Who is responsible for the distinctive look of sitcoms? You might be surprised

(image courtesy MeTV)


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. (synopsis via Laughing Squid)

Sitting down to watch Friends, The Big Bang Theory or even re-runs of I Love Lucy, you might think that sitcoms have always had their distinctive 3 camera look.

But the reality is, like all supremely good ideas, so good in fact it’s still in use decades later, the innovative use of lighting by Karl Freund, was quite revolutionary in its day.

So much so that it was used by everyone making it seem all a bit ubiquitous these days; that doesn’t, however, take away from the sheer genius of Fruend’s work.

He is one of those remarkable people who saw a problem, found a solution and profoundly changed an emerging genre for the better in ways that still resonate to this day.

And made people laugh into the bargain.

As legacies go, that’s pretty damn good.





How Filmmaker Karl Freund Brilliantly Perfected the Art of Three Camera Sitcom Lighting Used Today

Posted In TV

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