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How does CBS’ Ghosts pull off their spirit scenes? By shooting everything twice

Utkarsh Ambudkar peels back the curtain on the unusual way CBS’ Ghosts films their scenes.

Rebecca Wisocky, Brandon Scott Jones, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Richie Moriarty, Asher Grodman, Sheila Carrasco, Devan Chandler Long, and Danielle Pinnock in Ghosts (2021)
Image credit: CBS Broadcasting Inc.

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Ghosts is not a typical television series. The CBS sitcom follows the misadventures of Sam and Jay Arondekar, a married couple living in upstate New York. That concept might sound ordinary, until you meet their roommates. The Arondekars live in a home infested with ghosts. To make matters more complicated, Sam can see the ghosts, while her husband Jay can’t. Hilarity ensues.

Many television shows require hours of shooting to get a single usable scene. CBS’ Ghosts have a unique challenge, because they need to perfect every scene twice. Since Sam is the only one who can see the ghosts, scenes from each episode play out from two perspectives, with the ghosts, and without. It all looks so seamless on television but the reality of it means shooting each scene twice.

Utkarsh Ambudkar, who plays Jay Arondekar, gave some insight into how the process works. Speaking at a New York Comic Con panel, Ambudkar broke down the challenges. “The short answer is we shoot with everybody here [pointing to his castmates], and then all these guys go offstage. They still say all their lines, and they’re still there for us with as much energy as they had the first time.”

Ambudkar gave full credit to Rose McIver, who plays his onscreen wife Sam.

“Rose, who we miss very much today, is our engine, and she does the heavy lifting. Rose remembers where everyone was, what their intentions were. She responds to them, and then manages my responses to her. Rose is really our puppet master on set. She does so much work, she is our unsung hero, and she could answer this question way more than me.”

Ghosts has become a phenomenon in the UK, America, and around the world. With CBS's third season of Ghosts underway, get to know your favorite apparitions with a guide to how the ghosts of Ghosts died, where to watch both Ghosts shows, a guide to the casts of Ghosts, why BBC's Ghosts ended, and learn about the other Ghosts the original show planned but never used. We even have some thoughts on why the American Ghosts has its own worthy charms.

Ad you can watch full convention panels with both the cast of BBC's Ghosts and CBS' Ghosts exclusively here on Popverse.

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Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar
Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.
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