Cutting corners: Coronavirus fears have forced television productions to halt to avoid possible virus exposure. Conan O'Brien is trying to get around that by shooting full shows on an iPhone and conduct interviews through Skype. It's certainly an interesting way to continue getting content to the masses and may end up saving a lot of money in the process.
Late-night TV host, Conan O'Brien, announced on Twitter that he is going back on air. The difference is that instead of a professional, studio quality camera, the comedian will use an iPhone and conduct interviews via Skype. The new episodes will start airing on March 30 on TBS.
I am going back on the air Monday, March 30th. All my staff will work from home, I will shoot at home using an iPhone, and my guests will Skype. This will not be pretty, but feel free to laugh at our attempt. Stay safe.— Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien) March 19, 2020
This admittedly creative way of continuing his late-night show comes as the public is being urged to work from home as a way of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC has advised that people gather in groups no larger than ten which of course affects a full television production which could have many more people involved.
O'Brien isn't the only one suffering production setbacks due to the virus outbreak. Basically every major late-night TV host has halted production, including Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, and Stephen Colbert.
The hosts have been trying to supplement the lack of a proper live audience set by using alternative platforms. Fallon records YouTube videos that are incorporated into Tonight Show reruns. Stephen Colbert films monologues in his home, including one from his bathtub. Even O'Brien himself shot short videos to make up for the the shut down in production. This is what lead to the idea of shooting a full show using an iPhone.
“We were making stuff and putting it out and trying to be a distraction, but we just realized – why not just do the show?” asked executive producer Jeff Ross. “It will be different, and it may not be pretty, but we’re going to do it.”
This is also great news for Apple who actively promotes their "Shot on iPhone" challenge to showcase the video and photographic capabilities of their flagship smartphone. While the photo quality on the latest iPhone 11 Pro is among the best in the smartphone world, the video quality is generally seen as really good, too. That said, it's not clear which iPhone model will be used.