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On Location with TwentyfourSeven

After a second successful series of the daily series Going Home, shot in Film Australia's sound stage, McElroy Television moved to base their operations at Film Australia. Their next challenge was to try a weekly show. The Film Australia location gave the producers a unique opportunity to make program designed in and around the Lindfield site.

For the first series of TwentyfourSeven, McElroy Television's ground-breaking series for SBS, Film Australia's Roxy theatre foyer has been temporarily converted into an elaborate set.

Take a look at the Roxy foyer before...and after!

Roxy Theatre Before  Roxy Theatre After


The Idea

McElroy Television's new weekly drama series, TwentyfourSeven, produced in association with SBS television, has been described as the world's first interactive drama.

Co-creator and executive producer Hal McElroy (pictured below left) said:

"Making Going Home with SBS was a joyous experience, made all the more exciting by the loyal following we built and the avalanche of contributions to our storylines the audience gave us. TwentyfourSeven is the next generation of that revolutionary approach to drama we first explored on Going Home."

  

Set in the office of a weekly entertainment and information magazine titled TwentyfourSeven, the series revolves around the weekly deadlines, lives and loves of the young editorial team who put the magazine together.

In TwentyfourSeven, viewers at home have the chance to vote online or via SMS text each week on a choice of three storylines for the next episode.


How They Do It

Many of the crew that worked on Going Home are also working on TwentyfourSeven.

The schedule is still short. The writers work all week to find storylines that interweave the characters in the story with actual news and current affairs issues. These ideas are workshopped and rehearsed by the director Alan Coleman and cast on the set every Monday.

  

Tuesday is the Big Day. Cast and crew arrive at the crack of dawn for an early start - everything has to be shot by the end of the day. While the actors get into their costumes and makeup, the art department makes sure that all the props and sets for the day are correct, that the magazines and newspapers scattered around the set are up-to-date.

  

The show is filmed with two cameras operated by Clive Walker and Peter Boully who weave expertly in and around the actors as the scene dictates.

  

Sound is recorded by the two boom operators, Ian Rumbell and Anthony Frascina. This is a challenging job because the microphones must be kept as close the the action as possible but without ever appearing on screen! Sound recordist Mark Bergin makes sure that the sound quality is as good as possible.

  

The sound and pictures are switched "live" by vision mixer Dee Liedenberg in a small television control room set up on the Roxy balcony by the OB Group, also based at Film Australia.

  

After each take the director can view the result and decide whether or not another take is needed, or whether the shoot can move on to the next scene.

  

The scenes are recorded directly into an elaborate Avid DV editing installation provided by Frameworks Film. The advantage of doing this is that the scenes are available for editing immediately - and this is essential if the program is going to make it to air the following night!

  

Assistant editor John Mandoukos controls the digitisation process into the Avid, and ensures all the sound and vision is correctly recorded and synchronised.

  

In an adjoining suite, editor Judy Norgate puts the scenes together on another Avid system, networked with the digitising setup. Judy has about a day to put the whole thing together.

The finished program has to be delivered to SBS by a strict deadline, so sound engineer Rob Searls comes in to do a mix within the Avid editing system before the program is put onto videotape and sent to the broadcaster via courier and microwave link.

TwentyfourSeven screened on SBS-TV on Wednesdays at 7.30pm.