Monday, April 11, 2011

I'm suspicious

I just watched the newest episode of High Stakes Poker. Something I've been noticing this season, the first season they've been at the Bellagio, is that the famous fountains seem to be running continuously, as seen through the window.

I'm calling shenanigans.

First, I doubt that the set is in a room that just happens to be facing out on the fountains. I don't know a whole lot about television production, but I would think that actual glass windows would cause all sorts of problems--reflections from the bright studio lights, changing outside light conditions, odd things going on the background, unappealing-looking weather, etc.

Second, the Bellagio fountain shows run for about three minutes, every 15 or 30 minutes, depending on the day and time. Even at peak hours, then, they're running only about 20% of the time. But on the show, they're dancing at least 80% of the time.

I think that the "windows" are actually a screen on which is being back-projected a continuous loop of footage of the dancing fountains. Or perhaps they're added digitally in post to a green screen.

While I'm at it, last week was a new batch of "Poker After Dark," and I noticed that the pile of cash they occasionally show in the foreground as part of the set looks like bundles of fake $100 bills. Not much detail is shown, but just inside the portrait oval the shading is much darker than it is on real $100s. I suspect they are using the same movie-prop fakes that the World Poker Tour does (see here and here).

Is nothing real anymore?


Grange95 said...

I once got to watch an episode of HSP being filmed. It was the episode a couple seasons ago where Tom Dwan and Barry Greenstein got into a couple of monster pots. Anyway, it was filmed on a set inside the Golden
Nugget in a ballroom. The set looked like a room, but was actually fake walls on three sides and no wall on the fourth.

In other words, fake room, real money.

Also, when I arrived, the players were around hour 8 of a 12 hour shoot. They were on break, yet Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Ilahri (?) Sahamies, and Daniel Negreanu were playing Chinese Poket "on the pencil" for $2K a point. Degens unite!

Anonymous said...

yeah, they probably had green screens behind the windows on the set. Then they have that green replaced by a separate video they shot of the fountains. The fountain water is too close, by the way. No window in the Bellagio would show fountain water that close.

Jim S said...

I've only seen a few PAD episodes since they moved from the Nugget to Aria, but the view outside the set's "windows" looks suspiciously similar despite the distance between the two sites.