By Phil Keoghan
March 09, 2009 at 03:15 PM EDT

Luke and Margie’s decision to use the U-turn really got some reaction.Is it dirty to use an element of the game? Is the idea that racersshould make choices that keep them in the good books with everyone orshould they simply do what they can to beat out teams they think are athreat?

From my point of view, I like that people are prepared to stir things up while following the rules. Certainly it makes for great content. Sad that Amanda and Kris have gone. I think they had the potential to stir things up down the track.

Writing this blog sure has increased the number of Race questions I have been getting. Clearly it is impossible to please everyone or answer every single question but I thought I would try and address a few. Beware…some of you may say, “Come on Phil, I know that!”  For those of you who do, I apologize.

Firstly, when it comes to pronouncing the various location names etc. people wonder how we arrive at making certain choices. The fact is at times we really get stumped and there have been a number of extended phone calls checking and rechecking the phonetic way to say a certain word with local producers, on the computer and with references gathered by those in production. In general we try and go with what people know or what the locals use. That said, sometimes locals themselves will give us many different options. I like to record some of the tougher location names with a local on camera for reference. If you saw my video diary at the gym in Romania you will have heard one of the ways Comaneci was pronounced. Checking with other locals I heard it the way we all know it and a few other versions too. In the end we stuck with the most common use. Pronounciation can be completely subjective. I had many people tell me I say Keoghan wrong.

Yes, teams do have to buy 4 tickets at airports to cover their crew. Since we don’t see the crew we don’t have them on camera saying 4, just 2 for the 2 you can see. Essentially, if there are not 4 seats the team can’t go. There are lots of process things that obviously wouldn’t make great TV. For instance, there has to be releases for each person on camera, location releases, lots of things that take a lot of time but things that we have to do as part of making the show.

As far as teams going off track, one of the biggest challenges is keeping crews loaded with tapes and batteries. When a team goes off into the wild like Tammy and Victor did, tape and battery power become a real issue especially when the crew has no idea how long they’re going to be out. Now when there’s no cell service to call in support…well you get the picture. The crew is already heavily loaded with gear (self sufficient) so those extra miles really take a toll on them.

While lost teams can make for good TV, it really can make life challenging for all of us. Crews work a different team each leg so when things get really spread out that can really make the turnaround tough. When I first started in television I trained as a film camera assistant. Over the years I have continued to shoot, and being able to operate is something that has come in really handy over the years. One of the toughest things about shooting is having a camera on your shoulder for an extended period. Broadcast cameras weigh anywhere from 20-30 pounds. That kind of weight in a backpack is one thing but when it is high up on a shoulder on one side of your body hour after hour, believe me, it really takes some effort. The guys on our show are definitely on the tough side and deserve huge respect.

Absolutely agree with those who have asked about other Race seasons on DVD. I have shared my opinion with a number of people at CBS. In the end I think the fans will have to lobby in numbers. I obviously don’t have the pull in that department.

Kransnoyark was cold but next week we will take cold to a whole new level with some bare flesh and pixilation!

More ‘Amazing Race’ and Phil Keoghan:
‘The Amazing Race’ recap: episode 4
Phil Keoghan blogs ‘The Amazing Race’: episode 3
‘The Amazing Race’ recap: episode 3
Phil Keoghan blogs ‘The Amazing Race’: episode 2
‘The Amazing Race’ Recap: episode 2
Phil Keoghan blogs ‘The Amazing Race’: episode 1
‘The Amazing Race’ Recap: episode 1