Slow TV to Calm Your Mind

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Image by Thomas Wolter from Pixabay

Liz Waid and Adam Navis talk about a kind of television program that is very popular in Norway – Slow TV. This kind of entertainment is becoming more popular all around the world. Can Slow TV be helpful for people?

Voice 1

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

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Voice 1

You are on a train in Norway. The train will soon begin moving. You look out the front window. A mountain rises to your left. The sun shines brightly into your eyes. People standing next to the train wave excitedly. You begin to speed up. On the platform outside, you see a small boy with a warm hat on his head. He sits on his father’s shoulders to watch the train better.

screen capture of NRK2 train ride
NRK2 via YouTube
Voice 2

Tracks for other trains cross the path in front of you. Now a red passenger train goes by in the opposite direction. A rock wall appears on your left. Leaves that have already changed to their fall colors are growing from between the rocks.

Voice 1

Soon you come to a quiet country village. There are white and yellow houses on both sides. In front of you is a small, dark opening in the base of a mountain. It grows larger and darker by the second as your train speeds toward it. Your train is about to go underground! Now everything in front of you is black as night. The darkness is all you can see for the next four minutes. Then a little spot of light appears. That light tells you that you have reached the other side of the mountain. Soon you will see the sun again.

Voice 2

This describes the first seven minutes of a seven-hour train ride across the country of Norway. This long train ride was recorded on video from beginning to end. It is the first popular example of Slow TV.

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Voice 1

Slow TV is a completely different form of television. In its most basic form, a person sets up a camera on a usually dull or normal activity — like riding a train. Sometimes the camera does not even move. Producers do not write a script. They do not make the video go faster or cut parts out. A person watching the video experiences the event in real time.

Voice 2

The Slow TV train ride video was broadcast on public television in Norway in 2009. Public television in Norway is well-supported. The producers did not have to worry about how much money they could make through this program. They decided the idea was creative. And they were interested to see how people would react.

Voice 1

The train ride was shown on TV on a Friday night. The producers expected that a few thousand people would watch the program. But information about the program spread quickly. That night more than a million people watched this slow train ride. This means more than three times as many people as usual watched TV that night. In fact, people enjoyed the recording so much that they wanted to see more like it. And they wanted the broadcast to stretch on for an even longer amount of time.

Voice 2

The producers were surprised and excited. Their next Slow TV experiment was a boat trip along the coast of Norway. They recorded for five and a half days. All the video was broadcast live on public television. But about two days into the boat trip, something new began to happen. People began to visit the coast to be in the video. Thomas Hellum was one of the producers of the video. He told NPR:

Voice 3

“More and more people singing, playing instruments, people along the coast and thousands of people showed up at every port, every mountain. They could go find the information and see, when will the boat be in my place? And they could prepare.”

NRK2 via tv.nrk.no

See the whole boat ride here

Voice 1

The video showed people waving flags and holding up signs. Small boats sailed next to the large ship. The Queen of Norway waved to the camera from her own boat. Near the end of the trip, the many colors of a rainbow appeared above a green mountain. While the rainbow hung in the sky, this program broke a record. It was the largest number of people ever to watch a program in Norway at the same time.

Voice 2

People in Norway continue to enjoy Slow TV. Producers have recorded many different long events. They have recorded meat production, making a coat, and fishing in a stream. And the idea has spread to other countries as well. People have made simple slow TV programs all around the world. However, Norway is the only country where the programs are popular on a national level.

Voice 1

But is there anything for the average person to gain from Slow TV? With hundreds of normal programs to choose from, should you give Slow TV a try? There are several different ways that Slow TV can be of value.

Voice 2

First, it is important to understand that not all people watch Slow TV in the same way. Even in Norway, only some people sit to watch a single program for hours on end. Many people think of the programs like having a pleasant friend in the room. They turn on the TV to a slow program. Then they continue with their work while the show plays next to them. Calming sounds and beautiful things to look at can be especially nice during lonely times.

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Voice 1

Another way that people from around the world enjoy Slow TV is as a sort of virtual travel. Maybe they do not have enough money for travel. Or maybe health worries are keeping them home. Watching Slow TV lets people experience other countries. They see through the eyes of someone else walking a street or riding on a train. As they watch the program, they can also read more about the place they are visiting. The place comes alive in their imagination.

Voice 2

Finally, Slow TV can calm the mind. Most television programs speed up faster and faster. They follow simple plot lines with clear stories that are told quickly. Slow TV invites people to take the time to notice the details for themselves. No producer has decided what parts of the story are important. Everything stays in the recording. And just like in life, the person watching gets to decide which parts of the story are worth noticing and wondering about.

Image by weareaway from Pixabay
Voice 1

Slow TV may never be as popular around the world as it is in Norway. But everyone can find things to enjoy about this kind of program. Are you ready to give Slow TV a try? We have made a Slow TV video for Spotlight English. Check it out on our YouTube channel. Members will be able to see the video first. If you are on YouTube, click Join below to learn more about membership. You can also visit our website to find links to some of our favorite Slow TV programs to get you started.

Voice 2

Have you ever seen Slow TV? Is this kind of program popular in your country? Would you watch Slow TV? Tell us what you think. You can email us at contact@spotlightenglish.com. You can also find us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Voice 1

The writer of today’s program was Megan Nollet. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.spotlightenglish.com. This program is called “Slow TV to Calm Your Mind.”

Voice 2

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.


What kind of television do you watch? Would you watch Slow TV?

Visit our Playlist of our favorite Slow TV videos on YouTube:

Click here to see a few of our favorite Slow TV videos on YouTube



Join the discussion

  • This is the first time I hear “slow TV”. I think this is just a TV program. But, when I listen the example about the train. I understood it. I usually watch the ISS streaming video. I feel happy and enjoy the amazing image of the earth.

  • I Not have in my countri like this . I watching like this program to enjoy and search about information about other countries i want visit .

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