The ‘What Would Your Kid Do?’ concept was developed by production company Boomerang TV and aimed to combine a game show with fixed rig elements of filming in order to facilitate the observational components of the programme. Children would be filmed carrying out tasks that challenged a variety of their thought processes and skills, while their parents would predict their decisions and the outcome of the tasks. Having a substantial body of work filming children in similar conditions, The Complete Camera Company were asked to facilitate the rig element of this brand new factual entertainment format.
Following a pilot in June 2017, a fantastic opportunity to assess the requirements and demands of the show, The Complete Camera Company were able to plan a full shoot for the series. After a recce at a school in North London with the production team it was confirmed that filming would be able to take place during half term and that the school was able to provide the required access and rooms for the shoot. CCC Director Ben Hoffmann did a follow up technical recce in order to confirm camera plans and kit locations for the shoot itself.
Filming would take place across two classrooms and a playground which required 14 pan and tilt hot head cameras in order to achieve full coverage of the areas. The gallery was situated in a music room next to the classrooms so both the technical and production team were very close to the action throughout. This is particularly useful when working with children and it provided plenty of space. One of the difficulties with shooting in a school like this is the limited access to extra space. The Complete Camera Company built the MCR (Machine Control Room) into one of the children’s toilets and the Ingest machinery in a cloakroom so that everything was located close enough to the gallery. 14 Wisycom personal microphones were used for the contributors, with another 2 being brought in for the episode in which twins took part. 10 atmospheric microphones were strategically placed around the filming areas and 2 Phonak hidden ear pieces were provided to the staff members facilitating the activities. Power was distributed using a 63 amp 3-phase outlet from the school, managed by The CCC’s electrician.
It was vital that the production team were able to achieve a realistic school environment for the children in order to reduce their awareness of being filmed and capture genuine reactions. In order to achieve this The CCC worked closely with the Boomerang’s Art Department to ensure that the cameras were well integrated into the set design and not visible. Aside from a few overhead remote cameras used to film specific tasks, the cameras were built into various parts of the set and furniture at the children’s eye height. This also ensures that the viewer can see everything from the child’s point of view.
The most important thing in terms of filming was the safety and wellbeing of the children. This meant that the CCC crew were focused on making sure all of the cameras were safely secured down, any trailing cables were removed, all electrical equipment was kept away from the children and all of the offset areas were inaccessible to them.
It took 10 members of The Complete Camera Company crew a day and a half to rig What Would Your Kid Do? which provided an afternoon for the production team and CCC crew to rehearse before the children arrived. The time frame was a day shorter than usually required to rig 14 cameras in a similar environment, but because of the availability of the location the team had to work overtime hours in order to achieve the full scale rig in the given time.
A big challenge for the cameramen on a show of this type is capturing the speedy interactions of children. They tend to speak, move and explore far quicker than adults so it is easy to miss some very important moments. In order to reduce the risk of missing anything The Complete Camera Company put two camera operating positions in so that more footage could be captured at any one moment.
One of the highlights of the show was comedian Jason Manford observing the situations as they unfolded, challenging the parents to predict what each child would do in each given task. He presented the series, using the fixed rig footage to inform the studio audiences of the outcome. At the end of the show the parents that correctly predicted their child’s behavior the most went through to a final to compete for prizes with their child.
The final series was a fascinating, often hilarious show that entertained the whole family. Audiences were hooked by the personalities of a wide range of children and looked forward to anticipating both the challenges and outcomes themselves. Exploring everything from curiosity to creativity, truth telling to taking risks, ‘What Would Your Kid Do?’ provided a light-hearted but educational look into children and their relationships with the world.
Facts & Figures
Facts & Figures
Filmed: October & November 2017
Aired: February & March 2018
Location: North London
Viewers: 3.96 Million