OK. Color me surprised. I’m actually digging Guiding Light‘s new format.
I had my doubts, but GL? Bravo.
In case you weren’t aware, there’ve been changes afoot at CBS’ venerable soap. The look has been seriously overhauled. (Here‘s an article about it on GL‘s Web site.)
For starters, instead of the two- to three-wall, open-top sets common on most soap sound stages, GL has taken a more realistic approach. Actors are playing their scenes in four-walled “rooms” complete with ceilings. The show has also established a wider array of permanent sets, immediately enhancing story line by enhancing atmosphere.

But my favorite tweak? The handheld cameras.
Surprising, I know, especially considering All My Children drove me bonkers not too long ago trying the same technique.
What’s the difference then? All I can say is that I know what works when I see it.
Something about the way GL is filming the scenes — cutting in close on actors, shooting over the shoulder of one character while he talks to another — has significantly upped the intimacy factor for me. It’s like watching a documentary that brings me inside the world of Springfield.
When AMC tried the handheld cameras, it felt disjointed, jarring and, most of all, too glitzy. Instead of adding to the scenes, the quick camera movements and music-video-like effects took me out of the moment.
GL, however, has managed to bring an authenticity to the process. I feel like I’m standing right behind Alan (Ron Raines), looking over his shoulder while he tries to put the screws to Jon (Tom Pelphrey). I feel like I’m the one visiting Rick (Michael O’Leary) in jail, staring at his face between the bars. I feel like I’m the one watching through the tree branches as Lizzie (Marcy Rylan) and Dinah (Gina Tognoni) talk.
It’s fascinating, really, and fits well with the high-definition world in which so many of us now enjoy our soaps.

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