New RTL News Studio: The Real Return

CologneSome TV news seems to come from an artificial world that looks like science fiction. “Fantasy” is probably the last thing TV news wants to associate with.

Many broadcasters are now saying goodbye to a very unrealistic appearance. This Sunday (September 4, 6:45 p.m. “RTL aktuell”), RTL is running its new 360-degree virtual studio at its headquarters on the Rhine in Cologne.

Viewing news is now even easier, RTL confirms. “Four suspended, revolving, movable LED walls act as image planes to form the space for media presentation and can be combined to form seamless video surfaces up to 12 meters wide if required.”

A large video deck also dominates the competition appearance from “Tagesschau” and “Tagesthemen” from ARD. But in Hamburg in the responsible NDR, the rear projection wall is semicircular.

In April 2021, broadcaster Welt (formerly N24) in Berlin moved into his new real studio in the new Axel Springer Building designed by star architect Rem Koolhaas.

More freedom of movement

“The studio is the most modern currently in Europe,” says RTL News Managing Director Stefan Schmider of the new 445 square meter space in Colin Deutz. Anchorman Peter Kloebel says he’s looking forward to more freedom of movement. After many years in a green box with virtual backgrounds, there are now real items, such as LED screens. “We don’t have to constantly look at the screen to check where we are and what we’re showing.” This is very useful with graphics and animation.

“Point 12” presenter Katja Burchard confirms: “I’m especially pleased that we’re getting the so-called ‘real group’ while getting away from the green screen. We strive for honesty every day and this also goes with the fact that our studio is friendly and down-to-earth. “.

How television stations present their news programs is a matter of technology and the zeitgeist. There is currently a worldwide trend towards originality after the hype surrounding simulated studio sets. The ProSiebenSat.1 media group is currently expanding its location in Unterföhring near Munich. On the new campus, due for completion in 2024, special news will also be produced again.

In the early days – for example with Tageschau in the 1960s – men sat at a desk and explained the world against a wall. They read from scraps of paper. The announcer was a kind of teacher of the nation, his viewers curious students.

A lot has happened since then. The established media now faces a fear of misinformation and certain fundamental doubts among the population more often than in the past. If they then appear detached and artificial on TV, the distance between TV makers and viewers can increase. In contrast to shady shows on the Internet, television stations focus more on allowing familiar faces to appear in an environment that inspires confidence.

Second living room

By the way, design changes to the TV are not trivial. Nicholas Prender, editor-in-chief at the time, said 13 years ago when public radio was broadcasting at Heut’s virtual studio on Lerchenberg in Mainz. News studios are a second sitting room for many, which is why they feel so emotional.

In the meantime, ZDF has turned around a bit and really put more originality into the studio last summer—among other things with a smaller table and less blast.

RTL is now following up a year later with the long-announced new studio. The radio group’s ntv news channel is still broadcasting from its green screen studio.

News and magazine programs “Punkt 6”, “Punkt 7”, “Punkt 8” and “Punkt 12” as well as “RTL Aktuell” and “RTL Nachtjournal” will come in the future from the multi-functional studio. Production of RTL Direkt will continue not on the Rhine, but in Berlin.

The new Cologne studio, which can be adapted to the lighting technology of that time of day and also to changing news situations, has been developed with the design studio “Veech x Veech”. According to RTL, the architects have already worked with Arabic news anchor Al Jazeera in Doha/Qatar, Bulgarian broadcaster BTV and Sky News in London and Vienna for Austrian television ORF.

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