/Behind the Scenes: How We Make TV

Behind the Scenes: How We Make TV

I work with a really small TV crew — just me, my producer, and one cameraman. And after shooting about 140 episodes over the last 20 years, we have a great filming process. These photos from our Scotland shoot give a few peeks at how we work.

rick steves with a scottish piper being filmed by a tv crew in front of a large camera
While you can shoot an “on camera” just about anywhere, we search out beautiful and meaningful settings for me to talk directly to the camera.
rick steves standing on a white sand beach while his tv crew are huddled over a camera that's pointing at him
We only shoot “on cameras” for material we can’t cover well with images of locations — generally heavy history. Here on the Isle of Iona, I’m recalling a horrible act of Viking plunder.
rick steves looking at a script and discussing it with his producer simon griffith while standing in a field in front of a castle
I love working on scripts with my producer Simon while we’re on a shoot. In the field, we debate and fine-tune each sequence as the situation unfolds.
rick steves sitting on a bed in a hotel room with a laptop on his lap and simon griffith sitting in a chair next to him
Back in the hotel or B&B, we “scrub” the script. Our final text couldn’t be more lovingly crafted. Each word earns its keep.
rick steves sitting on the edge of a cliff and the tv crew pointing a camera at him in the foreground
My producer Simon and cameraman Karel routinely climb like mountain goats up rock faces or do other heroics to get the right camera angle, making me a nervous wreck.
rick steves sitting on a beach overlooking the sea with food in his lap and a seagull is overhead very near to him
I often try to replicate on camera an experience I had on a previous trip. Last year, on the Isle of Skye, a seagull stole my fish and chips. I decided to make that a fun bit for TV, and we shot me trying to eat my lunch without another cod-napping.
rick steves with his arms around karel bauer and simon griffith and karel is holding a large camera. the three are standing in a green field
I am grateful for my small and mighty crew: cameraman Karel Bauer and producer Simon Griffith.

My three new Scotland episodes are airing now on public television across the country. Check your local listings for Season 10 of Rick Steves’ Europe — and keep on travelin’!