NBC’s ‘Inspiring America’ special washes 3A with gold

NBC News‘ second annual “Inspiring America” special was able to leverage the flexibility of the bountiful video walls, panels and lighting options available in Studio 3A to create a gold-washed look to spotlight its picks for the 2022 inspiration list.

The special was produced in both English and Spanish but shared much of the same content.

On NBC, MSNBC, NBC News Now and Peacock, the English version was hosted by “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt and “Today” co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. Over on Telemundo, the Spanish-language version was hosted by José Díaz-Balart.

Two of the subjects of the stories — entertainer Rita Moreno and evangelist Katharine Hayhoe, both speak Spanish, so two versions of their interviews were produced. Díaz-Balart interviewed Hayhoe in both English and Spanish, while Kotb interviewed Moreno in English and a Telemundo personality in Spanish. 

On Telemundo, the special was titled “Inspirando a América: Lista de Inspiradores 2022.”

Both versions of the shows were essentially the same other than the two separate interviews and hosts.

On Telemundo, Díaz-Balart read similar pre-taped introductions to each profile in Spanish and the audio was dubbed in Spanish. Telemundo’s version also included an announcer voiceover for each of the brief stingers that ran before each profile, which gave the people titles such as “The Guardian,” which were translated to their Spanish equivalents for Telemundo.

Both versions were also taped in Studio 3A, normally the home of much of MSNBC’s programming and essentially the same blocking was used for each story intro, just with Díaz-Balart replacing Holt, Guthrie or Kotb.

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The space was specially lit with a golden hue that turned much of the whiter surfaces pale yellow, orange and gold hues.

For the top of the show, the studio’s corner video wall array featured a stylized cityscape with a virtual knee wall fed to the LED vertical accents topped with a band of gold with “Inspiring America” repeated on it along with small renditions of the golden fan-like emblem used as a primary graphical element for the special reminiscent of an antique peacock fireplace screen.

The background also featured intricate columns that lined up with the real mullions in the nearly seamless installation.

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The network also continues to use the same logotype, with some minor changes, as it did in 2021, which uses a distinct typeface, which is a close match to the typefaces Quantum Latin and Vast

The logotype continues to use the same distinct typeface,

The network also brought in a grouping of furniture and area rug, but it was never used to sit on, instead just sitting in the background similar to how NBC likes to park empty anchor desks behind wide shots.

‘NBC Nightly News’ anchor Lester Holt introduces a profile of Katharine Hayhoe from Studio 3A in Rockefeller Center.

By comparison, here is José Díaz-Balart introducing the same package, when he also reported, on the Spanish version of the broadcast, which used nearly identical blocking and video wall graphics.

Each story was introduced from different areas — Holt introduced Hayhoe’s segment camera right of the large movable wall segments that features a vertical seamless LED panel and perpendicular wall of glass that delegates the working studio area from a hallway-workspace-green room.

One of the tracking vertical panels installed along this stretch of the studio was also leveraged on the opposite side of Holt as the larger, built-in video wall.

Guthrie intro’d the Christy Turlington Burns profile from one end of the ribbon that goes from one side of the studio, up over the ceiling and down the opposite end.

Burns’ photo was on the lower part of this structure on one side of Guthrie, while a large gold peacock and secondary photo of her and another mother was shown on the curved LED ribbon the network sometimes calls the “Kornacki Curve,” while bold black graphics accented with feather-shaped and horizontal bands of simulated gold were shown on other LED segments.

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Kotb, meanwhile introduced an Olympian story from a similar spot as Holt did, but with a wider push in shot that incorporated the opposite side of the LED ribbon and two of the vertical panels. It’s also notable that, in this shot, the NBC peacock element on the sliding wall that’s backed with LED was filled in with intricate gold patterns, making it a more literal interpretation of the antique peacock accessory. 

The producers switched back to the corner area for Guthrie to introduce a story about SpaceX CEO Gwynne Shotwell, who was featured on one side of the ribbon, while a stunning view of the earth from space was shown in place of the cityscape.

A simplified gold knee wall ribbon dropped the “Inspiring America” lettering in favor of just the emblems. 

Finally, Holt was back with a story about American volunteers in Ukraine, which utilized one side of the floor and ceiling LED as well as combining the curved section and the horizontal band of LED on the sliding doors to create the illusion of a long line of people standing in a line of some sorts, presumably waiting for food or other supplies in the war-torn country.

Additional black backgrounds with gold accents were also featured, while the “Inspiring America” logo was featured on the far left portion of the LED arch.

The special wrapped back over in front of the corner LED area with furniture behind the hosts, including returning to the cityscape view. 

The 2021 premiere of NBC’s “Inspiring America” special was produced outdoors, likely as a COVID-19 precaution, but used similar graphics to this year’s.

“Inspiring America” is also the name of a regular series on “NBC Nightly News” that uses a different look than the “Inspiration List” specials. 

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