The Great Christmas Light Fight is a reality show on ABC that features families from across America who are competing for a $50,000 prize for having the greatest Christmas display. Triple Threat Productions, a subsidiary of FremantleMedia, produces the show, and The Human Jib was brought in during Season 2 to shoot several episodes as the show traveled across America.
A reality show is in many ways similar to a live event. But since the show isn’t actually live, the action on set can pause, reset, and pick back up, and then the editors can piece it back together. Also, most reality and docu-series shows, (and this one in particular) are set up so that each camera is operated ENG-style (as opposed to EFP, which is when everything is tethered to a production truck that switches live between the cameras). That means the DP and AC need to stay on top of the camera settings and make sure all the cameras match, the camera batteries stay charged, and blank media is ready on the fly.
Even though the storyline is somewhat rehearsed, a lot of reality TV is real (just as the name implies). And that means the crew needs to be ready and accommodating for when the storyline decides to run away on its own… which was exactly what happened during our shoot at one particular location. For the sake of the show, we can’t tell you what events unfolded, but this photo of firefighters can give you an idea.