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Putting the "Modern" in Modern Family

Putting the "Modern" in Modern Family

By - Aaron

Modern Family is a mockumentary style sitcom that first aired on our TV screens in 2009 and has had us laughing ever since. The show hails 21 Emmy’s, 6 Writers Guild Awards and a Golden Globe for it’s efforts so far.

In season 6, episode 16, “Connection Lost” the series proved just how modern it can be with an episode shot entirely on iPhone’s. The episode is centred around Claire (Julie Bowen) enlisting the help of the entire family to try to get in touch with her daughter Haley (Sarah Hyland) who is not answering her phone after the two had a fight the night before.

The episode is seen from the point of view of Claire’s MacBook where she “face times” with the rest of the family while searching the internet, checking Facebook and reading emails. As the episode opens it comes as a surprise, simply because it’s not what you are used to seeing when watching a sitcom. However, once you get over this fact the whole thing becomes somewhat familiar. Claire is doing exactly what you or I would do in the same situation. We turn to our computers or smartphones for help every single day, Our eyes are very used to what we are seeing in this episode.

However, what I find most impressive is that for that real touch of authenticity the creators decided to shoot the entire episode on iPhone’s. Why would they do that, when surely 20th Century Fox can afford the latest and greatest cameras and equipment?

Two reasons; One, we will accept it because, again, it’s familiar. Two, unless you’re shooting a Hollywood blockbuster the latest and greatest equipment is just not necessary. We watch iPhone quality videos every day.The rate at which we watch Facebook and YouTube clips is increasing at an extremely rapid pace. In fact YouTube claims that the watch time on their site is up 40% on last year (2014-2015).

We are at the crucial tipping point where audiences get their videos from online more than from television. Obviously the millennial’s are leading the charge with data showing that 18-24 year olds in 2015 watch almost eight hours a week less traditional TV than they did in 2011. We are turning to online video for our information and entertainment and occasionally turning on the TV when our favourite sitcom is on, like Modern Family.

With our eyes very accustomed now to cute cat videos and endless prank videos we accept our visual content of a lower quality than we see on the silver screen or on our TV screens. In fact, in a lot of cases we prefer it! Online video ads that have a more “real” attract far more attention and response than those that have obviously been produced.

This is great news, especially if you're a small business, because it’s cheaper! So when you’re planning your next video ad, don’t focus so much on the visual quality but rather the quality of the actual content you’re filling it with. Your modern audience with thank you for it.


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