Inside the Lighting Design That Makes All Sitcoms Look the Same

Getty Images
Getty Images

There’s a reason that most sitcoms, from Seinfeld to Friends to The Big Bang Theory, all look similar. That familiar bright aesthetic can be traced back to one man, according to a recent video explainer produced by Vox. This pioneer, explains Vox’s Phil Edwards, was none other than Karl Freund, the cinematographer behind the pioneering 1927 sci-fi film Metropolis and the 1931 Bela Lugosi version of Dracula.

Freund would go on to work on I Love Lucy, essentially inventing the three-camera sitcom, a form that’s still recognizable today, though you might not be able to put your finger on why.

It basically came down to the much-derided laugh track. Sitcoms like I Love Lucy were shot in front of live audiences, which Freund argued brought out better performances. But in order to have a show that didn’t need to pause to re-stage shots or move lights around, filming had to happen in a specific way. Freund helped solve that problem.

He set up three cameras, one on each side of the stage to capture close-ups, and one in the middle to capture wide shots. These cameras were on moving dollies that allowed them to shift. Even more crucially, the set had fixed lighting. There were lights placed above the set, down on the floor, and under the cameras. Actors were brightly lit from every angle so that shooting never had to stop. Actors could move around the set as much as necessary, and the cameras could follow them.

That even lighting is why sitcoms all have that bright look. Movies and single-camera shows, by contrast, are more dramatically lit, with dark shadows and a tighter camera focus. Film directors can play with lighting and focus as much as they want, while a studio audience watching a sitcom wouldn’t have much patience for all those cuts—nor would a tight shooting schedule for a weekly sitcom like I Love Lucy have room for them.

See the difference in the video below.

[h/t Digg]

Fans Think the Spider-Man: Far From Home Trailer Hints at Iron Man's Death

© 2018 - Marvel Studios
© 2018 - Marvel Studios

Marvel fans are seriously concerned for Iron Man. While Tony Stark is one of the few Avengers we know survived Thanos's snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, the new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home seems to imply that the sarcasm-prone superhero might not make it out of Avengers: Endgame alive.

The detail in question comes from the first Far From Home movie trailer, which features Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) carrying a large check from the Stark Relief Foundation.

The panic regarding Stark’s fate is over the signature on the check—which belongs to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the co-founder of the foundation. Fans became concerned when they saw that Stark hadn’t signed the check, with many jumping to the conclusion that Stark wasn’t able to sign the check himself because he had died at some point during the events of Avengers: Endgame. While it’s not confirmed whether Far From Home happens after Infinity War or Endgame, fans aren't willing to take any chances.

A few in-the-know viewers pointed out that a relief foundation is not the same as a memorial foundation, and that the organization was most likely set up for Stark industries, not for a deceased Tony Stark. As Potts was named the CEO of Stark Industries in Iron Man 2, it would make sense that she is the one signing the checks. These are valid points, but anxious MCU fans won't rest easy until they know that Stark is alive and well.

While Spider-Man: Far From Home doesn't arrive in theaters until July 5, 2019, Marvel fans will get the answers to at least some of their key questions when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26, 2019.

New Game of Thrones Teaser Might Hint at Jon Snow's Fate

HBO
HBO

The latest Game of Thrones teaser was released on Sunday evening and fans are still finding new details to theorize about. The 90-second promo, which features Jon Snow and Sansa and Arya Stark, doesn't give much away, but one tiny detail has got people talking.

Fans were quick to notice that when Sansa, Arya, and Jon approach the statues that appear to be designed for them in the Crypts of Winterfell, Jon's looks particularly different. While Sansa and Arya's likenesses mimic what they currently look like, Jon's looks more mature, as if he's a much older man. While it may be a meaningless detail to some viewers, for others it seems to be pretty convincing proof that Jon will make it out of the final season alive, while his "sisters" may not be so lucky.

But would the creators of Game of Thrones—who have managed to keep seemingly all of the series' biggest secrets under wraps for going on eight seasons now—really drop that big a spoiler so far ahead of the final season's premiere date? Not everyone is convinced.

"I think people read into things too much," Redditor AprilUofA wrote. "I think them finding the statues in the crypt just symbolizes the fact that all three are going to be facing death next season. Jon's statue just looks 'older' because of his usual broody expression."

Another Redditor, Fried_Cthulhumari, attributed Jon's more mature look to his famously long locks. "It is notoriously hard to depict hair in sculptures," he wrote. "This is why ancient statues often had stylized hair or beards, and even when the hair is sculpted correctly, it tends to obscure the age or likeness the artist intended."

Whether the statue is a hint that Jon will prevail or just an imperfect likeness, we'll have to wait until Game of Thrones returns on April 14, 2019 to learn more.

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