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]

Doctor Strange 2 to Begin Filming This Year, According to Reports

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

The fate of our favorite Marvel heroes was very unknown after ​Avengers: Infinity War, and now we have even more questions about what's to come after next year's Avengers 4. As of right now, Spider-Man: Far From Home is the lone movie slated to be released after the fourth film in the Avengers series.

However, now we know there is another movie expected to begin production soon. Speaking at Fan Expo Vancouver on Saturday, Benedict Wong, who plays Wong in the MCEU, teased that he will not only reprise his role for Avengers 4, but also for a Doctor Strange sequel which should begin filming at the end of the year.

Earlier this year, ​reports came out that Benedict Cumberbatch was receiving a major payday to reprise the role of Dr. Strange. And screenwriter C. Robert Cargill has already ​provided some details of his plans for a potential sequel.

"Marvel movies work in threes. They also work outside of their threes. Some of the better Marvel films have more than one villain in them," Cargill, whose involvement with the sequel has yet to be revealed, stated. "Me and Scott have not laid the groundwork for it but what I can say is that I have a feeling that whatever Nightmare is involved with, Baron Mordo, being somebody who considers himself the defender of natural law will have something to do with it."

If Wong's teasing is to be believed, then we can expect to hear something about Doctor Strange 2 pretty soon.

New Avengers 4 Tease From the Russo Brothers Has Marvel Fans Confused

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

​There are few things the Russo Brothers enjoy more than teasing Marvel fans as we await the release of Avengers 4. Last month, they posted a photo of Joe Russo sitting in the middle of the movie's set, which sparked speculation about the film's unknown title.

Now, another cryptic tweet from the Russo Brothers is out and it's even more puzzling than the last one.

​​Captioned "#wrapped," the photo is just an image that's crazy bright. It's confusing, but leave it to Marvel fans to speculate on its meaning.

​​Some believe it's War Machine's proton cannon ...

... while others are actively manipulating the photo to see if the meaning is hidden in plain sight.

We'd like to give ​a huge shout-out to the fans who are admittedly as confused as we are.

Whatever this image means, we are sure the Russo Brothers won't be the ones explaining it. Their
dedication to keeping mum on any details about theirs films is admirable—even if their stars aren't so great at secret-keeping.

Avengers stars have ​accidentally spoiled a few things about the movie.

Earlier this month, Chris Evans ​announced that the fourth Avengers movie would be his last as Captain America.

​​If the brothers plan to make their tweets even more ambiguous as the release date nears, they can keep them. Our eyesight is going to suffer is we keep squinting this hard.

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