We have been working alongside Monkey Kingdom on the hit show since day one, from the original set up through to trialling new camera techniques and shots. For this series, we have been looking to create a more filmic look compared to the traditional look of reality TV programmes. To capture these shots, we opted to use the Sony PMW-F3 for the bulk of the filming. The cameras are versatile and portable enough to be used at the huge variety of locations the contributors visit throughout the series, from the sandy beaches of St Tropez, to the scorching heat in Dubai through to the drizzly streets of Paris. These digital 35mm workhorses are paired with Red and Angenieux cine lenses to give the show a look that is normally associated with drama and film.
As you might expect from this action packed show, multiple cameras are used so any unexpected reactions by the contributors can be captured first time, as second takes are often not an option! To do this, we blended together drama lighting and composition whilst still allowing room for things to happen unexpectedly and be caught on camera. Being a reality show, the scene progression isn't locked down in the same way it would be on a drama set with blocking and shot lists so the we have to be flexible and adapt to the action as it unfolds.
To ensure all the action is caught on film, we opted for a simple three camera setup. The first two cameras are on long lenses to capture tight singles while the third is on a wide lens to provide a range of options, from establishing shots to entrance and exit shots.
As you might expect from a show like Made in Chelsea, creating the right lighting is critical to create the right mood. To ensure the faces of the cast members have depth and texture, all scenes are all lit with up stage lighting, using soft lights such as Kino Flo fluorescent lights and LED lights, as well as HMIs and a range of tungsten lights. This is the kind of lighting you would expect to be used in cinematic productions and helps give the show that characteristically filmic look which takes it beyond a traditional reality show.
If you want to check out the shots and lighting we have described above, tune into E4 at 10pm every Monday to watch the fifth series of Made in Chelsea!