Belite Ultralight Aircraft @ Mythbusters

(c) all photos by James Wiebe, Reproduction prohibited without written permission

If you read all the way to the bottom, I’m posting some more great photos of working at Mythbusters, including some photos of the MythBuster gang and a Belite Ultralight Aircraft.  If fact, the airplane pictured far below is the same aircraft which won “Best Commercial Ultralight” at Sun N Fun — refinished with a different engine and as a showstopping taildragger….  But first, some of the editorial on what it was like:

ARRIVING MYTHBUSTERS STUDIO, AKA ‘M7’. 

No, I’m not shouting, I’m just in shock.

I’d been given the address to drive to by the Associate Producer, a very nice guy by the name of Eric Haven.  I really didn’t know what to expect, other than the Google Map streetview had provided a grainy photo of an industrial area near the city’s downtown.

I drove into the parking lot, and passed business unit after unit, waiting to find the one that said “MythBusters” on the door.  I realized that nothing said MB on the door, but that the contents of the parking lot had somehow shifted from average cars to a collection of strangeness:  a vehicle which looked like a small desert tank in progress; a bomb bunker, large markings on the parking lot (like a bomb drop “X”), and an oddly painted VW beetle.

I realized I had found Mythbusters.  Kewl.  In the door I went.

Which I did — went in the door, expecting amazing offices and greatness, and I walked instead into a common room with desks crammed together, a huge mess on all of the walls, a small black dog, and people who were very busy.  And a Mythbuster host or two at their desks, working (or playing) right in the midst of the chaos.  And a big warehouse in the next room, where all the non-location shots would be setup and filmed.

Debris of a hundred episodes spread throughout all the walls, floors, ceilings, parking lots, desks, bathrooms, storage cabinets, and vehicles.

Hey, I can’t tell you what we did.   I’ve signed a blood enabled non-disclosure oath.  But I can tell you some other things:

1)  Our myth will certainly use a Belite airplane.

2)  I’ve never been a part of a work environment that was so ad hoc on the back end.  What a riot!

3)  The hosts (Tory, Grant, Kari) are fun, witty both on and off camera.

4)  The hosts (Tory, Grant, Kari) can be serious, can show concern and compassion just like all good human beings.

5)  The hosts (Tory, Grant, Kari) really do everything you see them doing on the show.  And they do a lot more.  They are working the myths with great diligence.

6)  There are other people who are also working just as hard to make sure that the show is great TV.  I’ve mentioned Eric, but there’s also John, Lauren, Benny, Amid, Duncan, and many more.

7)  Not that I’ve had great opportunity to, but I’ve never seen a group that knew so much about how to get a great camera shot.  Both first and second camera (Ben and Duncan) know their stuff forwards and backwards.

8)  MB very graciously allowed one of my daughters to join the fun for a day.  Duncan (2nd camera) even more graciously took her and put her to work, instructing her on building a super cool show prop (which she did) and having her directly assist with setup on a “Mythbusters” logo shot, which they do frequently and freshly for each episode.  I even got to contribute some thoughts to that particular logo shoot.  It took them 3 hours to produce less than 2 seconds of video.  The end result was world class super hi-def slow-mo footage shot on an amazing hi speed camera.

9)  For all of the fun on camera, there are people who are sweating details.  The producers and the director have plates full when the project is on — there are loads of unforeseen things (EG:  no porta-potty on location — where to Pee? — find a porta-potty).  Some of the unforeseen things cause the director to think on their feet; some of them cause the producer to think on their feet; some of the problems cause the hosts to think on their feet.

10)  It’s teamwork.  You have to work very hard to make great TV.

First Camerman and Sound

Duncan *WANTS* this airplane.

Some Mythbusters on the (closed) runway.  Notice there’s nothing around:  miles from people.

Kari Byron, ’nuff said.

MythBusters, Lauren (Director) and Benny (1st Camera)

Tory dreams of takeoff in a Belite Ultralight Aircraft.  Sorry, you need some training first.
Tory, Grant, Kari, Jennifer and James with Belite Ultralight Aircraft

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