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Why so many sitcoms look the same

There’s a reason.

There’s a common thread between I Love Lucy and Friends: They kind of look the same.

To modern eyes, that makes the style look generic. But at the time when it was perfected, it was a technical and artistic breakthrough.

That’s thanks to Karl Freund, a legendary cinematographer who went from artsy fare like 1927’s silent classic Metropolis to designing the look for I Love Lucy. As the above video shows, this was a challenge worthy of Freund’s talents — and his innovations are probably the reason today’s multi-camera sitcoms look so similar.

Freund wrote about his achievement as well. If you want to learn more about his work, you can read what he wrote about I Love Lucy in the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. And the next time you’re watching a cheesy sitcom, just remember: It took a genius to make it happen.

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