Kathie Lee and Hoda goes bold, distracting with vertical video background

Vertical video always proves challenging to show on traditional TV screens, leaving producers with the question of what to do with the blank space left on either side — but NBC News‘ “Today” has found an interesting — if not distracting — way of handling it.

The fourth hour of NBC News’ “Today Show,” hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, has been showcasing vertical video set on top of a brightly colored photo collage featuring the hosts, show logo and city imagery.

The result makes it a bit hard to distinguish between the video and branded background, especially given that the colors are so bright and photography kept at relatively low transparency.

Unlike this, many other broadcasts fill the space with generic, more neutral backgrounds, while others add an enlarged but blurred version of the video behind it to fill in the space.

In some ways, the approach is similar to the “pillar box” approach to showing 4:3 video on a 16:9 screen — though the side spacing is a bit more pronounced.