Frontline New Show Open

I was hired by the same company that shot and composited the standard definition show open and background elements for the PBS show Frontline. The name of the graphics/production company is One80 Visual and they were asked by Frontline to re-create the classic show components in high definition. The idea was to simply shoot the old open and backgrounds using slightly updated television lens and film lens props.

Original Lens from Frontline New Show Open

The picture above is a still from the standard definition background “bump-to-break” component in the classic Frontline tv show shot over fifteen years ago on Betacam SP. I have included the video from the old recording.

4:3 standard def shot from classic open:

Frontline New Show Open

I set up the Sony EX1 with the Letus Ultimate inside the one80 office. Scott, a graphics artist at the studio, set up a 2×4 box in which I would have some control of the lighting. It was vital that I recreated the reflections and textures on the newer television and film lens props to best match the classic Frontline elements.

I used a single 1000 watt Lowel DP light to create the white box light effect around the props. I then used a 500 watt Lowel DP light to hit the props with key light. This lighting setup is very simple. The hardest part was to copy the exact reflections and highlights on the prop lenses.

Frontline Preview

We had a Mac Book Pro set up with all the original video pieces so that I could constantly check to make sure we were copying the original lighting design.

Frontline New Show Open

I had the Vinten tripod on my home made dolly track, but I did not use the dolly for anything since it would not have matched the original style. We tried a few new things, but the producers of the show wanted to keep the original and classic style for Frontline.

Frontline New Show Open TV lens
Frontline New Show Open Film Lens

We shot a newer television camera lens for the updated HD version of the background element. The hardest part for me was to get the perfect white reflection in the square internal focus lens hood. This was surprisingly difficult to recreate and in the end, we used a white bounce card to catch the glass just right.

Frontline New Show Open Film Lens
Frontline New Show Open Film Lens

The film lens prop was not new. It was a PL Zeiss 50mm f1.4 we rented from Boston Camera. Again, we followed the original lighting design and camera move exactly for the newly updated HD Frontline show.

Frontline New Show Open

I set up an external 720p HD LCD monitor for the client to view and to help me check for sharp focus.

sony EX1
sony EX1

I had the Sony EX1 recording at 1080p 30 frames per second. This XDCAM EX workflow was easy for One80 Visual to deal with because all they use is Mac Pro workstations with Final Cut Pro. I just captured all the footage with my Mac Book Pro using the Express34 slot, placed the MOV files on an external hard drive and handed the drive to Amy. She then dumped the footage onto the in house hard drive array.

Take a look at the HD show elements for the nationally televised show, Frontline. All this footage was shot with the Sony PMW-EX1 and the Letus Ultimate 35mm lens adapter.

This is the brand new HDTV show open:

This is the background footage for advertisements and bumps to break:


All of this footage is used with permission. This video is not intended to be downloaded and property of PBS.