This Is Family: A Case Study
In April 2018, Next was charged with producing a reality show like none other.
But there was a catch: The series had to look like a typical reality show. But for us, This Is Family was unlike anything we’ve ever produced.
The cast of This Is Family was enthusiastic about the show. However, they did not want their life abruptly changed due to the presence of the show. This forced us to rethink how we were to shoot the series.
Shooting the show—
This Is Family requires a different set of cameras than most shows do. The family’s fast-paced life does not allow for a typical, ENG rig. For This Is Family, the rigged up low-light beast Sony a7S II is paired with the Sony 28-135 f/4 servo zoom lens. The Tiffen 812 Warming Filter is utilized for evening out skin tones. An Atomos Ninja Flame monitor/recorder is used to shoot ProRes for efficient, high quality post-production. We use this shoulder-mounted rig for circumstances in which large, imposing cameras are permitted.
When filming with a large crew is not acceptable, we still shoot with the Sony a7S II camera and 28-135 lens, but simply switch to a handheld rig. This practice 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 editing suite. Typically, we edit on desktop editing rigs with Adobe Premiere Pro CC. For this series, Next has chose Final Cut Pro X. 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 delivery guidelines.
Soundtracking the show—
Music is an important part of the family, with David and Aaron both avid musicians. Thus, we decided to put extra emphasis on the music of the show. The soundtrack of This Is Family is an EDM-heavy playlist. Artists Tobu, Canopy Climbers, and Andrew X all have featured placements on the series. Custom music is sourced mainly from composers Samuel PK Smith and occasionally Nate Dodge. Their credits both include the hit show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Library music is composed by Ryan Lofty of Future Vega, and the many talented composers at Lab Hits.
Want to see the show in action? Stream on Amazon Prime Video!
Season two returns June 7. Season three premieres Fall 2019.