Fifth Gear production work vs. Top Gear

evans

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Actually, the title is misleading. This isn't a "who's better"-thread, it's more of a rant-based anti-Fifth Gear thread. And let me just say, before I get started, that if you're already thinking about replying with "Well if you don't like it, don't watch it!", just leave. I don't even want to hear your opinion, because if you use the above sentence, all you say is, in my eyes, rendered completely useless.

I've never liked Fifth Gear. It's always been my proof that things get dull when they get too serious, while on the other hand, things can get too silly as well. It's an art form, it's about finding the perfect balance. It's kind of like holding a speech - to keep people interested, you have to vary your speech with a couple of jokes or witty quotes, and have some strong points in between.
Fifth Gear never mastered that. Also, I can't look at Tiff Nedell for more than 15 seconds at the time. His constant twitching and weird mannerisms remind me of those of Christopher Walken, just not even half the fun. And don't even mention the rest of the crew.

But now there's a new thing about Fifth Gear that pisses me off even more than the previously mentioned things - camera work and production work.

Now, I should probably mention here that I love a well produced film or tv-series. Top Gear is one of those shows - it's always a thrill to watch new episodes because there are always new themes, effects etc. I've watched a lot of Top Gear episodes since the new format came, and I've seen the production standard rise enormously, from the above-standard productions in the first seasons to the insanely great (for a BBC tv-series, in my opinion) productions from the latest seasons.

I've also watched a couple Fifth Gear episodes, old and new, and noticed a change in production work there. And of course, I can't complain about it improving, but I can complain about the direction it has taken.
Why in all of orange and flaming hell do they have to imitate Top Gear?
I've been aware of it for some time now, but it became especially clear to me today, when I saw Vicki reviewing the newest MX-5. The shots, the filters, the effects, the panning - every-fucking-thing had Top Gear written all over it.

Sure, you could argue that the Fifth Gear production team has just chosen the same stylistic direction as the Top Gear production team, but that argument so obviously falls to pieces when you watch a full episode or two.
I'd say that one Fifth Gear episode consists of 50% Top Gear imitation, 25% experimental work and 25% boring shots.
Now, the experimental shots I'm talking about are shots in which the Fifth Gear production team test their own ideas and effects. For example, the MX-5 review started with an introduction to the car, it's reputation and it's evolution. It featured a shot of the car driving around, digitally manipulated to be black and white, while the car (red) stood out in colours. And what an ugly, ugly, ugly clip. It was so obviously half-arsed, I actually felt slightly offended. The whole car was supposed to be in colours at all times, like described above, but instead there were constant glitches all over the place, with some parts of the car in black and white and some parts in colour.

And that is probably what pisses me off the most about Fifth Gear, the poor imitation, which they cannot even be bothered to do throughout the whole episode.
Just like Jeremy Clarkson wants a car that is designed to be as good as it can be and no less, I, as the viewer, demand a show that is designed to be as good as it can be, and I think you should too.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I think Fifth Gear missed the point there. Who are they trying to impress or flatter, the viewers or "the other show"?
 

Donington

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I agree.
I used to like Fifth Gear, but I hate the editing, it ruins it. Top Gear have the money to make their astonishing hollywood-style films, whereas Fifth most certainly don't, and it just give off a 'low-budget Top Gear ripoff' feel, unlike before where it was just a simple more sensible alternative to Top Gear, but was a good motoring show in it's own way with it's own format. Of course, then they changed the set, then brought in bloody Lovejoy and all that went down like a lead balloon. It's got better this series, but it's really badly scripted. I'm sure Top Gear is too, but obviously the boys write a lot of it themselves because so much of the humor is theirs and you really can't tell. In Fifth Gear, it's obviosly just handed to them. This is the only series I haven't laughed at quite a lot of what Tom has had to say. He's usually hilarious, but this series he's said some uncharacteristically corny, unfunny stuff.
This series, however, the work thing by a mile is the CAMERAWORK. I sometimes find it totally unwatchable. The worst bit was when they were interviewing DTM driver Susie Stoddart. The camera was just moving around the place in stupid movements. I just wanted to punch the cameraman in the face and film it myself, I could do a better job. Filming in that stupid jerky style was popular in the late nineties, until everyone agreed it looked shit, and now can only be seen on rubbish Bravo shows and, erm, this. You can't have good editing without decent camerawork, but it's true how damn half-arsed it is.

I might tune in next series, but the finale was so godawful, it's got to be a damn good series start. One more chance FG.
 
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Hidden_Hunter

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I used to not mind fifth gear as a more serious sort of car show to balance out my top gear but now it's 60% top gear series 1 with film effect randomly chucked in. Take for example the vauxhall vxr-8 review, it tried to immitate the "top gear-ish" jump around motion (real technical of me) instead it was just cut all around the place and made me sick to watch :s


Also I think that they need to make Vicki wear some different clothes, they've been less than flattering lately (she looks really fat in the vxr8)
 

Narcolepsy

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Well in 5th Gear's defense - the reviews (in my opinion) have been getting a lot better. Tom and Johnny in particular do a great job (the Picasso, C30, LR2, and C-Class reviews spring to mind). I like the maintained focused on cars, while TG has been shifting emphasis. Except of course when 5th gear for some reason tries these comparatively lame stunts. I know some of the shots are similar, but the emulation is an improvment. What I CAN'T stand is the really forced dialogue in the Cafe, and the humor that borders on the tragic (tiffets). That said, this is a tired topic, evans you're in good company.
 

Mr-Stabby

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I'm an editor myself by trade, and the only bad thing i've noticed about Fifth Gears editing is once last series they had a "Media Offline" error on for about a second, that's it really. Yes it does bare some resemblance to Top Gear in style with the filters and the grading to some extent, but you're always going to get that. More than one TV show can use a particular style of shooting and editing. Why aren't you complaining that every new comedy series in the last decade is copying 'The Office' in shooting style? It's just a style that Top Gear pioneered and Fifth Gear is using. Who cares if its the same? As long as the show is good and different in content, and i happen to think it is. As well as the content itself, the editing is good, the picture quality is very nice and it fits with the style of the show and the grading is very well executed.
 

MattD1zzl3

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All the old personalities on FG are just dull. Its why we watch whatever the TG guys put out to hold ourselves over until the newest series.


Tom ford and that young guy with the crazy hair make it a lot more watchable, but then viki talks to some idiot on a bike and he jumps over a plywood ramp, and i doze off...
 

janstett

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I think they're struggling to find their style (thus why the show is retooled every series lately, and why they moved to the trackside restaurant).

Don't forget that a lot of the people who work on Fifth Gear were part of old Top Gear, and I suspect that the two crews maintain close friendships. In case you didn't notice, Fifth Gear presenter Tom Ford writes for Top Gear Magazine, and Tiff and Vicky used to be Jeremy's co-presenters on old Top Gear. Tiff has made appearences in Jeremy's videos. I would also imagine that the two camps run into each other both at press events as well as out and about in London. Sort of the way that in New York City, players for the Yankees and Mets are always bumping into each other, going to the same restaurants, having the same friends, etc., even though they are competitors.

I am mesmerized by Tiff as I know he's a hell of a driver and I watch his in-car mannerisms closely. However, yes as a presenter he has some odd mannerisms and I don't know about the Brits but his voice and mannerisms are kind of "nancy" tea-and-crumpets. I respect him as a driving God, but people not familiar with him find him odd and difficult to listen to. In this last series it seems like Tiff is mailing in his segments and he's almost like a consultant to the show.

I noticed the use of filters and similar angles several series ago, and I dismiss it because quite simply it's beautiful and I don't mind seeing the technique imitated. But the constant shooting changes and changing format of the show make me nuts. I'm also losing my patience with the dumb stunts in the parking lot, their attempt at the "cocking about" segments TG does.

I think they're struggling to find, or create, a new identity and they haven't found it yet.
 

evans

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I'm an editor myself by trade, and the only bad thing i've noticed about Fifth Gears editing is once last series they had a "Media Offline" error on for about a second, that's it really. Yes it does bare some resemblance to Top Gear in style with the filters and the grading to some extent, but you're always going to get that. More than one TV show can use a particular style of shooting and editing. Why aren't you complaining that every new comedy series in the last decade is copying 'The Office' in shooting style? It's just a style that Top Gear pioneered and Fifth Gear is using. Who cares if its the same? As long as the show is good and different in content, and i happen to think it is. As well as the content itself, the editing is good, the picture quality is very nice and it fits with the style of the show and the grading is very well executed.
If you look at my post again, you will (hopefully) notice that I was not complaining about Fifth Gear looking like Top Gear - I do realise that it is just the new style in most tv series, and I've noticed it with other shows as well like CSI.
What pisses me off particularly about Fifth Gear is that they only do one half of the imitation, and leave the rest of their clips like they are. So what you get as the viewer, is a show of mixed clips and styles, with no real root. And to me, that seems quite half-arsed. Why do they care to mix up all these styles? Obviously, they cannot completely copy Top Gear because of their budget, but why not try to find their own style instead? Their own theme, a theme that actually suits the budget.
 

Mr-Stabby

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If you look at my post again, you will (hopefully) notice that I was not complaining about Fifth Gear looking like Top Gear - I do realise that it is just the new style in most tv series, and I've noticed it with other shows as well like CSI.
What pisses me off particularly about Fifth Gear is that they only do one half of the imitation, and leave the rest of their clips like they are. So what you get as the viewer, is a show of mixed clips and styles, with no real root. And to me, that seems quite half-arsed. Why do they care to mix up all these styles? Obviously, they cannot completely copy Top Gear because of their budget, but why not try to find their own style instead? Their own theme, a theme that actually suits the budget.
I must admit i haven't noticed that, i do notice they put less grading on the cafe shots with Vicki, but then that's probably their way of differentiating the studio-type segments and the movies.

You say that some of the time they don't even bother grading some of the pieces at all, well you can't accuse Fifth Gear of doing a poor imitation of Top Gear when Top Gear also do this. Most of their pieces are nicely graded etc, but in the odd show per series there is a piece (the only one i can think of right now is a Richard Hammond car review of a city car, i can't remember what it was) where they don't bother with grading or even adding a filmic effect, they just play it out in standard interlaced-video look with no grading or filters. Fifth Gear are not the only people who do that. I suppose it depends on time really, if they can only have the car a certain time close to transmission so there's no real editing time to add the shiny stuff.

I think what's happened is because this current series of Top Gear just gone has focused on stuff which could have been filmed pretty much months in advance, you forgot that the odd car review they used to do 2 or 3 years ago would have no grading on it whatsoever. They've just had time this series to grade everything so nicely.
 
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