‘Big Picture’ frames the day’s stories with bold, photographic driven look

New CNN+ show “Big Picture with Sara Sidner” lives up to its name by using multiple LED video walls to showcase newsworthy imagery while its graphics pay homage to photojournalism and visual arts.

The show, which debuted March 29, 2022 along with CNN+ as a whole, is billed as a discussion-driven look at one of the most important stories making news each morning at 9 a.m. eastern.

The show is produced from Studio 19Z in the network’s New York Hudson Yards facility, which is also home to “Don Lemon Tonight,” “Erin Burnett OutFront ” and “Fareed Zakaria GPS” and makes use of multiple venues in the space.

“Big Picture” uses a bold, elegant typography for its title, often with viewfinder inspired framing guides and microtext and the word “Big” appropriately set in a larger size and in red.

The show starts with Sidner standing in front of the large video wall installed at the bottom of a functional staircase as she covers the backstory for what will shape her discussion later in the show, accompanied by a variety of large photos, graphics and maps, depending on the story.

A common transitional element used on this wall and elsewhere in the show’s look are spiral and square graphical representations of the so-called gold ratio, a mathematical concept that can also have applications in the composition of art and photography.


The same wall is also frequently used for “video on video” shots captured using a floating camera effect to showcase topical imagery, quotes, charts and other graphics flanked by additional still photography stylized in black and white.

For the sit down in studio interviews, Sidner moves to the pebble shaped desk used by “GPS,” though without its graphical decal.

The desk is positioned in the same location of the studio, with the LED-wedge displaying a red and gray image, while the sliding video wall panels are positioned to maximize the ability to showcase additional black and white photography in wide shots, while both Sidner and the guest’s one-shots make use more of the off white walls with vertical backlit elements set to red.

“Big Picture” typically keeps the screen uncluttered by only inserting lower third banners to identify people and guests and for brief key points.

Both of these use a similar black bar with four red corner accents in bold red, evocative of a camera viewfinder framing guide.

Though much of the storytelling is kept fullscreen, the show can also use a boxed layout to put a studio video feed and B-roll imagery side by side. This layout uses a black background with blurred golden ratio elements with the boxed outlined with a thin red line.