.jpg

It was made as a moral booster for employees of the company I made it for. The script and characters were supplied by employees of the company.

I'll have to look over the DVD, But i'm sure there was a documentary on it where I saw them filming with Betacam (or similar cameras). I am not aware of any colour correction in post.

Imran, Most british game show formats have been taken on by American networks, 'Weakest Link' and 'Who wants to be a millionaire' are amongst a few. As for sitcoms and 'soaps' I'll have to do a bit more thinking.

Thanks,

Ed
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Old March 31st, 2004, 12:52 PM   #6
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One of the most famous was "All in the Family" but I forgot the British sitcom name for it.
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Old March 31st, 2004, 01:29 PM   #7
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One show that was shot on DV back when it was almost exotic (and obviously with bricks) was the CBC's "The Newsroom" written and produced by Ken Finkleman. Much funnier than The Office I think, and in the same style.

In fact, The Office owes more than a little something to it, I think.

Originally run for one season only in the early 90s, it was brought back this last year in a new production by the CBC. The first season is out on DVD in the US.

One the more recent show, see http://www.thenewsroom.ca/
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Old March 31st, 2004, 01:47 PM   #8
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Ed

Thanks for the montage -- your David Brent (that's who I assume the goatee'd fellow is) looks alot like a guy I used to know -- we were both selling mobile homes at the time (one day I'll make something creative out of that experience!)

Anyway, from what I saw on the two disc "Office Series 1" DVD, I remember seeing the lens of a camera and a couple of boom mics in the Disc 2 documentary -- and that was about it. If you compare the full version of "Free Love Freeway" (hidden as Title 7 on the US DVD) to the episode, you can see subtle differences in the video -- to my eyes, at least, the "aired" version looks like it's had some post-production done and the "full" version looks a little rawer.


Rob--

The original version of "All in the Family" was called "Till Death Do Us Part," I believe. Wasn't "Men Behaving Badly" another Brit-com turned into a US sit-com?


Peter --

I think The Office owes a lot to a lot, from "This is Spinal Tap" to "Office Space." Still, I find it pretty enjoyable. I'd like to check out "The Newsroom" -- I see that it's on DVD (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...578569-6209419) -- I'll try to get my hands on a copy...
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Old March 31st, 2004, 04:11 PM   #9
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I asked a friend who works for BBC and he said they use betacam. He's not sure about the lighting though....."I imagine it was just standard location lamps."
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Old March 31st, 2004, 07:03 PM   #10
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Wasn't "Sanford and Son" based on a British show?
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Old April 1st, 2004, 02:43 AM   #11
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This thread is going way off the original subject, and I think I probably started it - Sorry.

I'll have a look at the english DVD John tonight when I get home from work.

Ed
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Old April 1st, 2004, 08:44 AM   #12
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Ach!

Thanks, Dustin! If you ever get the chance, would you mind asking your BBC friend about the post work they do on shows like the Office? I've gone to the BBC "Tutorials" page, but the module doesn't say much beyond "Here are two high-priced systems we use in post-production."

[Actually, I guess that question ultimately goes beyond The Office and into, "What are some basic post-production steps one should take?" *(and in my case, with After Effects). I've got my copy of "Color Correction for Digital Video" and I've tried out my curves and blending modes, but it always seems like I end up with the choice between "looking like raw video" and "looking like video that has obviously been f'ed with in After Effects"]
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Old April 1st, 2004, 10:57 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by John Britt : Ach!

Thanks, Dustin! If you ever get the chance, would you mind asking your BBC friend about the post work they do on shows like the Office? I've gone to the BBC "Tutorials" page, but the module doesn't say much beyond "Here are two high-priced systems we use in post-production."

[Actually, I guess that question ultimately goes beyond The Office and into, "What are some basic post-production steps one should take?" *(and in my case, with After Effects). I've got my copy of "Color Correction for Digital Video" and I've tried out my curves and blending modes, but it always seems like I end up with the choice between "looking like raw video" and "looking like video that has obviously been f'ed with in After Effects"] -->>>


"well, *puts hands on hips, kisses teeth, sips his mug of tea* it's gonna cost yer.

digibeta is the industry standard, so you'll be working with that. that will get the 'look' of 'the office' and just about any other non-film tv programme. you can't grade mini-dv or dvcam to look like digibeta.

i can (part of me job) spot any different video format. it's glaringly obvious when veiwed on a grade one monitor.

'you can't polish a turd' is a saying which fits the bill. many programmes grade thier digibeta footage to try to achieve a film look. this is endemic in music videos and british telly programmes such as 'casualty'. i imagine the office was graded in some scenes, some of it looks like the colour has been desaturated, with the black levels brought back up. for grading i imagine it will be of done on a ds. or perhaps a flame or inferno system, as it was 'in-house' (fully made by the bbc).

post-production is a very expensive buisness. that's why it pays well *coughbullshitcough*. no post production house would use in built colour correctors or vectorscopes in thier nle's. to get a true 100% accuratte reading of vision levels you need a rackmount scope. to alter these levels you can either use the front panel colour corrector on the digibeta deck, or a rackmount colour corrector unit.

a colour legaliser 'chops' all illeagal chroma and luma. this can cause heavy white crushing, which can fail the programme upon tech. review for tx (transmission).

unless you have alot of money, you have to use the tools available, which is afx or a simler application. all post-production equipment is expensive. it's all industrial high tech shit. a well set up avid symphony suite shits on stuff like premier or fcp. this is reflected in the price."
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Old April 1st, 2004, 01:10 PM   #14
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>>Off the subject slightly - Has the American version been released yet?
<<
Thank goodness for BBC America on digital cable. We don't have to wait for the crappy American versions.


I have the first 2 seasons of the British 'Coupling' on DVD. I need to get the office now.
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Old April 1st, 2004, 03:44 PM   #15
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Dustin

Thanks for getting that info. Of course, now I'm beginning to wonder if you actually have a friend at the BBC, or if you just have multiple personalities! :)
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