This Is Family: A Case Study
In April 2018, Next was called to produce a reality show like none other.
Here’s the catch: The series had to look the same to viewers as a standard reality show. But for us, This Is Family is unlike anything we’ve ever produced.
The cast of This Is Family was enthusiastic about the show. There was a catch, however: they did not want their life abruptly changed due to the presence of the show. This forced us to rethink how we shoot reality television.
Shooting the show—
This Is Family requires a different set of cameras than most shows do. The rigged up low-light beast Sony a7S II is paired with the Sony 28-135 f/4 servo zoom lens. We use this rig for circumstances in which large, imposing cameras are permitted. These cameras are usually used in the family’s homes.
When leaving the house, or for more intimate moments, we still use the Sony a7S II camera to maintain consistency in the appearance of the show, but simply switch the lens to the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens. This lens is small and works perfectly for our S-Log2 ProRes 422 4K 24p production workflow.
Editing the show—
The series shoots much closer to air than other reality series. At most, This Is Family shoots three months before air. This requires an efficient, high-performance edit suite. Next has chosen Final Cut Pro X to edit the series. This allows crew to edit the show on-location using their MacBook Pro laptops. The series is then delivered to Amazon in the ProRes 422 codec at 1080p24. Although the show is shot on 4K, the footage is downscaled to 1080p per network guidelines.
Soundtracking the show—
Music is an important part of the family, with David and Aaron both avid musicians. Thus, we decided to focus on the music on the show The soundtrack of This Is Family is an EDM-heavy playlist. Indie artists Canopy Climbers and Andrew X have both had featured placements on the series’ first season, as well as EDM artist Tobu. Custom music is sourced from music producer Nate Dodge who has worked on hit shows Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Real World. Library music is by Future Vega, the label of famed tropical house artist Ryan Lofty.
Want to see the show in action? Stream the first season on Amazon Prime Video!
The second season of This Is Family premieres March 15, 2019, on Prime Video.