The Norwegian public access channel NRK2 is currently taking the concept of “reality TV” to a new level. In a 5 1/2 day marathon, the network is broadcasting a live production of the entire trip of one of the Norwegian Coastal Liner ships, the “M/S Nordnorge”. Multiple cameras on board as well as crew positioned on land follow the ship from its departure in Bergen and all the way until it docks in Kirkenes, Finnmark on Wednesday morning, 22 June.
The idea for this world record came from last year’s marathon broadcast by the same channel, “Bergensbanen – minute by minute”, which followed the train from Oslo to Bergen in a live broadcast. The show was a huge success both in Norway and internationally.
However, a 7 hour train ride has nothing on a 134 hour boat ride.The Norwegian Coastal Liner is considered one of the most spectacular cruises in the world, and passengers get to see the most beautiful nature Norway has to offer – deep fjords on the West coast, rock formations along the Nordland coast and killer whales swimming around the Lofoten islands. Half way through, the show has already gained a huge fan base. Small boats are following the ship everywhere, and people are standing on land waving flags and banners – hoping perhaps to get their 15 minutes of fame.
To make this live show possible, the network set up a production room in one of the ship’s conference rooms. Footage is being transmitted live via satellite to NRK’s headquarters in Oslo and from there to TV distributors. The producers had to get creative as the satellite signal may be lost in some places due to the steep terrain. To prevent a blackout, footage was recorded on M/S Nordnorge’s previous journey, and this runs synchronously with the live feed so they can switch instantly in case of signal drop.
The show is running continuously on the NRK2 TV channel, as well as a live webcast where viewers can follow the ship’s position on a map, wiev a 3D landscape via Google Earth, watch the live feed from the ship’s radar, and chat. NRK has even lifted the restrictions so that viewers outside Norway can watch and participate as well.
All the show’s material is being released under the Creative Commons license, meaning everyone is free to download, record, use, re-edit and publish at their own will, as long as the authors are credited. BitTorrent downloads from the ship’s HD bow camera are available from each completed leg of the cruise.