World News’ new set

ABC’s new “World News” set is an interesting environment that manages to be modern looking and warm at the same time.

The show has been opening with a wide shot of the set and the dimensional logo that’s on the floor. It’s a neat camera angle and the push-in gives the start of the broadcast a nice start.

The new set seems to be in the same studio that it used to be in; in wide shots of the set you can see the same lighting units from the ceiling and other elements of the old set are still visible, particularly to camera left.

The main background is a medium-sized rear projection screen that normally displays a looped animation of a world map. The dominant color of this background is an orange-yellow color with some purples blended in. Although a unique choice, this is a good example of why yellow and oranges can be tricky colors to use on a background, particularly in such prominent use. The colors seem a little too similar to human skin tone, making Charles look “flat,” and, in some shots, gives his skin tones a strange color cast.

Elsewhere, the set does a good job of mixing warm wood tones with sleek metal and soft back-lit panels to create a modern yet comfortable feel. Lots of on-set lighting adds lots of visual interest and creates a sophisticated look.

The set also gives viewers a great sense of depth, particularly the camera right shot. This is shot through a frosted glass window and allows viewers to see quite a ways into whatever is behind the set. To camera left, multi-layered glass panels with world maps front the workspace behind it, again creating lots of depth.

The set is also outfitted with several large, flat panel monitors used mainly for OTS and standups, plus an additional rear projection screen for “A Closer Look” segments.

To the right of the main anchor seat is a work area that’s set down quite a ways from the main riser. It seems to be a little too low; it might be strange to see the tops of people’s heads poking out at the same level of Charles’ desktop.

ABC had a previous set that did a better job of surrounding the anchor with support staff by having them sit at the same level. It was also cleverly designed to shoot a plasma OTS shot by lining up Peter between two of the staffers seats. This set was used when Peter Jennings was still anchor and was part of the reworking of “World News Tonight” that included rough, black and white video of Jennings hard at work in the newsroom. Incidentally, parts of this set are still there today; the lighting units previously mentioned as well as some of the grayish headers are all leftover from that scenery.

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