Q&A: A modern makeover for Minneapolis Fox
We recently had the chance to speak with Devlin Design Group about its newest project for Fox O&O KMSP-TV. The set, which debuted a few weeks ago, is a modern update with many color changing elements and presentation spaces.
Talk a little about the background of the project?
From the beginning we knew that KMSP-TV wanted a unique and modern set that would push them to the forefront of their market. We provided them with fresh and contemporary design concepts that they were excited about right away. They saw the potential to really push beyond the conventional and be unique in their market.
What were the client’s specifications/needs?
The client was specific in what they wanted for their new news set. The first essential need was to have a separate area for news and for their Morning Buzz show. Besides a weather center and main anchor desk, they also wanted to have a reporter/multi-purpose area which would allow for reporter interaction with the anchors. Ideally this multi-purpose area could be used for sports and guest interviews as well.
They wanted to maximize the use of the space and have as much flexibility and versatility as possible. Rolling and /or pivoting units such as desks and kiosks would be essential to achieve their goals. They also wanted to incorporate new technology, such as up to date electronics and lighting.
They loved the idea of LED lighting and the color changing lights for the scenic graphic walls, so we incorporated that into their set design.
Another important aspect was a set design that was fresh and modern; more contemporary in style. They were ready to take their look to a whole new level in order to really set them apart from their competitors in their market.
What makes this set unique?
The set has large expanses of color changing walls and a large 2×5 video wall, which produces versatile and unique shot blocking and creative use of the components. The design is very simple and modern with clean architectural lines and sweeping color-changing back lit graphical set walls.
We also designed the set so that the storytelling connects and engages the viewer. The anchors are more mobile, walking along the video wall telling news stories in more dynamic ways than the past where the anchors just sat at a desk.
With multiple rolling elements, they also have more versatility with shot blocking. The color changing led lights provide them the ability to change the mood for their different newscasts as well.
This is a different move for Fox O&O’s, talk about how the set matches their brand and brings some uniqueness to the market?
This question also ties into the overall look that KMSP wanted for their new news set.
DDG took the energy and simplicity of their graphics package and tied that concept into the new news set design. The new set has great energy with all the possible news presentation capabilities and the architecture of the set is very clean and simple but also very dynamic with its color changing capabilities.
How did you ensure the set would shoot great on air?
In the design phase the set design is rendered in 3D to actual dimensions and elevations. We can actually block the shots and show the client exactly what the shots will look like in real life. During this design phase, we make sure that the close up shots are clean and uncluttered, so that the anchors stand out on camera.
KMSP’s studio space was challenging in that, while expansive, it is a bit narrow. Shot blocking was very important to them. They also wanted to be able to shoot in a variety of new more forward thinking ways, so that had to be taken into consideration as well. All of this was done through the 3d renders and multiple discussions.
Lighting was also a key component in getting great shots!
For KMSP, we incorporated the new BL.16 LED Brightline daylight fixtures to light the set. Having the set look great on air relies on excellent lighting and an experienced Lighting Director who understands cameras and control room equipment. The greater use of modern display technology has driven changes in our approach to lighting. Today’s LED and LCD monitors have relatively high color temperatures and, if placed in a warmer lighting environment (~3,200K), they have to be heavily adjusted to read correctly on camera. Instead, we’ve found great success by specifying lighting packages with daylight fixtures (~5,600K).
The lighting and the electronics work well together to offer clean, unforced look. We’ve also found that when the cameras are balanced for daylight, the warm colors from the RGB walls really pop. All of Brightline’s fixtures are available in daylight, allowing our lighting director many options to bring the best of the set’s design.
What technology was used, for both design and implementation?
The design incorporates a large video wall with top of the line 46” NEC ultra-thin bezel monitors. The thin profile of the NEC monitors provides a sleek, modern landscape which enhances the design without overpowering it.
We incorporated new BL.16 LED Brightline daylight fixtures to light the set. Brightline fixtures are based on advanced florescent & LED lamp technology and are extremely energy efficient, produce less heat thereby requiring less cooling, and are more cost effective since they have a longer lamp life than the incandescent lighting fixtures traditionally found in broadcast studios. DDG also incorporated RGB LED color changing lights to backlight the acrylic scenic panels. Using RGB LED’s providing multiple color options for creating a variety of moods and diversity in lighting the scenic walls and elements.
How has viewer reaction been?
Viewer response has been positive. And most important, the response within the news department and the station has been overwhelmingly positive. We are told that the new studio has invigorated the anchors and producers to try new storytelling techniques and expand their visual horizons. Other departments are similarly energized by the new look of the product and proud of our leadership in the market.
You can read NewscastStudio’s full reaction to KMSP-TV here.