NBC DFW keeps the basic layout of its old set in new, more streamlined look

NBC’s Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas, station KXAS has completed its transition to a new set that, in a unique move, uses the same basic layout as its old one — but with significant technology upgrades and a streamlined look.

The new set started debuting in February 2022 after some newscasts were temporarily anchored from the newsroom.

NBCUniversal opened a shared facility for KXAS and Telemundo affiliate KXTX in 2013 and debuted a multivenue set then that was packed with video walls and faux stacked stone accents.

The new set, from Jack Morton Worldwide, retains much of the basic shooting plan of the old set, something the station requested — which allows them to use similar blocking as before but with elevated aesthetics as well as new options for video wall storytelling.

This birdseye rendering provided by Jack Morton Worldwide, showcases the layout of the studio.

The space is equipped with three seamless video wall arrays that can be shot in a variety of ways.

A standing anchor desk sits in front of one LED video wall, making it a flexible home base area. While an additional one is installed camera left and frequently used for standups as well as sports, framed with edgelit slats that run horizontally and vertically. Above, curved internally lit elements are combined with oversized NBC peacock reliefs.

Design rendering of the NBC 5 studio. Courtesy of Jack Morton.

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The anchor desk and smaller pod desk draw design cues from the wood, internally lit boxes and clear glass desk designs used at several NBC-owned stations over the years, though this version creates a more open look for the space.

The video wall behind the main anchor area features a gray surround with curved corners, topped with a header featuring two thicker slats with integrated edge lighting.

Flanking the video wall is a series of angled, specially cut plexiglass slats.

The working weather center in one corner also boasts its own video wall delineated with edge lit vertical elements that can be shot either straight on for the look of a traditional chroma key setup or in a number of other ways.

Forecasters can appear in a one shot from in front of the work area that pulls out and moves as they walk to the video wall to present forecasts or standing at the L-shaped presentation desk, where a more complex camera move swings around as the talent steps back near the wall.

The weather center itself includes multiple video panels that show individual or multiplexed feeds. 

Camera right of the anchor desk is a backlit wall with a grayscale stacked stone pattern printed on it with a series of vertical, internally lit slats in front.

The studio also includes multiple vertically mounted video panels with glass frames that seemingly “float” in midair, but in reality, have specially designed mounts behind them that secure the monitors to a support behind the set while also allowing them to swivel and be used at an angle. There’s also a rolling horizontal video panel that can be used throughout the space.

Directly opposite the main anchor video wall is a multipurpose area that features more stacked stone backgrounds and vertical edge lit slat elements with multiple large LED panels. The station can reconfigure this for standups or sit down interview segments. 

Where video panels or hard set elements aren’t used, the walls are typically filled with backlit panels that are either a clean surface or have a printed monochromatic background, such as the angled texture in the weather center or faux stone look. 

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The backlighting system in the space allows for gradient effects in these light boxes. 

Wrapping studios in backlit panels, with or without printed patterns, can be found going back on the 2019 set at WNBC in New York. The 2020 studio for WBTS in the Boston market continued the evolution of this look, which also added the floating glass framed monitors and edge lit slats.

Meanwhile, other design elements used throughout the site include knee wall elements with a two panel gray finish separated by a reveal line and backlit panels with thin horizontal etching.

The rollout of the KXAS set has been somewhat staggered, as the station still had anchors broadcasting from home for a period and social distancing measures in the studio are likely preventing all of the potential blocking to show up on air.

Project Credits

NBC:
Bryan McCall – Studio Operations Manager
Tom Ehlmann
Gary Wann
John Stone
Valerie Guyton

Production Design by Jack Morton Worldwide
Evan Hill – Designer
Andre Durette – Group Design Director
Chris Maroney – Director of Illustration
Jennilee Aromando – Illustrator
Raeford Dwyer – Graphics Designer
Shelline Vandermey – Graphics Designer
Lauren Barber – CAD Designer

Lighting Design by Bill Holshevnikoff

Scenic Fabrication by Propmasters, Inc.
Project Managers – Rick Sierra, Dave Coker, Alberto Quero

A/V by Greg Gerner, Inc.

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