RTL news in new design – design diary

RTL’s news programs have received a new design. From September, “RTL Aktuell”, “RTL Nachtjournal”, “Punkt 6/7/8” and “Punkt 12” will also broadcast from a new studio. The studio set, now real again, is more accessible and haunting, as the Cologne-based private TV broadcast explains on the occasion of the transition to the new design.

Since Sunday 4 September, the news on “RTL Aktuell” has been broadcast from a new studio. The newly acquired “360-degree studio” sets technical standards and will help make news from around the world more accessible and understandable, according to RTL. So far, the entire on-air design has been shot virtually in the Greenbox studio, which has been in use since 2010.

“The new news studio is the most modern currently available in Europe,” says Stephan Schmitter, Managing Director of RTL NEWS and Chief Journalistic Content Officer of RTL Germany. An investment in independent journalism. “For us, the focus is on the message, the story or the guest, and the new studio creates the optimal atmosphere for this in any situation,” adds Schmitter.

RTL Aktuell Studio – before and after, image source: RTL, CapeRock, image montage: dt

Large-format LED screens must ensure variability, and the studio setting can be adapted to the different programs and times of the day. With the help of the new technology and the new design, contexts could be explained even better and things could be processed and classified more clearly, be it surveys, investigations, interviews or exchange on the spot. Dissemination of news from around the world is becoming more accessible and urgent.

The new studio and on-air design celebrated their premiere on September 4 as part of the “RTL Aktuell” program. From September 5, “RTL Nachtjournal” will also be sent in the new design. The RTL magazines “Punkt 6/7/8” and “Punkt 12” start as planned on Monday 19 September.

The new studio has been planned and realized together with the architecture and design studio Veech x Veech (Vienna), which has already designed studios for ORF, BTV and Al Jazeera. CapeRock (Amsterdam) is responsible for the design and creation of the new design. Specifically, CapeRock redesigned the news design, the motion system, the on-air graphics and the choreography of the studio graphics on the various LED screens.

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Like life, people’s perception of form and color swings back and forth like a pendulum (freely based on Schopenhauer). Under the impression of enthusiasm for technology, ZDF and RTL (and many others) equipped their studios with green box technology in 2009 and 2010 to henceforth broadcast news from virtual spaces. Virtuality allows for the greatest possible freedom, but it also increases the distance between the newscaster/moderator and the viewer. The newly created artificial space all too often makes people appear small and removed from this universe, as in the old ZDF news studio, or as a foreign body or staff, as in the BRISANT studio.

With the remodeling of the news studio that has now taken place, RTL is returning to a physically existing, accessible and tangible space. The team around chief moderator Peter Kloeppel is also more “tangible” and approachable, also because the camerawork is obviously more focused on a frontal view than on panning from the long shot. The space gets so close. As a viewer, you get closer to the presenter/speaker. A design concept that differs pleasantly from the very restless and gimmicky studio design of the RTL magazines, which was only renewed two years ago. What a program of contrasts.

In my opinion, however, the new sound design of the news program RTL Aktuell should have taken up the visual-spatial concept of “authenticity” and proximity more strongly. The identity-forming fanfare in particular seems distant and artificial thanks to the still shrill sounding synth horns and drumbeats. Here, starting from the now dull, dark studio floor, one could also imagine a richer sound branding accompanied by deep bass. In addition, the new sound design does not at all convey digitality and a “on the pulse of the times” mentality.

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