Slow television

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Slow television, or slow TV (Norwegian: Sakte-TV), is a term used for a genre of "marathon" television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length. Its name is derived both from the long endurance of the broadcast as well as from the natural slow pace of the television program's progress. It was popularised in the 2000s by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), beginning with the broadcast of a 7-hour train journey in 2009.[1][2]

Background[edit]

Slow television derives from a concept by artist Andy Warhol's 1963 film Sleep, which showed poet John Giorno sleeping for five hours and twenty minutes.[2] The concept was adapted to local TV broadcast in 1966 by WPIX, to VHS video tape in 1984 by the British company Video125, to satellite TV in 2003 by Bahn TV, and to live TV in 2011 by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK).[citation needed]

The latest evolution of the concept started with the NRK's coverage of the longest driver's eye view at that time, showing the complete 7-hour train ride along the Bergen Line (Norwegian: Bergensbanen) on 27 November 2009.[3] It was followed by the live coverage of the Hurtigruten ship MS Nordnorge during its 134-hour voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes starting on 16 June 2011.[4]

Both events received extensive attention in both Norwegian and foreign media, and were considered a great success with coverage numbers exceeding all expectations and record ratings for the NRK2 channel.[3][5]

Earlier examples[edit]

The Yule Log[edit]

Beginning in Christmas 1966, New York City television station WPIX showed a looped film of a yule log burning in a fireplace, accompanied by classic Christmas music playing in the background. It is broadcast without commercial interruption.

Night Walk/Night Moves/Night Ride[edit]

Another early foray into slow television was Night Walk, Night Ride and Night Moves, a trio of late night programs which aired on the Global Television Network in Canada in the 1980s and early 1990s.[6] Airing in the overnight hours when most television stations would have been running a test pattern, the three programs each depicted a different first-person view of a walking or driving trip through a part of downtown Toronto, with a mellow jazz soundtrack.[6] Only one episode of each program was ever produced, although they were rerun every night from their debut in 1986 to their cancellation in 1993.[6]

Fishcam[edit]

NRK (Norway)[edit]

Starting in 2009 NRK, Norway's public service broadcaster, has produced several slow television programs that have gained high ratings. Sakte-tv (Norwegian for Slow-TV) was named Word of the Year in Norway in 2013.[7]

2009: Bergensbanen – minutt for minutt[edit]

The Bergen Line with the principal stations used in the 2009 broadcast.

NRK's first foray into slow television was the program Bergensbanen minute by minute – train journey across Southern Norway, which depicted the 7-hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo along the Bergen Line (Norwegian: Bergensbanen). It was aired on NRK2 on 27 November 2009 and came to be described as "the iconic slow-TV program".[1] The event was planned as part of the 100-year anniversary of the existence of the Bergen Line. Four cameras were used to produce the documentary, showing both exterior and interior views, along with interviews with crew, train conductors, historians, past workers and passengers. The train went through 182 tunnels. Archival clips from the Bergen Railway's 100-year history were shown when the train passed through tunnels, to make the final show last exactly as long as the train trip. The show was first broadcast on 27 November 2009, while the recording had been done earlier during summer.

The program was followed by an average of 176,000 viewers, and 1,246,000 Norwegian viewers[3] (20% of the population)[2] were watching the event at least once during its screening time. The event received attention in both Norwegian and foreign media, and has received renewed attention and appreciation, mainly among its Norwegian followers.

2010: Bybanen i Bergen – minutt for minutt[edit]

The 28-minute presentation Bybanen i Bergen – minutt for minutt showed a trip on the Bergen Light Rail from Nesttun to Bergen, shortly after the opening of the line in June 2010.[8]

2010: Flåmsbana – minutt for minutt[edit]

Following the success from the Bergen Line, NRK also filmed the Flåm Line in May 2010.[9]

Flåmsbana minute by minute – scenic tourist route, train journey depicted the trip along the Flåm Line, a 20.2-kilometre (12.6 mi) railway that descends 863 m (2,831 ft) from Myrdal to Flåm on the Sognefjord. It was broadcast on NRK1 on 5 September at 08.05, lasting 58 minutes, and around 500,000 viewers watched the entire program, for a market share of 40%.[10][11]

2011: Hurtigruten – minutt for minutt[edit]

MS Nordnorge, the ship used in the live broadcast in 2011

Hurtigruten minute by minute – a coastal voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes depicted the Norwegian Coastal Express (Norwegian: Hurtigruten) ship MS Nordnorge on a 134-hour voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes. The program started on 16 June 2011 at 19:45 CET on NRK and transmitted the entire journey live and non-stop.[4] A total of 11 cameras—three fixed, a bow camera and a gyro stabilized Cineflex camera[12]—recorded the boat.[13]

The broadcast was shown live on NRK2 in Norway, and on the internet for international viewers and Norwegians abroad, available in Norwegian[14] and English.[15] The broadcast received greater attention and popularity than the previous Bergensbanen minutt for minutt show, both in media and by viewers.[1][16]

During the weekend of 17–19 June 2011, 2,542,000 people, or approximately half the Norwegian population, visited the live broadcast. At its peak, 692,000 people followed the broadcast at eleven forty-five Sunday night, as the boat was heading into the Trollfjord in Lofoten. The broadcast has set a world record as being the world's longest live television documentary and is in the Guinness Book of Records.[17] The previous record was 13 hours against their 134 hours.[18]

In 2012, Hurtigruten – minutt for minutt was included in Norsk Dokumentarv which is the Norwegian part of the Memory of the World Programme[19]

2012: Lakseelva – minutt for minutt[edit]

Salmon river – minute by minute was a 24-hour-long live broadcast on NRK1 and NRK2 that depicted the opening day of fishing season on the Gaula River in Trøndelag and lasted from 31 May to 1 June 2012. It consisted of a 40-minute introduction on NRK1, 18 hours of live salmon fishing on NRK2, and a 3-hour regular broadcast on NRK1. Around 1.6 million watched the broadcast, earning 10 percent of the market share.[10][11]

2012: Telemarkskanalen – minutt for minutt[edit]

Telemarkskanalen minute by minute – channel boat trip was a 12-hour cruise along the Telemark Canal that was broadcast live on NRK2 on Sunday 26 August 2012. 1,300,000 watched the broadcast in Norway, for a market share of 29 percent.[10][11]

2012: Nordlandsbanen – minutt for minutt[edit]

Nordlandsbanen minute by minute – season by season – train journey north of the Arctic Circle depicted a 9-hour and 50 minute journey on the Nordland Line railway from Trondheim to Bodø. It was broadcast on NRK2 on 29 December 2012 and had a viewership of around 1.2 million, for a market share of 13 percent.[10][11]

2013: Nasjonal vedkveld[edit]

On 15 February 2013 NRK broadcast the 12-hour-long broadcast National Wood Night[20] on the topic of firewood. Nearly a million people, or 20 percent of the population, tuned in at some point of the program. The broadcast was inspired by the best-selling book by Lars Mytting, Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood — and the Soul of Wood-Burning. The show consisted of four hours of ordinary produced television, followed by showing eight hours of a live fireplace. The show received international attention, including an article in The New York Times [21] and a segment on The Colbert Report.

2013: Sommeråpent – minutt for minutt[edit]

Summer Entertainment Show – coastal cruise with entertainment show, a journey from Oslo to Kirkenes and back was a coastal cruise with entertainment from Oslo to Kirkenes and back. The approximately 379-hour show was broadcast live on NRK1 from Saturday 22 June to Sunday 10 August 2013.[10][11]

2013: Nasjonal strikkekveld[edit]

On 1 November 2013, NRK aired National Knitting Night, a 12-hour show depicting a non-stop knitting marathon which attempted to break the Guinness World record for knitting a sweater from beginning to end.[22] An NRK spokesperson described the show as "the feminine response to the firewood show."[23][24]

2014: 200 år på 200 minutter[edit]

In 200 years in 200 minutes - lecture performed by professor Frank Aarebrot, political scientist Frank Aarebrot gave a 200-minute lecture on the past 200 years of Norwegian history. 700,000 viewers watched the broadcast, which ran from 8:05 to 11:30 am on 28 February, gaining a 15 percent share of viewership.[10][11]

2014: 1814 på 24 timar[edit]

1814 in 24 hours commemorated the signing of the Constitution of Norway in 1814. Around 50 academics lectured for 24 hours straight from Rikssalen in Eidsvollsbygningen, the building where the constitution was originally signed. The show broadcast from 9 May to 10 May 2014, with a viewership of 669,000, or 6 percent market share.[10][11]

2014: Piip-show[edit]

Piip-show featured footage from a camera set up to record the activities of birds and other wildlife at a bird feeder decorated to look like a coffee shop. A website run by NRK streamed live footage from the camera for three months, and NRK2 also featured a 14-hour television program showing live footage on 25 May 2015, with a viewership of 243,000.[10][11]

2014: Salmeboka – minutt for minutt[edit]

On 28–30 November 2014, NRK aired the 60-hour Hymnal - cover to cover. The show depicted about 200 choirs, including around 3,000-4,000 singers and soloists, performing the entire contents of the Church of Norway's national hymnal, published in 2013. Most of the performances took place live at Vår Frue Church in Trondheim, though some recorded performances came from 11 other sites such as Karasjok in northern Norway and Decorah, Iowa. The church was open throughout the show, and more than 16,000 visitors dropped in. A total of 2.2 million viewers tuned in at some point during the program, with an average of 87,000 at any one time.[25][26][27]

2015: Krig på 200 minutter[edit]

War in 200 minutes featured a 200-minute lecture from Frank Aarebrot on the subject of war. It was broadcast on 9 April 2015, the 75th anniversary of the German occupation of Norway in 1940. The program received a viewership of 238,000 with a market share of 21.4 percent.[10][11]

2015: Sommerbåten – minutt for minutt[edit]

Summer boat - coastal cruise with entertainment show, a journey from Vadsø to Oslo depicted a live coastal cruise from Vadsø in northern Norway to Oslo in southern Norway. The show lasted from Sunday 21 June until Saturday 15 August.[28]

2016: Saltstraumen – minutt for minutt[edit]

Saltstraumen – minute by minute was a 12-hour show depicting live footage from the Norwegian strait of Saltstraumen, site of one of the strongest tidal currents in the world. It was broadcast on 7 May 2016.[29]

2016: Skibladners seilas – minutt for minutt[edit]

Skibladner cruise – minute by minute was a week-long show depicting footage of a cruise of the paddle steamer Skibladner on lake Mjøsa in southern Norway, and it was broadcast to coincide with the 160th anniversary of the ship's launch.[30]

2016: USA-valget: 227 år på 227 minutter[edit]

In US Elections: 227 years in 227 minutes, Frank Aarebrot spent 227 minutes discussing the US presidential election of 2016 and the history of elections in the US.[31]

2016-present[edit]

2016
  • Ribba - grad for grad [32] (The pork rib - degree for degree)
2017

Interaction through social media[edit]

During the 134 hour broadcast of the Hurtigruten trip, the show received massive attention among Norwegian followers in the social media arena. On Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, people talked about the trip and how they followed its progression.

As the boat moved north, place names popped up in the top 10, such as #Sortland and #Trollfjord. Around midnight Saturday there was one tweet about Hurtigruten per six seconds. During the broadcast, cities competed in arranging the greatest welcoming committee at the different harbors and three different wedding proposals were captured during the 136 hours.[37][38]

International attention[edit]

The Hurtigruten – minute by minute broadcast was also shown online with many viewers abroad; 46 percent of online viewers were outside Norway. The major countries were Denmark (7%), United States (4%), Germany (4%), United Kingdom (4%), and France (4%), gaining attention in international media.[39][40][41][42][43]

During the days of the broadcast the Norwegian Embassy in Seoul organized a campaign on the subway to promote Norway. A billboard set up in Samgakji subway station in downtown Seoul was set up to broadcast the show live. Korean media showed interest in the exhibition, characterizing it as "the most creative PR stunt they've heard of in a long time".[18]

International adaptations[edit]

Australia: Special Broadcasting Service[edit]

On the evening of 7 January 2018, the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) broadcast on its main TV channel the first Australian-made slow TV style program, a three-hour-long documentary of a journey aboard The Ghan, the passenger train from Adelaide to Darwin. The three hour program also used both archival imagery and contemporary graphics to tell the story of the construction of the 2,979 km (1,851 mi) Adelaide–Darwin railway and that of its predecessor, the Central Australia Railway.[44]

According to OzTAM’s overnight preliminary ratings, the SBS telecast of the three hour program averaged more than 400,000 viewers, with most of the audience being in Melbourne.[45] SBS later issued a media release stating that the three hour program had "... recorded an average of 583,000 viewers in metro and regional markets ... making this the highest performing SBS program in the past 12 months ...". SBS also scheduled a broadcast of a longer, 17-hour, version of the program on SBS Viceland on Sunday, 14 January 2018, from 2.40am to 8.30pm.[46][47]

Belgium: Voor De Ronde[edit]

The Belgian public-service broadcaster VRT aired a live broadcast of Ruben Van Gucht, a sports reporter, riding the route of the Tour of Flanders road cycling race, accompanied by anyone who wanted to join him. The event took place on 31 March 2017, 2 days before the race. The journey was filmed by several motorcycle cameramen and a helicopter and was accompanied by live studio commentary about the journey and the history of the Tour of Flanders.[48]

Hong Kong: RTHK TV 32 Slow TV (Chinese: 漫。電視)[edit]

Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) started its TV channel broadcasting services since 2014 to Hong Kong citizens. As one of its channel 32 stated as serving live broadcasts, a series of live records such as the make-up of a Cantonese Opera actor, a Hong Kong Tramways riding, the scenery of Hong Kong Victoria Harbor, the daily of animals, and so on.

United Kingdom: BBC Four Goes Slow[edit]

As an adaptation of the style, the British channel BBC Four in 2015 and 2016 broadcast a series of slow journeys such as a canal boat journey and bus ride.[49][50][51]

Web-based slow TV transmissions[edit]

2016: Terms and conditions word by word[edit]

To illustrate the wordiness of the terms and conditions on an average phone, the Norwegian Consumer Council staged a reading of 30 such legal documents in a session that started on 24 May 2016 and was streamed for more than 24 hours.[52]

Sigur Rós: Route One[edit]

On the day of the 2016 summer solstice, Sigur Rós unveiled a 24-hour 'slow TV' event live on Iceland's national television, and streamed live globally via YouTube.[53] It featured the journey along the entirety of Iceland's Route 1, which loops around the perimeter of the country, while playing a live-generated remix of the band's new song, "Óveður".

Playtvak Slow TV[edit]

The Czech media group MAFRA has run a slow TV portal since 2010.[54] Currently, it shows videos from:

This set of transmissions is updated every now and then. In the past, for example, meerkats of the Prague Zoo or infrared picture of Prague's Old Town Square were shown.


YouTube[edit]

Matt Parker[55] of YouTube channel standupmaths uploaded a video on his supplementary YouTube channel Jun 19, 2017, entitled Many many flips.[56] showing over an hour and a half of himself flipping a coin in to a bowl to try and get ten in a row. Subsequently, on Jan 23, 2018, Matt uploaded an hour long video entitled 2,000 throws of three-sided coins.[57]

The YouTuber Tom Scott[58][59] uploaded a video on Apr 30, 2018, named 2½ Hours of Unedited Garlic Bread Flight Footage [60] which shows garlic bread being sent to the edge of the atmosphere in real time. Prior to this, on Sep 1, 2017, Tom and his friend Matt Gray live-streamed a video lasting 3:47:24, showing YouTube comments being printed and shredded as they were posted.[61]

Watching Grass Grow[edit]

Watching Grass Grow has shows a continuous live feed of a front lawn since 2005.[62]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Nathan Hellar (30 September 2014). "Slow TV Is Here". The New Yorker. New York. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Gerard Gilbert (11 February 2014). "Slow Television: The latest Nordic trend". The Independent. London. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Inger-Marit Knap Sæby (2009-09-11). ""Bergensbanen minutt for minutt" ble helgens store snakkis" ["The Bergen Line - minute by minute" was the word on the street]. nrk.no. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  4. ^ a b Anders Hofseth (2009-09-16). "Hurtigruten: 5 day TV marathon in the midnight sun". nrkbeta.no. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  5. ^ Hege Bakken Riise; Kirsti Falch-Nilsen (2011-06-20). "Hurtigruten sprenger alle rekorder!" [Hurtigruten blows all records!]. nrk.no. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  6. ^ a b c "Creators look back on late-night Toronto TV classic: 'Night Moves'". As It Happens, May 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Gabrielle Graatrudn, Cathrine Elnan (16 December 2013). "NRK-fenomen ble kåret til årets nyord" [NRK phenomenon named word of the year] (in Norwegian). Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  8. ^ Jon Ståle Carlsen (2010-06-24). "Bybanen i Bergen minutt for minutt" [The Bergen Light Rail minute by minute]. nrkbeta.no. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  9. ^ Vidar Gudvangen (2010-05-18). "Filmar Flåmsbana minutt for minutt" [Filming the Flåm Line minute by minute]. nrk.no. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jensen, Christine (2014-11-24). "Slow TV". NRK. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jensen, Christine (2014-11-24). "Sakte-TV på NRK". NRK. 
  12. ^ "Cineflex V14HD camera". Archived from the original on 2015-07-15. 
  13. ^ Bjørn Erik Rygg Lunde (2009-09-20). "Hurtigruten: Noen glimt bak kameraene" [Hurtigruten: Glimpses from behind the cameras]. nrkbeta.no. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  14. ^ http://www.nrk.no/hurtigruten/?lang=no
  15. ^ "NRK TV - Se Hurtigruten minutt for minutt". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  16. ^ Øystein Lie (2011-06-21). "Ja til mer slow TV" [More slow TV please]. dagbladet.no. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  17. ^ "Longest live TV documentary broadcast". Guinness Book of Records. Retrieved 13 October 2017. 
  18. ^ a b Hege Bakken Riise (2011-06-16). "Sørkoreanerne følger Hurtigruten direkte fra t-banen" [South-coreans follows Hurtigruten live from the subway]. nrk.no. Archived from the original on 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  19. ^ Kjetil Kjær Andersland, Rebecca Kjær (Hurtigruten – minutt for minutt er norsk dokumentarv NRK.
  20. ^ NRK. "NRKs vedsending vekker oppsikt". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  21. ^ Lyall, Sarah (2013-02-19). "In Norway, TV Program on Firewood Elicits Passions". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ "National Knitting Eve". 
  23. ^ "Norway plans 12-hour TV show of knitting". 
  24. ^ "Norwegian broadcaster to air National Knitting Night". 
  25. ^ "Salmesongen vekker oppsikt i utlandet". December 1, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Choir marathon gets underway". Nina’s News from Norway. November 28, 2014. 
  27. ^ "2.2 millioner var innom salmemaraton på NRK". December 1, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Sommerbåten 2015". NRK. 2015-02-18. 
  29. ^ "Slow TV". NRK. 2016-05-02. 
  30. ^ "NRK sender minutt for minutt fra Skibladner" [NRK broadcasts minute by minute from Skibladner]. NRK (in Norwegian). 2016-02-17. Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  31. ^ "Aarebrot gir deg 227 minutter med amerikanske presidenter" [Aarebrot gives you 227 minutes with American presidents]. NRK (in Norwegian). 2016-10-28. Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  32. ^ NRK. "NRK langtidssteker ribbe på julaften". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  33. ^ NRK. "Reinflytting minutt for minutt". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  34. ^ "Slow TV show's migraing reindeer stars in Norway aren't moving". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  35. ^ NRK. "NRK kjører sommertog i 2017". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  36. ^ NRK. "Gå Besseggen fra sofaen". Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  37. ^ "Her frir Kim fra Hurtigruten" [Here Kim proposes at Hurtigruten]. nettavisen.no. 2011-06-20. Archived from the original on 2012-05-27. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  38. ^ Vibeke Lund Pettersen (2011-06-21). "Nytt frieri på Hurtigruten!" [New proposal at Hurtigruten!]. nrk.no. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  39. ^ Wojciech Moskwa (2011-06-17). ""Very slow" live cruise show a hit on Norwegian TV". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  40. ^ Bjoern H. Amland and Malin Rising (2011-06-22). "Norway goes cruise crazy during live TV broadcast". Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  41. ^ Robert Briel (2011-06-19). "nrk sets pace with slow-tv". Broadband TV news. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  42. ^ "Toronto Sun". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  43. ^ "The West Australian". The West. Retrieved 21 January 2018. 
  44. ^ "SBS Guide" (12 December 2017). "Slow TV comes to SBS with The Ghan: Australia's Greatest Train Journey". www.sbs.com.au. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 8 January 2018. 
  45. ^ Samios, Zoe (8 January 2018). "SBS' three-hour train documentary The Ghan averages more than 400,000 viewers". Mumbrella. Retrieved 8 January 2018. 
  46. ^ Davidson, Helen (10 January 2018). "Slow train coming: SBS to air 17-hour Ghan trip on Sunday". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  47. ^ Moran, Rob (11 January 2018). "SBS to air 17-hour episode of 'slow TV' hit The Ghan". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  48. ^ "Voor De Ronde". Sporza. VRT. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  49. ^ Fullerton, Huw. "All Aboard! The Country Bus". Radio Times. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  50. ^ Harrison, Phil. "Monday's best TV: Great British Menu; All Aboard! The Country Bus; The Coopers vs the Rest". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  51. ^ Hogan, Michael. "Slow TV, review: 'hypnotic'". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  52. ^ "Get popcorn and watch T&Cs for 30 apps being read aloud over 24 hours". techcrunch.com. 2016-05-25. 
  53. ^ "sigur rós - route one". 2016-10-03. 
  54. ^ "Playtvak Slow TV". 2016-12-19. 
  55. ^ "Matt Parker". Wikipedia. 2018-04-27. 
  56. ^ Matt Parker (2016-06-19), Many many flips., retrieved 2018-05-01 
  57. ^ Matt Parker (2018-01-23), 2,000 throws of three-sided coins., retrieved 2018-05-01 
  58. ^ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBa659QWEk1AI4Tg--mrJ2A
  59. ^ "Tom Scott (entertainer)". Wikipedia. 2018-05-01. 
  60. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKAblynZYhI&feature=push-u-sub&attr_tag=lwfj9M6Cb80aKXRG-6
  61. ^ Matt and Tom (2017-09-01), We Shred Your Comments, Live, retrieved 2018-05-01 
  62. ^ http://www.watching-grass-grow.com/

External links[edit]