That old craftsperson's motto about making the back of the cabinet as nice as the front may not apply to set designers, but that doesn't make their job any less hard. Particularly when you've got to design a 360-degree studio set, as Florida-based Innovative Show Design recently had to do for NBA TV.
The basketball-based network's design requirements called for a set where they could shoot multiple shows in the same day, with each area remaining visually distinct, while still retaining the overall look of the NBA. In addition, a regulation-sized half-court would be integrated into the set, allowing analysts and/or actual players to "illustrate scale and perspective on air."
ISD whipped up renderings, beginning with the constraints of the basketball court and the studio's dimensions—the fixed numbers, in other words—then designed the rest of the wraparound set to fit. The color scheme was predetermined by the NBA, and the design team chose "motion" as the overarching theme. "We looked at the game itself, and considering the game is constantly moving, we wanted a set to have that energy. We looked at the arcs created by the ball as a player shoots," said ISD designer Mark Dowling.
What's neat is that the design-build team—which constructed and dry-fitted everything in their Florida studio, then transported the whole kit & caboodle to Atlanta for the actual build—has provided a list of what went into the set:
- 248 sheets of Wilson Art laminate
- 280 pounds of contact cement
- 5,000 board feet of lumber
- 629 sheets of plywood
- 138 pounds of screws, nails and staples
- just under 2,000 square feet of back lit graphics
- 36 sheets of acrylic
- 15' x 150' roll of polycarbonate
- 125 hours on the CNC machine to make parts
- 4,600 hours in the shop to build, wrap and load on trucks
- 520 hours on site for the install (not including Turner labor)
- Crew size of 12 plus one lead
The set took five days to frame, another seven to get it all together, plus five days to rig up the video and tech systems. NewscastStudio.com calls it "one of the top sports sets on television," and you can read more about it here.