The upcoming ‘Mythic Quest: Quarantine’ episode was shot using 40 iPhones

Earlier this month, Apple revealed that it had a special episode of Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet launching before the end of the month. And now Rob McElhenney is revealing new details about the upcoming episode.

McElhenney, the co-creator of the series, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and revealed quite a few things about the upcoming episode. According to him he came up with the idea for the episode three weeks ago. And, in that short time frame, a lot of things coalesced to make it a reality. He pitched the idea to executives at Apple/Apple TV+ and they were immediately on board.

To help get the episode up and running, Apple sent the actors in the series, or at least those cast in this particular episode, new iPhones and earbuds. The company sent out 40 iPhones in total, and 20 pairs of earbuds that same week. With the gear and the go-ahead from Apple, McElhenney worked with David Hornsby (who also stars in the series) and the series co-creator Megan Ganz to write the episode.

Three weeks later and the episode was written, and, using the hardware sent by Apple, the episode was shot. It was also edited in that timeframe as well, all in an effort to get it ready to air as soon as possible. But just because the episode was put together so quickly doesn’t mean Apple isn’t proud of it. The company is actually going to submit the quarantine episode for Emmy consideration.

The speed of the development means the episode can air while the current health crisis is still ongoing, making it relevant. But there is also a charitable donation happening as well:

The half-hour, McElhenney reasoned, would need to lean into the moment, with the fictional team behind the biggest multiplayer video game suddenly forced to live and work in quarantine. With co-creator Megan Ganz and executive producer/star David Hornsby (David) as co-writers, the episode would feature a mix of relatable pandemic plotlines, including Charlotte Nicdao’s Poppy struggling with forced solitude and F. Murray Abraham’s C.W. struggling with teleconferencing technology. The trio would also write in a storyline about a charitable donation and then replicate it in real life with $600,000 raised to date — $300,000 from the show’s cast, crew and producers, which was matched by McElhenney and his actress wife, Kaitlin Olson — for global NGO Mercy Corps’ COVID-19 relief program.

McElhenney says they didn’t want this quarantine episode to just be recycled content, and that meant avoiding a 30 minute episode making jokes about video conferencing apps like Zoom.

But the whole task was not a simple one, even if they were all effectively shooting at home (or somewhere else other than the traditional set):

To get [footage] through to editorial as fast as possible, because we wanted to get this episode done and out while we were still in quarantine. The way we’d do each scene is they’d take their laptop/desktop cameras that you would see normally for a teleconferencing thing and they’d put the ‌iPhone‌ directly in front of that camera, so I essentially had video village from my house. I could see what every actor’s camera is picking up and you could also see the readings for the audio. Mike, the cinematographer, could double check all the settings and make sure that everything was running at the right revolution, frame rate, etc. Then we would run the scene, and the actors would be talking to one another the same way we’re talking right now [by phone], through our AirPods.

The upcoming quarantine episode will air on Apple TV+ on Friday, May 22. It will be a half-hour episode, and you can check out the preview for the episode just below:

Are you planning on checking out this special episode when it releases?