Two hectares of cruelty

They say that a format, bought aboard, is just a copy of the original that travels from one country to another. But actually for those who are not lazy a format gives unless opportunities to create. An example of this is the «Wipe out» by the «Channel One» and the «Red Square.»

At the other end of the world.

Our channels buy foreign formats, because the foreign channels provide the decrease of the risks, simplify the attraction of the advertisers and also give a specific picture of the upcoming expenses (time- and money-wise). Besides, the big mega-shows already have prepared shooting base with a fully set-up production technology.
The «Wipe out» is being shot in Argentina in the territory of a giant range of several
hectares. This park territory was used by the «Endemol» company especially for the
«Wipe Out». The whole territory is nominally divided into two main sets, equipped with different complexes of sports challenges and television technics, which are placed in front of one another. A special third set is being build, as the shootings of this format are conducting simultaneously for different countries non-stop.
The document, in which there are all the details about the way of shooting the show is called a «bible». It contains everything that the producers should do and without which the format would not be the format: rules of the game, number of contestants, roles of the hosts, dramatic elements, challenges. The original «bible» of the «Wipe out» was 80 pages long (without the technical things, just the creative). But the representatives of the
«Red Square», that make this show together with the «Channel One» have already added pages in Russia.

TV temptation

If you shoot in complete accordance with the «bible», it would be hard to differentiate between the American show and Russian (only the hosts and familiar faces of Russian celebrities). That's why the creative Russian team decorated the set- built its own set­ dressing: stone statues and Aztec petroglyphs. The building of this took 80 cubic metres of the foam plastic, and the team of the artists consisted of 8 people. The head of this process was the famous artistic director Sergey Ivanov, who also worked for the
«Survivor». Everything was made in a week, which surprised the hosts of the set.
The creators of the Russian version of the show know, that the modern Russian audience is very demanding, if not whimsical. The second season of any show they won't watch so closely if you don't offer some new elements. The decoration became one of those elements. there countries just use what was there before.The «Red Square» made a few adjustments to the format itself. One of this elements is called «EI kinche» in Spanish, which means a bungalow, where the participants wait before starting the challenge, as they have no right to see the challenge before. By the way the Ukranian colleagues used this element in their adaptation of the show without even asking.
The second special element of the show became the so-called prologues - small stories about the modern life in Argentina. Large-format profiles with the big-scale panorama shootings or the shootings from helicopters.
«The post-production of the new season was innovative too: B-Roils were combined with CGI in one shot. It was very technological, no one did this before. For example, the host tells the audience about the chances of the participants, h'e is being shot and at the same time he points at the floating profiles of the contestants», - says llya Krivtisky, the producer of the show and the creative director of the «Red Square».

Began from the middle

The Russians also changed the rules. This year a vip-guest appeared (each episode has a celebrity), who watches the game and can give a second chance to one of the eliminated contestants. The fans of the «Wipe Out» noticed, that the obstacle track has also changed
-the contestants used the new «equipment» during the first five episodes.
By the way, because of the new obstacle course the second season was shot from the middle - first the they shot episodes 5 to 8 with the old equipment, and the the first 4. The the final episode was shot and the «best of». The issue was, that the new sets were occupied and no one wanted to waste time.The project was shot in 21 day.
«An «away» project is always more intense.At the same time, we didn't want to use the old-school way, and applied some things, useful for the Russian television and thus managed to decrease the price of the one of the most expensive project on the Russian TV, - says Stanislav Solovkin, the executive producer of the show. - One episode was shot during one or two days together with all the prologues and pre-production,and the British shot it during the 5 days. So you can compare the shooting crew with the participants of an entertainment program- they are required to have maximum concentration during the minimal period of time.» The shooting day started at 8 a.m., when the contestants were brought to the range by bus from the centre of Buenos-Aires. Before the start the contestants and the crew had to pass the medical test, have their blood pressure and alcohol level checked. And if the Argentinian doctor said «nO» the contestant
would not have been allowed to take part in the shooting. There was a big break during the lunch time and then the shooting continued until the late night. Only the actual shootings were conducted in Argentina , but the post-production, colour-correction, CGI were made in Russia.

The «Wipe Out» resources: many kilometres range, 21ocations with challenges, 80 CBM of foam plastic for the set-dressing, 2 gigs - 9 and 6 metres, about 30 cameras on set: 13 standard ones, 5 GoPros, 8 underwater cameras, 3 HD P2 cameras and around 100 people.


No one even dared to count the exact quantity of the cameras. With all our efforts combined we managed to count around 30 cameras. 13 classic ones, 5 GoPros, that are attached to the helmets of the contestants. Also there were around 8 underwater Argentinian mini-cameras. The Russian crew brought some GoPros with them (they were bought specially for this projects), HD cameras, some sound equipment and all the necessary props (for example, the costumes of the contestants, made exclusively by Russian designers, and the participants from other country usually use their own clothes). The underwater cameraman Maksim Umniagin always uses his own equipment. He was the underwater camera man for every «Survivor», there only around 5 of cut kind of specialists in Russia. The underwater shooting require some special equipment: special suit, underwater camera, box for the camera and a special device to swim underwater. Though this time Maksim didn't use it, because he mainly was working not as an underwater, but more like an «underdirt» camera man.
Two helicopters took part in the shootings. Their rent is not cheap at all. One hour costs around 3000 USD, but it was totally worth it. Apart from that they used a so-called cherry­ picker to build the set-dressing. It looks like a wheeled tractor, that was redesigned for the shootings. There were two gigs- 6 and 9 meters long.
The crew of 100 people worked with all this: there were 40-50 Russians and 50-60 Argentinians. Argentina crew provided the work of all the challenges and multi-camera shootings. Russian camera men shot those specific elements, created by our producers.

During the whole shooting of the second season it was shot about a thousand and a half hours of materials for 9 one-hour episodes and bonus for the audience: pre-finals «The best» episode.The technical break-through was the recording not to the tape, but to the computer. «Tape-free technology is another know-how. For the first time at the «away­ project» we were recording everything to the servers, which was much more difficult. By the way, even our American colleagues still use the tapes,says Mr.Stanislav Solovkin. ­ The server is much more convenient to work with, but just in case we were making the back ups on tapes ».

The «Wipe Out» is the only show with such extreme. Everything was real- the emotions, the safety measures, injuries, tears, reaction of the participants, when no one believes in the reality of the things happening. And even the shooting process is no less interesting, the abundance of the cameras and shooting positions in the air and under water» , - says llya Krivitsky.