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does anyone have any idea how cbs makes the amazing race work?

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does anyone have any idea how cbs makes the amazing race work?

Old 06-13-03, 07:51 PM
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does anyone have any idea how cbs makes the amazing race work?

damn i love this show...by far the best 'reality show' but i am beyond impressed with how they pull it off.

first of all, how do the camera men follow these people around? how do they always get room in the cabs? how do they not slow down the teams lugging that thing around? how do they get them in those hard places, like climbing a mountain? how do they get in front of them while running to get the shots of teams racing 'at you'? how come they always ask for '2 tickets' or 'room for 2' in anything - how do the camera men get everywhere and keep up!?

more shockingly (to me at least) is how cbs coordinates all these tasks and jobs they have to do in all these countries. i know some are dependant on time (only open from say, 8 am to 4 pm, etc) but others are not.

plus how did they do that fast forward with the dancers and the trays of drinks? did they pay all those people to dance over and over and over, JUST IN CASE, someone decided to do it? how did they know when they would arrive? did they just all wait there for a day and when someone arrived all danced in circles for all that time? jesus i would be dizzy. anyways, i dont get how they arrange everything so well.

do they literally just pay all these people who help with the tasks to just wait until everyone arrives and does it. i know in the past there will be like 12 hours in between the first and last team.

just amazing when you stop and think about it. cbs did a friggin awesome job.
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Old 06-13-03, 08:04 PM
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I have no idea, but one of my pet peeves about reality shows is they never show the cameramen. The cameramen are part of the reality, I'd love to see how they manage to catch everything.

I'm surprised we haven't seen a behind the scenes on any of the reality shows.
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Old 06-13-03, 08:17 PM
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The camera crew travels lightly. a lot of advancement in technology and camera equipment have brought down the size of the equipment. Have you seen the XL1s the thing is small and very light weight. Add the audio equipment and it's still very lite weight and easy to carry. I'm not sure what exactly they use but I would assume they would use something like this added with it's lights and so forth. Not much weight. How do they get the good shots? By training. Also, this is a show that is in the hands of the editors. the main thing is to get as many camera's out there as possible because this show comes together really in the post production editing room as they just pick and choose from the endless hours of footage they have on what would make the story the best and selling it. Think about how much footage they have to use from with camera's rolling almost around the clock. they get the best shots simply by choosing them and having a lot to choose from.

A lot of this is also based on the advancement in communications. a simple walkie talky can alert those ahead to prepare for a camera shot because the runners are within distance of them. GPS can track the contestants as well. Massive amounts of control and knowledge of what's going on is always needed in a show like this.
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Old 06-13-03, 08:21 PM
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Also on a side note.. since you don't have to spend a lot on a big budget for Writers and Actors, you can easily afford a lot more behind the scene/ below the line crew to get the show done.
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Old 06-13-03, 09:42 PM
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well what about the other stuff? how does cbs arrange all these tasks in other countries so well and get all these people to do stuff like dance or walk around for hours in masks.
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Old 06-13-03, 10:35 PM
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It's in the hands of the production coordinator.
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Old 06-13-03, 10:40 PM
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that man deserves a raise.
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Old 06-13-03, 10:53 PM
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Originally posted by atari2600
well what about the other stuff? how does cbs arrange all these tasks in other countries so well and get all these people to do stuff like dance or walk around for hours in masks.
If you think about it, it really wouldn't be that hard. They can easily estimate how long people are going to take based on flights available, set time restrictions (only do this from 8am-4pm), etc. So they know that all the teams are going to be arriving at a certain time and just have to hire Mozart, dancers, costume party atendees for just one day, or even a few hours (costume party opened at a certain time late at night and a team would really have to screw up to make them go the next day).

The way everything works, it keeps the teams close together, keeps them on a specific path with very little chance of getting completely and hopelessly lost and through timed events (and that damn_12 hour waiting period) they can keep them bunched up.

Plus, like it was mentioned earlier, unlike Friends, you're not paying over $7 million per episode. Hire tons of camera/audio guys and you'll have enough footage to use for a measly one hour show that takes place over a couple days. There's a reason Surivor only has one show every 3 days - enough crap doesn't happen on the island/jungle/etc. each day to create a full hour of entertainment.

And yes, The Amazing Race is one of the best reality shows on TV - it, along with The Mole (non-celebrity of course) and Survivor are the only 3 I watch. Survivor is still fun (been watching since the start) and I'm sad that The Mole is no longer...hopefully Amazing Race stays around for as long as Survivor
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Old 06-13-03, 11:10 PM
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Originally posted by nny
I have no idea, but one of my pet peeves about reality shows is they never show the cameramen.
One interesting exception was in "The Mole 2." At one point, a contestant became lost and started crying and yelling at the cameraman: "Stop filming me! Leave me alone!" It was one of the more interesting moments in reality television.
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Old 06-13-03, 11:15 PM
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That was good, but they were genuinely scared I think
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Old 06-13-03, 11:55 PM
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The cost to hire a bunch of dancers to dance is peanuts to a network like CBS...
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Old 06-14-03, 12:52 AM
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After watching 3 episodes, I'd hardly call it the best reality show ever. Reality would be no holds barred around-the-world in 80 days type thing...(obviously though hard to do for television).

It is okay. Nowhere near the quality of Survivor IMHO.
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Old 06-14-03, 01:05 AM
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Do these people actually stop to enjoy their locations? After they get to the rest stop are you allowed to explore the town, or are they just importing america everywhere they go, and not even noticing their surroundings.


Also, what kind of rules are the camera people under? Obviously they are prompting the people with questions, but are there some things they can't say/ask? Have there been any accidents where the camera people watched but didn't help?

Are the survivor people allowed to eat in front of the contestants? Maybe the granola bar in the latest survivor wasn't smuggled, but bought from a cast member.
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Old 06-14-03, 01:42 AM
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I think a "Behind the Scenes" special on putting together TAR would be fascinating. The logistics of the travel timetables, the setting up of the tasks, the cooperation & clearances they must get from the countries involved, etc.

One thing I've always wondered is if they don't have some alternate Route Markers lying in wait, as a fallback to their original plans. If, say, something happened to really screw up the teams on another part of the leg or if a task location suddenly became unavailable, they could swap the clues in the box with a different set to send the teams to an alternate location.

Of course, that may have already happened on one of the Races, and neither we nor the teams would have any way of knowing.
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Old 06-14-03, 11:29 AM
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This reminds me of the Mole 2, where the one of the last three girls got really lost in the woods and was in the vicinity of some wild pigs/dogs or some such animal...they actually showed her breaking down and asking the camera guys to help her out.
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Old 06-14-03, 12:56 PM
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Originally posted by RoQuEr
Do these people actually stop to enjoy their locations? After they get to the rest stop are you allowed to explore the town, or are they just importing america everywhere they go, and not even noticing their surroundings.
That might be the only reason I wouldn't go on this show. I'd be stopping to take pictures and enjoy the surroundings. But on The Amazing Race - when they were in Venice - a few teams definitely appreciated the surroundings. And I'm sure during their 12 hour rest period, they're allowed to do whatever they want, but sleep is probably their #1 priority.
Also, what kind of rules are the camera people under? Obviously they are prompting the people with questions, but are there some things they can't say/ask? Have there been any accidents where the camera people watched but didn't help?
No idea what the rules are, but I'm sure they're explicity told not to help unless asked for help by the team. Like Groucho said, in The Mole 2, a team broke down and asked for help from the cameraman/woman and got it. I would think that the camera people probably get to know the team they're following pretty well and as they get later in the show, become much more comfortable with them and it most likely becomes easier for everyone involved to get along, anticipate moves, etc.
Are the survivor people allowed to eat in front of the contestants? Maybe the granola bar in the latest survivor wasn't smuggled, but bought from a cast member.
I recall seeing something about this somewhere - but no - they are not allowed to eat in front of the contestants. They have a separate dining area and they do everything apart from the contestants - sleeping, eating, etc. They probably only drink water in front of the contestants. I highly doubt the granola bar came from one of the people working on the show, unless it was deliberately planted to create some uproar.
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Old 06-14-03, 05:22 PM
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good points guys.

the one thing that i do hate about this game is that teams ALWAYS end up together. there is no advantage for being 1st or 2nd or 3rd...teams are always hindered by flight times or task times and crap like that. they always get bunched up together and thus you can easily go from 1st to last or vice versa in one leg.

its really not fair because it takes the skill and hard work away from the contestants and the winner becomes the one with the fastest cab drivers or happens to get more lucky than others.

its like you root for a team and they are in first, but the flight doenst leave for 2 more hours and everyone catches up. whoop dee do. this happens EVERY TIME on EVERY SHOW in EVERY LEG for EVERY TASK.

i wouldnt want it totally spread out but i like it more when a few teams are on one flight and a few others are on another and so on so they dont know where other teams are. it puts more anxiety and stress into the game ("how far ahead are we? how far back are we? we dont know!")

ANOTHER QUESTION; how does cbs make sure their tasks and route markers are not messed with? do they have someone always watching?

however id love to be on this show. i love the concept for the most part. the part that would suck though is the flights...stuff edited out. just sitting on 10 hour flights daily and worrying about the race and what place you are in when you cannot do anything about it! think about it. 23 hours a day of stuff is edited out. must get boring at times.
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Old 06-14-03, 05:29 PM
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I know how you feel atari. It pained me to watch the wonder twins win about 80% of the tasks, but screw up at one part at the end, and get eliminated.
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Old 06-14-03, 05:34 PM
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I don't have time to post anything extensive right now, I have a BBQ to go to.

But I can tell you quickly that the ball room Fast Forward cost $50,000 and they had to pay for it whether it was used or not.
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Old 06-14-03, 05:53 PM
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Eh. $50,000 is a drop in the bucket for CBS. Making these reality shows is extremely cheap compared to other forms of entertainment.
ANOTHER QUESTION; how does cbs make sure their tasks and route markers are not messed with? do they have someone always watching?
I'm sure they do. They probably just have a cameraman there so he can film teams running up to the stand as well as the cameramen following the teams. But again, you don't really have to have it there for that long with the way teams are all expected to come in at one time.

The thing I wonder is if they have everything pre-determined before the show starts. I mean, what if, some how, some way, a team got a day ahead. Through some strange occurrence, they were able to get a massive lead. Would they be able to effectively slow them down to equalize the other teams? Or is everything set in stone and unchangeable for reasons of fairness?
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Old 06-14-03, 07:38 PM
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The game is structured in such a way that unless all but one team made the same bonehead mistake that cost them hours, I don't think any team could build some a monementous lead.

In the past few episode there have been situations where several teams would arrive at a location and they wouldn't be able to move beyond that point because of "hours of operation" or some such game contrivance. It works as a de facto check to make sure no team is able to blow away anyone else. They also often restrict their mode of transportation...must take train, must take flight, must take horse drawn carriage, that also keeps them in line.

I would just guess that the players don't focus on the game 24/7, the editing would certainly make it seem so, but I don't think the game is nearly as pressure packed as it seems. Some of those place to place transports take hours....what else is there to do but chill. I'd enjoy my scenic trip through the Austrian countryside, not wonder whether Weezer and Geezer are on my ass.
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Old 06-14-03, 10:26 PM
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Originally posted by tor_greg
I don't have time to post anything extensive right now, I have a BBQ to go to.

But I can tell you quickly that the ball room Fast Forward cost $50,000 and they had to pay for it whether it was used or not.
ok that sounds good and is very reasonable for cbs. 50,000 grand for cheap champaigne (im sure it was cheap...hell it was probably ginger ale or vernors ), the glasses and the peoples fees. plus US money goes further in other countries.

i just like the idea that cbs had to hire the 50-75 'extras' to have them dance, and just tell them 'ok, all of you get paid no matter what but you have to wait in this room all day and then just start dancing when people arrive' - just weird to me.
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Old 06-14-03, 10:28 PM
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Originally posted by Blake
Eh. $50,000 is a drop in the bucket for CBS. Making these reality shows is extremely cheap compared to other forms of entertainment.I'm sure they do. They probably just have a cameraman there so he can film teams running up to the stand as well as the cameramen following the teams. But again, you don't really have to have it there for that long with the way teams are all expected to come in at one time.

The thing I wonder is if they have everything pre-determined before the show starts. I mean, what if, some how, some way, a team got a day ahead. Through some strange occurrence, they were able to get a massive lead. Would they be able to effectively slow them down to equalize the other teams? Or is everything set in stone and unchangeable for reasons of fairness?
i still dont get how the camera men are EVERYWHERE without hindering the teams progress - like in a flight or a cab. i mean i would seriously run into a cab and want to take off but then are like "ah crap...wait for mr cameraman to jump in front!"

with your 2nd point, there is no way cbs can change flights or anything or control that kind of stuff. it wouldnt be allowed im almost sure. buses and cabs and stuff maybe (just hire the company and drivers) but not flights.
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Old 06-14-03, 10:31 PM
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Originally posted by clemente
[B]The game is structured in such a way that unless all but one team made the same bonehead mistake that cost them hours, I don't think any team could build some a monementous lead.
which i think sucks because it takes away from the UNIQUENESS of the game - the RACE AROUND THE WORLD. instead it becomes a stressful trip to different parts of the world for no reason (since you all get tied at the end) and then whoever does the tasks the best. thats not as fun IMO.

In the past few episode there have been situations where several teams would arrive at a location and they wouldn't be able to move beyond that point because of "hours of operation" or some such game contrivance. It works as a de facto check to make sure no team is able to blow away anyone else. They also often restrict their mode of transportation...must take train, must take flight, must take horse drawn carriage, that also keeps them in line.
yup, and i dont like it. hell i wish it was all one continuous game. just keep going. rest when you want, eat when you want...just keep going. but make the tasks much harder.

so team A could be like a day ahead of team B and like 2 tasks ahead and just be in another CONTINENT and have no idea where the other 8 teams are...and just let them all GO! it would be cool that way but probably not as good television.

or maybe something like each team must finish 10 tasks but they can do them in any order...that would involve alot of good timing and scheduling for the teams. have each task in 10 different parts of the world, etc. that would be cool. kinda like that espn game show where they had to do 10 of 30 sports tasks as fast as they can...
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Old 06-15-03, 01:14 AM
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I do enjoy this show, but I have to agree that I HATE how they always end up bunched together anyway. It makes all their worrying about being in 1st seem pointless. I think a race where teams could become very spread out would be more interesting.

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