Below the Surface: Sesame Street

One of our goals for this blog is to regularly go Below the Surface, where we analyze the ins and outs of a video that means something to us. Our goal is to help you see how every little detail is a careful decision that affects the mood and the message. LB kicks things off with a classic...

Watching Sesame Street should be easy, right? I mean letter of the day, number of the day, and Elmo’s world. That’s pretty simple. However, after just a few minutes of watching it with my one-year-old the other day, I suddenly realized it too is no longer something simple to watch. Why you may ask? Well, let me explain.

It’s the same philosophy behind why engineers can’t just drive a car; they have to know how it works. So they take it apart and put it back together. And why chefs can’t just eat a meal prepared for them; they have to figure out how it was made and recreate it. It’s the same for video producers and editors. Watching TV is no longer a way to relax and give your brain a break. When we watch something we have to know: how did they do that? And then we seek out the skills to figure it out ourselves. 

Yes, even Sesame Street is now something to analyze. While I watch, I’ll think, "I wonder what size green screen they are using to fit all of this action in one scene?" I find myself looking to see someone’s hand accidentally operating one of the puppets (spoiler alert…sorry if you didn’t know). How did they time that animation with those kids jumping around? There are so many intricate things you don’t realize it takes to create an episode of Sesame Street.  Have you ever stopped and counted how many different video clips there are in Sesame Street? Live action, animation, both mixed together. Then there are puppets for goodness sakes and all these voices that have to be matched up… good grief, I’m getting worked up just thinking about it more! It’s really an amazing, intricate show.

Do you see what I mean!? Ok, maybe not completely… but it’s true. I’ll see a cool commercial and instead of getting what the product was about, it will end and I’ll tell my husband, “Hey, I could have made that commercial.” I know how to make that! To which his reply is usually, “Good for you….,” and he changes the channel. 

So the next time you get to watch Sesame Street, or any show for that matter, stop to think for a minute about how much time it takes to create that show, that commercial, that YouTube video. There are a lot of talented and skilled individuals who work to create that instant entertainment for you to enjoy. And speaking as a video producer, we sure do love creating it!

Oh, and in case you were wondering. The letter of the day was “J” and the number was “16.” See, I didn’t miss the entire show's message.