One Born Every Minute & Reality TV

One born every minute.


One born is an UK reality show documenting a journey of giving birth in hospital environment. The show is captured by 40 rigged cameras, which give the audience the “real” moments, “real” persons without scripted. Besides giving insights of labour, it also brings some interest aspects of relationship between the fathers and the mothers, as well as between the mothers and the midwives.


In the screening of season 1, episode 4, we are induced to two mothers Joy and Kelly. Every part of the episode is very original and authentic as the characters tell their stories, situations through the episode and how they appear on screen via different fixed camera angles. The fact that everything is captured by the rigged cameras also support the “realness” of the show as some people are tend to not being themselves in front of TV crews, they hardly notice the camera operation and that they are being filmed. And to the fact that it’s about the journeys of labour and the starts of new lives, the authenticity factor of the show is really important to the audience; it explains why the show has such a high rating and success. The experience of labour and birth is so emotionally charged that the ability to capture every detail of a experience in this way makes for compelling television. The rigged cameras also give the audience a privileged position on sharing the very personal moment of the characters without being obtrusive.


With it unique format, One Born Every Minute can be considered as a ‘docusoap’ as it often brings up emotional moments to the audience witnessing the very moment of human’s life beginnings. One more interesting thing about the show is the way they edit all the footages together. Using different angles showing different personal perspective/ point of view during the conversation and what is happening around them.


This format of using rigged cameras has been using a lot more often now in reality tv shows. Big Brother can be considered as the very first one using the technique but not until OBEM, it really becomes popular and favorite as it can provide audience unmediated, voyeuristic but very ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ personalities, situations and narratives. With this format, it can be very cost effective with the economic shifts as it does not required a huge crew to produce the show as in traditional way. And with the development of technology, the producers now have more choices and more options with their rigged cameras which make it even more convenient and effective in capturing the moments.


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