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Sky One’s The Heist employs LiveU for production

LiveU was used to send images from cameras and phones back to a story producer for each Thief team

Sky One’s new series The Heist has employed LiveU during its production process, in order to covertly film contestants.

The show is set in North Yorkshire, UK and involves 10 ordinary members of the public who carry out a heist, stealing £250,000 from a cash-in-transit van. They then split into five teams of two and for the next 16 days have to try and keep their £50,000 share of the money.

Production company Shine TV chose to work with LiveU’s UK partner, Garland Partners, to help them film the Thief teams without attracting attention.

Series editor Tom Hutchings said the company was able to employ traditional filming techniques with the detectives, who were tracking down the Thief teams. “But when we came to filming the thieves, doing that in a conventional way would clearly compromise their identity and would mess up the whole scenario.

“When we first discussed the concept with Sky, we thought this may well be an un-filmable show, but what we’ve created is a fantastic piece of must-see TV.”

“This series unashamedly taps into the love of a good detective novel and breaks new ground in factual entertainment storytelling and the way we film it, mixing traditional filming techniques with emerging technologies such as 4G transmission and covert cameras,” added showrunner Matt Bennett.

The production team used tiny hidden cameras and smartphones, as well as long lens filming from vans hidden around the location. They deployed LiveU – multiple portable transmission units and LU-Smart smartphone apps plus associated LiveU servers – to send images from those cameras and phones back to a story producer for each Thief team.

They also employed BT’s new M2M SIM cards for their 4G network, allowing the data traffic to operate above the normal consumer 4G capacity at significantly faster speeds.

Hutchings added, “We created what we think is the world’s first low-res broadcast gallery. We capped the LiveU streams as they weren’t for broadcast, rather an essential editorial tool. As well as being able to view the relevant images, the story producers could also use LiveU’s IFB talkback capabilities to communicate with camera people when required. This created a seamless workflow. 

“It worked brilliantly, and it was very cost-effective, too. We are definitely looking at extending our use of LiveU across other formats.”