The Oscars make a comeback with a new stage design and intimate camera angles

After a two-year absence from the Dolby Theater due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Oscars returned home with another historic setting and a unique shooting technique that brought viewers closer to the winners.

First look at Oscar’s production design from another location

A render by David Korins showcasing the set of the 2022 Oscars.

Along with a new take on stage decor by David Korins centered around dramatic curves, orbs and triangles, the stage also featured Swarovski crystals for the 14th year. Similar to past use, crystals were chained together to fill the open spaces between the dramatically curved frames used to envelop the scene.

In total, more than 90,000 Swarovski crystals were used on stage.

Korins noted that the scenography is meant to evoke a “dynamic portal to the future in which we trade the currency of electricity and elegance.”

A close up of how Swarovski crystals have been strung together and used to fill the gaps between the structural frames. Photo by Linda Pianigiani.

Korins has previously worked on the Oscars and is also known in the Broadway set design community – and recently created the new home for “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”.


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Its design also incorporates thick layers, with surround and on-stage elements often overlapping and intertwining, creating an elegant sense of movement.

Much of this was accomplished through the use of linear elements formed from thin elements like crystals or neon-like LED accents installed throughout the landscape.

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Korins hopes her design has captured unity, glamor and a hopeful tone for the future.

Several distinct looks were also created, which were generally used for specific purposes or segments of the show. Each featured its own main scenic motif and color scheme.

For example, the show opened with a curling “ribbon” on stage before moving on to flowing circular elements and, towards the end of the telecast, straight lines and triangles.

Nods to the Oscars statuette this year featured a variety of configurations, most notably freestanding ones created using thick segments of glass or twisted strips of metallic ribbons. The number of figures also seems to be considerably reduced.

Perhaps as a sort of symbolic gesture of trying to bring people together after two years of social distancing, efforts have also been made to bring the action closer to the public in person and on television.

The design reduced the number of stairs leading up to the stage, allowing the action on stage and famous audience members at banquets near the front of the auditorium to feel more part of the show (this closeness might have emboldened the now infamous Will Smith at the stage slap by Chris Rock).

Acceptance speeches were delivered from an oval riser with an all-LED floor that extended into the banquet and cafe-style seating closest to the stage.

In this wide shot of the Oscars stage, the pedal board and robotic camera elevator are visible just in front of the circular platform in the center.

Additionally, the Oscars chose to deploy a robotic camera pedestal and lift positioned near the stage, allowing the broadcast to present a unique take on close-ups of presenters and winners, including a different take on push shots. -in. usually leveraged.

Traditionally, awards shows place the camera capturing the presenters and winners quite far from the stage – often in the middle of the audience seats or, depending on the venue, even at the back of the room.

While zooming in can obviously make up for that distance, it does have a few downsides, which is that the camera simply “feels” further from the action thanks to how the optics work.

Depending on the setup and distance, even slight movements of the operator or anyone on the riser which is often built for cameras and other crew members can cause the image to vibrate slightly in the air, which which can become even more obvious the more extreme the zoom. It may also require an extremely soft hand to make pan, tilt, or zoom adjustments if the presenter or recipient moves during the broadcast.

This is where a robotic unit several meters away, rather than several meters from the presenters, can have a visual impact on the broadcast.


All in all, it’s one of those differences that’s hard to explain concretely, but the difference is stark. The presenters’ shots felt closer, literally bringing viewers closer to the action. That camera work also brought in some of the intimacy found in last year’s one-off TV show from Union Station in Los Angeles.

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Additionally, the show also used robotics to create gentle thrusts that combined vertical lifting motions with optical zooms that were quite clearly captured by a camera closer to the subject.

The direct shot captured by the robotic camera was also supplemented with views taken at different distances and from different angles, a technique that arguably brought a more cinematic feel to the show. Wearable cameras were also mixed.

The telecast also used a camera on wires running through the auditorium that could be controlled remotely to capture wide, panning shots of the action (and at one point during the opening segment erratically overshadowed the three hosts).

Another unique element at this year’s Oscars was the historic win for “Coda,” which follows the life of a deaf family and performs primarily in American Sign Language.

For hearing audiences, open captions are embedded throughout the film, an industry first outside of foreign language films.

Because members of the “Coda” creative team live with hearing loss, the Academy provided them with screens showing the live ASL feed of the proceedings, which also aired on the Oscars. Youtube channel.

Troy Kotsur takes the stage to accept his Best Supporting Actor Oscar followed by an ASL performer, who at times seemed emotional, and provided live audio of Kotsur’s acceptance speech.

Additionally, when acceptance speeches were given in ASL, an off-camera interpreter was on hand with a microphone to provide audio of what the winner was signing, similar to what was done when Marlee Matlin became the first deaf person to win an Oscar in 1987.

The Oscars lighting was led by Full Flood’s Bob Dickinson and Noah Mitz.

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Rozella J. Cook