Channel 4's Spying on my Family

If you could watch everything that your family got up to, would it change the way you see them? In Spying on My Family, a new format from The Garden Productions being piloted by Channel 4, one British family have volunteered to give up privacy for a week, with cutting-edge technology giving them complete access to each other's day-to-day lives.

  • Fixed Rig
  • Digital Rig
Project

If you could watch everything that your family got up to, would it change the way you see them? In Spying on My Family, a new format from The Garden Productions being piloted by Channel 4, one British family volunteered to give up privacy for a week, with cutting-edge technology giving them complete access to each other's day-to-day lives.

Mission

At the swipe of a finger, on specially-adapted smartphones, both parents and kids were able to watch each other 24/7 - as well as being able to snoop on each other's texts and online worlds. At a time when privacy is a contentious issue, the family explored if there is any anything to be said for giving it up.

Using geo-trackers, screen-mirrored phones and remotely-watchable security cams - cutting-edge tech all already available to buy - each family member was able to monitor every single action and interaction the others made. We provided our family with the means, then left it to them.

Challenge

The Garden desired zero 'off-camera' time, so Limitless Broadcast designed a bespoke rig; and alongside specialist engineering provided a hybrid of fixed-rig cameras, live streaming ENG crews, in-car streaming and live family worn body-cams.

Filming took place both inside and outside the home, with cameras tracking every move in the family's lives. After the initial discomfort of seeing exactly what each other got up to, total transparency opened up new channels of communication and changed the family's relationships.

Result

Deliverables on the project included:

  • 20 Camera Fixed-Rig for the family home
  • Multiple Live-Streaming "Portable Backpacks" for P/D Shooting Teams to follow family members when they left the house
  • Body-worn Live-Streaming Cameras for family members to wear when they left the house
  • In-Car Live-Streaming Cameras for monitoring all car journeys
  • Real-time GPS trackers to monitor the location of all contributors
  • Real-time Screen Mirroring of their mobile phones and tablets providing an 'over the shoulder' video feed of all activity on their mobile devices
  • All live feeds (>40!) were received into the OB Gallery and ISO recorded for the production team to monitor at all times
  • All live feeds were re-encoded and available via a mobile app for all family members to watch at any point. This allowed them to see any other family member's movements in real-time regardless if they were in or out of the house
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