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Academic Challenge Quiz Show    

Client: UMM Media Services/Pioneer Public Television, 2001-2006.

Dimensions: 16' x 12'

Project Overview
As another UMM/Pioneer Public Television cooperative effort, Academic Challenge has been a production of public television for nearly 15 years. In 2001, the production made a dramatic turn as the University of Minnesota Morris became the sole underwriter of the series. UMM wanted the series reflect the quality of itself, therefore, the production design was completely retooled. Everything from the set design, graphics, host, and editing was reformulated.

Project Details:
This is my favorite set which I have designed and built. The results of this set have exceed expectations, not only for me, but the University as well.

The original set (if you could call it a set) consisted of two six-foot folding tables, stacked on risers with four chairs behind each. There was no lighting design, no props, just a blank gray wall with a color wash from the lights. Looking at was done previously (or not done), I had an open slate to work with.

From the beginning, I wanted to create a design that used brick, stone and steel. I incorporated corrugated fiberglass panels to substitute for tin, and I also used galvanized wire livestock mesh.

I designed a set around the two teams. Each team would be standing and facing one another, with the host in the middle. The set would surround the teams by six, brick columns with large stone tops, called lintels. The columns were built with plywood and one-inch polystyrene was applied to these columns. I used a router to cut the individual bricks, and then used a propane torch to stress the brickwork. Three different colors of paint were used for the brick to give depth.

Each team table incorporates a video monitor with the school's name and score. The material used for the table included SonoTube, plywood and PVC pipe.

All graphics were created with Adobe Photoshop and printed on a large format printer.