CNET on location with 'Hawaii Five-0'

Brian Cooley went to Honolulu to spend a couple of days with the cast and crew of "Hawaii Five-0," looking at the technology both in and behind the show.

Brian Cooley Editor at Large
Brian Cooley is CNET's Editor at large and has been with the brand since 1995. He currently focuses on electrification of vehicles but also follows the big trends in smart home, digital healthcare, 5G, the future of food, and augmented & virtual realities. Cooley is a sought after presenter by brands and their agencies when they want to understand how consumers react to new technologies. He has been a regular featured speaker at CES, Cannes Lions, Advertising Week and The PHM HealthFront™. He was born and raised in Silicon Valley when Apple's campus was mostly apricots.
Expertise Automotive technology, smart home, digital health. Credentials
  • 5G Technician, ETA International
Brian Cooley
3 min read

Brian Cooley went to Honolulu to spend a couple of days with the cast and crew of the new "Hawaii Five-0," looking at the technology both in and behind the show. What follows is his video travelogue from a couple of locations and a handful of interesting conversations with the people behind the "reboot" of a classic piece of TV.

Checking out the tech with the cast and crew of "Hawaii Five-0"
A lot changes in 30 years; yeah, it's been that long since cameras rolled on a new episode of "Hawaii Five-0." Law and crime are both saturated with technology. Avoiding that fact makes a show look dated. Using technology unauthentically makes a show look even worse. So I came to see how the folks who write, shoot, and act this "reboot" series are trying to get it right.

Watch this: CNET on location with the tech of 'Hawaii Five-0'

Daniel Dae Kim on the tech of "Hawaii 5-0"
Kim is perhaps the best-known member of the new cast, thanks to his role in "Lost." Now taking on the character of Chin Ho, he's the reigning techie on the new "Five-0" team. I caught up with him on the tarmac at Castle & Cooke Aviation's field at the Honolulu airport where he, Scott Caan, and Grace Park were shooting a sequence where they power slide their Camaro to shut down a Gulfstream IV that's about to take off. Kim is a nice guy, a CNET user, and quite gracious with his time considering it was sundown and he still had hours more shooting to go at a nearby sound stage.

Watch this: 'Hawaii 5-0's' biggest techie

The guns of "Hawaii Five-0"
The weapons used by the "Five-0" team would make some foreign militaries green. Greg Edgar is the show's armorer; he's an intense, but soft-spoken guy (exactly what you want your weapons person to be). I was a little surprised his background is pure motion picture; he's not ex-military. He brought along an FN F2000 and an H&K 417, both top-grade weapons; no street thug gear for the "Five-0" crew. State police stood by the entire time to oversee all weapons used by the actors since they were shooting at an airport.

Watch this: The guns of 'Hawaii Five-0'

The visual techniques of "Hawaii Five-0"
We let you in on some of the tricks that make "Five-0" scenes look so convincing. And a lot of it is low-tech, like how one grip swings a light back and forth to make a static car look like its passing under streetlights. But in this piece you'll also learn from video engineer Dan Helias how they get all the LCD monitors to look perfect and to show exactly what the actor is expecting them to, in sync with their lines.

Watch this: The video tricks of 'Hawaii Five-0'

The cameras of "Hawaii Five-0"
Some of the cameras shooting "Hawaii Five-0" are models you might already own. At the Ala Moana beach park location, I pulled aside Ron Garcia, director of photography, and one of the first things we struck on was his use of Canon EOS 5Ds for shooting this show when in tight quarters. Ron started his career as a fine arts student and a draftsman working in the printed circuit board industry, so he has a nice blend of art and technical experience.

Watch this: The cameras of 'Hawaii Five-0'

How Danno "books 'em" on "Hawaii Five-0"
A Honolulu police department veteran tells us how he makes the new "Five-0" team look legit. Mike Cho had more than 25 years on the Honolulu police force, including many years working plain clothes and undercover operations before he retired and now consults the "Five-0" team. I watched him spot the actors during rehearsal to make sure they weren't doing anything dumb, even if it's subtle. Sometimes its the sheer economy of movement you get from a real-life veteran that conveys legitimacy.

Watch this: How Danno "books 'em" on Hawaii Five-0

The special effects of "Hawaii Five-0"
This is how "Five-0" makes things blow up, crash, and bleed in the middle of paradise. Archie Ahuna is the special effects guy for the Hawaiian film business; he even worked on the original series. His son, McClain or "Archie Jr.", lets us in on a few special effects tricks that are part tech and part sweat.

Watch this: The special effects of 'Hawaii Five-0'