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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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.

  • MR SLAV  (Jun 5, 2018)

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

  • Michael Lubin  (Feb 10, 2019)

    Einstein was not German but was a Swiss Jew. Being Jewish is an ethnicity and does not require religious belief, according to both Jewish law and the consensus opinion of the Jewish community.However, his NAME is certainly German. It means "one stone" (pronounced "ine shtine").

  • Egemen Aksu  (Feb 5, 2019)

    Hitler had straight hair

  • Dank Matter  (Jun 5, 2018)

    Sitcom: makes an unfunny jokeLaugh Track: *HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHH*

  • Jeremiah Torres  (6 days ago)

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

  • Andres the giant  (Feb 4, 2019)

    Big bang theory in a nutshell

  • 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.

  • Salokin  (Jun 5, 2018)

    *laugh track of dead people intensifies*

  • 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.

  • 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 Erzhanovna  (Oct 23, 2018)

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

  • 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!".

  • Justin Y.  (Jun 5, 2018)

    *Laugh track plays in the distance*

  • Wade Hill  (Feb 7, 2019)

    OMG! You're everywhere!

  • S Ali  (Jun 5, 2018)

    Who else loves Brooklyn 99

  • D. W.  (Sep 17, 2018)

    possibly the best sitcom of all time

  • Mmm K  (Jun 7, 2018)

    Nope, hated it. Watched the pilot and it just wasn't funny to me at all. Everybody's different, it has a lot of loyal fans so I guess it was just me.

  • 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 😎