Why so many sitcoms look the same

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  • Published on:  Tuesday, June 5, 2018
  • The one about sitcom lighting.

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    In this episode of Vox Almanac, Phil Edwards explores the surprising history behind sitcom lighting.

    Karl Freund was the genius cinematographer behind Metropolis, the silent film classic. But then he designed the set for I Love Lucy - the first of the multicam, laugh-track heavy sitcoms. Today, they look bland, but it wasn’t always that way. But at the time, Freund had a good reason to tackle the challenge.

    These lighting techniques are still in use today on sitcoms like Friends, the Big Bang Theory, and other multi-camera hits. What looks generic to our eyes was, at one time, the result of an artist who made the impossible look easy.

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  • Source: https://youtu.be/sQvjD2-p98U
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Comment

  • Vox

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    Set lighting is just one part of everything that goes into a TV show. Watch our video to see the entire process from start to finish: http://bit.ly/2Ji191l

  • Rune Jensen

     (Aug 15, 2018)

    *FUN FACTS: **_Leftists cannot meme.._*Numerous scientific studies on the subject reveal some reasons for why this is so. For example, 100 out of 100 leftists have negative IQ, and an amazing 100% of leftists showed to have 0 sense of humor.

  • Dank Matter

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    Sitcom: makes an unfunny jokeLaugh Track: *HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHH*

  • Elijah Roberson

     (6 days ago)

    +Saral Thakur no actually, almost every sitcom had an audience it wasn't until Disney changed that with their sitcoms. But every show before 2006 (that weren't produced by Disney) had a live audience.

  • Jeremiah Torres

     (Feb 13, 2019)

    A live audience is not the same as a laugh track. Not everyone has the same sense of humor.

  • MR SLAV

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    All germans who were geniuses had to have a messy hair.

  • Andre Zoom

     (Mar 4, 2019)

    Y

  • Sir SupesAfro

     (Feb 27, 2019)

    Yes, at least one messy hair.

  • Salokin

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    *laugh track of dead people intensifies*

  • star fire

     (Mar 12, 2019)

    +JC Fennec lmao

  • John Brighton

     (Nov 6, 2018)

    a lot of the background laughing is recorded during the warm up speaker / comedian before the pilot, and during the live pilot.

  • TheKiroshi

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    BIG BANE THEORY."you merely adopted the laugh track.. I was born in it.. Molded by it."

  • thames21

     (Sep 5, 2018)

    Was about to comment on that “big bane theory” thing, but decided to scroll a bit to check if anyone else did. I’m not disappointed.

  • SnorryHobo

     (Aug 16, 2018)

    TheKiroshi well I know what I'm watching tonight 😎

  • Contemporaries Club

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    Vox makes videos about things I didn't even know I was curious about

  • Jana Lednická

     (Feb 7, 2019)

    WC

  • zain

     (Jan 23, 2019)

    dirty pure This comment deserves a million likes

  • Gavin

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    Some sitcoms look like someone brought a 200-watt light bulb to set.

  • Mr Oof

     (Dec 14, 2018)

    They must have a large electric bill.

  • Jeff NME

     (Jun 27, 2018)

    Each light in the grid of lights might have a 200W globe, but rest assured that the total would be at least a couple of kiloWatts.

  • Enthused Norseman

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    I'm so upset that the "What's the Point" spin-off from "Vox" never got renewed beyond the second season. They were just getting into their own, with the "Carlos' does a spreadsheet" plot line really showing how he could act against type and bring depth to the character.

  • GohModley

     (Sep 4, 2018)

    Enthused Norseman yeah but you also like Eggos

  • Rob Fowler

     (Jun 6, 2018)

    What wrecked it was when Staples came in as a sponsor and demanded they tone down all the sexual tension. Then some producer clicked a button and said, "There! That was easy!".

  • Aspect Science

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    Anyone ever thought how terrifying most sitcom characters would be without laughter tracks? With no one laughing at their jokes...just...silenceProbably pretty terrifying

  • Archil Bakhsoliani

     (Nov 21, 2018)

    Aspect Science Watch office

  • Aida Zharmukhametova

     (Oct 23, 2018)

    Watch laughter in waikiki - korean sitcom without pretending laughters. Very good sitcom

  • FlowersInHisHair

     (Jun 5, 2018)

    Video discusses the cinematography of Karl Freund, the three-camera setup, and the lighting, blocking, costume and makeup choices that went into making it possible to shoot this way. The comments are 90% about laugh tracks, which the video only mentions in passing.

  • S. SESTRIC

     (Feb 1, 2019)

    I was slightly annoyed by the narrator calling the filming of I Love Lucy "taping". It was filmed; videotape wasn't invented until the late 1950s and it looked crude by comparison.Lucy and Desi famously insisted on filming their show using Hollywood production values, rather than using the "kinescope" method of filming the output of a television monitor, which looked exactly like you would expect it to. CBS refused to pay for that; so Lucy and Desi agreed to pay for that with thei...

  • New England Views

     (Sep 11, 2018)

    FlowersInHisHair after reading your comment... imagined the laugh track in my mind.