After fifteen seasons in Standard Definition, Big Brother 16 will air in High Definition on CBS. The HD upgrade has been three years in the making, according to Allison Grodner (Executive Producer) and Rich Meehan (Co-executive Producer).
Vulture’s Joe Adalian is reporting the decision to go HD was made several seasons ago but the upgrade process was completed in stages.
“It’s not just about swapping out cameras,” explains Rich Meehan, who exec-produces Brother alongside Grodner. “Everything had to be changed … and we couldn’t do anything that would jeopardize production of the series.”
Per Grodner, “14 miles of HD cables” had to replace the old wiring that had run through the house. And finally, in the last phase of the remodel, new cameras had to be installed and made to work with the new digital central nervous system of the house. “We only had six months at a time to do [the changes],” says Brother engineering-operations supervisor David Crivelli. “We had to do a heart transplant,” even as the “patient” — the Big Brother broadcasts each summer — continued to pump out new episodes.
“We’ve added 11 new cameras in the house for better coverage,” Meehan says, including some outside and in certain inside rooms and corridors. “We’ve also lowered some of the cameras so viewers are in the action more.” And because HDTV uses a different aspect ratio — 16:9 — the show’s camera operators now have many more angles and shots to play with than they did before. “You can now see from the kitchen area to the bedroom in one shot,” Meehan says. “It changes the whole look of the house.”