The premise of MTV’s upcoming reality competition, Stranded With a Million Dollars (formerly Stranded With a Million Bucks), sounds like a recipe for the best kind of disaster: 10 contestants trek through an island jungle for 40 days to earn their share of a cool seven figures. The key to the drama? Using surreptitious surveillance to make participants feel like they are really on their own. “People are in physical danger, and we’re watching it in the comfort of a control room, like it’s the Hunger Games,” says executive producer Kevin Lee. “It was creepy, to be honest.” Here’s how Lee and his fellow gamemakers spy on their targets.
Eyes in the Sky
During daylight, at least one drone stays in the air at all times (weather permitting).
At each night’s camp, cameras attached to trees (and controlled from afar) capture footage.
The DJI Phantom 4 and Inspire drones’ batteries get swapped every 15 minutes.
Four camera-people with 820-mm lenses shoot campsites from hundreds of yards away.
Who needs booms when everyone’s necklace has an integrated mic?
Passing contestants trigger tripod-mounted robocameras at waypoints.
Contestants’ bracelets track their vitals–and location.