Category Archives: Reality TV

Video Editor Emeric Le Bars Has Time on His Side

Hollywood’s film community is populated by a host of specialized craftsmen and technicians, with many working behind the camera in unique, separate and distinct fields. These widely varying duties abound in the post-production stage of filmmaking and while many make limited contributions, others have a critical impact on a films audience. The editor is perhaps the single most significant of all post-production talent, with the ability to dictate the feel, pace and emotion of the finished product, and French-born video editor Emeric Le Bars is quickly proving himself as one of the best in the business.

While Le Bars has distinguished himself as an in-demand cutter with a solid reputation thanks to such as editing award winning features Lily’s Light and documentary Live Another Day, numerous episodes of TV series Say Hello, contributions to in-douse content for Smile TV and public television station PBS Socal, numerous freelance editing jobs and his own web series The French Touch. It’s a fast-growing body of work that ensures Le Bars status as a rising up and comer on a natural career path.

“As a youth, I was shooting a lot of small personal movies with friends and family,” Le Bars said. “And I started getting really good at video editing—the passion started there. Then when I went to college, I had classes and internships where I was doing a lot of video editing and camera work. I knew this was what I wanted to do in my life and moved from France to the United-States as soon as I graduated.”

Based in Hollywood, Le Bars keeps busy, thanks to his editing skills but has recently parlayed even more fascinating skill into a new facet of his career—time lapse photography, Time lapse, of course, is the sequential series of photos shot over a long period of time and compressed into a finished product that shows what was originally a gradual piece of action (a flower blooming, a dawn-to-dusk cityscape) at a dramatically accelerated pace. While the process sounds simple, it’s a discipline that requires comprehensive technical knowledge and painstaking attention to the camera’s mechanics to ensure a seamless final effect, and Le Bars is one of the best in the business.

“Time lapse photography is really a mix of photography and video editing,” Le Bars said. “That’s why I love it so much. I have a portfolio of more than 600 clips from all around the world. And time lapse has become a big part of my life—I now specialize in them, shooting for big companies like Skyspace LA, Google, Red Bull and, recently, on the Netflix original Real Rob.”

Le Bars’ previous work, and notable profile as a force to be reckoned with, made him a natural for the show (a charming fast paced series centered on comedian Rob Schneider’s day-to-day Hollywood life) which began to prominently feature his top quality time lapse.

“I had worked with Real Rob editor Darius Wilhere on The Hollywouldn’ts, a movie he directed,” Le Bars said. “He saw that I was also doing time lapse and asked me to edit a few for Real Rob. I wasn’t used to working on demand—usually I go out and shoot what I want, the way I want it. This time, I had to make sure I was doing what Rob Schneider wanted, make sure I am using the right interval for the subject, the right composition and the right shutter speed. The color correction is also very important as well because it has to be related to the subject is, Los Angeles, sunshine, palm trees.”

Characteristically, Le Bars nailed it: “Emeric is, without a doubt, in the top 1% of time lapse videographer-editors working in the world today,” Real Rob editor Darius S Wilhere said. “His work is gorgeous and the quality is evident to anyone who sees at it. It’s his attention to detail and his willingness to return to locations again and again until he has the exact right shot that communicates the beauty and power of a given location.”

“This level of work only comes from constant dedication to one’s craft for years and tens of thousands of hours. I applaud his diligence to the craft and look forward to working with him for many years to come. The director and producers were thrilled with his work and have asked me in advance to secure his services for season 3.”

“Rob Schneider and Netflix loved the shots,” Le Bars said. “My time lapse work ended up opening 8 episodes of season 2 and also as a few establishing shots in the episodes. It definitely is an amazing credit to have on my resume”

Having firmly established himself with a formidable catalog of professional achievements in just a few short years, the driven, ambitious Le Bars’ potential is unlimited.

“I have always been a big dreamer,” Le Bars said. “And every day I am thankful that I am where I always wanted to be, working in the field I always wanted to work in and that I am around so many creative people in the city of Angels. All of this helps me to create more and more content, to edit more and more time lapses and videos.

“Just follow your dreams in life. I know it’s easy to say, but if a young French man who came to the US with nothing and succeeds in the industry can do it, anyone can do it. Create a life that you will remember. Work hard for what matters to you, not to others.”

 

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DRAMA ON A DESOLATE ISLE WITH GRIVAS KOPTI

UK based Naked Entertainment is the producer of a new reality show titled Stripped and Stranded, commissioned by Channel 5. This factual-entertainment series is not about unclad individuals on a desert island but rather, it shows multi-generational families attempting to complete challenges while relying on each other for support and survival. The real goal of the show is to present all viewers with someone whom they can relate to regardless of what age and background they come from. Even more importantly, the show wants to reveal that we all struggle with relating to someone in our own family and should not discount their potential contributions to our life. One of the great things about reality TV is that it allows the public to see “regular” people, representative of all walks of life. We wanted to find out more about the contestants and the programs itself, so we approached leading casting producer Grivas Kopti. As the person at the heart of finding, researching, and presenting the family members on Stripped and Stranded, Grivas has a perspective unique to all others involved. Mike Warner, Senior Executive Producer at Naked Entertainment sought out Kopti because, in his own words, “He is undoubtedly one of the industry’s most prominent associate producers, and I am positive that he is among the most elite in his field. Mr. Kopti’s involvement on many celebrated and nationally distributed programs is an excellent example of the undeniable success that Grivas brings when he performs the leading role of associate producer.”

Stripped and Stranded was filmed in Panama but the process began in England with casting. The goal of the show was to find families with multiple generations. This meant that normal social media blasts would not work as many of the older generations are not as tech-savvy and tech-conscious. Online forums, newspapers, as well as social media were used to attract interested applicants. Following extensive interviews, Kopti worked with an editor to create 1:30sec Skype audition tapes which were then used to decide which four families would offer the most interest as well as the greatest potential for growth. For those unfamiliar with the role of leading casting producer, Grivas found the applicants, screened them, produced pitch tapes, produced and oversaw all legal paperwork for applicants (on a survival series!), and wrote extensive family biographies which are key in shaping the narrative of each episode. Essentially, Kopti performed as interviewer, legal advisor, film producer and editor, and journalist…all before the show began filming!

Grivas has an extensive and highly successful career in casting. He has been in charge of finding the “right” people for reality shows like; Tattoo Fixers on Holiday, Celebs Go Dating, Naked Attraction, Couples Come Dine with Me, and numerous others. As someone who has always been able to talk and connect with strangers, his natural talent resonates well in the TV industry. His desire to focus on Reality TV is centered around the diversity that it depicts in society. He states, “There is always a magical element to seeing faces on TV that you don’t usually see or wouldn’t expect to see; especially in a show like this one, where we really delve into people’s lives and dysfunction. That’s one of the biggest takeaways for the viewers, insight into communities and homes you don’t see too often.

  The challenge of Reality TV shows like Stripped and Stranded is to show real people in a way that we can all relate. However, most of us don’t find ourselves stranded on a desert island, fighting for survival. The subtext of the show, and its true goal is to depict how family members relate to each other when times are good and bad. The producers hope that, in seeing the drama and struggles exhibited on-screen, viewers will not only discuss, but also learn from the challenges which the contestants endure. Grivas feels confident that all viewers will find something relatable, as did he, revealing, “One of the families was unable to communicate effectively and make decisions simply because most, if not all members, are extremely headstrong, proud and constantly talk (scream!) over each other. I come from a feisty Greek family, so that explains a bit there. You definitely know when we are home; as do our neighbors.”

Stripped and Stranded could be considered “extreme” family therapy. The families learned a great deal (good and bad) about their own feelings as well as those of their family members when confronted with dire circumstances. Just as in counseling, participants were faced with uncomfortable thoughts and history in order to move ahead and grow. Kopti confirms, “After carrying out in-depth research, we concluded that, when faced with challenges and obstacles to overcome collectively, people in disagreement are more likely to put their differences to one side to overcome the hurdles they are faced with. We wanted to put that to the test and see what happens when families who are in some sort of crisis are stripped of their technology and other modern comforts and left on a deserted island for an amount of time to fend for themselves. What took me by surprise, even after extensive casting interviews and from meeting our contributor’s prior to filming, was just how much the families had not communicated amongst themselves. There were a lot of stones unturned and things never said. As families, we want to avoid things instead of dealing with them – which is so detrimental to a family’s dynamic and bond in the long run. Ultimately, from an editorial perspective, we wanted to achieve some resolution and peace at the end of each episode/story. We were hoping to say that when we take away every day distractions and modern comforts from people, we can actually instigate healthier communication and positive, healthy relationships.”

The filming location for the show is Panama. The crew obviously needed open and remote locations as the “stripped” part of the show’s title refers to being stripped of modern conveniences. The natural aesthetics of Panama produced a pleasant backdrop dichotomous to the tense action. Grivas relates, “It’s beautiful landscape. It’s paradise. For a show of this scale, as Stripped and Stranded was, we need to ensure we have an elaborate space, so Panama seemed perfect. It has many different sides to it. Obviously you have Panama City, then you have the beautiful islands. Both were great as a backdrop for the show. It wasn’t only the cast that was at risk for this production. Most of the crew was petrified of exotic spiders and snakes; you can only prepare so much for those kind of things. I think education is key, more than anything, to know how to best handle a potential encounter with a dangerous species.

  Stripped and Stranded has yet to air which means you won’t find any spoilers here. Only the participants and the producers know the actual outcome. While much of Kopti’s work has focused on individuals relating to other individuals, he finds the familial aspect of Stripped and Stranded to be very rewarding and complex. Grivas confirms, “Every generation will have something to say and things they want to change, that’s just natural. Parents want the best for their children, but need to accept that that it’s not necessarily what they had in mind for them. And I think that’s okay. It’s certainly something I battle over with my parents.Stripped and Stranded will soon air on UK’s Channel 5.

grivas-at-a-networking-event

Tone Innset: The Producer Behind some Of Norway’s Favorite TV Shows

Tone Innset
                                              Producer Tone Innset shot by Mark Newton

Documentary series producer Tone Innset has been wildly successful as the creative force behind some of Norway’s best reality television shows. For the past five years she has continued to produce the kind of work that glues audiences to their TVs with the captivating and often intimate personal accounts of those whom she presents with the honed expertise of a storyteller.

As Norway’s top showrunner in the docuseries genre, Innset has produced more than 160 episodes of an array of titles, including 118 episodes spanning 12 seasons of Unge Mødre, the Norwegian version of MTV’s Teen Mom. Much like its American counterpart, the show gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of young women and teens who are either pregnant or have given birth as they deal with the day-to-day blessings and adversities of their newfound family lives.

Filming a show like Unge Mødre comes with its own difficulties, which is one area where Innset’s knowledge and expertise prove how valuable an asset she is to the entire production.

“These are young adults and teenagers with a lot of responsibility on their hands and a lot on their plate,” Innset said. “You also have to remember that in these kinds of series you follow someone’s life, and the most interesting things in a person’s life doesn’t necessarily happen between nine and five.”

Innset was also the producer of 12 episodes of Charterfeber aka Charter Fever, a series that follows a group of real-life Norwegian vacationers as they travel to exotic locales in southern Europe. The show documents their lives as they prepare for the trip, their time on holiday and their return home at the end of the journey.

“I loved that because it was really funny,” Innset said. “You know Scandinavians love to escape the cold weather and go to southern Europe to have fun… We filmed for two months on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. It’s a humorous and edgy series, and a lot of people relate to the characters and have a laugh.”

Her intense hands-on work on Charterfeber made the show’s 2013 premiere the highest-rated premiere on the TV3 Norway channel in four years. Charterfeber’s widespread popularity garnered the series a nomination for the prestigious Gullruten Norwegian Television Award. The show is also known for having helped launch the career of one of Norway’s hottest celebrities, Svein Tore Ostvik.

Innset’s latest project is the second season of the food series Norges Grillmester aka Norway Grill Master, a star-studded cooking show, which sees contestants facing off through challenges to be named the titular Grill Master. The popular docuseries is hosted by Norway’s golden boy, actor Stig Henrik Hoff (The Thing, Into The White, Lilyhammer), and world-renowned chef Jonas Lundgren.

As a producer with a reputation for being someone who is always on-call and prepared to handle any curve ball in order to keep a production running smoothly, Innset was quick to respond when logistical complications threatened the filming process of Norges Grillmester. After an unforeseeable obstacle arose where a massive tent that had been specially designed as the set for one of the episodes was erected without all of the necessary pieces, it was Innset who came to the rescue.

“Well, on Thursday, we saw that a quarter of the floor in the tent was missing; it never got delivered, and that kind of flooring was very hard to come by,” explained Innset. “Somehow we miraculously managed to find a place where we could get a material similar to the floor we already had, so we painted it to look the same and it all worked out.”

This is only one out of hundreds of examples of the way Innset’s quick thinking and experience has helped to keep one of her productions on track. This particular season of Norges Grillmester premiered April 13 in Norway, and has been an exciting ride with unpredictable twists and turns from contestants Per Thorvald Thorgesen and Terje Inngjerdingen dropping out for health reasons to Sylvia and Luis Vavik winning the title earlier this month.

Innset is also working on the next season of Unge Mødre, which is set to premiere this fall. Her passion for the documentary series genre, which has made her a prolific name in the field and shines in the quality of her productions, stems from a human-interest perspective.

“I strongly believe that when people feel that they are seen and heard they feel a kind of ownership over the project, and when you feel ownership you put a lot more energy into it,” she said. “I have a great passion and love for telling stories, and I am a curious people person.”