Nexstar’s CW affiliate in Los Angeles, KTLA, has launched a sprawling new set designed to embody SoCal while giving its new team more opportunities to interact, tell stories and have conversations.
KTLA management chose to bring in Los Angeles-based set designer JHD Group, headed by Jeff Hall, for the project.
Hall called the year-long collaboration a “true” team effort. “The entire KTLA team and Nexstar have been great partners throughout the design and build process,” he said.
Hall centered KTLA’s design on the main anchor area, which is placed in front of what is designed to look like a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows with that quintessential million dollar view so sought after in the area. .
The wall is actually created using 86-inch Philips video panels with structural mullions and can be fed with a variety of images depicting panoramic views of the area at different times of the day.
While it’s easy to imagine this wall of windows being inside a celebrity’s mansion, there’s no attempt here to make it look like you’ve been transported into a home – it’s a home. It’s still decidedly a news package, which seems fitting for a station that’s known for its distinct, local news-heavy schedule.
For example, hints of a Hollywood home pretty much end with a transparent Neoti LED video tower that cuts through the wall of faux windows.
This 11-foot-tall LED tower, which is placed in front of the digital window wall, is created using two separate segments. A lower part of the wall is relatively square and serves as the primary visual in anchor plans and can include branding as well as themed graphics.
A separate segment above an internally lit horizontal strip rises to the ceiling and is clearly designed as a header element – something that had been a prominent element on several of the previous iterations of the whole resort. Before, however, this header was a static landscape, so switching to LED allows the station to change the logo or images here almost instantly.
Overall, the item is bold in its proportions and gives the resort the ability to create a variety of looks behind its anchors.
The anchor area is cleverly framed by a series of internally lit interlocking structural elements that rise from the floor and onto the anchor desk below, drawing the eye with its nods to design concepts. forced perspective and vanishing point.
These strong right angles are another theme incorporated into the current set – and a pattern that the station’s previous sets have used extensively, including squares inspired by the station’s logo imprint.
Nestled between these arched elements are lighting instruments which, while also serving a practical purpose, are also part of the ensemble’s homages to the region.
Anchors now sit around a desk with an edge-lit element atop a surprising look – a sort of low-poly base that manages to feel clean, modern, and organic at the same time while channeling the appearance of the steep geological features of the region.
The camera on the left features a small floor-to-ceiling window extension as well as a vertically mounted freestanding video panel designed to be positioned closer to the cameras.
The opposite wall has a similar vertical panel placed a little further into the corner, which leaves room for a seamless video wall that can be used as a background for a shot to the far right of the camera .
The desk features a high resolution Neoti LED and sits on a subtle riser with a sharp edge. A smaller rectangular segment riser that lands about halfway between the ground and the level of the anchor desk is placed off-center to the right side of the camera.
JHD positioned a trio of pivot-mounted 86-inch Philips panels set inside sturdy angular structures in front of a light blond wood-toned wall. This transitions into an opening into the landscape – two sliding frosted panels with an Asian-crafted influenced trellis with a video wall behind.
Again, while the panels have a hint of something you might find in an upscale home, the look is completed by the high-tech backdrop they obscure and a sprawling ladder to tilt the gaze more towards that of a news set. In some ways, the generous spacing here also hints at AR-powered looks.
Next to this area is a curved sculptural wall created using a series of strong verticals with integrated lighting against rich wood textures. This wall is hinged and serves to conceal a charging point for the set, which sits inside one of Warner Bros.’ historic sound stages, which partly explains its sprawling layout.
Continuing around the studio, there is a brief break in the set which is essentially the “fourth wall” of the set before moving on to another type of set.
The first is a floor-to-ceiling green wall filled with faux plants inside a variety of cubbyhole-like alcoves framed in light wood. The rich color of the greenery is offset by empty spaces, which have the added benefit of adding depth and shadows to the look.
This narrow wall is primarily designed for more informal one-on-one conversations using stools, but also acts as a springboard for the adjoining space, which continues the cubby geometric pattern but without the greens.
This flexible area can be used for demonstrations, performances or lounge-style setups and features a video panel for news footage with a large iteration of the station’s logo above. There is an additional segment of greenery before the set turns into another entry point.
Where the other entrance with the sliding panels is wide, this one is vertical and showcases another nod to craftsmanship design with a blocky wallpaper placed in front of a dramatically lit flat wall. This entrance to the set has a special feature: crossing it and turning slightly to the right gives direct access to the station’s patio-style outdoor space, which has been fitted out for television production.
This placement allows for a one-shot transition from inside to outside, which was not possible before.
Filling the gap between the door and the docking area, meanwhile, is a 12ft by 7ft Neoti LED wall designed primarily for weather – the station has eliminated the use of chroma key in the studio but notably did not add center work time to the set.
Another feature of the set is the ability to fire between sites. Because the set spans almost 360 degrees, the options for casting and area interaction are expanded. JHD and the lighting team mapped out many different types of these shots, giving the station a wide variety of looks and transitional elements to choose from.
There are also shots that deliberately give viewers a glimpse of robotic cameras, a nod to a previous set’s riser with a railing placed closer to the fourth wall.
Although KTLA’s graphics package remains the same, the station created new looks specifically for the on-set video panels.
This look is dominated by a blue background with a subtly shaded oversized 3D version of the station’s iconic “5” logo. The design manages to convey a sense of number while alluding to waves of water or a blue sky with streaks of clouds.
Approaching, the design features a series of concentric organic shapes that could be read as isobars, bathymetric lines or the outlines of topographic maps, all of which are elements of nature in the region.
By default, the station logo is displayed in a prominent frosted square between the anchors. The use of the square offset with the curved elements blends many of the same elements of visual language found in the decor and other parts of the station’s appearance.
Stage Design – JHD Group
Jeff Hall – Lead Designer
Caron Alcoser – Senior Artistic Director
Grant Van Zevern – Illustration Designer/Art Director
Amelia Bransky – Writing
Greg Arthur – Project Director
Manufacturing – IDF Studio Decors
Lighting design – KTLA
Integrated scenic LED – InPhase
AV Integration – Digital Video Group
Alex Martin – Principal
Kevin Filano – Project Manager
Brad Spangler – Principal Integrator
LED – Neoti
Additional project support by FX Design Group.
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