How do TV and Film Keep their Secrets Safe?

In this day and age of television on demand and people binge watching TV shows, the TV and Film industry have had to up their game to prevent spoilers coming out before shows and films are released.

There’s a rumour that Amazon have employed military style security to guard the secrecy of their new Lord of the Rings series. It seems there is a ‘bunker’ with a security guard on the door and fingerprint scanners, all to protect the writer’s room. Sceptics might say that the overdramatic security is a publicity stunt to peak people’s interest in their new TV show. Either way it’s a drastic way to keep the details under wraps. This is not a new trend however, the TV and film industry have been closely guarding their secrets for a long time and it seems the bigger the show/film, the bigger the security.

Television

The whole country seems to be caught up with Line of Duty fever at the moment and with the finale airing this Sunday, viewers are clamouring to find the secrets to the shows ending. Being one of the most popular TV shows in the country, you’d think they would have all kinds of tactics to keep the information safe. However, their security protocols are pretty old school. Everyone involved has to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) meaning they could get sued if they tell anyone information (this does include spouses and family!). They also film in Belfast, which means they avoid a lot of the paparazzi that you would find in cities like London or Manchester. One thing that might surprise you is that the cast, even the main actors, are not told the shows full plot line. They are often only given their own lines, or parts of the scripts and they are NEVER given the script as a whole. This means that they are in the dark of what will happen when the show actually airs. For a show that is so popular and one of the few shows that comes out weekly, they do pretty well to keep the endings of the police drama a secret.

You might remember how the whole country became obsessed with Broadchurch a few years ago? Well, this meant the security had to be tightened on the subsequent series. Scripts were sent out with false titles (Tea and Sympathy) and the head writer Chris Chibnall used an alias and had alternative scripts written. All this so the public could be surprised by the twists and turns week to week.

One of the most closely guarded secret in the UK television industry is the identity of the new person playing The Doctor in Doctor Who. For years the speculation around this makes the headlines, bookies suspend odds and people scramble to find out ahead of time who it could be. The BBC employ classic tactics such as having people audition for fake parts, with fake names and over skype to stop any chance of a spoiler leaking. They will also take any person who leaks a spoiler to court, hopefully deterring anyone else from doing it.

 

Hollywood

You might think that the UK TV industry goes to some extreme lengths to protect their secrets, but it’s nothing compared to that of what the Hollywood film industry do to stop movie spoilers coming out. Part of the difference is that the American press are more intense when it comes to finding out spoilers. Flying drones over film sets, bribing crew members and hacking laptops are only some of the techniques that have been employed to find out the plot twists of the most recent blockbusters. So, it makes sense that the big movie companies invest heavily in security tactics to prevent leaks.

The most well-known film franchise of recent years is the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these films have employed some radical techniques to prevent leaks. The actors weren’t allowed to take any scripts home with them and all scripts would be accounted for at the end of every day and destroyed. This made sure that human error wouldn’t mean the script was lost and then leaked. Actors would also only be given the scripts for scenes that involved them, meaning they were in the dark about what was happening in the rest of the movie. The cast were also banned from taking any photos from behind the scenes, in case any information could be gained from the images.

Disney had a similar technique on the set of the new Star Wars films, they would print their scripts on red paper, meaning that if anyone attempted to photocopy it or scan it, it would be completely unreadable. On one major Hollywood film, the actors were sent scripts electronically and they would self-delete after a certain amount of time. They were also cautious of drones flying overhead with cameras (as information had been leaked this way before) so sometimes actors would have to cloak themselves in blankets to walk to a covered set.

Big film companies also add things like unique watermarks, or slight changes in the script, so if there is a leak, studios can identify where the leak came from. Studios also have the ability to block sites that share leaked information, and stop them from showing up in searches. Google recently revealed that they receive over 2 million take down requests per day. Studios can also sue websites that feature leaked, confidential information. This means that even if they did receive spoilers, they may not want to publish them anyway.

 

So, it seems that movie and television studios are going to more and more extreme measures to keep their secrets from being leaked. Do you think that these measures are appropriate? Or do you think it’s all one big publicity stunt?

 

References:

https://www.businessinsider.com/how-movie-studios-prevent-leaks-2016-1?r=US&IR=T#studios-protect-alter-watermark-and-destroy-film-scripts-3

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/apr/09/spolier-alert-tv-and-film-protect-their-blockbusters

https://screenrant.com/hollywood-script-security-leak-prevention-2013/

https://www.cinemablend.com/new/How-Far-Marvel-Now-Going-Prevent-Leaks-86497.html

Lockdown Restrictions Lifted- How to Stay Safe

Now that the government have lifted some of the stricter lockdown rules, life is closer to returning to normality. As you start to venture out and about again, it’s important that you keep yourself safe, not just from the Coronavirus but from other risks as well.

Going to the pub

What the government says;

Unlike in last years lockdown, you do not need to order a substantial meal to get an alcoholic drink (so no more ordering scotch eggs for you and your friends!). Plus, you don’t have to worry about the 10pm curfew, that’s gone to!

However there are a few things you need to be aware of:

  • You can only order food and drinks at the table you are sat at.
  • You must follow the ‘rule of six’ that has been set out by the government
  • Every person in the group must check in using the NHS test and trace service.
  • When not sat at your table you must wear your facemask, for example when going to the toilet.
  • You must observe social distancing

 

However just protecting yourself from Covid-19 when out drinking is not enough. Drinking out and about comes with its own risks.

 

Make sure you know how you are getting home

 

  • Pre book a taxi, book a taxi for a certain time, so you know how and when you will be getting home. Agree on a price when you book it, so you know you’ll have enough money on you to get home safe. For more info on taxi safety- read our blog.
  • Have someone from your household or bubble pick you up. This is one of the safest options for Covid and for personal safety.
  • If you are walking home then don’t walk home alone, no matter your gender make sure you plan to walk home in a group or at least with one other person. Make sure to stick to pavements and well-lit streets.
  • If you plan on getting public transport then make sure you are confident on what time and where you are getting your bus from. Also make sure that you have enough money for the ticket.
  • It goes without saying DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

 

Stay Safe while at the Pub

  • Never leave your drink unattended, it’s too easy for someone to slip something in there if you go to the bathroom. Either leave your drink with a trusted friend, or buy a fresh one if you’ve had no choice but to leave your drink unattended.

  • Don’t drink too much. We don’t want to be negative, but drinking too much alcohol can put you at risk of accidents and illness. Stay within your limits.

  • Try to eat before you drink alcohol, food will help your body absorb the alcohol more slowly.

  • Be aware that if you want to have a drink to ease any anxiety about going out, then drinking too much alcohol can actually make your anxiety worse.

 

Have respect for those around you

It’s important to remember that everyone has been in lockdown for a long time and everyone is excited about going to the pub again. It could be that some people are still a little anxious of being in crowds, so be considerate of social distance and other people’s feelings.

 

Having Guests in your Garden

 

What the lockdown restrictions are;

  • You can meet outdoors in a group of 6 from any number of households, unfortunately children of all ages count towards the limit of 6.

  • However, if only two households are meeting, the group can be any number. This is to allow large households to meet.

  • You can meet in private gardens as well as outdoor public places.

  • You can meet (following the rule of 6) at food and drink establishments that offer outside seating.

  • You are allowed to walk through someone’s home to get to the back garden, but you must wear a face covering while walking indoors.

  • You are allowed to use the bathroom in someone’s home, but again, you must wear a face covering while indoors.

  • You must always maintain a 2-metre distance, even when meeting outside, from those who are not in your household or bubbles.

 

It’s likely that you are going to be spending more time outdoors and in your garden, so you need to remember to keep yourself safe while doing so.

 

Outdoor Safety

  • If you will be sitting in your garden for long periods of time, you need to make sure your front door is locked. This is especially true if you cannot see your front door from the garden. Burglars know that people will be in their gardens more, so may take the opportunity to slip in unnoticed. This can be especially bad if you leave your car keys by the front door, as all a person would have to do is reach in and take them.

  • Make sure you don’t spend too much time in the sun. Stick to the shade and always wear sun cream. Over exposure to the sun can result in sun stroke, which causes headaches, vomiting, dizziness and rapid breathing and pulse. Sun burn can also lead to skin cancer, so it’s important that you don’t let yourself burn.

  • Drink plenty of water- sitting in the sun for a long time can cause dehydration. Make sure you are drinking enough water so you stay hydrated.

 

Stay safe while shopping

Now that non-essential shops have reopened, you may be inclined to indulge in some retail therapy. While going shopping it’s important to protect yourself from covid-19.

  • Always wear your face covering. It’s the rule in all shops that you wear a facemask upon entering the shop. So it’s essential that you do unless you have a medical exemption.

  • Wash or sanitise your hands on entry and exit this keeps you and other shoppers safe. Most shops will have sanitising stations for you to use, but to be safe try and carry your own hand sanitiser around with you.

  • Sanitise your trolley or basket. Shops should be cleaning these after customer use them, but to be safe you should try and wipe down anything you use.

  • This might be hard to do in a clothes shop, but try not to touch anything you aren’t going to buy. This not only stops you from picking up germs, but also stops you spreading any as well.

 

 

So, while its great news that some lockdown restrictions have lifted, this does not mean that the coronavirus has gone away. You still need to be mindful of lockdown guidelines and other safety measures that keep you and others safe.

To find out more details about lockdown guidelines, go to gov.uk 

Cycling Safety 2021

With the pandemic and lock down lasting over a year and all indoor venues being closed, lots of people have taken to cycling to get some exercise and get out of the house. While cycling has many benefits both physically and mentally, it’s important that you stay safe while riding your bike. We will go through what the law says about cycling, how to keep yourself and others safe, while also looking at how to keep your bike secure.

 

Cycling and the Law

 

The government offer the following advice and rules for cyclists:

 

Clothing

  • You are advised to wear a cycle helmet at all times; it must conform to current regulations and must fit properly for it to be effective.

  • Wear clothes that are suitable for cycling- nothing that will get caught in the wheels or chain.

  • Avoid wearing dark clothing; light-coloured or fluorescent clothing is best as it helps other road users spot you.

  • Reflective clothing or accessories will help other road users see you in the dark.

 

Rule 60

The law states that your bike MUST have white front and red rear lights lit, when cycling at night. You also MUST have your bike fitted with a red rear reflector, as well as amber pedal reflectors, if your bike was made after 1985.

It’s not required by law but it is recommended that you install white front reflectors and spoke reflectors, to help you been seen. You are allowed to have flashing lights on your bike, but if you tend to cycle in areas with no streetlights, a light with a steady beam would be better for you.

 

Rule 61

 

You need to use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings if it is safe to do so. It’s not the law that you must use these facilities, however if you are able, it is safer for everyone for you to use them.

 

Rule 62

 

Rule 62 is to do with cycle tracks. These are normally placed away from the road, but can be found alongside footpaths or pavements. These tracks are often used by pedestrians as well, unless they are specifically separated. If the track you are using is separated from a pedestrian path, then you MUST (by law) keep to the side that has been laid out for cyclists. Whether the track is separated or not, you need to be careful when passing pedestrians, always prepared to slow down or stop suddenly.

 

Rule 63

 

This rule is in regards to cycle lanes, you will know it’s a cycle lane as it will be marked by a white line, which could be broken, along a carriage way. If you are using a cycle lane, they should keep within the lane where possible. It is not compulsory for you to use a cycle lane, but they are designed for your safety and the safety of other road users.

 

Rule 65

One of the most important laws you must follow when cycling is that you MUST NOT cycle on the pavement.

 

To find out more about the specific laws around cycling then go to the Gov Website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82

 

Best Cycle Helmets

 

A bike helmet is the best thing you can wear to protect yourself when cycling. You are not required by law to wear one, however there are many reasons why you should wear one. They will help protect your head and brain. The risk when cycling is that you may come off your bike, this can happen for a number of reasons and can range in severity. In some cases, a helmet may help to prevent you getting a serious injury.

We are going to go through some helmets you can buy.

 

 Bell Avenue MIPS

 

£65 from Amazon

This helmet is easy to adjust and works very well. The helmet is made of polycarbonate and features 18 vents, which helps to keep your head cool, while cycling. It also features reflective strips on the outside, to help you be visible. It is slightly heavier than most helmets, weighing 310g, but is a good price and works well to protect you.

 

Specialized S-Works Evade with ANGi

 

£250 from Tredz

This helmet is super comfy and well ventilated; it also boasts a sleek, aerodynamic design. The ANGi technology is basically a posh crash sensor. It sits in the helmet and if it detects an impact that is powerful enough to incapacitate you, then it turns your mobile phone into a beacon. A countdown will start on the app and if you do not stop it before it reaches 0 then a designated emergency contact will be sent a message with your last know coordinates. This feature is great for those who cycle off road and in remote locations. It’s not the cheapest on the list, but you get what you pay for.

 

Bontrager Circuit MIPS

£100 from Amazon

This helmet is a good all rounder, suitable for on and off-road cyclists at any level of skill. It’s a neat, compact helmet that stands out from other with its distinctive shape. It’s well ventilated and boasts a Boa dial retention system.

 

 

Bike Locks

 

These days, bikes are not cheap whether you have a road bike, mountain bike or a child’s bike, you want to protect it. You must lock your bike up whenever it is unattended, in public or even in a garage or outbuilding. We will go through what locks are best to keep your bikes secure.

 

Abus Granit X-Plus 540

Tweeks Cycles for £74.99, Sold Secure: Gold

The Abus Granit doesn’t have any frills or fancy features; it purely focuses on being the strongest lock out there. It has a super hard square shackle which reduces the effectiveness of any jaw cutting tool that might be used to break it. An added bonus is that even if a thief does manage to cut it, its square shape prevents it from being twisted and removed. This means a thief would have to cut it twice to remove it, this would take them more time and hopefully someone would notice what they were doing. It’s quite expensive, but not as expensive as buying a new bike if yours is stolen.

Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini

 

This D lock is a great lock for your bike, specifically designed for urban use. Kryptonite is so confident in their locks that if your bike is stolen while secured with their lock then they will give you £2,500 towards a new bike. It’s on the smaller side, but it uses this to its advantage, the narrow width makes the lock even tougher to break. It is also one of the heaviest locks on the market. This 18mm Gold standard U lock specs should reassure you of its durability and effectiveness.

 

Onguard Pitbull DT Shackle Bike Lock & Cable

 

If you are looking for a bike lock that’s not expensive, but still very secure, then look no further than this Onguard Pitbull. It has full Sold Secure rating, but is half the price of its competitors. It’s relatively light at 1.77kg and has a nifty light feature that will help you unlock it in the dark. The U bar is covered in a vinyl that protects your frame and wheels from scratches. Normally a lock with a cable extension would be on the pricey side, so to find this lock at £34.99 (from Tredz) is a great deal.

 

 

To find out more about cycling safety read our other blog https://www.keytek.co.uk/blog/the-guide-to-bike-safety/

 

 

 

Amazon Echo vs Google Nest

If you are looking to buy a smart speaker for your home, then the best one for you will depend on your needs. However, there are two huge players in the market that will cover most people’s needs: Amazon Echo range and Google Home. Let’s face it, with Amazon and Google, you know you’re getting a top of the range product, no matter which one you go for. However, picking between the two might be harder than you think. Even within the Amazon and Google ranges, there are different versions and devices you can choose from. With both the voice assistants on these devices becoming more useful and smarter with every update, either device with be able to answer your questions, set timers, set your alarms and much more, with just your voice.

Putting the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices next to each other, they do have similar features and designs; however, there are some differences that you need to consider before choosing which is best for you. Not forgetting that once you have chosen between Amazon and Google, you will then need to choose which device within the ranges will suit your home best.

 

Voice Assistants

Both Echo’s and Google homes have ‘wake’ words to activate the voice control, for Echo’s you simply say ‘Alexa’ and for Google home ‘Hey Google’. Both devices let you control other smart home appliances such as lights or thermostats with voice control.

Alexa seems to be easier to use if you only use the set phrases Alexa likes, but Google assistant is less fussy, you can shout lots of combinations of words at it and its more likely to understand you compared to Alexa. But learning Alex’s set phrases means you can find out more info and uses a wider selection of ‘skills’ with third party apps. Both devices work with big brands such as Phillips and Hive, but you get slightly more integration with the Amazon Alexa.

 

Design 

When it comes to the design of the speakers, we will compare the latest models of each device which are the Google Nest Audio and the 4th generation Amazon Echo.  

The new Echo is spherical in design and comes in a choice of colours; charcoal, twilight blue and glacier white. It also features a LED light ring at the base that adds extra visibility.  

The Google nest has an oblong design and comes in only two colours; charcoal and chalk white. Its rounded corners and 4 led lights do give a sophisticated feel. 

If being good to the environment is high on your list of priorities then both devices have become greener. The Nest Audio is made from 70% recycled material and the Echo fabric and metal components are made from 100% recycled material.  

 

Sound Quality

Amazon have been on a mission to make the sound quality in the Echo better, and in this latest version they have added a 3.0-inch woofer, duel firing tweeter and Dolby processing, so you are getting some pretty decent sound quality with all that. In the Google Nest Audio, does also have a 3.0 woofer; however it doesn’t feature an audio jack so you can’t connect it to speakers.

You can use both of the devices for hands-free calls and play music through a variety of music apps, such as Spotify on both and Google play music and Amazon Music.

 

Price

There is a variety of devices to choose from in both the Amazon and Google range. The cheapest you can get a Google device is around £29, which is for the Google nest mini. Whereas the cheapest Amazon device you can buy is the Echo Dot for around £49.99. If you are looking at the other end of the price scale, Amazon now offer the Echo Show 10, which features a smart display, and you can find that for around £239.99. The most expensive Google speaker is the Nest Hub Max, which also offers a 10-inch display, for around £189.

The prices of the Amazon Echo and the Google Home Nests, are quite similar, however Google probably comes out as the cheapest overall.

 

The Google Range

Google Nest Audio- £89.99

A speaker that is 175mm tall and 124mm wide, features 3 microphones, comes in two colours. No display or touchscreen.

Google Nest Mini- £49

The smallest Google speaker at 50.8mm tall and 101.6mm wide, voice controlled and features better sound quality with 40% stronger bass. No display or touchscreen and it comes in 4 colours.

Google Nest Hub- £49.99

This is more than a speaker, it features a 7-inch touchscreen display and is 118mm high and 178mm wide. It has 2 microphones and comes in a choice of four colours.

Google Nest Hub Max- £219

Google’s largest home hub, it stands 182.55 mm high and 250.1mm wide, this is good device to make video calls and for leaving video messages. It features a 10-inch touchscreen display, 2 microphones and comes in a choice of 2 colours.

 

The Amazon Echo Range

Amazon Echo Dot- £39.99

Amazons smallest home product at 40.3mm by 90.9mm this is one of the cheapest ways to get Alexa in your home. It uses wi-fi and Bluetooth to connect has a 3.5mm stereo audio output so you can use an external speaker.

All-new Echo- £89.99

The Echo is bigger than the dot, standing at 133 x 144 mm round. It features 76.2 mm neodymium woofer 20 mm tweeters. It also connects using wi-fi and Bluetooth and also features 3.5mm stereo audio output.

Amazon Echo Studio- £189.99

This beast is Amazon’s biggest and most expensive home device being 206 x 175mm. It features three 51 mm midrange speakers, one 25 mm tweeter, one 133 mm woofer with bass aperture to maximise bass output.

Amazon Echo Show- £64.99

Amazon touch screen device has an 8-inch display and 52 mm neodymium speakers with passive bass radiator. Like the other devices, the Show uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect, but also has the 1 MP camera with built-in cover.

 

 

https://www.radiotimes.com/technology/google-home-vs-amazon-alexa/
https://uk.pcmag.com/speakers/85210/amazon-echo-vs-google-home-which-voice-controlled-speaker-is-right-for-you
https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/google-nest-audio