John Shaffner on Steve Bass, production designer, “63rd Annual Emmy Awards” and “83rd Annual Academy Awards”

The Oscar and Emmy telecasts occupy a unique place in the very finite subset of awards shows. They are the two premier televised events dedicated to the recognition of the achievements of moving-image storytelling and entertainment.

Steve Bass, therefore, met the challenge special to those projects by embracing the moving image as an essential part of the scenic environment.

On the Oscars, he chose to suggest the classic home of filmmaking — Hollywood — with shapes reminiscent of the Hollywood Bowl, but transcended those confines by creating it out of a series of screens. He’s an enormously collaborative designer and he explored the most advanced projection technology available to make the screens come to life.

The work was scientifically ground-breaking in the lensing and manipulation of the digital rear-projection, which allowed for projection at acute angles to the screens. The overall effect was a grand theatrical experience and enveloped us all into the moving image that took over the stage.

For the Emmys, Steve took the metaphor of the satellite dish and “broadcast” the image by front projection on the concave dish rim with a center field of LED screen technology. The science of image display was put to the service of the arts of television. The surrounding areas continued the exploration of image display in various scales and emphasized that television content is ubiquitous. The result: an elegant and contemporary stage composition for the live event and home screen.

John Shaffner’s credits include “Mike & Molly,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “The 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards.”

Tightening the definition
Designers on design
Production designers and art directors comment on the ADG-nominated work of their peers
John Muto on Dante Ferretti | Greg Grande on Jefferson Sage | Norm Newberry on Stuart Craig | John Sabato on Patti Podesta | Ken Averill on Christopher Glass | John Shaffner on Steve Bass | Dave Blass on Mark Worthington | John Iacovelli on James Yarnell