Surely Monica can tell Patrick what a vast improvement the new hub is, versus the olden days.
On April 14, not long before it becomes the first ABC sudser to broadcast in high definition, General Hospital will unveil a new nurses' hub, that pivotal set's first freshening-up in many a year. And it's well-deserved, too, since the location was blown to bits last month as the casualty of a plot twist. GH production designer Chip Dox offered TVGuide.com an inside look at how and why the hospital's nerve center got a much-needed redo. Check out photos here.
TVGuide.com: Which came first — the decision to have an explosion in the hospital or the idea to update the nurses' hub?
Chip Dox: They came pretty much on top of each other. For [the GH spin-off] Night Shift, we built a new hub, with the idea that we would use parts of it on GH. They liked the concept of it so much, they said, "We want something [of our own] like that."
TVGuide.com: At which point someone said, "Let's now work it into a storyline by blowing up the place."
Dox: Exactly. And if you pay attention to GH, [head writer] Bob Guza loves to do that. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Were there any special considerations with the show switching to hi-def soon?
Dox: Lighting was our biggest one. [For HD] we use much less light, and because of that the depth of field is shallower. That puts the areas past and in front of the actors in soft focus, which we like.
TVGuide.com: And with HD's wider aspect ratio, don't you need to dress sets with more props, to fill out the frame better?
Dox: Yes, you do, and our directors are working on that. You also need a lot more extras, which becomes expensive.
TVGuide.com: How would you compare watching GH in HD to what people now are seeing on All My Children and One Life to Live? Would you say the look is "smoother"?
Dox: It is definitely smoother. The hi-def cameras also are more saturated, so the colors come out clearer and truer. The hospital had a tendency to look gray, but the new cameras grab the light in a terrific way. So the shady, scary warehouse scenes we're known for will look a lot better!
TVGuide.com: What three words would you use to describe the new set?
Dox: It's large. Modern. And I think it's comfortable. I know it's a strange thing to describe a hospital as comfortable, but I wouldn't mind getting worked on at GH.
TVGuide.com: What "problems," if any does the new, bigger set fix?
Dox: It gives you probably 12 to 13 different areas to shoot in, whereas the previous hub only had, like, four. For storytelling, that's great.
TVGuide.com: There are more nooks and crannies for clandestine conversations, new places to eavesdrop from....
Dox: Exactly. They can hide in the set and they really are hidden!
TVGuide.com: Where does the new, exposed staircase lead to?
Dox: In my mind, it goes up to the locker room area. There is a staircase on every floor, so we call [that level] the mezzanine.
TVGuide.com: Not to get too dark here, but you know Guza has plans for those stairs. Though with A.J. not around, it may take a while.
Dox: Yes. People will be falling down them.