Star Trek Original Series Set Tour

Boldly Go to Upstate New York to Board the USS Enterprise

Wired: [In] Ticonderoga, New York, in a former supermarket. There, at 112 Montcalm St., a valiant would-be commander named James Cawley has constructed a precise replica of the original starship set used for Star Trek: The Original Series.

Cawley began construction in 1996, crafting set pieces in his grandfather’s barn-turned-workshop. Over the past 20 years, he has spent an “astronomical” (he said it, not us) sum painstakingly rebuilding the Enterprise. Some items, like Scotty’s wrenches and a Klingon costume, are originals from the show. Others, like Captain Kirk’s chair, Cawley built from scratch.

The Star Trek Tour is permanently housed in Historic downtown Ticonderoga, New York. The sets are full recreations based upon original blueprints. The recreated sets achieve a high-degree of accuracy based on original blueprints, hundreds of hours of serious research and thousands of photos – both period images and images culled from extensive review and capture from latest Blu-ray images.

See also: Other posts on this blog tagged ‘Star Trek’, including many on the restoration of the original USS Enterprise model at the Smithsonian.

Craft and creativity

Tour replica original Star Trek sets in upstate New York

Visitors can sit in Captain Kirk’s chair and punch buttons just like William Shatner did 60 years ago, or perhaps gaze into Spock’s scanner and search for signs of life. Everyone has to make that decision at some point. — Wired

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Use your words

List of clams: Comedy phrases that need to be retired

John August: John Quaintance recently tweeted photos of two whiteboards listing phrases banned in the Workaholics writers’ room. His tweet has been widely shared, and is a mitzvah to all writers.

These phrases are all clams — jokes that aren’t funny anymore and therefore need to die. When you include them in a script, you’re evoking the rhythm of comedy without the content of comedy. They’re not just cliché; they’re hollow.

  • ___? More Like ___
  • Can You Not?
  • …I Can Explain!
  • Let’s Not And Say We Did
  • I Didn’t Not ___
  • Va-Jay-Jay
  • Wait For It…
  • Just Threw Up In My Mouth
  • Really?
  • Good Talk
  • And By ___ I Mean ___
  • Check Please!
  • Awkward!
  • Shut The Front Door!
  • Lady Boner
  • Rut-Roh!
  • I Think That Came Out Wrong
  • Uh…Define ___
  • No? Just Me?
  • Why Are We Whispering?
  • That Went Well…
  • Stay Classy
  • I’m A Hot Mess!
  • That’s Not A Thing
  • It’s Science
  • Bacon Anything
  • Cray-Cray
  • Real Talk
  • #Nailed It
  • Random!
  • Awesome Sauce
  • Thanks…I Guess
  • Little Help?
  • Laughy McLaugherson
  • ___ Dot Com
  • I Love Lamp
  • Oh Helllll Naw!
  • #Epic Fail
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?
  • Food Baby
  • Douche (Nozzle)
  • Soooo, That Just Happened
  • Squad Goals
  • I Just Peed A Little
  • Too Soon?
  • Spoiler Alert
  • Um…In English Please
  • Note To Self
  • Life Hack
  • Best. ___. Ever. (or Worst. ___. Ever.)
  • It’s Giving Me All The Feels
  • Garbage People
  • That Happened One Time!
  • Well Played
  • I’m Right Here!
  • Hard Pass
  • Are You Having A Stroke?
  • Go Sports!
  • Zero Fucks Given
  • We Have Fun
  • Who Hurt You?
  • I Absorbed My Twin In The Womb
  • I’ll Take ___ For $500, Alex
  • Thanks Obama
  • Wait, What?
  • Shots Fired
  • Sharkweek
  • You Assclown
  • Ridonkulous
  • Bag Of Dicks
  • Hey, Don’t Help
  • Debbie Downer
  • I Can’t Unsee That
  • That Just Happened
  • See What I Did There?
  • I’ll Show Myself Out
  • Here’s The Line, Here’s You
  • ___ On Steroids/Crack
  • Swipe Right
  • White People Problems
  • I Could Tell You But I’d Have To Kill You
  • That’s Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
  • I Think We’re Done Here

Found via John August’s own Scriptnotes podcast. I recommend listening to this episode for the ensuing conversation about these ‘clams’, why they happen and what to do in their stead (the segment is about 20 minutes in).

See also

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South Park – Language and Censorship

Kaptainkristian: A look at the animated series that used vulgarity in language to reflect the reality of our lives.

“As a former child myself, I can tell you that awareness overpowers ignorance.”

See also: The Philosophy of South Park — Wisecrack explores South Park’s themes of politically correct (PC) culture, gentrification, advertising, social justice, safe spaces and narcissism.

Smithsonian: Enterprise Studio Model Back on Display

USS Enterprise on display(via @airandspace)

The Enterprise model, a genuine television star of the 1960s, now rests in the south lobby of Milestones in a new, state-of-the-art, climate-controlled case. From the center of the Hall, the restored Enterprise rests with its camera-ready side on full view.

Washington Post: Here’s what’s new:

A green-gray paint job. Using the original paint on the top of the saucer as a reference, conservators returned the ship to its proper color by removing paint applied during previous restorations and adding new paint where needed. “People are going to say it looks too green now, but it looked more gray on TV because of the powerful incandescent studio lights,” [museum conservator, Malcolm] Collum says.

Enterprise restoration

Bill George and John Goodson, both of ILM, mark the position of windows on the secondary hull before painting.

Space tarnish. Artists from visual-effects studio Industrial Light and Magic applied bronze-colored streaks and specks, lost during past restorations, to the exterior. “It looks like the ship was speeding through space and ran through a cloud of something that splattered across its hull,”Collum says.

Old-school decals. With historic photos as a reference, ILM artists added lettering to the sides of the starship using the waterslide method (the same technology that underlies temporary tattoos) used by the original model makers.

A more authentic deflector dish. Before coming to the Smithsonian, the Enterprise lost its deflector dish — the saucer at the front that projects a force field to protect the ship from space debris. During an earlier restoration, “the museum made a not-very-accurate replacement — we referred to it as the salad bowl,” Collum says. The new dish is a perfect replica, re-created using the original specs.

Lights that won’t cause fires. In addition to blinking lights throughout the ship, the Enterprise’s nacelles appeared to have spinning lights inside, an effect created with motors, mirrors and Christmas lights. The old incandescent bulbs ran hot and actually scorched the inside of the wooden model, which is why they were removed long ago, Collum says. The restored version uses LED lights to replicate the original effects. “When you turn on the lights, it just brings the ship to life,” Collum says. “It’s an incredible transformation.”

Previously…

Continue reading

Craft and creativity

USS Enterprise goes back on display at the Smithsonian after a faithful restoration

The studio model of the Star Trek starship Enterprise is now on exhibit in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. After taking it off exhibit in 2014, assembling a special advisory committee, examining it using x-ray radiography, searching out long-lost photos, and planning the work in great detail, months of hard work culminated in several weeks of painting, detail work, rewiring, and final assembly.

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Webdesigner Depot: Channel 4 reveals a bizarre rebrand

Channel 4 is today launching a major brand redesign. Masterminded by 4Creative, Channel 4’s in-house creative agency, the new identity is brave, bizarre, and striking.

Shot by Jonathan Glazer, the idents tell the story of the channel’s blocks being discovered in caves, mined from the ground, and refined in labs. They’re natural, elemental curiosities.

“The idents present the blocks as kryptonite-like. They tell the story of their origin and how they have a powerful impact on the world around them. Just as Channel 4 does. It is a story that we shall build on.”

It’s Nice That: New Channel 4 identity by creative dream team of 4Creative, Jonathan Glazer, Neville Brody and DBLG

Two new typefaces have been designed by Neville Brody. The first is Chadwick, a rounded, warm, corporate typeface. Its forms are heavily geometric and designed for readability. The second typeface is Horseferry, an unusual, disruptive display text. Horseferry uses the basic forms of Chadwick, but blends in the blocks from the ‘4‘ logo.

See also

(via & via)

Light-based media

Channel 4’s surreal new brand identity

“The broadcast media landscape is a much more complicated place than it was ten years ago, so there’s a need to stand out more than ever before.” — John Allison, 4Creative

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Vancouver Never Plays Itself

Every Frame a Painting: Perhaps no other city has been as thoroughly hidden from modern filmmaking as Vancouver, my hometown. Today, it’s the third biggest film production city in North America, behind Los Angeles and New York. And yet for all the movies and TV shows that are shot there, we hardly ever see the city itself. So today, let’s focus less on the movies and more on the city in the background. Press the CC button to see movie names and locations.

I’d like to visit Vancouver one day. The place has become so familiar to me from shows like The X-Files and Battlestar Galactica.

Vancouver as Caprica

Every Frame a Painting: Chuck Jones

Tony Zhou: If you grew up watching Looney Tunes, then you know Chuck Jones, one of all-time masters of visual comedy. Normally I would talk about his ingenious framing and timing, but not today. Instead, I’d like to explore the evolution of his sensibilities as an artist.


Chuck Jones’ rules for writing Road Runner cartoons

In his book Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist, Chuck Jones claimed that he and the artists behind the Road Runner and Wile E. cartoons adhered to some simple but strict rules:

  1. The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going “meep, meep!”
  2. No outside force can harm the Coyote — only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Trains and trucks were the exception from time to time.
  3. The Coyote could stop anytime — if he were not a fanatic. (“A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.” — George Santayana).
  4. No dialogue ever, except “meep, meep” and yowling in pain.
  5. The Road Runner must stay on the road — for no other reason than that he’s a roadrunner.
  6. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters — the southwest American desert.
  7. All tools, weapons, or mechanical conveniences must be obtained from the Acme Corporation.
  8. Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy.
  9. The Coyote is always more humiliated than harmed by his failures.
  10. The audience’s sympathy must remain with the Coyote.
  11. The Coyote is not allowed to catch or eat the Road Runner.

However, in an interview years after the series was made writer Michael Maltese said he had never heard of these ‘rules’.

(via kottke.org, though it’s interesting to note that the wording varies quite a bit depending on where you find this list, like Mental Floss, Open Culture and Wikipedia.)

Univision 3-perf
Light-based media

Univisium: Vittorio Storaro’s universal 2:1 film format

I’ve recently binge-watched the first two seasons of House of Cards on Netflix and one of the first things I noticed was the black bars showing on my 16:9 television. Why would such a modern show be filmed in anything but the most common modern aspect ratio?

'House of Cards' aspect ratio

This odd aspect ratio turns out to be the brainchild of a famous cinematographer:

Univisium (macaronic Latin for “unity of images”) is a proposed universal film format created by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC and his son, Fabrizio, to unify all future theatrical and television movies into one respective aspect ratio of 2.00:1 (18:9).Wikipedia

Storaro writes:

Vittorio Storaro In the jungle of different aspect ratios in today’s Cinema and Television, the upcoming advanced High Definition Video system will introduce yet another one, an aspect ratio of about 1:1,79.* For a while, we will have three different visual proportions, and therefore three different compositions, of the same movie.

I don’t know who made this decision for a new aspect ratio, since it doesn’t resolve any past, present or future problems for a common composition between different media. I am not aware of any Directors or Cinematographers who have been asked for their opinions about the possible new area or new composition for future audio-visual systems.

[…] Considering High Definition and 65mm, I think it would therefore be sensible to propose a new standard for both. A new aspect ratio that will fit future, present, and past compositional needs. Currently 65mm is set at an aspect ratio of 1:2,21 and High Definition at about 1:1,79, so, if we remove the 0,21 from the 65mm, and if we add the same number on top of High Definition TV, we will have a perfect balance between the two: that is, 1:2.

Though this new standard doesn’t seem to have taken off yet, House of Cards is far from the first the first film or television series to adopt Univisium. The first seems to be 1998’s Tango and the first television example is 2000’s fascinating mini-series of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Storaro was responsible for the cinematography of both.


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In this exclusive interview, TrekCore sits down with Smithsonian Air & Space Museum curator Margaret Weitekamp and chief conservator Malcolm Collum to discuss the ongoing conservation project to preserve the original “Star Trek” USS Enterprise filming model for future generations.

This video, and the gallery on Trek Core, contains some of the best reference material I’ve seen of the original Enterprise model. I’m suddenly itching to try my hand at building another CGI version of this classic starship.

See also: this incredible 1.5m USS Enterprise made from LEGO and other posts tagged ‘Star Trek’.

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The USS Enterprise at the Smithsonian

“Thanks to the generous access provided by the Smithsonian team, TrekCore went behind the public barriers to get some of the most detailed imagery of the starship available.”

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‘Too Many Cooks’ creator tries to explain his awesomely bizarre Adult Swim short

Chris “Casper” Kelly is the man behind the late-night spoof, which begins as a harmless parody of cheesy ’80s sitcom intros before it becomes something much, much more disturbing. (He calls his style “absurdist and dark;” that’s the understatement of the year.)

I said, “It’s basically a show open, a fake sitcom where characters look and smile and their name comes up, and then it just doesn’t stop.” And he said, rightly, “That’ll get you about four minutes, but you’re going to need to start zigging and zagging after that.”

Dan Harmon
Use your words

Dan Harmon’s 8 point story structure

Story Structure 104: The Juicy Details, from Dan Harmon’s Channel 101 wiki.

1. You (a character is in a zone of comfort)

Establish a protagonist. If there are choices, the audience picks someone to whom they relate. When in doubt, they follow their pity. Fade in on a raccoon being chased by a bear, we are the raccoon. Fade in on a room full of ambassadors. The President walks in and trips on the carpet. We are the President. When you feel sorry for someone, you’re using the same part of your brain you use to identify with them.

I wouldn’t fuck around if I were you. The easiest thing to do is fade in on a character that always does what the audience would do.

Read the rest → (It’s worth it!)

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Football
Humans and other animals

Football, football, football…

A great analogy from redditor TheHoneyThief about what it’s like to be someone who doesn’t care about football from a thread in r/britishproblems:

Firstly, imagine every time within a day that football is mentioned by someone else. Secondly, replace it with something that you don’t want to hear about every day. Say… Archaeology. Then, think about how an average day would pan out.

So, you awaken to the clock radio. It’s 7AM. Just as you awaken, it’s time for the news and archaeology already. Not news and other historical investigations, like library restorations or museum openings (unless there’s another event happening), but just the news and archaelogy. Malaysian plane is still missing. Pistorius is still on trial. New dig announced in Giza. Ancient Mayan temple discovered. Exciting stuff.

Time for a bite to eat over the morning TV. More news. More archaeology. Yes, you are aware of what is up with the missing plane. Fine. Now the archaeology in video format. Video of people dusting off some skulls and bits of pottery. All well and good, but archaeology isn’t your thing. It would be nice to hear about something else. Even when it isn’t archaeology season, the media follow noted archaeologists. They drive fast cars, have sex with beautiful women, advertise fragrances, and sometimes they go to nightclubs and act in the worst possible way. Scandals erupt as the tabloids follow these new celebrities when they’re not searching the past for answers. It is entirely possible you can recite the names of certain researchers, even if you don’t pay attention to archaeology. You don’t know what transfer season is, but you know that someone was transferred to a dig in Peru for a sum of money that could fund the London Underground for two whole days.

Out of the car at 8:55 and into work. What are the colleagues talking about, I wonder? Oh, Jones dropped a 3,890 year old pot and smashed it? What a useless wanker! Someone should do something unpleasant to him. And don’t even ask about the unfortunate incident in Athens two years ago – you’ll be there all day! Breaking a pillar like that! We don’t talk about that here, mate. What? You don’t want to discuss the finer points of the prevalence of phallic imagery in Pompeii? Is there something wrong with you?

The drive home from work. Every thirty minutes, no matter the station, someone mentions the archaeology. Best sit in silence. Drive past a huge billboard with a black and white picture of a rakishly handsome archaeologist draped over an impossibly beautiful woman. He’s winking at you. Trowel in his left hand, supermodel in the right. Jurassic, by Calvin Klein.

And now the pub. A nice pub with a beer garden. Posters in the windows. LIVE EXCAVATION AT THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS! All of it on a huge TV with the volume up too loud. Drunken people yelling at the screen. “SEND IT FOR CARBON DATING, YOU USELESS CUNT!” “WHAT ARE YOU ON, MATE? DUST THE ANCIENT MEDALLION GENTLY! SMELTING METHODS OF THE TIME PRODUCED VERY SOFT AND IMPURE METALS EASILY PRONE TO DISFIGURATION!” All this from two men out of a crowd of twenty. One lousy drunken idiot and his chum ruin the image of other archaeology fans. Carbon dating report from the lab updates on TV, read by a man employed because they’ve been following the beautiful science since they were a boy. The drunk chimes in again. “WHAT PHARAOH’S REIGN DID YOU SAY? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT THE UNDERPINNINGS OF OUR THEORY OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT OF 4TH BC EGYPT? GET IN, MATE!” A cheer cascades through the building and you can only wonder why.

Best go home and avoid anyone who might be drinking and singing. You once met a disagreeable chap who threatened to beat you up because you didn’t watch the archaeology. “Not a late paleolithic era supporter are you? Think you’re better than me? I’ll fucking have you, you scrawny cunt!”

To bed. To repeat the cycle tomorrow. The inescapable, inevitability that wherever you go, someone, somewhere, is just dying to talk to you about the archaeology.


As great as that is, I feel a better comparison would be with another form of entertainment, like film, TV or music. Archeology may be irrelevant to most people’s day-to-day lives, but it still advances our knowledge of the world. What if the prominence given to football was given to country music or historical fiction instead?

Soccer ball icon by Ricardo Moreira

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The Periodic Table of Storytelling second edition – by James Harris

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Buy the print and check out the interactive version that will link you directly to the relevant TV Tropes pages.

(I posted the original here too.)

Use your words

The Periodic Table of Storytelling, second edition

By James Harris (aka DawnPaladin): The Second Edition incorporates all of the learning I received during my three years at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. It has better typography, more story molecules, and updated kilowick counts, but the identifiers are the same so as not to break compatibility with the first edition.

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How to Draw Adventure Time

A sixteen-page manual detailing the intricacies of drawing Finn & Jake from Pendleton Ward’s Adventure Time series, hosted on Scribd by Fred ‘Frederator’ Seibert.

How to Draw Adventure Time

How to Draw Adventure Time

(via Boing Boing and Super Punch)

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How to Draw Adventure Time

A sixteen-page manual detailing the intricacies of drawing Finn & Jake from Pendleton Ward’s “Adventure Time” series.

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Breaking Bad
Use your words

Is there any satisfying way to end a modern drama?

Asks Matt Zoller Seitz writing for Vulture:

Walter White goes free. Walter White redeems himself. Walter White dies of cancer. Walter White gets buried in the desert and eaten alive by ants. Walter White goes to the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks and has coffee and pie with Special Agent Dale Cooper.

One of these potential endings might satisfy you, or none might.

It’s probably especially hard to write an ending for an anti-hero, like the ones on dark post-Sopranos dramas such as Breaking Bad or Dexter, because a big part of such shows’ excitement comes from the dual pleasure of simultaneously loathing and cheering the protagonist.

There are big problems with both “justice” and “no justice” endings. If the anti-hero is punished, the viewer is guilty by association. But if the anti-hero is let off the hook — or has to “live with himself” — the show can seem amoral, or at least wishy-washy. Even a more nuanced or ambiguous nod toward one end of the scale or the other could backfire, seeming to neaten up a worldview that was intriguingly complicated. On top of all that, there’s the vision thing: Endings put a frame around the story and suggest why it was told to us, and what we should take away from it. If the anti-hero walks free, some might think the creator is a cynic, or a provocateur testing our moral compass for years but declining to say what direction the show was really headed in.

It’s an interesting problem. Vince Gilligan seems to think they came up with a satisfying finale for Breaking Bad. I can’t wait to see what happens, but in my experience the anticipation is usually the best part.

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The web video problem
Light-based media

The web video problem

In this fantastic essay Adam Westbrook explains why it’s time to rethink visual storytelling on the web from the bottom up. He says:

Ultimately: all of the styles, formats, structures, tropes, techniques that we recognise from films and from TV were invented for films and for television.

Why on earth do we think they should work on the internet?

The biggest challenge we face is that we haven’t figured out how to use this medium properly yet. That’s a privilege not enjoyed since the invention of cinema.

Whatever we invent must be grounded in the universal principles of visual storytelling, while embracing the true nature of the internet.

I don’t know what this looks like. But I know it doesn’t look exactly like cinema or television.
The Web Video Problem

Bonus links →

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Official Trailer from Comic Con for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

More spaceporn. Laughably dramatic in places, but I’m eager to see it. Personally I find Neil deGrasse Tyson to be a poor man’s Carl Sagan though.

The animated sequences look very cool too. I’m curious to find out how this shot fits in:

Cosmos

Game of Thrones characters reimagined as 80s/90s stereotypes by Mike Wrobel.

I love the depiction of Khaleesi.

It’s hard to imagine being a fan of a show like Game of Thrones without all the magnificent fan art on Tumblr, or access to a dedicated wiki or chat on Twitter.

Update: Three more!

Craft and creativity

Game of Thrones, reimagined

What would “Game of Thrones” have looked like if the action had been set in a contemporary period such as the 80s and 90s?

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The Periodic Table of Storytelling by ~DawnPaladin

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

Based on data from TV Tropes [WARNING: Do not click link until you have ample free time available].

Use your words

The Periodic Table of Storytelling

A detailed infographic by ~DawnPaladin on DeviantArt

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Why Star Trek is great

Star Trek's Captains

Matthew Yglesias writing for Slate:

The standard line among Trek apologists is that the franchise is not just a lot of sci-fi nonsense but a meaningful exploration of what it means to be human. And among Trek’s kaleidoscope of Vulcans and androids and holograms and shapeshifters, this is a core concern. But Trek has a very particular take on what it means to be human. Part of what it means, the franchise teaches us, is participating in an ongoing progressive project of building a utopian society. Even though the bulk of Trek comes from the ’90s, the franchise launched in the mid-’60s, and the now-anachronistic spirit of midcentury optimism has remained at the heart of the franchise throughout. It’s a big part of what makes Trek great.

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Co.Create interviews Nick Douglas about his supercuts videos.

My friend Andy Baio, who coined the term and runs supercut.org, told me that most editors use TV Tropes (my favorite site on the whole Internet). When New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum tweeted that she wanted a supercut of TV characters saying “this isn’t a TV show, this is reality,” Bryan started with the TV Tropes page for that very phenomenon.

Videtur
Craft and creativity

Videtur: A typeface designed for 1980s East German television

Socialist TV typeface Videtur finally freed:

FF Videtur characters

In the 1980s, the German Democratic Republic’s state television broadcasting service commissioned Axel Bertram to develop a custom typeface. The result was “Videtur,” a remarkably independent serif design that was intended to define the on-screen graphics of East German television for years to come. But by the beginning of the 1990s, the GDR no longer existed. With it went its state broadcasting service – and Videtur, too. Another 20 years in the now reunified Germany would have to pass by before Andreas Frohloff could finally help bring a modernized FF Videtur to market.

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