Parlor games are popular—at all ages. On Saturday, March 7th 2015 at 08:15pm, TV presenter Johannes B. Kerner and his young co-host, Emma Schweiger (the youngest daughter of actor Til Schweiger) presented the new family show ‘The Game Begins! The Big Show for 3- to 99-Year-Olds’ on the German public channel, ZDF (Original title: Das Spiel beginnt! – Die große Show von 3 bis 99). Together, they hosted a great evening of games with popular classic and trendy new games.
In the MMC Studio 30/31 in Cologne, actors such as Hans Sigl, Veronica Ferres, and Kostja Ullmann, as well as comedian Bülent Ceylan, competed with the experts in the game field—the children who were victorious in the end.
In addition to the big classic games, they also played skill and reaction games, action and sport games, tactical games, memory games, and modern games. In these rounds of games, the celebrities sometimes competed against one child, or against two or three of their little opponents. After the grand final game, it became clear that the children were the winners of the evening. Nena provided the evening’s musical entertainment.
More than 5 million viewers watched the show on TV. It achieved a market share of 19.9 percent (among viewers aged 3 years plus). ZDF’s new show was also well received among the 14- to 49-year-olds: up to 1.47 million (a market share of 15.1 percent) watched the show.
‘The Game Begins!’ was produced by Riverside Entertainment (Hamburg) in the MMC Studios in Cologne, Germany.
Frank Hof directed the new ZDF show, where a total of 10 cameras were used in the large MMC Studio 30/31 which has a total area of 27,600 sq ft.
These cameras included three Grass Valley (GVG) LDK 8000 cameras, and one GVG LDK 8300 Super SloMo camera, one GVG LDK 8000 camera on a Grasshopper camera crane and one on a RTS RopeClimber system, one GVG LDX compact camera mounted with a rig for supervision of the game arena, two GVG LDK 8000 elite wireless handheld cameras, as well as one GVG LDK 8000 elite wireless Steadycam. For special camera settings, Hero3- and Hero4 GoPro cameras were used.
The show was produced in HDTV format 720p50, and its video signals were mixed on a GVG Kayenne XL (3.5 M/E) at MMC’s HD control room 11. The playbacks were carried out via four channels on a Grass Valley Summit Server. One EVS XT2 was used for the highlight editing and the Super SloMo. For the recording, four Sony XDCAM VTRs and an Ingest system with 10 channels were available. For the audio signals, a wireless system Sennheiser DIGITAL 9000, DPA 4066 headset microphones, and receiving systems SR 2050 by Sennheiser were used, among other. The audio signals were mixed on a Lawo mc²56 console.
Set Construction and Game Design:
MMC’s art department was in charge of the set construction for ‘The Game Begins!’ The game design, development and implementation were carried out in cooperation with PropHouse.
According to the set design specifications of Wieder Design, MMC’s art department combined decorations, media systems, and kinetics to create the final game scenery.
For the show in MMC Studio 30/31, several game arenas were created with the help of a 39-feet long, cantilevered and movable bridge. In addition, interactive LED surfaces with varying pixel pitches were provided for the set, which were used as LED floor (26 ft. x 26 ft.) and LED video wall (39 ft. x 24 ft.).
The games were developed over a period of two months. They were adapted to meet the requirements of a TV broadcast, and were implemented in a modern, stage-suitable look. Some of the games’ installations were close to the original design, while others appeared in a modern and opulent style. The games followed their original principles, but always with a completely new twist.
An audience of some 1040 people watched the show at MMC Studio 30/31.
On behalf of MMC Studios Cologne, project manager Susanne Knapp supervised the production. Herbert Fittinghoff (MMC Studios’ Production Engineer) and Jan Schubert (MMC Studios’ Head of Operations) were the technical managers. Theo Kings was in charge as project coordinator of the MMC Art Department.
Photo: The new ZDF-show ‘The Game Begins!’ at MMC Studio 30/31 in Cologne, Germany. © MMC Studios / Herbert Fittinghoff