Filming In With The Flynns
Two hand-held camera operators and the boom operator record Liam (Will Mellor) and his brother Tony (Craig Parkinson).
We asked Jamie Glazebrook, Executive Producer of In With The Flynns, how the show was filmed.
How are audience sitcoms usually filmed?
It's very much like theatre. You perform the whole episode to an audience, in a TV studio. Some scenes you need to do a few times, usually for technical reasons but sometimes to try out alternative versions. Also, scenes shot outside the studio will have been filmed previously and are played to the audience on TV screens. So it's disjointed, and usually takes a couple of hours, but by and large the audience sees the entire episode from start to finish.
Normally sitcoms are filmed with five or so huge cameras that look a bit like daleks. So the set needs to be correspondingly big, which is why many sitcom families seem to live in these vast houses, even though sometimes you can't help wondering how the characters could afford to live somewhere so big.
What was different about the way you filmed In With The Flynns?
We took the decision to make our set the same size that it would be in real life - much smaller than most studio comedy sets - and we built the entire layout, so you could walk from room to room.
Then Dominic Brigstocke, our director, had to figure out how to film it. He basically got rid of the big cameras and filmed the show handheld, which is quite unusual for a multi-camera show.
But I couldn't be happier with the results. You really feel you're in there with the family, rather than watching them from across a proscenium. He's freshened up the genre.
Was this difficult to do?
Oh, it was a nightmare! At any given time there was more than one camera in use, so the operators risked being in each other's shot, on our comparatively tiny set.
Two camera operators working.
So the camera operators were ducking in and out of rooms, behind sofas and so on. And the sound department had to be in there too. Our director Dominic had a taste of this way of shooting with Alan Partridge, so we were in great hands.
How did the audience see what was going on?
Well for much of the show they didn't - not with the naked eye, anyway - because the set had all four walls in place, though in most rooms one wall was removable.
The In With The Flynns set, including the garden on the right hand side, and the removable exterior walls.
So we fed what we were filming through to big plasma screens. And what was thrilling is that the audience absolutely engaged with the live show as it played out. When you see the show at home, you can hear not just their laughter but their different reactions to emotional moments.